Trip of a lifetime

Greetings friends!

Happy new year! Congratulations to all those who submitted for the second deadline and all those who are interviewing! The spring semester has quickly started and things are back in full swing! I just returned from a trip of a lifetime. Over the winter break, I took a class at the National University of Singapore (NUS) to learn about Doing Business in (DBI) Asia. The Dean of the business school at NUS is a former Stern professor so he has specially customized this class to complement the Stern curriculum and give us an in-depth understanding of doing business in Asia. It was an interesting balance of learning about mature and emerging markets. In addition to the class, we went on several corporate visits. We took a tour of the Singapore Airlines training facility and the Asia Pacific Brewery where they brew Tiger Beer, the national beer of Singapore. We also got to explore the big food culture of Singapore and eat the famous Chili Crab. Since Singapore is in a central location, I also traveled to Bali, Indonesia and Phuket, Thailand. Southeast Asia is a popular destination among second year students and I met up with classmates in each country. I had an amazing time and am sad that my business school career is ending this semester.

Until next time,
Jennie

Round 2

It’s the start of my second semester and it’s hard to believe I’m back after a roughly six week hiatus. I enjoyed the long break and the opportunity to travel and reflect on my first semester. At the same time, I’m excited for what’s to come during this week alone. This Friday is the Stern Women in Business Conference. I attended this conference last year when I interviewed and it was a turning point for me in the decision process. I met so many bright, friendly, and enthusiastic women, I was convinced that Stern was the place for me. I can’t wait to see what this year has in store!

In addition, I will begin my Stern Consulting Corps project. This semester, I will be working with the Langone Medical Center on a project about integrated healthcare. As someone who works on an annual health and wellness fair in Harlem, NY and has a chronically ill parent, this opportunity resonated with me on a personal level. I am also excited because healthcare has always been an interest of mine, but I don’t necessarily see myself working in the industry (subject to change). This gives me a way to experience an industry which I might otherwise  have never gained exposure to. I’m looking forward to the possibility of helping people through this opportunity. I will be sure to report back on my experiences.

Lastly, I’m thrilled to be taking my first elective this semester – foundations of entrepreneurship! I took one class in undergrad where I was required to write a business plan. Since then, I have always been interested in the possibility of starting my own business. I have some ideas in the retail space that I plan to explore. I’m hopeful that this class will give me a good starting place to put my thoughts into action. Stay tuned for an exciting semester!

Doing Business in…

Greetings friends!

This semester has flown by! This will be my last post of 2012. I am heading to Southeast Asia in two weeks! I am taking a course called “Doing Business in Asia” which will be held at the National University of Singapore. The “Doing Business in” (DBi) program is a one to two week intensive course where Stern students travel to a partner school in another country. There are a lot of opportunities to travel abroad here at Stern. You can choose to study abroad for a semester or full-year. The DBi courses are a good alternative for those who want the study abroad experience but cannot commit to a longer period of time. This year, the Office of Student Engagement changed the DBi program so that students may take up to six credits of DBi classes because of the popularity of the program. You can learn more about the DBi program here.

At the end of the Spring 2012 semester, I traveled to Buenos Aires to take “Doing Business in Argentina” at the Universidad de Palermo. Professors from the Stern partner school taught us about a variety of subjects: the economic history of Argentina, human resources and recruiting talent in Argentina, marketing, finance, among others. We had the opportunity to meet representatives from Coca Cola and a few Argentine wineries. We also visited Fox Network Studios in Buenos Aires and learned about how companies use media to communicate with consumers. In between classes and corporate visits, we also toured Buenos Aires, visited the U.S. embassy, took tango lessons, ate lots of steaks and became wine connoisseurs. I had such an amazing time in Buenos Aires that I wanted to take advantage of the new DBi policy. I will try to pop my head in and write about my time in Singapore.

Happy holidays!
Jennie

Wrapping up

Happy Friday! This will be my last blog entry of the semester, but I’ll back in February to share my experiences traveling all over Southeast Asia with Sternies! We are leaving in a week and traveling to Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Hong Kong, and Bali. It’ll be an experience of a lifetime, and I’m so excited to experience it with my fellow classmates!

This week has been absolutely crazy. On Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, I had presentations in three different classes. We finally presented in our brand strategy class, where we were working with a client that is trying to enter the coffeemaker category. Our group was amazing – six girls that are very passionate about marketing and COFFEE! We also presented for our Stern Consulting Corps project, where we worked with an organization to develop a positioning that strengthens the perception of the US to Chinese consumers.

