June 30, 2009

Toasting to San Francisco

[Post by Ana Cruz, MBA Class of 2010]

As rigorous as our first year of business school was, one of the hardest things for me was saying goodbye to most of my classmates for the summer. We’re scattered all over the country, all over the world, actually. There are classmates in Europe, Central America, South America, India, Asia and beyond, with some globe-trotting between these locales. A number are centered in or around Boston and I’m jealous of their weekend trips to the Cape and all the fun stuff that New England holds in store for summer residents. Then, there are those of us on the West Coast. We’re spread from Seattle down to Los Angeles, with a sizeable cluster of us enjoying life in the San Francisco Bay Area this summer.

I may be a bit biased, but I consider the Bay Area crew to be the lucky ones. As a native of Northern California, I knew that when I moved to Boston I wanted to be able to come back to California. Which is one of the reasons why I jumped at the opportunity to be a marketing intern this summer at a winery in California.

My unofficial title is marketing intern extraordinaire for Crushpad, Inc., a state-of-the-art urban winery in San Francisco. The responsibilities are real, which is both exciting and a little daunting, as I help make decisions for the marketing directives of this unique start-up. It’s my first job in cubicle-land, but far from the “Office Space”-style corporate graveyard that one usually associates with cubes. We’re in a converted warehouse space in one of San Francisco’s more industrial neighborhoods and things are far from ‘corporate’. Recent highlights have included a spur of the moment basketball game down on the winery floor, a major event pouring wine for almost 1,500 guests (some of whom were fellow BU MBAs coming to support me!), and regular barrel tastings to help familiarize me and another intern with our products.

Soon enough, I’ll be back in Boston with my far-flung classmates again, sharing our summer experiences and gearing up for another year of finance, and strategy, and marketing classes. In the meantime, though, I’m toasting a great summer in San Francisco.
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June 24, 2009

Guest Post from the European Field Seminar Blog

The following post was originally written for class participation as a part of the European Field Seminar. Boston University offers four field seminars that travel either to Europe, Asia, Brazil, or India. To see the other 16 posts from fellow attendess, head over to http://www.travelblog.org/Bloggers/2009-European-Field-Seminar-Participants.

Connections, Bikes, and Ex-Pats (June 8, 2009)

Before I begin to talk about our meetings and adventures on the 8th, I have to mention my fantastic off-day on the 7th. During the fall and spring semesters I work part-time as a Graduate Assistant in the Graduate Admissions Office. As a result, I have the opportunity to meet and greet hundreds of prospective students and I get to spend even more time with them at admitted student open house events. At one of these events I met Thomas Eisner, a prospective full-time student living in Paris. Little did I know, I would be traveling to his city in June. He noticed a status update on Facebook and before you know it I was getting a personal tour of the city. The walking tour was a perfect way to spend the off day.

On the morning of the eighth we hopped backed on the Paris subway and headed toward the La Defense area to attend our first meeting at JCDecaux. The advertising firm pulled out all the stops, treating us to a presentation in their rotating presentation hall delivered by their Director of Marketing Strategy. Ms. Mari detailed the entire Cyclocity project and the unique challenges presented by the Paris project and the development of Velib.

Our second meeting took us to Business Objects, a unique firm developed with both French and American characteristics and employees. We spoke with Timo Elliot and Michael Thompson, both ex-patriates who told us about their firm, the merger, and their life in France. They presented one curve designed to display the satisfaction of ex-pats over time--which included one deep trough of dissatisfaction. Timo and Michael shared their personal experiences and emphasized the importance of assimilation and maintaining strong personal relationships during the process. As a person interested in work abroad, this part of the presentation was especially interesting.

Invest in France hosted our group for the final meeting of the day and was forced to improvise. The Managing Director was only able to speak with us for a few minutes before departing but the agency found two other speakers to take our questions. We discussed France's unique requirements for greenfield investment and their interest in building local employment. After our final meeting we enjoyed a typically French dinner--lasting over four hours and including more courses than I am able to count. All in all, a good day.

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June 8, 2009

“Derivatives are financial weapons of mass destruction.” - Warren Buffett

[Post by Sougata Basu, MBA Class of 2010]

Prior to joining the MBA program at Boston University, I was learning some basic concepts in Finance. When I was reading about “Derivatives”, I came across this quote from Warren Buffet. I didn’t understand what exactly “mass destruction” meant in this context. Within the first month of my MBA program, a number of reputed companies like Lehman Brothers went bankrupt. Now we know why Warren Buffet was against the excessive use of derivative instruments.

The MBA Finance Club at Boston University is setting up an Investment Fund to be managed by students under the guidance of Professor Scott Stewart, who is the Faculty Director of the MSIM program. He joined BU after a 16-year fund management career, including founding and leading a $45 billion global investment team at Fidelity Investments. The Student Investment Fund is similar to a mutual fund and is a great platform for students to learn investment management. So we want students to research and conduct thorough fundamental analysis and not engage in any speculative stock or derivative trading.

The management team of the Investment Fund consists of Portfolio Managers and Analysts. The Analysts will research a particular company within their preferred industry and present their recommendations to the Portfolio Managers. The Portfolio Managers will decide on the asset allocation and regularly track the fund’s performance. We hope this hands-on experience will serve as a good base for future careers in Asset Management, Hedge Funds or Private Equity.

- Sougata
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