Diwali Night at Smith!

November 15th, 2012 by under Uncategorized. No Comments.

The time when you think you are going to miss your family the most is when you have festivities and celebrations going back at home. Well if you are in Smith, you may not have time for that. As here at Smith, we pride ourselves in celebrating our cultures. It’s humbling to see how the whole Smith community came down to celebrate an Indian festival. Not only did each of my classmates join in our fun, they even participated in putting together a performance. I am always overwhelmed with the efforts my classmates and friends put in to know each other’s culture better and that’s what Smith is all about-  understanding each other and respecting each other’s culture.


Second year of my MBA program

October 22nd, 2012 by under Uncategorized. No Comments.

When I was in the first year of my MBA degree, I always thought life would be so much easier when I am in my second year. Reasons : Firstly, I won’t be looking for an internship. Secondly, I would have less coursework load. Truth : Not really.

The second year of my MBA program is as challenging as my first year. In fact, it sometimes seems more than the first year given that I am continuing my internship through the fall in 2tor,Inc. and also working with the research and development team of MARS, Inc.(Belgium) as a part of my Smith experience class. It is sometimes challenging to schedule meetings on a different time zone but I am happy to have such a supportive and accommodating team. Coming to Smith, I always knew I would have a supporting community but its even greater than what I pictured. Its around an year and I can comfortably say I have a family here in Maryland. The student family here is always eager to help and I have made some really great friends for life.

Probably, that’s the reason that when someone asks me would I like to do this all over again? My response is a prompt yes!



Internship Experience at a Startup

September 22nd, 2012 by under Uncategorized. No Comments.

My goal coming to Smith School was to venture into the marketing and strategy function in the technology industry. Considering my previous work experience was technology focused, I wanted to leverage my summer internship to help me gain a wide range of experience in the marketing and strategic functioning of the company. Being an international student, my internship search consisted of not only looking for technology companies with an internal marketing team but also for companies which are open to hire international . Having already worked in a big company, I wanted to work for a small company to gain a better understanding of nitty gritties of running a business. I was fortunate enough that Smith’s Dingman Center of entrepreneurship was encouraging students to work with the startups in the area and I was able to make connections in one of the startup fairs sponsored by the school.

My internship was with 2tor, Inc., a company that provides the vital—yet often-overlooked—logistical components of any online program, including comprehensive student support services from enrollment through graduation and beyond as well as practical learning experiences within distant communities around the country. The firm is a start-up company and has been around for almost four years. I was a marketing analytics intern for the summer reporting directly to the Director of Analytics. My primary role was to provide accurate, effective and concise statistical data to marketing, lead generation and sales team so as to help them make better business decisions. I combined the quantitative skills gained through my courses in Data Modeling and Market Forecasting class with the psychological skills gained during my Consumer Behavior class to initiate and complete the market segmentation project, the first of its kind in the company. In the short duration of my internship, I was given an opportunity to make presentations to the VP of lead generation team and EVP of marketing team. I also had an opportunity to work directly with the brand management and post enrollment team in the company.

I am continuing with my internship in the fall and I am presently working on creating a marketing survey for one of the programs handled by the company. I was also able to gain a hands on experience on various marketing analytic tools like JMP, Sales force, SAS, R and Python. I strongly believe that this internship has helped me in gaining skills which has increased my skills and confidence to fully immerse myself into the field of marketing and strategy.

Along with gaining the technical skills at the job, I also had a fun time working at 2tor. The people are very warm and down to earth. One week the interns were able to meet with the EVP of external relations while the other week we were enjoying baseball with the CEO of the company.

The best advice I can give for the internship search is to make sure you know what you want from your internship. We have the best available resources on campus and the least we can do is leverage them to our advantage. You can read a detailed blog about how to make your summer search effective here.


The Summer Search Begins

July 28th, 2012 by under Career, Uncategorized. No Comments.

