November 19, 2010

Networking, Networking, Networking

Post by:
Ajay Mehta
MBA 2011

How to network is one of the many tools that you learn and perfect as a MBA. It starts when you get to campus and start practicing your elevator pitch within the first week. The career center helps you reach out to alumni/companies that you are interested in and learn about prospective careers where you have to use your pitch to strike up conversation and get your foot in the door.

Networking can be a complicated procedure in some cases, especially as a second year. You’re getting all these names of people that could possibly put you in your dream job, but you have to balance ‘using’ someone, to not being desperate and straight up asking for a job. It’s a fine line to walk but can be extremely rewarding if you play your cards right. Not only can you meet some good people with interesting backgrounds, but being a student allows you to really ask someone what they think about their career. You can gather honest answers about companies, job titles, and corporate culture which are invaluable when it comes molding your own career.

This is a skill the school helps you build with various seminars and practice with your peers. In some cases, tactics that my classmates were using proved to be extremely helpful for me, or the advice I received from practicing with professors and counselors. As a second year I’m realizing that this is a crucial aspect to finding the job I truly want which is the primary goal of pursuing a MBA. Most jobs are found by using your personal network which at BU, is constantly growing. At times, networking feels like more effort that its worth, but in the end it’s a rewarding experience and something you will continue to do throughout your personal and professional careers.

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November 14, 2010


Post by:
Juan J Estrada
International MBA 2011

The semester has been advancing at a quick pace. All of a sudden we are almost a month away from the end. The long term tiredness starts to kick in, that feeling of fatigue that doesn’t go away completely after a weekend of rest.

Times continue to be exciting, however. I attended the NSHMBA conference in Chicago two weeks ago and it was a great experience. At the beginning I felt like just another bee in a swarm desperate for a job. As the conference evolved though, I came to realize how crucial it was to focus my effort. At the beginning I made the mistake of inquiring at a consulting firm’s booth without really having done thorough research on the company. I have close friends who have been at this firm for a couple of years. I thought I would give it a shot with what I knew from them about the firm, but it was certainly not enough to get me past the inquiry. There were dozens of people in the lines for this and other consulting firms and I had not even trained myself for case interviews. I realized I wasn’t ready for the consulting firms, but I could in any case focus on life sciences and healthcare companies. I had done research on a couple of them and my background in medical devices could really call their attention.

Most of healthcare and life sciences companies had booths only for marketing and finance, interesting fields but not where I could play my best cards. I found a healthcare company that had a line for project management and I decided to go for it. I found out by talking to them that they sponsor international students, something fairly uncommon among the companies attending the conference.

In the project management line I talked to a manager called Erin. She works in projects related to insurances and reimbursements, and since I am interested in technology, she told to come back at a later time so I could meet someone who worked in the field of my interest. I went back a couple hours later and met Matt, a manager of Innovations and Information Technology. He introduced me to one of the VPs of the company, responsible for human resources, who liked my resume and invited me to party with the company that night and to an interview the next morning. That night at the party I met as many employees and managers as I could. My interview the next morning went well, I got the contacts of the people I met in LinkedIn agreed to apply to any position I thought fitted me. I just turned in my application a few days ago and am currently waiting to hear back.

The rest of the conference went well; my attitude changed after that first reward and felt much more confident talking to recruiters. The healthcare company reminded me the differential value I have to offer, what changed the feeling of being one more of the bunch. I realized how much of a difference it makes to target efforts at what best fits you as a candidate and how crucial it is to have a confident attitude. I talked again to the consulting firm and got a clear picture of the recruitment process, sold my skills, and met several recruiters. I ended up leaving the conference with a good taste in my mouth.

About the author:

Juan is a first year International MBA student. Before coming to BU he worked coordinating a project on the development of a medical device in Madrid, Spain. Through this European Commission sponsored project, Juan had the opportunity to inmerse in a variety of European cultures both in professional/organizational and in social terms. Prior to his experience, Juan had obtained a Biomedical Engineering bachelors at Georgia Tech, in Atlanta. Having grown up in Colombia, Juan enjoys experimenting in the kitchen with tropical ingredients, dancing -specially latin music- and keeping up with the news and what is going on in the world.

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November 7, 2010

Reflections: Year 2, going by quickly

Post by:
Lauren Abrahams
MS-MBA 2011
Public & Nonprofit Management
MBA Council, PNP Club, Net Impact

Tomorrow at 7am I will click on the “register” button and sign-up for Spring 2011 classes. It’s hard to believe that these are the last classes I will take at BU. It’s my last chance to take a class that will round out my resume, or to finally sign-up for that class that everyone says you can’t leave BU without taking. I didn’t think it would be this difficult, but how do I choose between a class that seems practical for my career aspirations and one that sounds incredibly intriguing, but is not quite career-related? And then, of course, is the secret (or not so secret) dream of every second-year: to only have class three (or two!) days a week so that we have time to “work” and “search for jobs.”

