Friday, December 23, 2011

Financing the MBA

It’s been a while since we posted to our blog because we are busy reviewing Round II applications. We know this is a busy time of year for applicants as well. While you wait for decisions, maybe you are researching how to pay for your MBA. Besides the resources a school or program can offer you, there are other scholarship opportunities available. A great place to start your search is fastweb, a scholarship search engine, and FindMBA’s section on funding. There are also a number of organizations that award scholarships, such as the National Society of Hispanic MBAs, the National Black MBA Association, the Hispanic Scholarship Fund, which offers two scholarships to graduate students – the Staples and ALPFA Scholarships – and there are others, such as those awarded by the North American Interfraternal Foundation.

Each funding organization has specific eligibility requirements and deadlines, but with a little internet digging, you may find some new funding options.

Best Wishes and Happy Holidays!

Friday, November 4, 2011

IN HOT WATER: MBA Leadership Fellows Manage a Business Crisis

Scenario: The people of Grayling, Michigan are getting sick from drinking nitrate-contaminated tap water. A baby has died. STAR Global Beverage Company subsidiary, AquaStar, the bottled water company pumping water from Grayling’s water supply, is a possible scapegoat, along with the area farmers who have over-applied nitrate-rich fertilizers into the soil.

Taking on the role of a crisis management team working for STAR’s CEO, two teams of Terry MBA Leadership Fellows vied for top honors in the first business crisis simulation of the school year and presented their recommendations to STAR’s “Board of Directors.” Their presentations demonstrated that having the right answer is not necessarily the solution to the case. In this simulation, both teams came up with the right answer for dealing with the crisis, but the real test was knowing how an executive team presents to a corporate board. Besides bragging rights, each member of the winning team received a $500 award.

"The greatest takeaway I had from the crisis challenge was the value I found in constantly being challenged to defend a position. Our group spent almost 2/3 of our time simply debating the opportunities presented to us and taking turns poking holes in each path we could devise. I think in the end, we were better prepared to defend our stance since we had already come up with and at least attempted to address all the possible issues with taking that option. There wasn't going to be a perfect option, but we learned how to most effectively find and defend the route we chose," Emily Nerland, MBA '12.

Terry invited business people from the Athens area and from the University community to serve as STAR’s “Board of Directors” and judges of the competition. They included Matt Kirby, a Terry alumnus, survivor of the Worldcom and Wachovia debacles, and current owner operator of a local Chic-fil-A restaurant; Lauren Loftin, Conservation Education Specialist with the Athens-Clarke County Government; Dr. Nick Berente, successful entrepreneur and member of Terry’s MIS faculty; and Dr. Todd Rasmussen, hydrology and water resources expert from the UGA Forestry department.

“The case was quite realistic. I see problems like this all the time. Land contamination leaching into the local water supply is a serious issue in many communities,” said Dr. Rasmussen, who has served as an expert witness in water-related lawsuits. “Both teams came up with a balanced solution that addressed immediate needs, like providing uncontaminated water to Grayling, and longer term solutions, like enforcement of environmental regulations and community agreements on water and land usage.”

The MBA Leadership Fellows will face another crisis challenge in the spring.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

A Student Perspective on the Health Care Business Alliance Conference

Joel Pettigrew is a 2nd year MBA student who attended the Vanderbilt Healthcare Conference last year. This year's conference takes place on October 28, 2011. Here are some of his thoughts on last year's conference:

Last October, Terry students joined 250 academics and professionals from across the country for the Health Care Business Alliance conference in Nashville, Tennessee. The topic of discussion for the day was the changing face of the Health Care industry; a growing area of interest amongst Terry students.

The Health Care Industry spurred so much interest that the class of 2012 decided it was time to form a Health Care Club. With this participation at the HCBA conference, Terry has added to its presence in the Health Care industry, already represented in part by partnering with Mercy Health Center in Athens, Health Care facility tours across the Southeast, and with current recruiting partners such as Unum and Kaiser.

