October 25, 2012

SMG Kicks Off the Year with the All Grad School Mixer!

Post by:
Maya Tatsuno
MBA/MPH in Health Policy and Management, 2013

What happens when you get leaders across BU graduate programs and campuses together to plan an event?  Over 800 RSVPs across 5 different graduate programs; as well as collaboration, communication and endless networking opportunities among students who bare the BU crest to professionally excel and find ways to create value for the world.  In our increasingly pluralistic world faced with challenging financial and resource constraints, there is a rising need for inter-disciplinary problem solving and collaboration.  The first step towards getting there is creating a space that encourages BU students to meet and interact. 

On Friday, October 12th students from BU’s Graduate School of Management (SMG), School of Public Health (SPH), Graduate School of Medical Sciences (GMS), School of Dental Medicine (SDM) and School of Medicine (MED) met, ate and engaged in dialogue at Boston’s Gypsy Bar. It was a great turnout! For the first time this year, student councils from each of the schools met with each other and talked about upcoming events. Student governments from SMG, SPH and GMS subsidized food for the event. Students filled out nametags to identify themselves and the school they were representing. For the next four hours there was chatting, eating and eventually dancing among BU’s graduate students.

Spearheading the event were student leaders [positioned from left to right]: Maya Tatsuno (MBA’13), Kate Goodmon (GMS ’15), Emily Rath (MPH ’13), Taiwo Odusanya (MPH ’13), Neil Yajnik (MS/MBA ’13) and Dana Connolly (MBA ’13) [not pictured]. Planning began during the summer and resulted in weekly meetings and commitments from organizers to best represent the desires of their student bodies. Coordinating the event was no easy feat, but it was well worth it!

So you ask, what was it worth? I could attempt to calculate an ROI, but you would be missing the point. Graduate students pursuing an education are different than undergraduates. We do not get thrown into orientation together or shared dorms, which force us to interact. Some of us are career or industry switchers, while others pursue a planned path to get the right certification or skills to be successful in their line of work. A good percentage of our student bodies work part-time, have families or have their 5-year plan laid out. The students who attended this specific event will become fine clinicians, scientists, educators, policy-makers or businessmen and women, yet we could go through our whole graduate experience without once interacting with a student from another BU program.

As a future alumna of BU, I’d like to look back on my 6000-mile move as the best opportunity for me to hone my passion and skills, discover new career opportunities, build a network of diverse and talented people, and become a proud representative of the BU brand. There is no doubt that in my personal quest to find cost-effective solutions for delivering quality healthcare that I’m going to work on a team of stakeholders with expertise in the various fields represented at this event. So you ask, what was it worth? My answer is: A sense of pride and a sense of belonging to a brighter, greater, more cohesive BU community.

Maya Tatsuno is a 2nd year MBA/MPH student concentrating in Health Policy and Management, and with experience in health plan operations and consulting.  Maya was born and raised in Honolulu, Hawaii, and so she spends most of her time in the winter months trying to find warm nooks with sunlight. 

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October 22, 2012

BU to host 1st Annual Global Health Sector Interdisciplinary Case Competition

Post by:
Sam Schweizer
HSM/MBA 2013

This is a very exciting year for BU and the health sector program as we are hosting the 1st annual health sector case competition, which will occur on November 1st, 2nd, and 3rd. This is one of the many initiatives Dean Freeman has spearheaded and a huge coup for our school. BU is partnering with DePuy Synthes Spine (recently merged), a Johnson & Johnson company. The competition is partly modeled after the Tech Strategy Case Competition, which BU has successfully hosted for the better part of a decade. 

Case competitions present students with a business problem to solve. The cases are usually around ten to twenty pages with exhibits. Students have a predetermined amount of time (24 hours for the health care case competition) to analyze the case, develop solutions, and present their proposal. Business professionals, including senior leadership from DePuy, then evaluate the teams based on the quality of their work, the novelty and feasibility of their proposed solutions, and the presentations themselves. Students utilize their newly acquired MBA skills and leverage their past professional experience in developing their presentations. Case competitions are great practice for working in a high functioning team to deliver a quality solution under a very tight timetable. For this competition, the top three teams receive cash prizes of $20,000, $7,500, and $5,000, respectively. 

