September 30, 2009

For Dual Degree Students, The New School Year Means a New School

[Post by Lauren Ferris, MBA/MPH Class of 2010]

As you may know, I am in the second year of my MBA/MPH dual degree program. While I have been very impressed with the coordination of the program, as a student who is enrolled in two different schools within the University, life can sometimes be a series of explanations, clarifications, and duplication.

Last year nearly all of my classes were in the School of Management and I spent hours upon hours in the SMG building attending classes, team meetings, and social events. A few months into my first semester I had learned where the lost-and-found, quiet library rooms, and comfortable reading chairs were located. I had also learned that it was important to speak up in class and to argue with other students if you disagreed with their opinion on a case. By the end of the school year, the School of Management was like a second home and I had adopted the lifestyle and personality of an MBA student. (For those of prospective students who may be unnerved to read that a school building could feel like a second home, don’t worry, if you get your MBA, you will understand and it won’t be so bad… most of the time)

This year almost all of my classes are at the School of Public Health on BU’s medical campus in the South End of Boston. While I am very excited to be learning more about public health and earning my MPH, I found that I have underestimated the culture shock I would go through switching schools. I know culture shock might sound a bit dramatic, but there are significant differences between the two schools. Library and computer systems are different and I am still looking for the place to get coffee. The biggest differences however are usually in the classes themselves, for example, it turns out that speaking up to argue with another student’s opinion while wearing a business suit during class is not so common among MPH students. In fact, it is a little like wearing three scarlet letters that spell “MBA.”

While I do find the differences between the School of Management and the School of Public Health to be confusing, humbling, and at times, frustrating, I have realized it is a good learning opportunity. In the real world, business and especially healthcare is filled with different types of people with different backgrounds, and it is critical that all of these people communicate with each other in order to get things done. Having the ability to work within the MBA and MPH sphere is one of the major benefits to having both degrees so hopefully by the end of the year the School of Public Health will feel like a third home.

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September 23, 2009

1st Year MBAs feel like Freshmen, 2nd Year MBAs feel like Seniors

[Post by Jesse Brooks, MS-MBA Class of 2010]

It is hard to believe how much you grow up as an MBA, over the course of a summer. One 10-12 week internship and possibly a few weeks of vacation, turns any 1st year MBA into a seasoned 2nd year.

When reuniting with my classmates, there was a mutual understanding that we now have to take on the role of educated, slightly confident, and generally all knowledgable 2nd years. While this may seem like Dazed and Confused, this natural development cycle benefits everyone.

As 1st years take their first steps into SMG, then learn how to crawl in the Career Toolkit course, the 2nd years are ready to help out during terrible twos and awkward teenage years. With first hand experience in dealing with the first semester integrated project and the intense internship search, the 2nd years want to pass their knowledge on and give the 1st years the inside tips for success.

Though we 2nd years may walk tall and carry large laptops, we are friendly and here to help. Asking questions and getting the inside knowledge can only help to slow down the fast paced life of a 1st Year Boston University MBA Student.

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September 21, 2009

New Year, New Routine, New People

[Post by Tyler Alrup, MBA Class of 2010]

As much as I loved my internship and the city of San Francisco, the excitement for MBA year 2 was always in the back of my mind. After all, last year's 2nd-years raved about their newfound freedom and, in many cases, early job offers. More importantly, I was looking forward to seeing old friends, making new ones, and settling into a nice little routine.

So good. The first two weeks back were a whirlwind of spending nights out with old friends and learning as many 1st-years' names as possible. Although fun, this was not the most *sustainable* routine. Class quickly arrived to smack my brain back into shape and make sure I quickly shook off a summer's cobwebs. Now roughly three weeks into the semester, a new routine is taking shape.

In addition to academics, my responsibilities as a Graduate Assistant in Admissions and as MBA Council President have added layers to this year's experience. Add in social activities, intramural sports, and that little endeavor called a career search and well----I do not have a surplus of free time. This new routine is similar but slightly different than the old version and promises to offer new challenges and memorable stories for future enjoyment.

One more (literally) tiny update: I am now an uncle for the second time, welcoming Kelsey Elizabeth Altrup into the world.

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September 2, 2009

Starting a Finance Forum

[Post by Sougata Basu, MBA Class of 2010]

It’s hard to believe that the summer vacations are over and the classes start this week. Time flies really fast! I was working as a financial analyst intern at a venture capital firm in Boston. The internship was pretty interesting as it involved financing startup companies who are working with some very innovative ideas. Some of the companies are working on micro-blogging, some on cleantech and some on nanotechnology.

I was inspired to start something new and was thinking about a few ideas. I discussed it with some friends at BU and they helped in transforming the idea into a proper business plan. When I was preparing for CFA Level 1 in India last year, it was difficult to get relevant resources and information. I was trying to build a career in Finance and it was difficult to understand what will be the right career path. So I felt a need for a forum for finance students and professionals, especially in India.

So I started (, with a vision to create a community of finance students and professionals who are willing to share and help each other. "Daulat" means "wealth" and this forum will try to create the real wealth of knowledge. This forum will help MBA Finance/Math Finance students and also for CFA/CFP/FRM exam preparation.

The website also features finance-related articles ( and interviews of well-known professors and executives. Prof. Zvi Bodie agreed for the first interview and shared valuable insight on finance education. I am really grateful to him as he took out time from his busy schedule. (

Some of my friends in Indian and in Boston are working on the technology, content development and marketing of the website. This team is working to build and market the forum and I am lucky to get their help and support. This initiative was a way of combining the Finance education with Entrepreneurship. I am not sure how successful it’ll be but at least I am happy to have tried.
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The Last First Day of School

[Post by Lilly Needleman, MBA Class of 2010]

Today was the last day of my summer internship. Looking back, it really was a great experience. I learned a lot. I was in a new industry and a different role than any I had held before.

But I’ll be honest. I am ready to go back to school. Wednesday is my last first day of school. EVER. Without revealing exactly when I had my first first day of school, let’s just say, “Money for Nothing” by Dire Straits was the number one song in the country and the tag on my clothes said Osh Kosh B’Gosh.

Just like back then, I’ll have peanut butter and jelly for lunch, and like then, I have a new lunch box. But, that is where the similarities end. This time around, my to-do list includes buying new running shoes, getting folders for last semester’s cases that I feel some need to keep, picking up my T pass, and grocery shopping. The night before, I’ll make sure my cell phone is charging, that I know where my name card thing is, and that my computer cord is in my bag. That first time I got ready for school, way back when, my preparation was limited to…well, waking up. That’s about all I was responsible for and mom and dad took care of the rest.

But just like the other first day, in the year not to be named, I am a little nervous. New professors, new classmates… And this time, there’s a little added pressure of having to figure out what I want to do with myself after all of this is done. I’m not going to lie, I have no idea. I know what I don’t want to do. And that’s a start, right? Right.
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