All of this class planning has made me think about each day, each MBA event, each dinner with friends a bit differently than I had been. All of the sudden I find myself walking down the street thinking “this is the last Nov. 1 that I will spend in Boston” or “this is the last MBA Halloween Party that I will attend.” It feels sort of silly since, until this past week, I’d only lived through one Nov. 1 in Boston and attended one MBA Halloween Party—it’s not like I have a huge history to reflect on. But I think it captures the essence of what the BU MBA program is like.

We all uproot and move to Boston (and even if you already live here, your daily life changes so much I imagine that it’s kind of like uprooting…) and are thrown into a whirlwind of classes, networking, info sessions, and new friends. By the time the second-year rolls around, things become “normal”—you ‘re back in the swing of classroom learning, networking becomes a bit less awkward, you realize that you don’t have to attend every info session, and friends become family. And just as that happens, you start looking ahead to life post-BU degree and you start to feel things tugging at your roots again.

I’ve decided, though, that even with a move back to California, a new place to live and a new job (fingers crossed!) looming ahead of me, I won’t lose sight of what’s right in front of me now: three more East Coast seasons and a lot of time to spend with friends. And these last classes that I’ve spent so much time agonizing over, of course.

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October 19, 2010

Hola - Perspectives in Spanish from an International MBA Student

Entrada escrita por:
Juan J Estrada
International MBA 2011

Hoy hace un buen día, por lo menos mucho mejor que en los días anteriores. Y mejor aun siendo viernes, tras una semana de clima lluvioso y de mucho trabajo. Todavía mejor como antesala a un fin de semana de tres días.

Soy un estudiante del programa de MBA Internacional de la Universidad de Boston. Lo de internacional es porque cursamos nuestro primer semestre en China, empezando el primero de mayo y terminando la última semana de Julio. Yo llegue a China directamente desde Colombia, después de un largo viaje de dos días. El primer mes lo pasamos en Pekín, que es una ciudad inmensa en la que lo primero que llamo mi atención fue lo colosal y moderno de su infraestructura. Ahora me arrepiento un poco de haberme dedicado tanto al estudio durante ese primer mes. Una vez nos mudamos a Shanghái para el segundo y tercer mes del viaje, fue que supe en realidad lo que significaba un verano ocupado. En Shanghái nuestras clases cambiaron, ya no eran tan cualitativas sino que tenían más números. Soy ingeniero por formación, pero aun así mercado, contabilidad y estas clases, tenían tareas que tomaban mucho tiempo. La experiencia en Shanghái también fue distinta de la de Pekín porque Shanghái es una ciudad más internacional, su infraestructura es aun más grande e impresionante y te da una sensación de que el mundo de los negocios se mueve allí a un paso increíblemente rápido. Empezando la década del 2000 viví a las afueras de Nueva York por un par de años y no pude evitar percatarme de cuanto se parecen ambas ciudades. Los rascacielos, su diversidad, lo extenso de la ciudad y el afán o apuro de la gente me dieron un déjà vu. Esa sensación de familiaridad me gusto en Shanghái pero al mismo tiempo me percate que Pekín ofrecía una experiencia china mas autentica. Sus Hutongs, la menor concentración de extranjeros y sus monumentos históricos me hicieron sentir en un mundo diferente. Era una sensación similar a la que se genera cuando uno se siente perdido y me abrió un interés personal por Asia, por lo grande y diferente que es ese lado del mundo del nuestro.

Tras China me vine directamente a Estados Unidos para descansar y prepárame para la semana de Orientación en Boston, que se lleva cabo a mediados de Agosto. Había escuchado muchas buenas cosas sobre Boston pero no espere que en realidad me gustase tanto como me gusta. Hay estudiantes por todas partes, la ciudad es lo suficientemente compacta como para poder ir en mi bicicleta a cualquier lugar. El transporte público funciona muy bien (a veces demasiado bien porque sientes que para en cada esquina) y la arquitectura y el diseño urbano de la ciudad son esplendidos. Estoy realmente ocupado, mi programa de MBA termina en Mayo y la cantidad de clases o asignaturas que estoy cursando es bastante alta. También estoy involucrándome con clubes estudiantiles, el de estudiantes latinoamericanos-LAMBA y el de negocios Bio-business (negocios en la industria farmacéutica, biotecnológica, dispositivos médicos, diagnósticos etc.), además de que asisto regularmente a eventos de networking y soy embajador de este programa (lo que explica porqué ponen mi entrada de blog aquí). Esto quiere decir que el tiempo que tengo para disfrutar esta ciudad es limitado y tengo que mantenerme enfocado si quiero tiempo libre los fines de semana, pero por lo menos si me da la sensación de que estoy sacando lo mejor de este programa.

