November 30, 2011

There's Always Something to Do at BU!

Post By:
Shiyanbade Animashaun
MBA, 2013

I describe myself as shy and most people refuse to believe me. Still, I pause a bit when meeting new people and the thought of meeting all my future classmates was a bit daunting back in August when I walking to my first BU MBA Meetup.
I headed to Cornwall's, the unofficial, official BU MBA pub, and took a few deep breaths before stepping in to realize I had nothing to worry about. In what seemed like a sea of people, there was the chattering of new friendships being made and I joined right in to shake hands and introduce myself.
I found people connected to one of my hometowns, Indiana, and some of my hobbies. There was none of the anxiety I anticipated and the other students seemed as interested in my background as I was in their varied experiences and outlook on life.
Since then, I have gone through the Pre-Semester week and soared through the air with my classmates help, attended other school sponsored and student led meetups and strolled around picturesque Newburyport. I’ve experienced Water Fire in Rhode Island; witnessed my first Head of the Charles regatta; attended school sponsored events with industry leaders and went on a boat cruise! I played my first ultimate Frisbee match in the rain and mud, expressed disappointment over lost Cohort cup points and cheered for my Cohort during the Halloween Costume contest and Basketball tournament.
As the end of first semester draws near, I look back happily on the past few months of growing friendships and great conversations. I know my next semester can only be better. Though we all work hard, we try to play hard too. There always seems to be an event going on and I'm doing my best to get as much out of my experience at Boston University as I can.
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November 21, 2011


Post By:
Shawn Hay
MBA, 2012

Mid-way through November of my second year and I am back at full beard. My friends are calling it a cop-out, but I think it is clever. The issue: not wanting to give up the hard work I have put in to growing my mustache for #MOVEMBER, while still saving face (get it?) during my interviews. So using my problem solving skills from my MBA classes, I thought ahead and grew my beard stealthy with a few days head start on the mustache! Thus, come interview day the beard and stache blended, and I am back to the same old Shawn armed with my interview matrix (thank you career center), a top-notch set of newly polished management skills, and a secret mustache.

So here is the debate. Should you claim victory and confidence in your (un)manly new facial hair and boldly show those recruiters that you are indeed a strong individual who can support a good cause (aka a typical BU MBA), or do you play it safe and lose the ‘stache?

So far my peers seem to be a split vote, and depending on the type of interview, the desire for the company, and the boldness (aka, hair-growing talent) of the candidate, the winner is “keeping the stashe” by a hair (yeah, I just went there). I cannot proceed in this blog without giving mention to two of my peers (at least!) who have confidently walked in, brochure in hand, and pitched the successful campaign that Movember has brought to prostate cancer awareness (, and then absolutely crushed the interview. Hats off to Humberto and Carl, and whoever else has successfully done it!

As the 2nd annual BU MBA Movember rolls on, this year has been even more ‘stache-tastic than last. Previously, we raised nearly $2,500 with our BU group alone, and with the 1st year’s dedication I am positive we will surpass that record.

Bottom line: This is a great cause, the interviewers don’t seem to mind as long as you address the ‘stache, and it is a great bonding experience between the first and second years!

I hope this tradition continues long after I am gone, and when I am in a position to hire a BU alumni, your chances will be drastically improved if you are rockin’ the ‘stache.

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November 14, 2011

How to Use Technology to your MBA Advantage

Post By:
Carl Palme
MS-MBA, 2012

I remember when I was getting a degree in engineering I had to carry at least four textbooks, a graphing calculator, three notebooks, and a slew of pencils and pens with me at all times. My bag weighed a ton and I could never fit it in a locker. I guess it was a way to get some additional exercise!

When I decided to come back to school, I didn’t want to carry a bag that big anymore, so I opted to buy an iPad. It is definitely one of the best investments I have made. I can carry all of my textbooks, all of my notes, my agenda, and a calculator in just 1.33 lbs. So here is a list of things that I use to keep everything organized:

Dropbox – This is the most important app that I carry with me. It keeps all of my documents synced with my computer at home, my team files up to date, and I can view my files everywhere.

Reminders – As you start your MBA experience, you will soon realize that you need a very good planner with you. Reminders will help with homework assignments, team projects, or grocery shopping. The best thing about it is that you can program it to remind you when you get to a specific place. Like “remind me to sleep when I get home.”

