February 25, 2014

My Epic MBA: Adventures of the New SMG Curriculum

As I prepared to become a student again, trekking cross-country from Oakland, CA, I knew that I had to make an impact in my new MBA community at Boston University - but how?

Module 1: 3 Subjects, 6 Weeks
In the new curriculum, we master 3 subjects in 6 weeks through 2 3-hour classes a day, 4 days per week. I wanted to make an impact, so I was already on two boards and was readying applications to participate in the club’s other activities. Net Impact, BU chapter and the Public & Nonprofit Club aligned with my interests and passion of developing public-private partnerships and increasing corporate social responsibility and sustainability.

During module 2...
I realized I needed to improve the balance between my career pursuits and academic responsibility. The modules were moving very quickly, and the new curriculum meant that my peers and I were having a different experience than our second-year MBA peers had. We embraced the learning curve, and before we knew it, midterms and finals came and went.

Balancing your life while in an MBA program is like rewriting an epic novel every year
For me, there is not an exception! I believe this challenge has made my experience through the modules 1 and 2 much more rewarding. It has made me more humble and benevolent. While I sometimes struggle to be disciplined, I remember that the learning curve does not apply to classes alone.

Growth can only happen to those who welcome it
Bittersweet may be a generous word: the bitter of challenge must be experienced before the sweet taste of completing a module or year. I believe that I have grown tremendously, and being humble and benevolent has been an important part of making new friends, welcoming mentors, and continuing the passion that I had prior to starting the program.

As module 3 begins...
I am focused on securing an internship and re-writing my novel of balance and impact, all while making sure I do not lose my self in the MBA bubble. I make sure I remember that I am from Oakland, CA, privileged to pursue a graduate degree, and grateful to learn from the challenges and successes of experiences to come.

Ruel is a first year MBA in the Public & Non-Profit Management program. Prior to Boston University, Ruel was a project manager for Department of Labor - Job Corps, providing contract oversight and training as well as new program development and implementation. Ruel is interested in further exploring public-private partnerships and corporate social responsibility and sustainability. He is a board member for both the Net Impact BU Chapter and Public & Non-Profit Club.

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February 20, 2014

February 18, 2014

A first year reflection on the BioBusiness case competition!

I had barely finished my first semester and was starting my second module, when I learned of an opportunity to participate in a case competition through the BU BioBusiness Club – the MBA program’s club that helps students interested in the life sciences industry. The case competition was held at Rugters, NJ and was being organized by Rutgers Business School and had invited judges from top pharmaceutical companies such as Pfizer, Bayer, BMS etc. 
Upon hearing of the decision that our team (Vatsal Oza, Daniel Saragnese, Josh Pearlstein, Colby Cook and me – all first year MBA students) had been selected to participate, we were then provided a week to prepare for the case – a 26 page word document about the product launch strategy for a HER2+ metastatic breast cancer drug on behalf of global pharmaceutical company in a competitive market. Thanks to the case – our team ended up learning a great deal about important healthcare concepts such as the Five Star Rating System and Patient Centered Medical Homes (PCMH) to name a few. During that week, we were initially overwhelmed with the sheer volume of information but then applied our learnings of Finance, Marketing and Economics to build a clear strategy that demonstrated our product’s value-add and was supported by scenario and sensitivity analyses.

The night before the competition, we left for NJ and arrived bright and early at 8 AM on campus to work on our presentation and do a final dry-run. Our presentation slot was at 10:20 AM, and we were done by 11:00 AM. We spent the remaining part of the day at Pharma Day, a series of information sessions and networking events held by visiting pharma companies incl. sponsors of the event. The results were finally announced at 5:00 PM, and while our team did not place a podium finish – our team was congratulated for our unique and innovative approach by all the judges we interacted with at the Cocktails Reception that subsequently followed.

On the whole, while participating in a case competition can turn out to be extremely hectic and tiring, it was also a unique chance to put yourself in a real-life business situation and be questioned by industry experts on your ideas to a particular problem – another invaluable opportunity in the life of an MBA!

Chiraag is currently enrolled in the Health Sector Management MBA at Boston University where he is actively involved in the MBA Marketing Club, BioBusiness Organization (BBO) and also serves as an MBA Admissions Ambassador. Before coming to BU, he was a management consultant at KPMG in the areas of business transformation and operational improvement across multiple industries including pharmaceuticals, medical devices and public hospitals. Moving forward, he hopes to work in Commercial/ Planning roles in the healthcare industry or service these functions as a healthcare consultant.

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February 17, 2014

February 14, 2014

SMG Snapshot: A "Candied" Shot! Internship Fund Candy Grams!

The Internship Fund was an initiative started last year by the class of 2014 in order to ensure that fellow students who were interested in public or nonprofit sector internships could pursue them despite smaller summer compensation. Last year, the internship fund raised over $25,000 and supported multiple MBA students in public and nonprofit sector internships.

Photo submitted by Paul Heayn, 2015
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February 7, 2014

Breaking Convention Left and Right: A 1st Year's Perspective on the New Curriculum & Module System

There are all kinds of stereotypes floating around about MBA students. The most widely accepted is that we’re cutthroat: mercilessly competitive, money-driven, and power-hungry. When I was considering the decision to attend business school, I was a bit unsure about being included in a group labeled with these characteristics. I subscribed to the stereotype. I’ll never find a home with this type of people, I thought.

On my first tour of BU, a then-second-year assured me of the importance of community at the school. By the time I left, I was set – I geared up to build a home in Boston and couldn't have been more excited.

And then the day drew nearer. It was almost time to start networking (*gasp*) with the people I essentially would live and breathe with for the next two years. What would I think of them? What would they think of me?

My fears were assuaged quickly as I met my amazing classmates. One of the beautiful things about the Module system of curriculum is that it nearly forces you to befriend your classmates swiftly – teamwork starts immediately and study groups promptly form. Before I knew it, I was establishing close bonds with people who I had just met, but felt like I had known for years. The picture to the right is from a game at Fenway just a couple weeks into the semester, when I already considered these women family.
Beyond the Module curriculum, the Cohort system also works wonders for creating close connections. As a proud member of Cohort C, I can say that I adore each of my Cohort-mates; we all bring something unique and interesting to the table in class discussions. The picture to the left is from the inter-Cohort Halloween party, where Cohort C creatively costumed as the Boston ”T” party!
The University does a phenomenal job of creating a diverse class. The biggest takeaway for me after one semester of school is that, beyond statistics class and all-nighters, I have formed friendships that will last far beyond the two years spent together. The School of Management (and its library, team rooms, and grad lounge) truly has become my home.

Allison is a first year in Boston University’s Public and Nonprofit Program (PNP), and serves as the Communications Representative for the PNP Club. This summer, Allison traded her small-town Virginia roots for the hustle-and-bustle of the big city. Professionally, she is interested in public policy, specifically connecting and empowering Bostonians through innovation in the city’s processes. When she’s not at the School of Management, you can find her either at Fenway rooting for the Red Sox, sprawled out on Boston Common reading Dennis Lehane novels, or at the nearest tattoo parlor. 

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