February 27, 2012

Link Day 2012

Post By:
Sonal Dhingra
MS-MBA/PNP, 2013

On a sunny Saturday morning in February, 60 BU MBA students eagerly made their way up to the 4th floor of SMG for what promised to be a very memorable day. These students ranged from 1st and 2nd year full-time students to part-time and IMBA students – all with a variety of experiences and backgrounds, and all eager to serve 15 non-profit organizations from our community. BU MBA Link Day is an opportunity for small- to medium-sized nonprofit organizations to access cutting edge managerial expertise. Launched in April 2001 by students in the BU MBA Public and Nonprofit Management concentration, this one-day consulting experience brings together nonprofits, MBA students, academics, and local professionals to analyze a specific problem facing an organization and provide practical strategic solutions.

Rebecca Onie of Health Leads giving the keynote address

We kicked off the day with Dean Freeman welcoming all of our participants, non-profit organizations and 18 professors – who served as mentors and subject matter experts with teams for the day. He also welcomed our keynote speaker: Rebecca Onie, founder of Health Leads (formerly Project HEALTH). Ms. Onie spoke of her organization and how they worked to get doctors the right tools to be able to help patients with not just medical issues on the surface but the root causes of diseases such as a lack of food on the table or child care at home. The line from her speech that struck me most though was: “vision does not change the world, execution does”. That is exactly what we were all here to do.

After the keynote, all the teams were off to get started. The hours flew by and the student teams worked throughout the day with their organizations to deliver workable solutions. Several teams created successful marketing plans for established organizations while others created presentation decks for fledgling groups so that they could articulate their vision and mission to prospective funders. All of the organizations valued the help they received and in the end 15 organizations left feeling better prepared than when they had arrived. We even had an organization offer one of our student participants a spot on their board right on the spot! 

What I really liked about this day was that each of us helped make a difference in our community in single day. It can be easy to forget to remain connected since we are all busy students - but each of us was so eager to give up a Saturday to engage with our community. In fact, all student slots were filled in just 4 days – a new record – and a testament to the commitment of our students to remain active and give back.

Thank you to everyone who participated. This day was a success not only because we got a lot of great work done but also because we made a difference, in a single day. Get ready for Link Day 2013 – it will be here sooner than you think! 

 For more information on Link Day, please see this video.

Sonal is a first year MS-MBA student in the Public and Non-Profit Management Program.  She is also the first year representative for Cohort C on the Graduate Student Council, a BU on Board Fellow with AmericaSCORES Boston and served as the Student Recruitment Chair for Link Day 2012.  When not in class you can usually find her rushing to all sorts of meetings around campus. 

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February 23, 2012

Brazil Field Seminar

Post By:
Emily Nichols, PEMBA 

This January, 22 intrepid MBA students found their way to Salvador, Brazil, to participate in the 6th annual SMG Brazil Field Seminar. Our group was led by Professor Kristen McCormack and her fearless Brazilian counterpart, Pedro Lins, (our “mom” and “dad”) and we were kept safe and generally on track by Gail Justino Miller from the Graduate Programs Office.

The group spent two weeks traveling around Brazil – from Salvador to the Campinas/Sao Paulo area, then on to Rio, with a stopover in breathtaking Paraty. The course was focused on the idea of “sustainable business” – where an enterprise strives to have little or no negative impact on the environment and community, while also being positioned for long-term business success. Obviously, this ideal is a work in progress for most companies, but the ones we visited across Brazil are making great strides in their unique approaches to this concept.

Students visiting International Paper

Our visits explored topics as broad as the vast informal economy in Brazil, responsible waste management, sustainable supply chains for beauty products, transparency in food production, cloning trees for less impact in paper production, shopping mall development focused on the growing middle class, and chemical companies funding programs that address the root causes of poor health among impoverished children. We were taught capoeira by kids growing up in Rio’s favelas, visited a project focused on re-building the Brazilian sea turtle population, and met the recipients of microcredit loans who insisted on stuffing us with goodies from their fruit stand.

While Brazilian culture is known for kicking back in Havaianas with a caipirinha in hand, we were moving constantly on the trip to fit as much as possible into our time there (though we didn’t entirely neglect the former). While the trip was certainly an academic undertaking, what we all brought back in our hearts were the people we encountered. We were met with warmth and generosity at every turn, and were truly impressed with the commitment to sustainability we saw at all levels of the companies we visited – from interns and tour guides to the most senior executives. Mr. Andre, an inspiring Santander microcredit recipient, exhorted us all to use what we’ve been given, and “run the world the right way.” We returned to Boston with a renewed sense of purpose and headed back into the semester and our futures, determined to try and do just that.

