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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