BU is hosting an impressive list of schools for this competition. In addition to the BU team, teams from CEIBS (China Europe International Business School); Frankfurt School of Finance and Management; Fuqua School of Business, Duke University; Harvard Business School, Harvard University; Hong Kong University of Science and Technology; Indian Institute of Management (IIM), Ahmedabad; IPADE Business School, Universidad Panamericana, Mexico; Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University; Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto; Sloan School of Management, Massachusetts Institute of Technology; and Tuck School of Business, Dartmouth College and The Dartmouth Center for Health Care Delivery Science will be in attendance. Needless to say, this competition is a fantastic opportunity to network with students from other graduate schools and judges from the business world. 

In order  to select a team to represent BU, we hosted an internal competition on the weekend of October 6th. Eight teams participated in a format very similar to the November competition format. The internal selection round gave teams a chance to work together in the competitive setting, and was a good trial run for the planning committee too.

This has been an amazing experience for me personally. I’m project managing a team of faculty and students to put on this event and we’ve been working since last April. It’s definitely been challenging balancing my internship over the summer and my school work since September with my duties for the case competition. I’m glad to say that I have been able to apply much of my learning from my first year at BU, from operations to organizational behavior. My previous work experience and summer internship definitely helped equip me with an understanding of how to drive this process. With two weeks to go, we’re really in the thick of it, and all I can say is that I’m very excited for November.

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Sam Schweizer is a 2nd year HSM/MBA student with experience in health care recruiting. He completed an internship at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts over the summer. Sam loves planning events for his fellow students including ski weekends and golf outings, and he even does bachelor parties.

October 18, 2012

Clubs with Benefits: Student-Led Activities in the Nations' New No. 1 Biotech Cluster

 Post by:
David Spotts
HSM/MBA 2013

Besides the obvious reasons to attend Boston University's MBA program, such as our highly ranked healthcare sector management program and the strong alumni network, many students have found beneficial the positive network effects of living and working in Greater Boston. Already the recipient of numerous accolades, the city was recently suggested by a few online sites to be the nation's number one biotech-cluster (a title previously held by San Francisco). With BU's close ties to life science companies ranging from one-week-old startups to fortune 500 pharmaceutical giants, this new title is really no surprise to the many students that have used BU's relationships to further their own career development.

Something I've noticed in my short tenure as the President of Boston University's BioBusiness Organization (BBO) is the extremely high level of experience and knowledge possessed by our club members, and this is not just limited to those students with prior work experience in the sector. For students without previous experience, foundational industry knowledge can almost be picked up through osmosis as life science companies seem to permeate and surround Boston University. And as the BBO is a student-led club for those interested in the biotech, pharma, device, and diagnostic industries, Boston really is the perfect environment in which to study for an MBA. With so many life science connections, speakers for BBO events are never in short supply! For instance, we just had the first of a four-part Lunch with Industy series in which a BU alum/local professional comes to campus for an informal meet-and-greet with students interested in the product-side of healthcare. Our first guest was Justin Bush from Inspiration Pharmaceuticals. Justin is using his recent degree from BU to lead the marketing efforts at a company dedicated to providing real and meaningful improvements to the lives of patients suffering from hemophilia. In a low-key lunch format, students were able to ask Justin questions such as What are the best kinds of roles for a recent MBA grad? and How should an MBA student plan a career among companies both large and small?

The Lunch with Industry series is just a hint of the developments and upcoming events for the BBO. This past summer, Brian Hannah (BBO’s VP of Marketing), in his spare time after interning at Genzyme, completely redeveloped the club's branding and website to better reflect our mission and purpose for existence (check out the new site here: http://smgworld.bu.edu/clubbiobus/).

