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Terps Helping Terps

February 5th, 2013 by under Cohorts, Only at Smith. No Comments.

As an MBA candidate, everything moves faster in the Spring semester. For first years, internship interviews begin and the core curriculum ends (for the most part).  For second years, job searches become the top priority and everyone prepares to transition out of business school and back into the workforce as smarter, more efficient and focused leaders. For these reasons, the Office of Career Services has 9 Leadership Fellows who are trained to offer assistance to their MBA cohorts in the following areas:

  • Case & behavioral mock interviews
  • Resume reviews
  • Advice on changing focus area
  • Answering questions about interviews

Most of our hours are already on HireSmith, and all of us are flexible about scheduling appointments outside of office hours. Please sign up today or email a Leadership Fellow for more information.

Click on the images below to learn more about our Leadership Fellows!

 

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Working Out

March 15th, 2012 by under Student Life. 1 Comment.

The Pool at Eppley

One perk of the MBA program is the access you get to facilities around campus. I’m getting pretty familiar with the Eppley Recreation Center. Eppley is a great place to exercise, it features an Olympic sized pool, racquetball and squash courts, a two story weight room, a track, and a fitness room with treadmills and elliptical machines inside. Outside, there is another pool, a climbing wall, and a ropes course (which you’ll be getting familiar with at orientation).

I have used the weight room a few times and today I’m going to check out the pool. No matter what you like to do, I would recommend taking advantage of your access to Eppley. The MBA program can be very stressful at times, and squeezing in a workout gives you the energy you’ll need to power through PowerPoint (and Excel, lots of Excel).

Also, you’ll be spending a lot of time in Van Munching Hall, and when you aren’t there you’ll be at team members’ houses, conferences, and interviews. It is fun to live on the go, but your eating habits will change to accommodate this lifestyle. Working out will keep you in shape when you’re eating more of your meals out than you were before.

If you come to the Smith School and make use of Eppley, you won’t be alone. On average, 4,500 students and faculty work out at Eppley each day. Thankfully, at 230,000 square feet, the center is large enough to accommodate everyone. I’ve never had to wait for a treadmill, and most of the time there is a bench open in the weight room.

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Monte Carlo Night!

February 7th, 2012 by under Cohorts, Only at Smith. No Comments.

After recently posting about interviews, electives, and networking, I realize that I have forgotten to write about an unsung pillar of the MBA experience: FUN!

That’s right, readers; MBA candidates do actually find time for fun. Every once in a while, there is a special event that brings the entire Smith community together, and one of those events is Monte Carlo Night.

Monte Carlo Night is an evening of gambling, dancing, and enjoying a cocktail or two with friends, faculty, and alumni. This year, we are hosting Monte Carlo Night at the Grand Ball Room at the Mandarin Hotel (check out the picture above!).

There are a few new editions to this year’s event, including the music of a live band and also the chance to win a Kindle Fire.

When you’re considering where to get your MBA, you should consider a school that emphasizes community. The MBA process is rigorous, and the people going through that process with you can be your closest friends—if you’re in the right environment. Smith clearly focuses on community, and events like Monte Carlo night give us a great space to relax and enjoy each other.

As always, be sure to ask about events like Monte Carlo Night during your interview!

Monte Carlo Night was established in 2002 to raise money for the M. Scott Lamana and Eric Cranford Memorial MBA Fellowship Fund. The fund is named after two Smith Students who were killed in the September 11th attack on the Pentagon.

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Electives

January 31st, 2012 by under Academics, Cohorts. No Comments.

Elective courses help you stand out during interviews.

Now that the second semester has begun, my cohorts and I are beginning our first elective courses at the Smith School. I’m taking a few marketing classes in term C (which runs through late March) and a few finance courses in term D (which runs from the end of term C until the end of the school year in May).

I am excited about my consumer behavior class, where we learn how consumers make decisions about products and how marketers use segmentation, targeting, and positioning (STP) to appeal to consumers. I’m also taking a market research class, where we discuss the applications of primary and secondary research methods to judge market size for products.