Es hora de irme, ya volveré a escribir pronto por aquí, tengo más cosas para contar.

Sobre el Autor:

Juan es un estudiante del programa de MBA internacional. Antes de venir a la Universidad de Boston trabajo en la coordinación de un proyecto para el desarrollo de un dispositivo medico en Madrid, España. A través de este proyecto, patrocinado por la Comisión Europea, Juan tuvo la oportunidad de sumergirse en varias culturas Europeas, tanto en términos profesionales/organizacionales como en términos sociales. Previamente Juan se graduó con honores de Georgia Institute of Technology en Atlanta como Ingeniero Biomédico. Juan nació y creció en Cali, Colombia, razón por la cual le gustan los ingredientes tropicales en la cocina, la salsa y la música latina en general y mantenerse al tanto de lo que ocurre en otras partes del mundo.

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October 13, 2010

Perspectives from an International MBA Student

Post by:
Juan J Estrada
International MBA 2011

It’s a really nice day out today. Much better than the past days at least. It’s great to have a nice Friday after a week of gloomy weather and a very intense schedule, especially as the starter of a three day weekend.

I am an international MBA student at BU. The international comes along because we do our first semester in China, from May 1st until the last week of July. I arrived to China from Colombia, after a long trip that lasted two days. The first month or so we spent in Beijing. Beijing is a huge city where the first thing that impressed was the size and modernity of its infrastructure. I now regret that during that first month I put a bit too much time into my coursework without really having the need to do so. I didn’t go out as much because I thought I was too busy but it wasn’t until we moved to Shanghai, for the remaining two months of our stay in China, that I really got to know what a busy summer was. Shanghai was very different from Beijing. The courses we took in Shanghai where mostly quantitative, and although I’m an engineer, getting the homework done was very time consuming. Shanghai is also very different from Beijing in the sense that its more international, its infrastructure is even bigger and more impressive and you get a sense that the business world is moving at an incredible pace. Nine years ago I used to live an hour away from New York City, and I couldn’t help but relate both cities. The skyscrapers, the diversity, the size and the rush all gave a me a déjà vu. I liked that feeling in Shanghai but I also realized that Beijing offered a bit more of an authentic Chinese experience. Beijing’s hutongs, lower density of foreigners, and historic landmarks all made me feel I was in a very different place. It was similar to the sense one gets when getting lost and it opened up a personal interest for Asia, for how big and different that side of world is from ours.

After China, I came straight the US to get rest and prepare myself for Orientation in Boston, which takes place in mid-August. I had heard lots of good things about Boston but I didn’t expect to actually like it as much as I do. Students are everywhere and the city is compact enough so that I can use mi bike to get anywhere. Public transportation works very well (sometimes too well, because there are segments where the stops are pretty much next to each other) and the architecture and the urban design of the city are splendid. It’s really busy around here though, my iMBA ends in May and my course load is pretty heavy. I am also involved the BioBussiness and Latino MBA clubs, I attend networking events and I’m an MBA ambassador. This means the time I have to enjoy the city is limited and I’ve got keep focus if I want to get free time on the weekends, but I do get the feeling everyday that I made the best of it.

I have to get going now but I look forward to posting here again- I’ve got more to say. Alright, be good – and if you can’t be good, be careful!

About the author:

Juan is a first year International MBA student. Before coming to BU he worked coordinating a project on the development of a medical device in Madrid, Spain. Through this European Commission sponsored project, Juan had the opportunity to inmerse in a variety of European cultures both in professional/organizational and in social terms. Prior to his experience, Juan had obtained a Biomedical Engineering bachelors at Georgia Tech, in Atlanta. Having grown up in Colombia, Juan enjoys experimenting in the kitchen with tropical ingredients, dancing -specially latin music- and keeping up with the news and what is going on in the world.

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October 4, 2010

Health Sector Management Program (HSMP) in Action!

Michelle He
MS.MBA in Health Sector Management
Class of 2011
Health Services Management Association, BioBusiness Club, MBA Ambassador

Health Sector Management Program (HSMP) in Action!

First of all, a new student club MBAid was established by a group of Cohort D students from last year after making a fantastic trip to Guatemala volunteering at a local clinic. This year, MBAid is organizing an even bigger event inviting both first and second year students from all cohorts to join. Check out MBAid website to see photos from last trip and read the blog! Secondly, with increasing number of MD/MBA students joining the program, great effort is taken to integrate the health sector MBA program with the student community and programs at Medical School. In collaboration with its Medicine & Business Association, the first event was taken place at Boston Medical Center, where the CEO of BMC gave a talk followed by an interesting dialogue among medical students reflecting the challenge and need of bridging the gap between medicine and business. A variety of social events are also being organized and getting on people’s calendar. Last Friday, a HSMP welcome party was successfully held at Andrea(HSMP Executive-in-Residence)’s beautiful house in Cambridge. Although it was a chilly Friday evening after the rainy week, everyone was instantly warmed up by delicious Indian food and had a great time!