With a mission to provide value to the students interested in the industry side of healthcare, we're also planning several company treks for the 2012-2013 scholastic year as well as repeating our annual development workshop, the CareerStudio. This year's CareerStudio will again feature speakers such as Lauren Solano from Propel Careers and career coaching by Matt Casey as well as representatives from local biotech's to provide background on the attributes of a well-qualified candidate for post-MBA positions. With BU being such a well-known and well-respected source of MBA talent, finding quality career coaches and industry representatives for our club events has not proven to be a challenge.

So in conclusion, all these points highlight the benefit of pursuing an MBA in the Boston area, and especially at Boston University. The incredible amount of talent within a stone's throw, the sheer number of startups in the area, and the major biotech players in and near Greater Boston confirm the notion of Boston being the nation's number one biotech cluster. But really though, for BU students that have long taken advantage of the Boston area and all that BU has to offer, such new rankings are really not much of a surprise.

David Spotts is a 2nd year HSM/MBA student with experience in engineering and marketing in the life sciences. When he's not studying, working, sleeping, or networking at Cornwall's, he enjoys trying to see if he really can throw a stone and hit a biotech. 

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October 11, 2012

MBA Cup Soccer Tournament

Post by:
Dave Danese
MBA, 2013

In July, when my classmate Mike Ben-Asher (GSM, ’13) texted me to ask if I wanted to represent SMG in an MBA soccer tournament at Yale University, my first thought was, “How did this guy get my phone number?” But then my second thought was, “Sure! Where do I sign up?”

From there, I joined up with Mike and Luis Marin (GSM, ’13) to start organizing our team. After a couple months of frantic scrambling, we managed to book our spot in the tournament, get funding from the graduate council (thanks, guys, and I’m not just saying that to suck up for the next time we need money from you), secure a uniform sponsor (LAMBAA), purchase some uniforms to slap that sponsor’s logo on, and assemble a squad of 16 players (first- and second-year students plus a few SMG alumni).

Andres Biguria dribbles past the defense.

With all that taken care of, we were ready to play some ball. A week before the tournament, we played a training match against the MBA team from Babson. The results were discouraging – we struggled mightily and ultimately lost 5-2. I thought of excuses to give myself some hope that we could still do well at Yale . We only had one substitute…we were playing on their home field, on some horrendous, 1970s-style AstroTurf…we were still reeling from Heidi Klum’s breakup with Seal . But in the end, I was pretty sure we just didn’t have it.

A week later, with our low expectations in tow, we headed down to New Haven, CT, for the Yale MBA Cup. We arrived on Friday, September 21, a day before the start of the tournament. As is customary for finely tuned athletes, our team prepared for the next day’s matches with pizza and socializing, after which the youngsters stayed out a bit longer and the oldsters retired to the hotel.

Finally, Saturday arrived, and it was time to play. The field of sixteen was divided into four pools of four teams, with the teams in each pool playing a round-robin on Saturday in an effort to secure one of the pool’s two spots in the single-elimination phase of the tournament, on Sunday.

Our pool included Virginia’s Darden School of Management, Yale School of Management’s alumni team, and Columbia Business School. Our first match was scheduled for the inhumane hour of 8:30 am against Darden. Battling our opponent, as well as sleep deprivation and the challenge of playing on a field that resembled a potato farm on the surface of the moon, we managed to score an unexpected 2-1 victory on the strength of goals from Kyle Adelman (GSM, ’14) and Sevag Khatchadourian (GSM, ’14).

This sport is too easy for Kyle Adelman, so he attempts to make it more difficult by dribbling without looking.
So we improbably held first place in our group as we set out to face the defending champions, Yale Alumni. Yale pinned us in our own end for most of the early going, and they were rewarded with a 2-0 halftime lead. Early in the second half, though, Andres Biguria (SMG, ’13) smashed home a volley from close range to make it 2-1. Energized by the goal, we furiously attacked for the remainder of the second half, but we simply couldn’t find the tying goal. Then, with a minute left, we conceded a third and final goal from a penalty kick. Despite the 3-1 loss, we fought admirably when it would have been easy to fold after falling behind by two goals in the first half.
The defeat left us in a tricky spot for our final match against Columbia. Although mathematically eliminated following a 1-0 loss to Darden, Columbia still wanted a say in determining who would advance. They stormed out of the gate against us and eventually took the lead, converting a (highly debatable) penalty kick to make the score 1-0. Matters got progressively worse from there, as we missed chance after chance and our frustration mounted. Finally, with 12 minutes left, we broke through with a goal from Luis Marin (SMG, ’13). Then, 5 minutes later, Adelman scored the goal of the tournament – a bomb from 20 yards that found the top corner of the net – to seal the victory.
Luis Marin celebrates after a hard-earned victory.