It’s difficult to summarize two intense weeks in a short post. Each of our team members blogged from the road, so if you want more detail on any of our visits, please click through to the posts I’ve linked to above – or visit the home page of our blog here.  

Emily is a part-time MBA student, concentrating in International Management and Marketing. Her day job is working at Cone Communications as a cause strategy and corporate responsibility consultant. You can follow her on Twitter @emilynichols.

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February 16, 2012

The Family Business

Post By: 
Jordan Shulz, MBA 2012

While it has been a fun and wild ride, business school has turned out to be the perfect opportunity to have a baby.  The more open schedule afforded by being a student has allowed our family of (now) three to spend extra day time together that would otherwise not likely happen.  While there are times of studying that are interrupted by our lovely little daughter's needs, there are also times where we study together and play together (see pictures).  My wife and I have enjoyed the process of learning to be parents and balancing family time with her part-time work schedule and my school schedule.  As others in the BU MBA program have also had children before or since enrolling in the program, we have shared many stories together as well as the delight of the experience that only parents know.  Here's to higher education as a family value!

Jordan is a 2nd year MBA candidate focusing on Entrepreneurship and Real Estate.  He is interested in mentoring and community impact through his work.  When not studying or working he can be found bicycling around Boston or with his wife, playing with their 4 month old daughter.
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February 13, 2012

This is Good Business

Post By:
Matt Scott, MS-MBA 2013
Rob Gordon, MBA 2013
Sam Cecala, MS-MBA 2013

The first semester of BU’s full time MBA program culminates with the Integrated Project, a semester-long team assignment integrating the skills and techniques learned in the core courses of accounting, finance, statistics, marketing, organizational behavior and especially executive skills. The project centers on selecting a neglected consumer product brand and developing an acquisition and revitalization plan. At the end of the semester, each team presents to their respective cohorts and professors, and the best team from each cohort is judged by a panel of alumni and industry experts in the “Best of the Best” finals, the last event of the semester. Among all of the great presentations in our cohort, we were honored to have been selected by our peers to represent cohort D.
This is the story of how our team won the whole thing.

Before we even knew the details of the project, our team was sent on a scavenger hunt through Boston. We probably should have taken some pictures of this, but we didn’t. Still, we had a great time.

Here’s a quick rundown of our squad: 

Matt Scott: Former pro tennis player and health care researcher. When asked to describe himself, Matt says he “carries his stress in his hips.”

Rob Gordon: Michigan alum, Dunkin Donuts enthusiast, and Tom Brady apologist. Despite his carefree demeanor, he has a shockingly in-depth knowledge of hair care products for men and women alike.

Guo Shan: The most patient Chinese language instructor we could hope for. If there’s a harder worker in the BU MBA program, we’d like to meet her. She also moonlights as a private detective. Role models include Angela Lansbury and Gene Parmesan (he’s the best).

Jess Friesen: Raised in Malaysia, schooled in Illinois and awesome the world over, Jess kept us grounded and smiling throughout it all. Jess always sneezes 5 times—no more, no less.

Andres Biguria: A supply chain guru, don’t let his name or ridiculous impressions fool you, he’s not Italian–he’s from Guatemala by way of Memphis, and loves joking about your dad.

Sam Cecala: The ideas man. This wasn’t always a good thing, but was usually entertaining. He has amassed and publicized a large collection of Matt Scott quotations on current events that oddly parallel those made by public figures.

Without doing too much preliminary research (you can make yourself crazy overanalyzing at this stage), our team selected the hair care category on the advice of Guo Shan. We then selected the Selsun Blue brand on the advice of our resident hair expert, Rob Gordon, whose life mission was to bring back the old slogan “Never wear black without the blue.” Words to live by. 

Over the first half of the semester we held weekly team meetings and analyzed purchase and promotion data from the AC Nielsen database. Central to our research agenda was getting to the bottom of key consumer attributes, namely: Who is the purchaser? Who is the user? (But you just told me you were the purchaser!) BU’s first-rate library resources, professors, and second-year students were instrumental throughout the journey. The project is daunting, but proved rewarding as we applied the concepts and methods we learned in class. 

Everything was multiplied after our interim presentation, as we began to develop our marketing and brand revitalization plan alongside our final valuation. Although we had one sleepless night before the final product was done, coming together to give our final presentation to our cohort and professors was exhilarating, and getting to do it again for the entire MBA class and faculty was even better. 

We could write about this stuff all day, but we’re getting our hair did this afternoon, so we’ll wrap up our tale with some pictures. Please enjoy.

Here’s us at the reception after taking home the prize

The night before our pitchbook deadline. We pulled an all-nighter… Things got weird.