Building on past years’ tradition and success, a few more exciting events are in planning to connect members opportunities to reach out to alumnus, local professional organizations and potential employers: Learn @ Lunch brings speakers to campus to help students learn more about what a day-to-day activities look like for them, what challenges they have and what they learned from their experiences; Speed Networking brings both first year and second year students together to increase their interactions and bounce off great ideas; Health Sector West Coast Trek is scheduled to happen in the Spring when students get to check out hospitals and bio/pharma companies in Cali.

As for me, after rolling out the HSMP student mentoring program, I’m moving on to start planning the Young Alumni Panel for the coming month. That’ll be a great opportunity for students to hear recent HSMP graduates’ experiences and insights, and for alumnus to get a chance to meet with current students and revisit the campus. It should be a great event and as I am writing this line, I realize that I am almost running late for the planning meeting – gotta go now but stay tuned for more!

About the author:

Michelle He is a second-year full time MBA student with a concentration in Health Sector Management. She is also pursuing an MS degree in Information Systems. Prior to MBA, she worked at CITGO petroleum corporation in Chicago, where she was responsible for managing a variety of projects to ensure successful implementation from inception to completion. Michelle misses the beautiful city of Chicago, but she starts to appreciate the change of seasons in the Northeast and the unique characteristics of Boston architecture. In her spare time, besides shopping Michelle likes watching movies with friends, power walking along Charles river, and exploring different cuisines in Boston.

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September 28, 2010

A bit of this, a bit of that

Post by:
Lauren Abrahams
MS-MBA 2011
Public & Nonprofit Management
MBA Council, PNP Club, Net Impact

If you haven’t already gathered from the information above, I will graduate from BU with a bit of a schizophrenic resume (all by design), which if you know me probably sounds about right. As an MS-MBA student I start my week with a class called Managing IT Strategy, and then the next day I find myself in Nonprofit Land Use and Development. The following evening I attend the MBA Council meeting and report on my duties as the VP of Finance and on Thursday night, my last class of the week is Real Estate Management. So I guess you could say that I am an MS-MBA student with a concentration in Public & Nonprofit, a love of finance and an interest in real estate. And I’m coming up with a plan to make it work.

I applied to business school for a few different reasons, but the combination of the MS-MBA and Public & Nonprofit Management programs is really what drew me to BU. Before applying to school I had lived through a massive IT integration project at a large nonprofit and saw how important it was for nonprofit leaders to really understand IT systems—what they do, how they work together, and maybe most importantly, how people use them. So when I arrived at BU, I had a pretty good idea of why I was here and where I was going. I wanted to arm myself with business expertise and a basic understanding of how to leverage IT strategy in a nonprofit environment—skills I feel are far too rare in the nonprofit sector.

Along the way I realized that I was suffering from a lack of money—both literally (my sad, sad unemployed bank account) and figuratively (how I missed those financial reports I used to spend hours on for the Board of Trustees). Enter MBA Council VP of Finance. While the position hasn’t helped my personal bank account, it has given me the opportunity to create a budget for an organization, play with spreadsheets, and count money, all while spending time with some of the most fun people in the program.

And then there is real estate. Growing up in LA and then living and working in San Francisco instilled in me a love of cities. I love everything about them—the people, the traffic, the culture, the food. Having spent the majority of my last job helping to rebuild a beloved museum in a very civic-minded city, I also came to love the connection that a community has with its built environment and wanted to learn more about real estate development, especially in the nonprofit and public sectors. Luckily, the School of Management has two real estate electives to keep me busy.

So, how does it all add up? Right now, in its infant stage,it adds up to a job where I can help improve capital funding and financing practices in the nonprofit sector. Now, if only it were that easy to find it!

About the author:

Lauren is pursuing her MS-MBA with a concentration in Public & Nonprofit Management. She graduated from UCLA with a degree in Economics and then moved to San Francisco (where, like Tony Bennett, she left her heart). Most recently, Lauren worked at the California Academy of Sciences where she managed the capital fundraising campaign to rebuild the museum in Golden Gate Park. A born-and-bred Californian with a penchant for Mexican food and college sports, you can often find Lauren in the kitchen doing her best to show Boston what Mexican food really tastes like, or hunting for those late-night broadcasts of PAC-10 basketball games.