Evernote – This is a great app for taking notes, recording classes, and taking pictures of things written in the blackboard. It also syncs automatically so you can view your notes everywhere there is an internet connection and a computer.

GoodReader – In business school you will read a LOT of cases. GoodReader allows you to keep your cases organized, highlight, and gives you a summary of your highlights and notes right before you start a class.

eTextbooks – This is a great find because it allows you to rent textbooks for a semester, and at half the price. I have found most of the required textbooks with this app.

Mail – You will be bombarded with mail in school. You need this.

Kindle – Again, good for textbooks and leisurely reading.

Flipboard – Since time is limited, Flipboard allows me to keep a summary of all of the outside world in a beautiful format.

Merlin – Awesome project management app.

Biximo – I am a member of the Bike Sharing program in Boston (Hubway) and Biximo is the app I use to learn whether there are going to be bikes available in my neighborhood or not. It’s pretty cool!

Anyway, the list can go on and on, but these are some of my favorite apps and have definitely helped me keep organized in school. It is also a good effort on going paper-less!

Next Time
Housing alternatives: have you considered a boat?

Current Events Through the Lens of an MBA

Post by:
Manoj Prakash
MBA Candidate, 2012 I am a second year student in the dual degree MS.MBA Program. In my free time, I like to read newspapers and blogs, especially related to business and technology. Before I joined this program last year, current events were stories that were fun to read and talk about with friends over coffee. But I am one year into school and current events have had such an interesting impact on my life as an MBA student that my perspective while reading news has been transformed.

In one of the first semester course projects, my team and I worked hard to come up with a set of strategic recommendation for eBay's struggling China operations. Just two days before we were to submit and present our recommendation, I found a news story
in which EBay announced its changed strategy for China. I immediately realized what this news meant for us. My team went back to the drawing board and re-worked our assignment in the last two days!

During the spring semester, we chose to focus on Nokia for our strategy project. Nokia is a leader in mobile phones but has struggled in the smartphone market. At the same time, they have a good mix of products and great international reach so we thought they would be a good candidate for a strategy project. We started our work right away, researching every analyst report, news article, announcement, and opinion available on Nokia. A few weeks into this project, I found Nokia in the headlines everywhere - they had formed an alliance with Microsoft
! This alliance effectively changed the rules of the game for us mid-course and we changed our approach for Nokia, again.

During my time at BU’s School of Management I have been directly impacted by current events. But experiences such as these have trained me to evaluate news and events from a different lens and I have become a much more active participant in understanding business trends.

At SMG, we take reading and interpreting news to a new level. You can even take a look at this blog that my classmates and I are currently working on to analyze different industry sectors and decipher interesting news about the disruptive impact of technology.

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November 10, 2011

Winning the NAAMBA Global Case Competition

Post by:
Roman Sverdlov
MBA Candidate, 2012

First things first, I must introduce the team – Sabrina, Sid and myself, Roman. All proud members of Cohort B!

The NAAMBA competition wasn’t our first case competition together, we had experienced the joy of one previously. That competition, which did not go nearly as well, was a great learning experience. So when an opportunity presented itself again, we decided it’d be fun to give it another shot.

The first deliverable of the competition, a three page executive summary, was due in mid-July. We submitted, then anxiously waited three weeks to find out if we’d been accepted. Finally, the good news came at the beginning of August. Out of sixteen teams that entered, our team was one of four chosen to present at the finals during the
NAAMBA conference. Which also meant a sponsored trip to NYC! Our three competitors were USC, Purdue and Syracuse.

For the final presentation, the deliverable was a marketing plan positioning Singapore as an ideal career destination for Asian young professionals living in the US. We would be given fifteen minutes to present, followed by a Q&A session. It was an exciting prompt, and interesting to analyze how a country in this economy was looking to attract more talent.

Miraculously, we didn’t procrastinate. A lot of our free hours in August were dedicated to research and developing our arguments (though in truth, none of us really had very many free hours). The time devoted to this exponentially grew through the month of September all the way up until the morning of our presentation on 9/9.

At the competition, we were fortunately scheduled to present last. The set up of the competition was interesting in that all teams were present for each presentation, and could ask questions during the Q&A session. The first three teams presented and we thought they all did a great job.

Finally it was our turn. Our presentation was different from the others. We had a unique style and our recommendations differed. We were happy with the presentation and felt that we had a chance at winning. We had lunch at the conference, and then just spent time relaxing. All of us were exhausted.