The HCBA conference was an excellent opportunity to hear from experts in various parts of the Health Care industry. The “Mayor” of DaVita’s employee village, CEO Kent Thiry, or KT, opened the conference with a highly motivational speech about valuing community as a company. His address was punctuated by video clips of DaVita’s awards ceremonies, filled with shots of grateful employees from senior management to their front-line employees. Although KT has been able to transform DaVita from a company on the edge of bankruptcy and facing several lawsuits to one of the top 125 companies in the country to work for, he is frank about his own shortcomings, making his address feel more genuine than a 45 minute commercial for DaVita.

The bulk of the conference took place after KT’s address and involved various panel discussions and opportunities to speak with recruiters from DaVita, Cardinal Health, McKessen, HealthSouth, HCA, Grant Thornton, Teknetex, and other high-profile Health Care companies.

Panel discussions covered the topics of Medicare sustainability, venture capital in the Health Care industry, and Health Care innovation. Medicare sustainability was an interesting discussion. Topics ranged from suggestions for solutions involving educating the public to assertions that this issue will have repercussions that will affect the US for generations to come. Unfortunately, the Q&A session following the discussion was too short to dig deeply into the topic with the panel, but it was nevertheless an excellent opportunity to hear what experts in various fields are thinking, saying, and doing about what is undoubtedly one of the largest issues that Health Care will have to address in the coming years.

Lunch provided a welcome break from the panels and recruiting booths that populated the conference. The second keynote address was from the Chief Medical officer of HCA, Jon Perlin. Although the topic was one of great interest as it addressed the specific legislation under consideration and various stages of approval on the national level, tensions were high as there appeared to be a disconnect between the consensus of the academics and the physicians on how the policies would affect the world of Health Care in the United States.

The HCBA conference was an excellent opportunity to meet with people who are passionate about Health Care and its place in both the private and public sectors as the United States focuses its attention on this increasingly visible and complex problem. Terry’s support and interest in growing Health Care concerns represents a huge step forward for the Business School as these issues will increasingly become mainstream topics of discussion in the business worlds.

Friday, October 14, 2011

From the Marines to the Terry MBA

Thomas Kidd is a first year MBA student and former Marine concentrating in operations. When we asked him why he chose Terry, here is what he told us:

While weighing B-School offers in the winter of 2010, I sometimes got sidetracked by promises of fame and fortune. These seem to be major selling points for many professionals considering an MBA, especially during a recession, but I had to return to reality and make a decision based on what was and still is most valuable to me, the experience.

What sold me on Terry in the first place, is the same thing that is keeping me passionate and driven to succeed now that I’m here. The fact that the program actually cares about each student and not about its “students” is evidenced on campus every day. Not but 2 weeks into the semester, it became noticeable that our Career Management, Admissions, and Student Affairs staff knew each and every student by name and could sum up most of our backgrounds as well. If these people choose to put that much extra effort into their goal of aiding in my success, then I consider it a privilege to work to the fullest extent of my capabilities to help them reach that goal. We each have our selfish reasons, they need their numbers and I need a career, but the approach and thus the experience is what keeps me motivated.

Having a background as a U.S. Marine and more recently as a legal administrator with the U.S. Department of Justice, experiences were sometimes ordered and not lived. Goals were already defined, we were all just waiting for our promised time to claim them. Sure, I had positive experiences along the way, but if the destination is already set in stone then the journey to get there becomes un-inspired. That’s what Terry is currently doing for me, being as helpful as they can be while still realizing that I need to struggle in order to grow and progress both personally and professionally.