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September 23, 2010

Post by:
Ilanit Shtein
Mathematical Finance 2012

Hi all,

I am very excited to be writing my first blog! My name is Ilanit Shtein and I’m a first year student in the Math Finance program at BU. I’m originally from Israel and this is the first time I’m living abroad. I actually moved to Boston last year, as my husband started his MBA degree in Boston. Coming from the fairly hot Tel-Aviv, I had some concerns about the weather in Boston. But I have to admit that the past winter wasn’t that bad. And if you’re visiting your family and friends during the winter break, the winter is even easier to go through…

The first year went by pretty smoothly. In the first months, I was busy preparing for the GMAT and TOEFL, as part of my application. After I got accepted to the Mathematical Finance program, I decided to use the few months I had before school to study for the CFA exam. Having practically no past experience in finance, preparing for the CFA (and passing it J) was extremely helpful to me. Finally I could understand what people are talking about in the Wall St. Journal.

Just before school started I had participated in an amazing one week orientation. When I first entered the class I was surprised to see the extent to which my classmates are diverse. I imagined that whoever chooses a Math Finance degree is a geek (like me J). But I was wrong. In my class I have sharp, funny and fascinating people from all over the world and from all walks of life. I’ve made so many good friends and they make the whole experience much more fun.

I’m already spending hours and hours solving homework problems and preparing for classes. Still, I’m happy to say that so far I’ve managed to maintain my busy social life. You could only imagine how little time I have left for sleeping… This is going to be an interesting sleepless year!

Wish me luck!


About the author:

Ilanit is a first year Mathematical Finance student. Prior to studying in BU, she was designing and implementing voicemail applications as a software engineer at Comverse, a leading provider of telecommunication and billing services, in the Tel-Aviv branch. Ilanit holds a degree in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from Tel-Aviv University. She likes indoor cycling, experimenting in the kitchen, and traveling around the world.

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September 15, 2010

Post by:
Ajay Mehta
MBA 2011
General MBA focusing in Operations and Business Strategy
MBA Council, Operations Club

The Final Year Begins

This is actually my first attempt at a blog and I’m a little nervous on what will come out. Perhaps I should relate it to business school…

ONE MORE YEAR! Being back in Boston is, in a way, comforting...I have a set schedule of classes, get to catch up with classmates I haven’t seen in a few months, and no early morning commuting through Chicago traffic. Another plus is that I no longer have to sleep in a hotel which I did for my summer internship. My back feels great.

This leads me to my summer internship which was with the Canadian National Railroad in Chicago, IL. The internship was a great experience which allowed me to really test some of the skills I had gained in my first year. I was tasked with reviewing a system that the CN used to sort cars in classification yards. After surveying the system and what the competition was doing, I wrote a paper concluding my results and directing the company in the right direction. Writing this paper was a tough task, but using business terms and tools gave me a completely different outlook on how I should write the paper. I caught myself using business jargon and making multiple SWOT diagrams to convey my points. I realized that I was relying on some basic marketing principles which without an MBA would have made my viewpoint very narrow. I also needed to quantify the suggestions I was giving my superiors, and by creating a financial analysis I showed them how the suggestions I was making would save the company money in the long run. These tools, as simple as they seem are not common place for most people. I truly saw the value of getting an MBA and being able to convey these figures clearly and successfully. I used terms and catch phrases which really helped quantify the decisions that company executives outside of the engineering department would be making. In return, my recommendations were taken seriously and will be used to calculate the railroads yard budget in the following years.

With that I conclude my first blog entry…stay tuned for more.

About the author:

Ajay is a full time MBA student focusing on operations management. His professional experience prior to BU was with Union Pacific Railroad in Houston, Texas, where he managed a signal maintenance work group. Ajay spent his childhood in Jackson, Mississippi and left to pursue an engineering degree from the University of Iowa. He likes summer, basketball, and listening to his iPod.

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August 5, 2010

Team MBA Win

Boston University School of Management Wins TeamMBA Award for Second Year in a Row

A global award recognizing a “commitment to social responsibility”

The TeamMBA Award from the Graduate Management Admissions Council

The TeamMBA Award from the Graduate Management Admissions Council

After winning the 2009 TeamMBA Award from the Graduate Management Admissions Council (GMAC) for a “commitment to promoting…social engagement,” Boston University has again been honored for “exemplifying a commitment to social responsibility through the actions of [its] students.”

This year, GMAC, an association of leading business schools around the world, has recognized Boston University with one of only six service awards, granted at a ceremony in June, 2010.

"The annual TeamMBA Award...recognizes schools that exemplify a commitment to social responsibility through the actions of their students and the school's demonstrated support of these efforts."

--The Graduate Management Admissions Council

Specifically, BU won the Service Award for Corporate and Social Responsibility, based on the School's support of its annual, student-run event Link Day, organized with help from the School of Management'sPublic Nonprofit Management Program. In 2010, this event aligned the business skills of 60 MBA students with the needs of 15 area nonprofits.

Last year, Boston University was the only school world-wide awarded GMAC’s overall institutional award for outstanding support of student involvement in social engagement “through school-led programs, services, institutional culture, and more.”

The School of Management's receipt of these awards, along with the recent recognition of its Net Impact chapter’s top global status, highlight the growing international reputation of BU’s Public Nonprofit Management Program to attract, support, and help shape tomorrow’s leaders in social responsibility.