All that was left then was for Yale Alumni to play Darden in the last match in our pool. If Yale won or tied, we would advance to the next round, with Darden finishing behind us. The transitive property (Yale > BU, BU > Darden, so Yale > Darden, right?) suggested that we were a lock to advance. The reality was quite different, though, as Darden pulled out a 1-0 victory, creating a three-way tie in the standings among Darden, Yale, and us. We came out on the short end of the tiebreaker (goal difference, or goals scored minus goals allowed), and so despite having won twice and lost only once, we were eliminated from the tournament.

Us, back when we thought we were going to advance to the second round.

That was disappointing, but perhaps it was for the best. After three 60-minute games in the span of a day, “get up at 7:30 am tomorrow and run around for at least another hour” was low on our list of things we’d like to do (top of the list: “lie very still for several hours and try to fight off full-body muscle cramps”). Instead, we retreated to our hotel, grabbed dinner, socialized with opposing players at the official tournament mixer/dance jam/super-sweet 16 party, and called it a night.

The whole experience was outstanding. To a man, our squad was a pleasure to hang out with, and everyone battled like a champ on the field. We’ll be taking another crack at this when we play in the MBA World Cup at Dartmouth in April.

Dave Danese is a second-year student with experience in marketing and strategy within the pharmaceutical and medical device industries. He knows that the ball is round and enjoys a well-executed catenaccio.

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October 4, 2012

Studying an International MBA in China

Post by: Gilberto Millares
International MBA, ‘13

Imagine moving thousands of miles away from home to a place with a language you don’t understand, a life style opposite to what you are used to, and knowing absolutely no one. Sounds exciting, right? That is exactly how 27 students coming from 14 different countries started the International MBA program this past summer. Specifically for me, after a trip of about 27 hours from Mexico City to San Francisco and then Beijing, I finally arrived in an exotic place where I would share my life with a group of strangers who quickly became my friends and family. After a couple of days of wandering around Beijing and overcoming the worst of the jet lag, we finally started a summer of intense work and play.

During this summer we studied the core classes of the MBA such as accounting, marketing, operations management and others. We discussed cases and crunched their numbers; we developed and presented business plans; we stayed up long nights working on an integrated project and studying for the midterm and final exams. Overall, we did all the typical classroom stuff required for any MBA.

But we also learned about other business and working styles, especially how business happens in China. We learned about Indian dances, Greek politics and economy, about the Red Sox and Peruvian food. By immersing in all these cultures through living and studying with people from all around the world, we learned how to manage people that might have completely different backgrounds and cultures, how to manage crisis and how to live and work in teams. Overall, we learned the hardest part of business: managing people and getting the best out of one another.

So, how did we do this? Well, we started by living for a month in Beijing and then two in Shanghai. We had guest lecturers, visited local and international companies, and explored important cultural places such as the Forbidden City and the Great Wall. In our spare time, we would eat out both at street meat grills and in fancy mandarin duck restaurants; we would go bargaining to markets and dancing in basements with locals. We strived to understand the motivations of the Chinese and their vision for the future, to see how they have achieved such prolonged growth. We studied China and the world with a completely new perspective that will better allow us to make decisions with a global perspective. Most importantly, we learned how to bring back all this knowledge and apply it to our future careers and businesses.

Gilberto Millares is an International MBA student with experience in strategy and operations consulting and an expert in cooking noodles and dumplings, skills aquired during his summer in China.