Additionally, us second years heavily involved in the Graduate Marketing Association have been helping the MBA1’s with cover letters and applying for internships. I remember how hectic it was for me last year around this time, and we want to make sure this year’s class is as prepared as we were for interviews. Our class won’t be around to mock interview MBA1’s in January before the companies arrive on campus, so now is really our only time to provide insights on the process and what these companies are looking for in an ideal candidate. We actually put on a new event a few weeks ago called “So You Want to be a Marketer?” The event consisted of a panel for the first half, and the second half was a networking break-out session where students could talk to company representatives in marketing roles across different industries (i.e., beauty, start-ups, consumer packaged goods, technology, etc.). This event was focused on bringing in companies that don’t formally recruit on campus (i.e., Prophet, Mars, Foursquare, Revlon, etc.) but are of great interest to Stern students that want to pursue a career in marketing. The event was a huge success, and students found it very helpful to hear from senior level panelists sharing their experiences about their career paths.

Ok that is all folks. I hope that everyone reading this has a WONDERFUL holiday, and I look forward to sharing more in a month!

 

Whirlwind

Yesterday was the last day of classes. We had 3 hours of Strategy with Sonia Marciano (who, by the way, is a legend) with coffee, cookies & cupcakes, and then it was over. My first final is on Monday, so I’m not freaking out quite yet, but I will get there…

What I feel at the moment is a little sad. Don’t get me wrong, we need a break, but I enjoyed my classes this semester, and as nerdy as it may sound, I’m actually going to miss school—that has more to do with the people than the classes, of course. The last four months went by in a blur, and somehow I enjoyed every single second.

The spring semester starts in February, but those of us who are recruiting for consulting have to be back by the first week of January, because we need to be whipped into shape for interviews, and that involves a lot of casing, in addition to the regular behavioral interview preparations. The process started months ago, but the interviews will take place in January, so we really have to up our game in those final weeks; and a part of me is happy that we will get to see each other sooner rather than later…

There are always a whirlwind of activities that we have to do, and it usually feels like we don’t have enough time to get through all of it, but that’s business school for you. The great part is that we have a great support system in place, whether it’s from fellow MBA1s, MBA2s, the Office of Career Development (OCD), or the professors.
For me, no matter how overwhelming it gets, knowing that I’m not in it alone is a huge relief.

Paying It Forward

Okay, I’m late to post this, I know, I’ve kept you all waiting and that isn’t fair. But I have a good excuse. These last few weeks have been crazy for us MBA2s, in a large part because of all of the programs that we’re taking part in to help out our MBA1 brethren. Since I’m part of the “consulting track,” I have been taking part in two big programs, both which have been keeping me more than busy. Specifically, I’ve been participating in Technical Mock Interviews, as a Career Coach for our Office of Career Development (OCD), as well as volunteering for a program called Pay It Forward.

Technical Mock Interviews are one of the big programs that the OCD Career Coaches take part in during the first semester. Basically, students go through one mock interview through OCD that is generally technical in nature and directly related to the path they intend to follow for their internship. Career Coaches are second year MBA students who are chosen for the role from a large applicant pool based on both their performance in their own interviews and their ability to coach others. The coaches are then trained to give appropriate feedback to students at each step of the coaching process.

For the consulting-focused, technical mock interviews are case interviews, and are meant to simulate what real interviews feel like. The interviews take place in OCD, where many actual first round interviews take place, and students come dressed for the interview and prepared for it to feel just like the real thing. In the interviews I run, I make sure the candidates know that until I say the interview is over, they should treat the mock interview just like they would a real one. This means that students get a good feel for the pressure of a real interview, and the coaches can give feedback based on what they expect interviewers to actually see. When they come in, I introduce myself, give a little of my background, and move right into the interview. When I’ve finished asking behavioral questions and the candidate has worked through the case, I give feedback on the content, delivery, and structure of the candidate’s performance, and provide them with strategies to work on their weaker areas.

While this is an excellent program to help support MBA1s, the Management Consulting Association does not believe that one mock interview is quite enough for students to get to where they need to be. That’s why we put together a program called Pay It Forward, where a larger set of MBA2s give mock cases to MBA1s over the month of December.

This content of the program is similar to the Technical Mock Interviews, but differs in a few key ways. First, we have a broader set of MBA2s involved, all of whom were successful in their own interviews, which means that we have a huge number of cases that first years can take part in. Second, as implied, students can sign up for multiple interviews. In fact, we have had such an amazing turnout by MBA2s who wanted to help that our supply for a while actually exceeded demand. That surprised me, and it may surprise you. Even as MBA1s get really deep into mock interviews in preparation for their real interviews in January, we had so many MBA2s offer so much help that the MBA1s simply could not match that supply.

To me, the big thing this speaks to is the collaborative community that Stern fosters. Most MBA2s don’t actually know most MBA1s yet, mainly because we haven’t taken any classes together yet. Even so, the MBA2s volunteer significant amounts of their time because they want to make sure that everyone at Stern is as prepared as they can be to get internships. Even though I’ve been here for over a year now, it’s this kind of demonstration of selflessness that reminds me why I chose Stern in the first place.