Next term I’ll change pace and work on a financial valuation course where I will continue to work with the discounted cash flow model I first learned in term B. I like the range of courses I am able to take at the Smith School, and think the breadth of courses will prepare me for multiple positions out of the MBA program.

I am also happy about the opportunity to work with more MBA candidates. During terms A and B, first years were divided into tracks that took every class together. The block schedule made it easier to form teams for projects, and it enabled us to bond very well with a portion of our class. Now that we are fully settled MBA candidates, it’s great to get beyond our initial tracks and take courses with students from the other track as well as second year students.

To learn more about our elective offerings, click here!

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Interviews

January 30th, 2012 by under Career Strategy. 2 Comments.

My cohorts and I have been back in Van Munching Hall for one week, and during that time many of us have sat for several first round interviews. As most of you know, the summer internship is pivotal. It allows us to apply the skills we’re learning in class to actual professional situations.

MBA candidates use HireSmith, an online portal run by the Smith School’s Office of Career Services (OCS), to apply for summer internships in marketing, finance, consulting, and other functional categories.

Several of our recruiting partners—PepsiCo, T. Rowe Price, M&T Bank, and Campbell’s—have already been on campus or are coming to campus this week. During their visits, the recruiters from these and other partner firms review resumes submitted through HireSmith and select a group of candidates to interview.

Each interview structure is unique. For example, PepsiCo had candidates meet with two sets of recruiters back to back, while M&T Bank conducted a first round in Van Munching this week and will arrange for second round interviews in Buffalo, NY in the coming weeks.

Most candidates have been working with a career coach since August on all stages of the interview process. I wrote about networking tips earlier in the year, as well as tips on how to navigate the national MBA conferences. When it comes to internship interviews, our career coaches have been working with us on two major styles: behavioral and case.

Behavioral interviews are when recruiters determine your overall fit by asking questions about situations you have encountered at work, school, or in your personal life. Some questions include “tell me about a time you led a team,” “tell me about a time when you failed,” “tell me about a time when you had to rely on your ability to persuade someone,” etc.

Case interviews are a simulation where recruiters describe a set of circumstances and ask interviewees to talk (or write) about how they would interpret the circumstances and how they would respond to the circumstances. Cases are sometimes more nuanced and complex than most candidates know, but this is does not affect the outcome of the interview. Recruiters are looking for how you think through the case, and not necessarily on what you recommend.

Our OCS team is working hard to put some 120 hard-working MBA candidates in choice internships this summer; they deserve credit and praise for their work. If you are fortunate enough to interview at Smith in the coming months, be sure to ask your interviewer about internship placements and the OCS team!

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Finance Trek

January 27th, 2012 by under Career Strategy, Cohorts. No Comments.

Finance Trek to NYC

One of the great parts of business school has been gaining access to Smith Alums working in the corporate world. Recently, a small group of finance students trekked up to New York in order to get a better handle on what types of jobs are out there, and what we can expect when we graduate next year.

Our first stop on the trek was Credit Suisse, where we met up with Etim, an assistant Vice President who gave us an overview of Credit Suisse. After the overview our group of roughly 20 split up into smaller groups of 4 and sat down with a Credit Suisse associate. My associate was Kayam, and he gave me a more in-depth view of his functional area, electronic market making. I also had the opportunity to ask Kayam questions.

Our trek also included stops to J.P. Morgan, Fiduciary Trust, and K2 Advisors, a hedge fund in Stamford, CT.

Perhaps the most interesting element of the finance was trek was hearing how many of the presenters had no formal financial experience before business school. Considering my nonprofit background, it was reassuring to see how people from many functional areas can make great careers in finance.

Another great part of the trek was having the opportunity to spend more time with my cohorts from track 1. First year students are divided into tracks and take all their first semester classes with students in their track. It was the first time since orientation that I had the chance to sit down and see how some of my track 1 friends’ semesters were progressing, and I had a great time talking to them.

