Monday, February 23, 2015

Making the Transition from Military Service

Adam John, USMA '08, MBA '16
What did I do in the military?
After graduating from West Point, I served as an Infantry Officer and U.S. Army Ranger for about 6 years. During my service, I conducted five combat deployments to countries such as Iraq and Afghanistan. I am extremely proud to be an American and to have had the opportunity to serve our Nation.

After transition from the military to B-School—what did I learn?
Gaining perspective and experience prior to attending b-school is extremely beneficial. Whether that means transitioning from the military early to conduct a spring internship or spending a few weeks at a company shadowing executives, gaining corporate exposure is a must. After transitioning from the military, I spent 5 months in Washington D.C. working for an organization that allowed me access to several corporations, NGOs, and non-profits. In doing so, I expanded my network and gained valuable industry exposure. Several companies (e.g., Goldman Sachs, PwC, Google) have phenomenal programs for either pre-MBA veterans or recently transitioned veterans. I encourage all veterans to take advantage of these opportunities.

What are my initial lessons learned from B-school?
1.)  As in the military, teamwork is also essential in business school. From presentations to group case studies, working together as teams is vital for success in the classroom.
2.)   Several attributes from the military directly transfer to b-school. Leadership and hard work directly transfer, while planning, strategy development, and operations management are only semantically different.

What is the SVRC and what does it do?
The SVRC is a center within the Student Affairs Division that connects the 240+ student veterans who are enrolled at the University of Georgia with an array of resources. The center advocates existing programs within UGA (e.g., Career Center, Academic Enhancement) and several organizations outside the university (e.g., VA, VFW) to our student veterans to ensure their continued success. More on the SVRC:

What do I do at the SVRC?
Currently, I am one of two graduate assistants who serve in the SVRC. I work directly for the SVRC Director and am responsible for managing several center initiatives. For instance, part of the SVRC’s mission is to posture student veterans for challenging internships and career opportunities. I lead these efforts through our Corporate Outreach program that provides veterans’ access to prospective companies that are interested in hiring them. Basically, I connect veterans who are searching for employment or internships with companies that have human capital requirements.   

For me, it's an awesome opportunity to continue to contribute and give back to fellow veterans.   

What are my future plans?
While at business school, I have dedicated my job search to a career in management consulting. I found that my passions—leading teams and solving complex problems—are directly applicable to consulting, and I believe that I would best use my skill set here. This summer I will be working as a Summer Associate with Cognizant Business Consulting.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

MBA Entrepreneurs Collaborating Across UGA

I entered the MBA program with one goal: start a business while I’m in school.  I was looking
Kari Baker, MBA '15
for a program that would provide the support that I needed as an aspiring entrepreneur. 

Upon entering the program, I became involved with the Entrepreneurship program within the Terry College of Business. With time, myself and other MBA entrepreneurship students started to hear whisperings of other exciting entrepreneurial things happening all over campus.  We began exploring and talking with researchers, professors, and administrators in other colleges.  What we found was a vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystem that was unfortunately siloed within the different colleges on campus. 

We began to dream of what it would look like if entrepreneurial computer science students communicated with business students, or family and consumer science students collaborated with art students, etc.  In talking with entrepreneurial students from different disciplines, we found this theme echoed: Students do not know how to connect with entrepreneurial people outside of their “silos”.  We also found that many students did not know how to take the next step with their business ideas.

This is what inspired us to create the Tree Fort, a business incubator created by students, for students.  The Tree Fort was founded by Daniel McBrayer (MBA), Alex Edelstein (undergraduate MIS major), and myself to provide students with co-working space, interdisciplinary resources, and accountability in taking the next steps with their business ideas. 

The Tree Fort is a place to put into practice the entrepreneurial/innovation skills that we’re learning in our classes.  Though this incubator, we now have physical space to pursue our business ideas, not only with other business students, but along-side some of the brightest students from all over campus.

What I love about the Terry MBA program is the amount of support we receive from faculty and staff.  Not only do they know our names, but they know what we are passionate about and are eager to support us as we pursue these passions.  The Tree Fort would not be where it is if we did not have faculty and administrators like Dr. Sutherland, Chris Hanks, and Don Perry who believe in us and have helped us to find the resources that we needed to pursue this dream.  