More about the foundation of BU's Service Award for Corporate and Social Responsibility: Link Day 2010

More about the 2010 TeamMBA Awards, from the Graduate Management Admissions Council

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July 27, 2010

What I liked best of Year 1 and What I'm looking forward to for Year 2

[Steve Annen, MBA and MS in Media Ventures Class of 2011]

What I liked best about my first year:

I’m from Chicago, which is an awesome town in case you’ve never been there; it has thick pizza, tall buildings, and a giant metal bean. I’ve been to several places in the US, but limited funds have restricted my international travel to Canada (once) and Mexico (once…actually, about one half). However, I have met people from all over the world here at BU and the differences still fascinate me.

In Greece, for example, “afternoon” is considered to be from about 3:00 PM – 7:00 PM. In the US, Schlitz is a brand of beer, but in Germany, “schlitz” means…something else. There are hundreds of examples of the cultural differences (what’s this “metric system” you speak of?), but in the end, there are cool people from all over.

The first year is definitely stressful, but knowing that we’re all thrown into this same situation together eases a lot of the strain.. Former lawyers, doctors, substitute teachers, and mustachioed-workers for the Colorado Russian consulate…everyone is now here for grad school and hanging out with them has been great. Plus, now I have places to crash once I have money to travel.

What I am most looking forward to for my second year:

My program is different than most of my classmates; I am earning a dual degree MBA and MS in Media Ventures. My 2nd year focuses primarily on the media portion of my degrees and actually sends me to Los Angeles for the spring and summer. There are several things I’ll miss about Boston (the people, the Spring Gala, and the MBA talent show to name only a few), but I am looking forward to experiencing life on the West Coast. The idea of networking is ground into your head as an important aspect of the MBA, a fact that has been verified by the alumni I have interviewed. As great as Boston is, I look forward to trying something new and meeting more people in my future-industry. I’m sure I’ll jump back east, so I’ll see everyone then.

Aside from LA, I am honestly looking forward to my Negotiations class at SMG this fall. I have heard nothing but good things think learning the basics will prove to be invaluable in any career.

See you all on campus in a few weeks!

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July 15, 2010

Lessons Learned in B-School

[Posted by Felicia Jadczak, MS-MBA, Class of 2011]

One of the primary reasons why I decided to apply to business school was to make a move and get ahead in my future career. I had just been promoted in my job at the time, but there was no space for further growth. After five years in the same field I was more than ready for a change. I knew that business school was a doorway for something bigger and better, even if I didn’t quite know what that “better” would actually turn out to be!

I remember showing up for the first day of Pre-Term, hot and sticky, wondering if I should have worn business casual, worried about how I would fit in with the rest of the class. I was a liberal arts major: my specialties were English, French, and writing, and I had only taken one math class in my entire undergraduate college career (it was the lowest grade I ever received, in case you were wondering!) I imagined that the other students would be crazy intense ex-investment bankers, ultra-competitive, with closets full of suits and ties, shiny shoes, and leather briefcases. I could just picture the months ahead: long nights of struggling alone over big fat finance textbooks and mind-numbing spreadsheets. That first night I wondered why, oh why did I ever think I belonged in business school? Admissions must have made a SERIOUS mistake by accepting me!

Well, it turns out my fatalistic predictions were only partially true. To my surprise, there were many other people who were just as nervous as I was. There were other English majors! There were other people who’d never opened up an Excel spreadsheet in their entire lives! There were very few bankers, and shiny shoes and suits only emerged on presentation days. There were long, long, sleepless nights of pouring over big fat finance textbooks and mind-numbing Excel spreadsheets, but they were not spent alone. And most importantly, competition was almost non-existent.

One of the very first lessons I learned in school was that we’re all in this together. I still remember the first Saturday morning I showed up to school, planning on somehow making my slow, slow way through a MyFinanceLab homework set, and wondering how I would ever manage when I already felt behind in class. I ended up working on the problems with two other classmates who were more helpful and supportive than I could have ever imagined possible. It was an eye-opening experience and one that was repeated many times over throughout the year. Yes, you might not be an expert in one area. But you probably are really good at something else that another classmate thinks is impossibly hard.

Yesterday evening, as I sat enjoying a mid-week drink with many of my cohort members, I realized that not only have I managed to make it through the first year alive, with enough skills and training to succeed (so far) in a very challenging summer internship, I’ve also somehow come away with a fantastic network of friends and colleagues. I count people from my first semester, second semester, and study teams among some of the best friends I’ve made since coming to school. My cohort has proved to be an invaluable source of support, tutoring, friendship, commiseration, and endless new ideas for social activities. And I wouldn’t be working where I am today if not for the help of an MS-MBA alumna who promoted my resume with her former co-workers.