Anything given has no real value, and Terry is helping me earn that value by providing the experience.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

First Impressions

You may have heard the quote, “You never get a second chance to make a first impression.” As you begin the process of researching MBA programs, two things to consider are how you go about gathering information and how you present yourself to admissions staff. Every personal interaction you have with any MBA program is part of your evaluation process. It’s our job to remember you. It’s your job to thoroughly educate yourself about each program you are interested in BEFORE you call, email or walk in to an office. Why is that? Well, let’s use the analogy of walking in to a hair salon:

Salon owner (with customer): Hello, can I help you?
Walk-in: Yeah, I wanna learn about haircuts.
Salon owner: Do you want a haircut?
Walk-in: I’m not sure. I’m thinking about getting one. Can you tell me about all the types of haircuts you do?

Now, would you do that to a stylist? Not likely. Whether you are getting a haircut or an MBA, it’s important to be an informed consumer. If you take these steps BEFORE calling, emailing or walking into an MBA Admissions Office, you have a much better chance of making a great first impression:

  • · Review the information about the program and the application process on the website
  • · Prepare questions about anything you need to know that you CANNOT find online or in their brochures
  • · Find out if the school offers a visitation program that you can attend. Visiting a school through a formal program is often the best way to learn what you need to know about a school.
  • · If there is no visitation program, call the main admissions office number to ask your questions or make an appointment to meet in person with a member of the admissions staff.
  • · If you choose to walk in without an appointment, please be aware that there may be no one available to meet with you. Admissions staff travel often during the recruiting season and when they are in the office, they are often busy with other business.
  • · Dress and act appropriately. Perceptions matter. If you walk in looking like you just came from the beach, you don’t give the impression that you’re a serious candidate.
  • · Every person you meet in an MBA program is an opportunity to make a good impression. Introduce yourself. Be respectful of other people’s time. Be clear and concise in explaining what you need/want to know.

Remember, presenting yourself as a serious professional starts during the application process! If you want to be successful, then use the application process as preparation for the recruiting activities – and the recruiters you will meet – that begin during your first semester of school.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Terry Builds Leadership…Really

Yesterday and today at Terry, two teams of MBA students competed in the Leadership Crisis Challenge. Valerie Alderson, who participated in last year's challenge, had this to say about her experience:

If I were a betting woman,--and I am-- I would bet that every MBA program claims to be developing the next generation of leaders in some way, shape, or form. Last year over 150,000 MBAs were conferred* and, of course, all those MBAs were prepared to take on the world! The only issue? The real world is not a classroom.

Decisions have implications. You don’t get a grade on a work project. It’s not feasible to learn how to be a leader by simply reading a book. Recognizing these differences between the classroom and the office, Terry decided to build a specific leadership development component into the curriculum.

Terry works real life challenges into the classroom environment in a fun yet challenging way. An example of this was a crisis challenge where 10 of us were separated into 2 teams of 5 to compete against one another to complete the best business plan under strict time constraints. These were the guidelines we were given:

“Congratulations, you are the new project team on a luxury resort project. The project is 3 weeks behind schedule and $2 million dollars over budget. We have to open on time so you need to find out how to make that happen. The Board will give you 5 minutes tomorrow at the end of their meeting to present your plan.”

We received some additional information, though not enough to make the best choices. I won’t bore you with all of the details, except to say that each piece of info we received about cutting costs or speeding up completion time was going to have negative backlash. Each team had until midnight (a 6 hour deadline,) and all we had were whiteboards, Excel and PowerPoint; the tools of masters. At 11:59pm we submitted our 5-slide PowerPoint for the “board meeting” the next day.

The following morning we were met by four men of varying backgrounds that shared one thing in common: they were our ‘board’ and were here to give us a hard time about the difficult choices we had made.

Even though it was a simulation, it was downright scary being attacked by these seemingly powerful execs. We stood our ground and remained united as a team and we did survive…just long enough to receive a message from our imaginary CEO about a scandal that was going to hit the airwaves tomorrow. We had 45 minutes to write a press release and then give a press conference to -- you guessed it -- two actual members of the UGA press who were there to batter us with questions.

While undoubtedly stressful, the entire event was a great learning experience.