While sitting to write my next blog about my Summer Internship experience, I thought the topic of  Internship Search was much more essential to be covered. So, for all those first year MBA students who will begin their search for internship next fall, here are some key factors to keep in mind –

1. Decide the Function and Industry –  Some students will be totally clear about the job function they are interested in right from the start of the program and some will still be having doubts about what career path to pursue. For the former, it’s always good to have a focus area but never narrow your options. For the latter, you are not alone, there will be many like you. If you are not sure about the function you would like to focus on, your summer internship search can be more broad. You can treat your summer internship as a trial for the job function you are interested in. But you surely should do some research before hedging your bets on a certain field. I would suggest talking to the career coach, current students and alumni.

2. Make a list of companies – Once you are done sorting the list of functions you are interested in, the next step should be having a list of companies in mind that fall into your focus area and then a list of few other companies that may not be your main focus but are worthy enough to suit your minimum criteria. When I say criteria, I mean it may be the type of function , the type of industry or the nature of the industry that you are looking for.

3.  Resume Review – The next most important thing is to have your resume ready and reviewed by your career coach. Make sure you do this sincerely. You can also ask your classmates to help you with the review. One very important thing about getting your resumes reviewed is everyone will have a different opinion and each would be great in it’s own way, but the final decision lies with you. So, make those decisions wisely.

4. LinkedIn Profile –  It is as important to update your LinkedIn profile as it is to have your resume updated in the school resume handbook. All the employers tend to look up your public profile on the web and it is good to have a professional picture on your LinkedIn profile. While updating your LinkedIn profile, make sure to ask for recommendations from your managers or supervisors from your previous work place. The recommendations work as a proof for all your hard work.

5.  Attend the National MBA conferences – Apart from using the school resources and postings in Hiresmith, I would strongly encourage all the students to book at least 2 business conferences. Yes, you heard me. These conferences are not only a good way of reaching out to companies that do not recruit on campus but it’s also a good way to establish first contact with the companies that come to campus as well (visiting the booths of the companies that recruits on campus shows that you are truly interested in the company).

Preparation for the conferences : –

  •  Do a lot of mock interviews with your classmates, 2nd years and of course, OCS career coach. If time permits, make sure to  practice with different career coaches so that you can come out of your comfort zone that usually sets in when you are practicing with the same person over and over again.
  • Make sure to have a list of the companies that are attending the conference and do your homework on the ones that you plan to visit.
  • Have your resumes, business cards and elevator pitches ready. Elevator pitch is how would you introduce yourself to someone whom you meet in the elevator and have just those crucial 30 seconds or a minute to talk to. It reflects the idea that it should be possible to deliver the summary of your conversation in the span of an elevator ride.
  • Add the event on your linkedin profile and make sure to reach out to the HR recruiting managers from different companies to learn more about the internship opportunities. It is good to touch base with the Alumni who are working in the  companies of your interest so as to gain a better understanding of the work culture and the openings inside the company.

Things to do after the conference (within a week) –

  • Make sure to reach out to the employers whom you spoke to and make sure to express your continued interest.
  • If you had your first round of interview during the conference, make sure to keep yourself prepared and updated for the second round of interview. You don’t want to be caught off guard.
  • Don’t loose touch. Keep practicing. It never hurts.

6. Start up Fairs-  If you own a business or you want to gain entrepreneurial experience, these start up fairs aid in putting you in touch with some of the great companies in the area. It is also a great place for networking with business people and know more about different innovative ideas.

Apart from all the above pointers, it is essential to understand that job search is like match making and it’s only when you really feel the connection and use your time and devotion, you will see the reciprocation from the other side.

All the best with your search and the whole process!


Strategy in Business

January 13th, 2012 by under Hotel Industry. No Comments.

In the second term of our first semester, I always wondered while sitting in the strategy class that how exciting can it be to create a business strategy for a company or even is it really essential for the company to have a common strategy for all its divisions? All the theory classes didn’t help much in answering my doubts. But yes, the case studies did make it clear that the companies, which didn’t know the strategy which they were following, ended in ashes.

