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

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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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August 24, 2014

Leadership Development: Finding the Time to Reflect

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The best thing about leaving your job and doing the MBA is that it gives you two years to pause and reflect. As a bonus, the MBA summer internship is like leadership learning on steroids.

During the internship, students have a lot of time to engage with senior leaders through one-on-ones. You work on a team and do projects, thus acquiring learnings. Then you discuss these learnings during engagement with senior leadership, and reflect.

This cycle of learning and reflection in such a short amount time is incredibly powerful and hard to find outside of an MBA program.
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August 20, 2014

Get Promoted: First Build Trust With Your Boss

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Learning about leadership is like being a detective. You're given bits and pieces by different leaders - clues, if you will. And then it's up to you to interpret those clues and create a story of what leadership actually is. I had a conversation with a senior executive and he told me one of the trademarks of a rising leader is when your bosses aren't in the room, they still trust that you will take the team further to achieve their vision.
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August 16, 2014

Pharma MBA Commercial Roles

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This week, a reader had requested information on MBA roles in a pharma company. I thought it may be a good idea to write a blog post on this while the MBA summer internship is still fresh in my mind. I won't mention any companies in particular, and will keep this information as general as possible.

This post will only focus on the commercial function as that is the only area where I have first-hand experience. While I put down pharma in the post title, it also applies to medical device companies for the most part. Alright, let's get started.
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August 13, 2014

Duke MBA Healthcare Recruiting

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Because Duke University is located in Durham, NC, many folks are concerned about recruiting across the US. For example, the major hubs for pharma, such as Boston, New Jersey, and the Bay Area are far away. Fortunately the Health Sector Management (HSM) program at Fuqua has a solid relationship with many health care companies. Because of the strong reputation (and size) of the HSM program, the Duke MBA is a key target school for many companies in the health sector.
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