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Knowledge Sharing in Action: Big Data Analytics Workshop

Mayank Tayal, MBA '15
I’m a 2nd year MBA student at UGA with primary focus in the areas of Big Data Analytics, Business Intelligence and Statistical Modeling. During one of the fall 2014 networking events, I happened to talk about my career interests with Randy Groomes, Director for Diversity Relations at Terry College of Business. He mentioned that there was a Terry Marketing case competition coming up soon for Terry undergraduates and asked if I would be interested in conducting a workshop for anyone at Terry interested in Big Data and Analytics, especially for those undergraduates preparing for the case competition.  I immediately agreed to the opportunity to share what I was learning in the program.

To prepare, I sought details about the attending students and their case competition from Randy and came up with the agenda that I discussed with Dr. Hugh Watson, Professor in the Management Information Systems department, to seek his feedback. Through this 2 hour workshop I intended to share my knowledge in Big Data, Analytics and Visualization as well as to provide the hands-on experience with MS Excel and Tableau to the attendees. I supported the workshop through presentations, demos and group exercises and I also tailored it to a wider audience should I be asked to present the material at a later date or share it online.

Overall, the workshop was a big success for everybody in terms of delivering so much content in 2 hours and equipping the audience with basic knowledge and information about how big data’s relationship to marketing. To me, it was a great learning experience, not only in thinking about how to present the technical knowledge but to train non-technical people in that area. I am thankful to Dr. Watson for being my mentor and providing his technical expertise in the workshop. I’m also thankful to Randy for organizing the workshop and providing me this valuable opportunity while I am a student.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

A Valuable Experience at the 2014 NBMBAA Case Competition

Jeremy Harp '15
Every year a sizeable cohort of students from the University of Georgia’s MBA program attends the National Black MBA Association’s (NBMBAA) career expo and job fair. In parallel with the job fair, the NBMBAA also hosts a case competition. Each year Chrysler Group LLC develops a business case and tasks MBA students with deriving a solution. With a 3rd place price of $10,000, 2nd place prize of $15,000, and a grand prize of $25,000 to the winning team, participation in the case competition is sizeable and competition is fierce.

This past year’s conference afforded me the opportunity to participate in the NBMBAA case competition with three other MBAs from the full-time program: LaDrica Derrico, Bruce Taylor, and Nathan Navarro. Fortunately, the business case this year involved developing a marketing strategy for the Jeep Renegade, and I had significant experience in consumer insights having worked with Procter & Gamble this past summer. The Jeep Renegade will d├ębut in early 2015 and we were tasked with developing how to both position the car based on Jeep’s current lineup, make the car more appealing to millennials, and increase traffic to the website.

Teams are given just over a month to analyze the case and finalize a presentation in time for the competition in mid-September. Keeping in mind the large grand prize, our team meetings began soon after we were all on campus. The most challenging part of the competition was the meetings about halfway through, where each member had conflicting ideas for how best to move forward. The strong personalities and the desire to do well made for some interesting meetings during that time. Fortunately, the team was able to work together in such a way that we could both express our ideas as well as have those ideas challenged in a respectful and positive manner. After coming to a consensus on direction, the development of the presentation was remarkably simple. The initial round of the competition went very well for us as we were selected as one of the top 6 teams to advance to the final round. LaDrica’s Best Presenter award and the team being close to the $25,000 grand prize spurred further preparation and practice with the group. The final round went equally as well as the first, but we ultimately did not place in the top three.

Though 1/4th of $25,000 would have been a welcomed addition to my bank account, participating in the 2014 NBMBAA case competition was an amazing experience. The competition allowed me to be able to strategically apply the topics to which I had been introduced in my classes. Additionally, I learned more about teamwork and how working well with others is essential for success in business. Finally, I became closer with my teammates and understood that the University of Georgia’s Terry College of Business was the best choice for my MBA. My experiences reminded me of just how smart, driven, and impressive all my classmates are. I am proud to be here and I am proud to have represented UGA well at the 2014 NBMBAA case competition.