The most interesting part of the whole class was when we applied the strategic concepts learned in the class for creating real strategies for a company of our choice. I had Angie Baker, Satyam Mehrotra, Teal Liu, Tony Liu and Rakesh Krishnan in my group and we decided to apply all the new knowledge learned to a big player, Marriott in the Hotel Industry. It was interesting to learn the history and current strategies about Marriott and the hotel industry as a whole. The best part in the process was how each team member came up with a new strategy which the company can use in future to extend the company’s current line of hotels. We also worked towards forecasting the growth of Marriott using the suggested strategies. The real challenge came in the form of the team presentation in front of the Track2 -Cohort Class of 2013 where the last 10 minutes of the presentation was the Audience Questions Round. There were a pool of questions both from our classmates and the professor and our team was able to successfully knock down each of it.

Our team was really happy after the presentation and yes, I was delighted because after the presentation and the experience , the question I had in mind – Whether companies really need to form a strategy-  was answered. Although each division in the company may function separately, what makes a company successful is the common goal of the company which each unit should contribute to.

Indeed, my team was wonderful and I am looking forward to working with them for the next case competition coming up in February,2012. Hope to share some of the insights from the case competition on my blog!



Soupy Soup!!

December 2nd, 2011 by under Food Industry, Marketing, Uncategorized. No Comments.

Ever wondered how it is to work in a Food Industry? Coming from a Technology Background, I always did. I always wondered what is going on inside those companies which make such delicious food and beverages. So, here it is – My first visit to a Soup Company!

We started early in the morning around 5am from College Park  to visit the Campbell’s Soup Company,NJ on Friday, Dec 2nd, 2011. We reached well ahead of time as planned and were waiting at the front desk for our Smith Alum, Rachel who is Associate Brand Manager at Campbells’ Soup and was generous enough to arrange a ” Day on Job Trek” for us.  There were students from Wharton School of Business as well signed up for the same event.

The day started with a sweet aroma of the breakfast followed by a presentation about Lab Design Overview. It was fascinating to know how much hard work and creative thinking goes behind those colorful and attractive labels we see on each of those products. How important it is to consider the size, color, text, photograph or even considering modifying the brand logo. Everyone was excited about premium line of soup product and the Campbell’s gift card which we were handed. After  the breakfast and the soup packaging endeavor, we were taken to the product inspection section. We were taught how to taste the soup – I never knew there is a way to taste the soup 🙂  But it only made more sense when we were explained the nitty-gritty of the process. We had five kinds of soup in front of us and were given a spoon and a bowl to taste the soups along with crackers and water to make sure our palettes are well cleaned before trying the next one. Usually in a real scenario, one session of product testing has only one soup or only one of the products. The tasting is mostly followed by providing feedback in a form and the process is repetitive which helps in further product development or changes.

I must say the whole day was filled with delicacies ranging from soups to snacks. Our lunch with Chef Mario helped us gain better insights about the various salts used across the world.  The day ended with the marketing summary about the Gourmet Product which we started our discussion with. My blog would remain incomplete without mentioning the Customer Taste Kitchen which brought back memories of childhood recipes of soup for many in the group.

We all enjoyed the experience to the fullest which was more rewarding due to the Associate Brand Managers Panel who were friendly enough to share their experiences with the students. All in all – a great day of knowledge and NETWORKING (as we say in the MBA world )!!

We are on our way back to College Park. The traffic in the highway I95 suggests that its weekend and there is lot more fun awaiting us!


Back to school!

November 29th, 2011 by under International Experience. No Comments.

I am here finally (back to school after 4 years of work life)! Almost 4 months into the program and I am enjoying every bit of it. What’s different here? Well one can say it’s a professional course so how can it be much different from work life? Okay let me stress on the fact – Yes, it is different.

I have the liberty to make mistakes. But how does that help? For a person like me who is keen on doing things perfectly and gets upset at every small mistake she makes, this provides me the ideal platform to learn. I can learn from my mistakes and work on them to better myself each time. I can attend classes with people from farthest corners of the world and be amazed by the different unique perspectives.

Although I am so far away from my country and friends, still I feel like I am an integral part of this place. I was having a conversation with my dad last night and he asked what is the best thing I like about being here. This is what I said, “Papaji, Everyday when I come back from school, I have a great sense of fulfillment. I learn something new or may be learn something old in a new way. So, each day I wake up I know the way I look at things won’t be the same when I return home”.

Waiting eagerly to share more information about my experience here in my future blogs!