After the barrage of questions from the ‘board’ and the ‘press,’ it was only fair that they provide us some feedback. I truly learned some great things about dealing with a BOD that I never would have learned in the classroom. It was a simulation, but it was as real as it gets before it gets real enough that jobs are on the line.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Join Us for Fall Visit Days


Every MBA Program has its own personality. Some schools are more competitive, some more collaborative. Your significant other may be welcomed at one school and feel less comfortable at another. Your interest in starting a new student club may be met with encouragement or resistance. Your particular work experience may be highly valued or largely discounted. The faculty may know you by name, or you may be one of a sea of faces. So how do you figure out which MBA personality is the best match with yours?

The closest you’re going to get to actually being in an MBA program is visiting one. When I say visiting I don’t mean chatting with someone from the program at a reception at a hotel; I mean going to the home turf: the campus visit. I encourage anyone considering enrolling in an MBA program to visit the campus sometime before making an enrollment decision. That’s right, you’ve got time- it doesn’t have to be before you apply or even before you’re accepted, just sometime before you choose to commit. You wouldn’t buy a car without a test drive, right? Enrolling in a MBA program is an even bigger economic decision, and a campus visit is your opportunity to test drive.

Every school handles campus visits a different way, so I encourage you to check websites and look for the visit opportunities each school presents. The Full-Time MBA program at the University of Georgia offers opportunities to visit in the form of information sessions (which are open to the general public) and visits scheduled in conjunction with an admissions interview (by invitation only after submission of an application). When you come for an interview at Terry you are also able to visit a class and go out to lunch with a current student. Why do we ask you to wait until after you apply? We have 101 Full-Time Terry MBA students, and we do well over 101 interviews per year! Out of consideration for limited student time (and staff time), we limit the opportunity to candidates who are seriously considering Terry. Due to our small staff size, walk-in visitors can be tough for us to accommodate. I encourage you to email or call ahead if you want to set up an informational appointment with a member of the staff. Be prepared to make positive impression: dress the part, review available information on the program, and come with a list of questions.

We’re offering four special opportunities to visit the UGA campus soon: Fall Visit Days. Join us for a Fall Visit Day to visit a class, attend an information session, and enjoy lunch with current students, faculty, and staff. If you want a comprehensive visit before choosing to apply, this is your chance! Each event takes place on a Monday from 9:00am to 1:00pm, and you can schedule an admissions interview with a member of the staff later that day if you wish. Register online here:

October 3rd
October 24th
November 7th


We hope to see you soon!

Monday, August 22, 2011

How the GMAT is changing

The World is coming to an end!

No, but the GMAT is changing. If you are like many prospective MBA students, preparing for and taking the GMAT is a daunting task. We want you to be as prepared as possible, so we want you to understand what the upcoming changes mean to you as a test taker. In June of 2012, the test will include an integrated reasoning section which is designed to provide a better assessment of your ability to evaluate information from multiple sources. Simply put, they are removing one of the analytical essays and replacing it with a new section designed to test integrated reasoning. The test will not be any longer, but it may be more challenging and your preparation for it also needs to change.

The new 30-minute section will present sets of data - charts, graphs and spreadsheets – and ask you to respond to a series of interactive questions about each data set. Within each group of questions in this section, you may wear headphones to listen to instructions or use an online calculator.

Why are these changes being made? Business faculty worldwide felt the test needed to more thoroughly and directly assess students’ ability to evaluate information within a real-world context. In recent years, business schools have adapted their curriculums to meet complex business needs so it only makes sense to change the entrance testing for these programs now, too.

As for scoring, the quantitative and verbal sections will still be scored on the same 200-800 scale and you will still exit the test with those unofficial scores in hand. The integrated reasoning and analytical scores will be scored separately on a different scale.

To stay up-to-date on these changes and any materials from GMAC that will help you prepare for the test, check their website, MBA.com regularly. For more information about these changes, check out these articles or the video overview of the new GMAT:

MBA.com

BusinessWeek

U.S. News & World Report