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Networking

November 28th, 2011 by under Academics, Career Strategy. 1 Comment.

Damien Sirius XM

Check out the nametag...

Some call it their “core competency” (read: bread and butter), while others call it institutionalized socializing and a waste of time. If you’re serious about getting your MBA, hopefully you identify more with the former characterization than the latter characterization.

Even if networking isn’t your strong suit, don’t worry. Students at Smith are exposed to networking events during the admissions process (e.g. prospective MBA happy hours and admitted student dinners), first year orientation (e.g. the “speed networking” evening session), and the academic year (e.g. national MBA conferences). The work pays off. Many of my cohorts and I speak to recruiters with ease because we have a well-crafted personal narrative (and the experience necessary to employ that narrative without sounding like a robot).

I recently attended a networking event as part of an assignment for my strategic management class with one of my teammates, and our experiences that night are an interesting example of how successful networking requires a mix of prior research and situational observations, and also a mix of business and pleasure.

The event is for local artists, held at the Sirius XM headquarters in Washington, DC. As my teammate and I metro over to the event, we discuss what we are looking to accomplish. We want to talk to a few Sirius XM employees and tell them about our assignment, perhaps ask them a question or two about their business plan, but mostly engage them in conversation and exchange business cards. The idea is to secure an informational interview, not attempt to conduct one right then and there.

The event is a mixture of socializing and commentary from the featured artists. The MC for the evening is the VP of HR for Sirius XM—definitely someone I want to talk to. I make sure to pay attention to the presentations. After all, the art and artists are the reason behind the event, it’s a great way to start a conversation, and maybe I’ll learn something new (I got a preview of the 30 Americans exhibit currently on display at the Corcoran, definitely worth checking out).

Immediately after he ends a presentation, the head of HR (Walt) puts the mic down and heads over to me. I’m ready. Ready to engage him on the artists, on the wine I’m drinking, on the Smith School, on Sirius XM—whatever comes my way. Interestingly, he wants to talk about my Smith School nametag. He had recently attended a national MBA conference and was impressed at how well our tags stood out.

We chatted about that for a minute or two before I mentioned my assignment. Walt was interested, and answered a few questions before we exchanged cards. Walt also introduced my teammate and I to another employee. We talked art and wine with her for a while, and ultimately she agreed to meet with us and discuss our project further.

The night was a success. My teammate and I drank wine, appreciated art, and made headway on an assignment. That’s networking and, honestly, who could call that a waste of time?

 

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M&A Competition Sets Smith Apart

November 1st, 2011 by under Only at Smith. No Comments.

M&A Competition Winners with Dean Anandalingam

M&A Competition Winners with Dean Anandalingam

The Smith School has many elements that set it apart from other Business Schools.  One such element is the Mergers and Acquisitions (M&A) Competition.  The Smith School Finance Association organizes the M&A Competition, and Finance Association President Rick Spadero says it is the only competition of its kind on the east coast.

Every year, teams from business schools across the US receive a company profile and decide whether or not the company should be acquired.  The teams receive the profile on one day and work long into the night, pitching their decision to a panel of industry professionals the following day.  At the end of the competition, the judges award $5,000 to the team with the best pitch.

The M&A Competition brings together everything students do while they are in business school.  It requires, among other skills, an understanding of the financial techniques for valuing a company and also the nuances behind the strategy of why one company should want to acquire another company.

The 2011 M&A Competition was held on Friday, October 21, 2011 and featured teams from our neighbors at GW and Georgetown.  Teams came from as far away as UCLA.  In total, 10 teams competed this year.  Top honors went to UVA’s Darden School of Business.