Yes, business school has proved to be one of the hardest experiences of my life. But no, I wouldn’t trade the hard work, frustration, challenging situations, and incredible fun of the past year for anything.

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July 7, 2010

Update on Summer Internship

[Posted by Yvonne Choi, Public and Nonprofit MBA/MA in International Relations, Class of 2011]

Hi all!

Welcome to the Boston University blog. Hope this is helpful in your pursuit to figure out whether BU is the right fit for you and if you have already chosen BU, prepare you for the first year.

The first year of business school is hard and long but I had tons of fun too! I think BU does a great job of creating an atmosphere of camaraderie and healthy competition. They seek out those who are brilliant but are not overly showy. Sounds so cheesy but I have met some of the most interesting and diverse group of people from all over the world. And, this summer, they are interning all over the world… from Africa to Vietnam and all over the US.

For me, this summer, I am interning with Bank of America within their leadership program. After a month of summer break, I am ready to get mentally stimulated again. I am commuting to Providence this summer from Boston and although it’s been a bit rough waking up so early, I am able to take a quick nap and do some work on the train so it’s not so bad. The ultimate goal of my summer internship is to be accepted into the full time rotational program with BofA after I graduate so, as they say, not only am I “interviewing” them but I am also being “interviewed” throughout the entire summer. It has only been a week into my internship, but I have already been asked of my constructive feedback on how the BofA banking centers are being run and about my opinion on how to improve customer experience and employee engagement. I think BU has done a great job in instilling in its students key business leadership tools, specifically from our Organizational Behavior class, and core business knowledge in operations, marketing, and finance to generate constructive and intelligent assessments of business situations.

I hope everyone is having a great time enjoying the summer weather. It has been fabulous in Boston, not too humid.

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June 28, 2010

Reflection: Guatemala Trip

[Posted by Stephanie Hawkins, Public and Nonprofit MBA, Class of 2011]

If someone had told me a year ago that I would be traveling with 35 people I had yet to meet, I never would have believed it. But on May 9th, I boarded a plane headed to Guatemala with other members of my BU MBA class. The idea was proposed by a classmate: a cohort trip, not only to celebrate the end of our first year together, but also to have the opportunity to give back. In addition to the social nature of the trip, we would be volunteering and raising money for the Primeros Pasos clinic outside of Quetzaltenango (also known as Xela). I’m not surprised that over 60% of our cohort decided to attend. My cohort has many students that are in the Public and Nonprofit Management program, the Health Sector Management program as well as former Peace Corps volunteers. In the months leading up to the trip, between studying, classes and group projects, students planned the logistics and raised money for the clinic.

We arrived at our first stop, Antigua, late Sunday afternoon. After exploring parts of the city, it was early to bed for most of us, since the next morning we departed early for a hike of Volcan Pacaya, an active volcano where we were able to get close to flowing lava and some classmates even roasted marshmallows over it! We proudly flew our BU flag when we reached the end of our hike. Afterwards, we set off for Xela where the group split into two volunteer groups that worked at the Primeros Pasos clinic ( in separate shifts.

Over the two days we spent volunteering at the clinic, we were able to paint the entire outside of the clinic, build bookshelves, construct whiteboards, check-in children visiting the clinic, and deliver medicine and toothbrushes to local schools. I was among the group that walked to a local school to deliver the supplies. It was amazing to see the kids playing at recess just like kids do everywhere. They were fascinated by us, asking us if we were “gringos” and asking to see pictures we had taken of them. We had seen the unbelievable natural beauty of Guatemala, but volunteering enabled us to have a more human experience in the country. After Xela, the group traveled to Panajachel, a town on Lago Atitlan, where the group kayaked, ziplined, shopped, ate, and celebrated before boarding the bus back to Antigua for our last night in Guatemala. It was a quick and intense five-day trip that was filled with so many memorable experiences.

The hope is that this kind of trip, one that allows BU MBAs to experience a developing country and give back, will be an annual occurrence. For me personally, somewhere along the way, I realized something. I realized that somewhere between marathon team meetings and study group sessions, late night IMs from classmates offering help, and many meals and social outings, we had formed our own kind of family. Our trip was a great way to give back and experience Guatemala; it was an amazing way to celebrate our newfound family.

June 24, 2010

Kenneth W. Freeman Named Dean of SMG

Kenneth W. Freeman Named Dean of SMG

When Kenneth W. Freeman was offered the School of Management deanship, the former CEO turned to an old and trusted advisor: his father. The 97-year-old Freeman père, who immigrated to Massachusetts from Nova Scotia as a teenager, told his son that when he came of college age, during the Depression, he’d hoped to attend BU, but his family couldn’t foot the tuition — “which he recalled was $100 a year,” says Freeman.

“My father said, ‘Ken, this is a gift for you, and for me. If I were you, I’d take the job.’” Freeman will start on August 1.