That night, we attended the gala reception, where we would find out the winning team. The reception was great - we enjoyed the speeches, performances and our delicious dinners. We spoke to some of the judges who raved about life and work in Singapore. Then it was time for the judges to announce the winner. We sat nervously, as the key judge spoke about the competition. And finally he announced the winner…Boston University!

To hear BU announced as the winning team was a bit surreal. All of the work had paid off. They brought us on stage to accept our award. Sid even gave a brief thank you speech (calm and collected, sounded like it was his 100th one!). After the reception, many BU alums, parents, and past employees who were in attendance congratulated us on the victory. They were proud to have a BU team win. It felt like a victory for the whole BU community.

I must admit it was a lot of work but the experience of the competition was amazing. For winning, we received a free trip to Singapore where we’ll meet with executives around the country to learn more about the business environment there. For Sabrina and I, it’ll be our first time anywhere in Asia.

After it all, I definitely recommend doing at least one case competition! It truly was a memorable experience which was made really special by my fun, hard-working and compassionate teammates, Sid and Sabrina.

So if you have any questions, please ask. We’re all happy to help!

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November 7, 2011

2011 Reaching Out LGBT MBA Conference

Post By:
Scott Kanach
MBA Candidate, 2012

This year, several members of Cohort Q, the Graduate School of Management’s LGBT student organization, were fortunate enough to travel down to Dallas for the Reaching Out MBA Conference. The conference, otherwise known as ROMBA, is an annual event for LGBT graduate business students and features guest speakers, workshops, panel discussion, and most importantly a career exposition.

My thoughts prior to registering were that there wouldn’t be many companies attending, it would be unorganized, and possibly a waste of time and money. With regards to the career fair, I assumed there would be maybe one or two recruiters per company being swarmed by hundreds of MBA students. I started talking to people who had attended in the past, and did a little digging on the ROMBA website, and I realized my assumptions were completely off. There were likely 1,000 – 1,500 students, over 100 companies, and over 500 recruiters. There was not a single recruiter who was not 100% approachable during the career fair or at any point in time over the weekend

The event was also extremely well organized, from meals to workshops to speakers. Some of the individuals we heard from were Fort Worth Councilman Joel Burns, from the YouTube viral video, Howard Bragman, the Founder of Fifteen Minutes, and Joe Solmonese, the President of the Human Rights Campaign. In addition to this, the recruiters and employees from some of the top companies were featured as panelists throughout the many workshops offered.

Next year, the conference is in Boston and we can’t stress enough what an opportunity this is for the LGBT GSM community. Not to mention, it is a complete blast of a weekend. If this blog post wasn’t enough to get you involved next year, below are some quotes right from some of the students who attended. Lastly, feel free to reach out to any of us with any questions!

“The Reaching Out MBA conference was fantastic. I am SO happy I went. The speakers were great and I was able to make some good connections with recruiters as well as other students. Next year the conference is in Boston and I would DEFINITELY encourage both first and second year students to go. The companies were top tier (Google, Amazon, Apple, eBay, etc) and I don't think I waited more than 5 minutes to talk to anyone. It was definitely a good experience.”
-Cassie Kern, MS-MBA Candidate 2012

"The conference was an opportunity for me to talk with companies I wouldn't normally have the opportunity to speak with through BU. They simply do not recruit here. However, they attend the conferences specifically looking to hire and will often interview on the spot. I was fortunate enough to land several interviews with my top choice companies, an opportunity I wouldn't have had otherwise. The conference is also rather small in comparison to the other diversity events. I was able to walk up to any recruiter at any point in the conference and start up a conversation... let that be during meals, career development sessions, recruiting events, or even just at the hotel bar or in the elevator. This opportunity alone made the price of attendance worth it."

Advice for first years:
"There are a lot of internships at this event. Do not think this event is only for second years looking for fulltime, because it's not. I wish I had known about this during my first year." -Scott Kanach, MBA Candidate 2012

“This was my first time going and was very glad I did. Virtually every company was approachable. I walked away with a few interviews, great contacts, and hopefully a new friend or two. Besides line dancing (this was Dallas after all) the highlight of my trip was spending a few hours at the McKinsey office consulting for a local non-profit. As the President of Cohort Q (GSM's LGBT organization) I was definitely excited that such a large percentage of the "out" students chose to attend. I will make sure that next year's leadership knows how important this conference is.” -Jonathan Stone, MS-MBA Candidate 2012

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