The IP will come to define your first semester in the full time program. You’ll learn a ton, you’ll lose some sleep, and no matter how arduous the process, you will come to appreciate it in the end.

Matt Scott is a first-year MS-MBA in the Health Sector Management Program

Rob Gordon is a first-year MBA with a Finance Concentration

Sam Cecala is a first-year MS-MBA with a Leadership and Organizational Transformation concentration

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February 9, 2012

An IMBA's Experience with the Job Search Process

Post by:
Brian Driscoll
International MBA, 2012

It’s OK to Change Directions: When I began the IMBA program in China in May 2011, my intent was to secure a position as a Product Manager but as my courses continued, I discovered that my strengths were more closely aligned with operations and process management than with marketing or consumer behavior. As you progress through the MBA, it’s important to continuously evaluate the direction of your interests and be able to switch gears quickly.

Develop an Initial Plan: Develop your 30-second pitch early - people are always interested to hear what you want to do after your MBA and they will ask whether or not you’re ready to answer. To develop your pitch, you’ll need to reflect on your skills, previous roles, and potential career path with target companies in mind. Be ready to tailor your pitch to your audience on the fly.

Narrowing Search Criteria: To keep the job search practical, it’s critical to narrow down your list of target companies. Each application may turn into a life-changing decision, so prioritize your most important criteria. I searched based on location, manufacturing capabilities, industry, size, and revenue. This process also helped me develop my answer to the standard interview question “Why do you want to work for us?” Even after honing in on a target profile, it’s ok if your list of companies still remains broad.

Job Search Success: In January 2012 I proudly accepted a position with United Technologies’ Operations Leadership Program. While having a BU MBA certainly breaks down barriers to get your resume on the desks of hiring managers, companies often expect more from MBA candidates than they do from others. But don’t let this intimidate you, because Boston University has more than enough resources to help you land the right job for your career.

UTC Interview Phases: The UTC Interview Process consisted of two phone screens, a weekend assignment, and a “Superday” onsite interview. The “Superday” involved an overnight stay, dinner with current OLP associates, presentations, team negotiations, and a panel interview. The sessions were intensely challenging but team skills, presentation skills, and operations concepts that I’d sharpened through the BU MBA were critical to my successful outcome.

Support from Feld Career Center and BU Professors: I first found and applied to UTC’s position through one of my weekly searches on MBA Careerlink. The Feld Career Center’s Gary Bergman provided excellent support and personal attention throughout my job search. His Career Management course, mock interview feedback, cover letter & resume templates, and advice in my negotiations were all critical to the successful progression toward my final offer. The pre-interview meetings I had with professors Janelle Heineke (OM726) and Nitin Joglekar (OM880) were also extremely important for me to readily apply their course concepts in the scenarios I faced in my interviews. And most importantly, I received a lot of helpful support from my classmates around the time of my interviews.

Brian is an International MBA candidate with experience in startup companies and bringing product designs into production. You may find him exploring around Boston with friends or studying at a nearby Starbucks.

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February 6, 2012

The India Field Seminar

Post by:
Meg Meyer
MBA/MPH, 2012

The whole class at the Taj Mahal

From January 1st through 14th, 20 MBA students traveled through India with Professor Mark Allen, Director of the Health Sector Management Program, and Diane Reimer, Director of Graduate Counseling in the Feld Career Center. We visited three cities: Delhi, Mumbai, and Bangalore, learning about the Indian healthcare system. From government hospitals to private for-profit hospitals to super-specialty care, we saw it all.

Visiting a mobile clinic run by one of the largest government hospitals, AIIMS

Visiting the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), a Government Hospital in Delhi

A very different experience visiting Max Healthcare, a private, for-profit hospital

We also traveled to rural areas to observe primary care facilities and meet with community health workers.

Ashas (Community Health Workers who focus on women and children) working in a rural village outside Delhi

Students waiting to tour the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Narayana near Bangalore

Part of the Narayana Hrudayalaya Super Specialty Hospital Center

It was truly incredible to see how healthcare was provided in a country of over 1 Billion people. The potential for economies of scale, mass efficiency, alternative financing schemes, and low-cost technology are exciting. At the same time, challenges such as poverty and lack of infrastructure are widespread. Throughout our visits, we had the opportunity to hear what leaders in the field think of these issues. We also got the chance to sit down with executives over dinner and get a first hand account of what it is like to run a business in India.

Throughout our time in India and for a week after, the students participating in the field seminar kept a blog. If you're interested in hearing more perspectives about our experience, you can check it out here: http://smgindianfieldseminar.blogspot.com/

Meg is a second year MBA/MPH student studying Global Health Management. She is also the President of the new Global Health and Development Association. You may find her running around Boston with a backpack on or challenging people to dance-offs.

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