In another respect, Freeman, 60, has lived his father’s life, and then some. The elder Freeman, a self-made businessman, inspired his son to enter the business arena, where he’s best known as a turnaround expert, shepherding Quest Diagnostics from a problem-plagued upstart to the world’s leading medical testing company. The results of a study conducted by professors at INSEAD and published earlier this year by the Harvard Business Review rated Freeman the 67th best performing CEO in the world.

Freeman, now a member with private equity firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co., will replace Louis E. Lataif (SMG’61, Hon.’90), SMG’s Allen Questrom Professor and Dean, who has helmed the school for 19 years. Freeman is the trustee chairman of Bucknell University, his alma mater, and an executive-in-residence at Columbia Business School.

University President Robert A. Brown says the appointment meshes man and mission. “Management education faces unprecedented challenges in the years ahead as we prepare the next generation of leaders in the global economy, who accept their responsibilities to society, as well as to their firms," says Brown. "It is exciting to have Ken Freeman as our dean of the School of Management. His business experience, his intellect, and his values are the perfect tools to lead our faculty in shaping the future of management education and continuing the positive trajectory of the school.”

“I’m thrilled to join the Boston University community,” Freeman says. “The School of Management has great momentum. I look forward to doing a lot of listening and learning in the early days as we prepare to further distinguish the school by building on its unique strengths.”

While he says that detailing any immediate to-do list would be premature, he sees his role as “chief advocate.” Freeman intends to dedicate himself to building strong relationships: with the faculty, the staff, the students, and alumni.

Under Lataif, SMG leapt 15 spots in this year’s U.S. News & World Report rankingsof American business schools, to number 31. It was the largest improvement by any school in the rankings, which reflect academic quality, the mean starting salary/bonus of graduates and their employment rates, the quality of entering students, and reviews by peers and recruiters. SMG was among the five highest-rated business schools in New England, and in that group, it had the highest percentage of graduates placed in jobs within three months.

During Freeman’s four-decade-long career, the profession and practice of business has been transformed by new regulations, new investment vehicles, powerful new technology, and globalization. “I bring to the school an open mind and a keen interest in driving innovation in what we teach and how we teach, how our students engage in learning, and in scholarship. I hope to bring the ability to anticipate and lead innovative changes in conjunction with the faculty and students, who in the end likely know as much or more than the rest of us about technology.”

With business scandals dominating the news, Freeman says, business education “is at a crossroads. It’s not just about developing core quantitative and analytical skills. It’s about developing strong leaders who know how to effectively interact with each other around the world, treat each other with respect, and work in a team environment, having at the core a very strong value system.”

“I also see the opportunity and the need for us to be focused very heavily on procuring the resources that will assure that SMG has the talent, technology, and ethical standards that place it among the best business schools globally,” says Freeman. His efforts will build on the work of Lataif, who garnered significant resources for the school in the form of increased annual fund and capital giving and the establishment of a number of endowed professorships.

When Freeman took over the predecessor company to Quest Diagnostics in 1995, the business was part of Corning, Inc. At that time, the lab testing industry faced allegations that it had overbilled Medicare by charging for unnecessary tests. At the beginning of 1997, Corning spun off the business to its shareholders, and it took the name Quest Diagnostics.

Freeman, who had worked at Corning his whole career, led a dramatic transformation of Quest Diagnostics from an embattled company facing massive challenges on multiple fronts into the leading provider of diagnostic testing in the world. “The secrets of success,” he says, “involved relentlessly focusing on creating a strong company culture grounded in core values and satisfying the needs of employees and customers, driving organic growth through the development of an industry-leading esoteric testing capability, investing in continuous improvement in operations, and strategic acquisitions that dramatically increased the company’s market reach.”

The bottom line: under Freeman’s leadership the market capitalization of Quest Diagnostics increased from $350 million at the time of the spin-off to $9 billion-plus when he handed over the reins to his successor as CEO in 2004.

At KKR, which he joined in 2005, Freeman serves on the Portfolio Management Committee, which oversees all of the firm’s private equity investments around the world. He is a director of hospital operator HCA, Inc., medical device makerAccellent, Inc., and building products manufacturer Masonite Corp. After taking over as SMG dean, Freeman will continue his affiliation with KKR as a senior advisor.

Freeman earned an M.B.A with distinction from Harvard Business School in 1976. His nonbusiness passions are spending time with his family (married 38 years, he has two grown children and two young grandchildren), music (especially playing the piano), reading, watching sports, and keeping fit. He once considered a keyboardist’s career, but says he “discovered quickly that if I wanted to eat, I would need to do something other than performing music.”

What a video where Kenneth Freeman talks about building on SMG’s established strengths:

Video by Devin Hahn. Photo (above) by Kalman Zabarsky. Article by Rich Barlow, who may be reached at Devin Hahn may be reached at

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