2011 Participants
Carnegie Mellon University’s Tepper School of Business
Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business
Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business
Purdue University’s Krannert School of Management
Texas A&M University’s Mays Business School
The George Washington University School of Business
UCLA Anderson School of Management
University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business
University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business

Previous Winners
2010: Notre Dame’s Mendoza School of Business
2009: New York University’s Stern School of Business
2008: Chicago GSB
2007: Columbia Business School

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Teamwork

October 13th, 2011 by under Academics, Cohorts. No Comments.

It’s October, and my cohorts and I have nearly completed our first term.  The last seven weeks have involved reaching back and remembering how to find the derivative of an equation and how to study effectively.  Additionally, we have picked up, or are in the process of picking up, new skills.

Some of us, for example, have no prior experience working with teams, and many of us have not worked with teams to the extent we are working with them now.  Three of our four classes have team assignments and, in one class, team assignments make up 40% of our final grade (to be fair, the word “teamwork” is the title of the course).

For the most part, teamwork is fun.  Just yesterday, my team delivered an oral presentation on Apple’s corporate culture and leadership norms.  We served up a reenactment of an executive committee meeting and a viewing of Apple’s iconic 1984 commercial (along with the facts, of course).  It was pretty fun to plan and perform the presentation.  My team and I jumped at the opportunity to challenge each other to think up the next over the top idea that would wow the audience.  After a week of statistics, economics, accounting, and leadership analysis, it was a nice “break.”

Fun as they are, team assignments have their challenges.  First, there is the issue of dedication.  Do you feel like your team members are as invested in shared projects as you are?  There is also direction.  Do you like where the team is taking an assignment?  If you don’t, can you live with it?

Finally, there is ego.  If you are thinking of applying to business school, then I’m guessing you are a confident person and you think you’re pretty special.  You probably have various statistics and numbers to back up your claim.  This is a great quality (and good for you for researching your claims)!  Once you enter into an MBA program, however, you will be surrounded by people who similarly like to quantify their greatness.  Again, none of this is bad, but it is an adjustment that many of us are making on the fly.

In the mean time, it feels good to be surrounded by so many smart people.  There are days when I leave frustrated because I didn’t do something as well as I wanted to, but I use that frustration to be better, and I usually am.  You will be, too.  It’s the nature of the MBA program.

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National MBA Conferences

September 13th, 2011 by under Career Strategy. 2 Comments.

Over the weekend, the National Association of Asian MBAs (NAAMBA) had their 3rd annual conference in New York, NY. I went, as did a few of my first year cohorts. Most (if not all) of us were experiencing our first national MBA conference.

There are a handful of large MBA conferences each year. In addition to NAAMBA, the National Society of Hispanic MBAs (NSHMBA) hosts a conference, as does the National Black MBA Association (NBMBAA). While each of these conferences targets a specific demographic, everyone is welcomed and encouraged to attend. You do not have to be Asian to attend NAAMBA, just like you do not have to be Hispanic to attend NSHMBA. Two other conferences worth noting are the National Association of Women MBAs (NAWMBA) and the Reaching Out MBA (ROMBA) conference, which targets members of the LGBT community.

National conferences are a great way for MBAs to round out their business school education through workshops, company presentations, and career coaching opportunities. Each conference also features a career expo where students can begin networking for internships and full time jobs. Summer internships are an important part of business school. They allow students to test drive a career and make adjustments to their career paths.

Many companies attend multiple conferences, so there are usually a few chances to get face time with a recruiter at the national conferences. Unfortunately for time-strapped MBA candidates, the conferences happen in the early fall, when many of us are still trying to keep our class schedules straight.

Thankfully, some of our pre-term work included “Smith-ifying” our resumes with career coaches and developing a personal career strategy project. Without the pre-term career strategy work, I may not have been as confident during my talks with recruiters (I talked to people from PepsiCo, AT&T, and US Airways, but there were plenty more).

You will hear more about national MBA conferences as you approach the beginning of your first year of business school. In the mean time, I’d recommend thinking about where you want to be after business school. I know it seems far off, but if the first two weeks of business school have taught me anything, they have taught me that MBA programs move fast!

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