November 23, 2014

Advice to First Year MBAs: Get Functional Experience

1 comment :
One thing I did not know when recruiting for the MBA summer internship was the following: just how important prior experience in the function that you're recruiting for was. For example, I recruited for marketing and the one thing I didn't have was strong functional experience in marketing prior to the MBA. What I did do was leverage the opportunities in the first year of the MBA to help build that functional skill set in marketing.
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November 12, 2014

Informational Interview Sample Questions

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Informational interviews are the basic building blocks of career development. It allows you to quickly gain insights from people who have the jobs that you may (or may not) want. During the internship, it is essential to have as many informational interviews with people in the organization as possible. Not only can you learn the culture, but it also allows you to learn how career development happens and also gains you exposure in the company. Informational interviews are also something MBA students do on a routine basis during the program, to learn more about the various career opportunities.
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October 19, 2014

Advice to First Year MBAs: Get Good at Presenting and Communicating

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Not all good communicators are leaders, but all leaders are good communicators. Communication is an essential tool that leaders need to use in order to get anything done. Almost every post-MBA function that MBAs are hired into will heavily depend on communication skills. Whether its presentations to senior leadership, convincing your team to align with your vision during meetings, or interviewing a customer, you want to make sure your audience is crystal clear about your intentions.
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October 6, 2014

MBA Case Competition Learnings

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One popular event with MBA students are case competitions. It's a great way to practice analytics and presentation skills, which are key for consulting roles. In addition, teams are under tremendous time pressure because of the short time frame of the competitions. It's a great way to practice leadership, teamwork, and communication skills. In March 2014, I formed a team and participated in the Wake Forest Biotech Case Competition.

My Advice to First Year MBAs Series will continue after this post. A reader and classmate had asked about case competitions so thought I'd post this now.
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September 28, 2014

Advice to First Year MBAs: Focus On Leadership Development

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As all first year MBAs probably know by now, there are a lot of ways to develop as a leader in the first year. There's the first year teams (C-LEAD teams at Duke Fuqua), first year club leadership positions, admissions coordinators, and the list goes on. However, leadership development can be de-prioritized given how overwhelming the first year is.

I'll be the first to admit that when I was a first year MBA, I didn't spend much time on leadership development. It just felt so distant. I had immediate fires to put out - cases to read, exams to study for, group projects to do, recruiting, etc. I'm sure many of you may already feel the same way.
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September 18, 2014

Advice to First Year MBAs: How to Not Get Overwhelmed

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The first year of an MBA program can feel like a huge buffet. There are just so many activities to choose from. Should I go to that recruiting event? Or that club activity? How about the end-of-term party? When you combine this with the uncertainty of summer internship recruiting and the competition in the classroom, it can feel very overwhelming.
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September 7, 2014

Advice to First Year MBAs: Engage During Recruiting Events

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This is the first post in my new series, Advice to First Year MBAs. These are based on my experience as a recent first year MBA student at Duke Fuqua. The focus is on how to get the most out of the first year during the MBA.

The intended audience for these posts are all first year MBA students and is school agnostic. However, I will be using several examples from my experience at Duke, although there should be similar opportunities at all schools. This can help prospective students as well, giving an additional perspective on what the first year MBA is all about.
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August 30, 2014

Non-traditional MBA Skills, a Hidden Asset

3 comments :
During my internship I had the opportunity to attend an all-employee meeting. The CEO spoke for about half an hour, then something unexpected happened. The Chief Scientific Officer stood up to explain something research related and I heard a familiar yet almost foreign language.

Barely anything scientific entered my ears in my one year of business school and during my time as a commercial MBA intern. This is the first time after business school that I truly felt my science background was actually an asset that I could leverage in the future.
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August 27, 2014

Leading Effective Meetings for MBAs

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During the MBA summer internship, you'll spend a lot of time in meetings. If you're an MBA student, you may be wondering why you have so many team projects at school. They are there to prepare you for your future function in the internship and after graduation. In my internship, I've had days where I had back-to-back meetings all day. That's a very common situation in Corporate America.

While we had a lot of meetings at during the first year of my MBA, I was still not mentally prepared for how frequent and how important meetings were for making decisions until my summer internship.
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