Time is Flying!

It’s December 6th already – I can’t believe it! This semester, my classes have mostly been project-based, so I haven’t had to take any exams, which I actually like better since it’s more hands-on. However, now that the semester is coming to an end, presentations have started, and it’s time to buckle down and put everything together.

While I am on the topic of classes, I will share a little bit about my Creativity class. It is taught by Kim Corfman, an incredible professor here at Stern who has taught courses on brand planning, marketing management, sales management, conflict and negotiation, group decision-making, and focus group moderating. In this particular class, we learn what “creativity” means and how to exercise it when trying to solve real business problems. We learn about different approaches we can use to stretch our brains and come up with ideas we wouldn’t have necessarily formulated before. Also, marketing consulting companies that specialize in innovation and design (i.e., IDEO, Fahrenheit 212, ?WhatIf!, etc.) have come in to talk to us about projects they’ve taken on, what approaches they use to spark innovation, and of course, job opportunities for the future.

Oh before I forget – the GMA marketing conference last Friday was a huge success! Peter McDonough and Dan Lubetzky were both very insightful on what marketing means and how brands stay relevant, differentiated, and sustainable in today’s changing business world. Some key quotes from our keynotes and panelists were:

1) “A brand is a promise and a great brand is a promise well kept.”

2) “80% of CEOs think their product is differentiated…only 8% of consumers agree.”

3) “Define your brand purpose. Create ideas, not ads. Lead, don’t chase, your consumer.”

4) “What your product does is important, but what it means is even more important.”

There are so many other insights that were shared with us throughout the day by keynote speakers, roundtablists, panelists, and our sponsoring companies. The conference was truly a great opportunity for students to network with companies (e.g., Facebook, Prophet, Church & Dwight, Google, FourSquare, Clark, etc.) that really understand what effective marketing is.

That’s it for now….until next week!

Beauty School Dropouts

Greetings friends!

As the semester winds down and finals approach, sometimes all you need to do is feed the soul. I just submitted my final case analysis for Managing Growing Companies and have two big presentations left. The first is for Brand Strategy where I’m presenting recommendations to Pepperidge Farm executives on how they should relaunch one of their cookie collections. The other presentation is for Digital Media Innovation where I will be pitching a tech start-up idea to a Venture Capital firm. However, we still find time to have a little fun here at Stern. Tomorrow, I am going to the debut concert of Beauty School Dropouts, the MBA cover band at Stern. Last year, a group of students started a cover band called MBA Jams and it has now become a new tradition to have a group of rocking students! Here’s a video of MBA Jam’s performance at Follies in the Spring.

Follies is NYU Stern’s night of skits, music, comedy, videos and general revelry. You can read more about the Beauty School Dropouts here.

Hope you enjoy MBA Jam’s performance and have a new soundtrack as you write your essays!

Cheers!
Jennie

One Semester Down

So the first semester is shockingly coming to a close. I cannot fathom the fact that I’ve been in school for a whole semester. While I’ve enjoyed my whirlwind of experiences, it saddens me to think that I am a quarter of the way through my business school experience. I feel like I was sitting in Launch meeting all of my new friends just yesterday. Now, I’m faced with the harsh reality of finals and internship applications as time keeps ticking. Although this may be one of the less enjoyable aspects of business school, I find that I’ve learned a tremendous amount. As an undergraduate literature major, I’m learning more practical, applicable skills in the classroom for the first time. Don’t get me wrong. I wouldn’t trade my reading, writing, and theorizing experience for anything, but I’m enjoying the contrast here at Stern. In many cases, I’m saddened that my time in the classroom with certain professors has come to an end. You might not think that topics like accounting, foundations of finance, and statistics could be interesting at an introductory level. Yet somehow, the professors I’ve had this semester have made us laugh and smile. I think the faculty is one of the distinguishing factors here. Although I expected great teaching in electives and upper level courses, I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the outstanding professors I’ve had right out of the gate. Classes aside, I’ve also learned a tremendous amount about myself and how I function under new, stressful situations. I’ve found the challenge of having nearly every day completely booked enjoyable. I’ve experienced a range of group dynamics and learned how to navigate a wide range of personalities.  For the first time, I’ve learned how to study. Most importantly, I’ve learned to be more adaptable than I ever imagined. The past few months haven’t always been easy, but I wouldn’t want it any other way.

Meeting Gordon Brown

The last few days have been insanely hectic: summer internship applications, midterms, group projects and presentations, on top of the regular stream of recruiting events… Everything is piling up and it is almost impossible to juggle everything.

That said, life in b-school is not without its perks. Case in point: I had the privilege of meeting Gordon Brown on Monday! Yes, the Gordon Brown—as in, the former prime minister of the United Kingdom.

It was part of a series of events where our dean, Peter Henry, invites a thought leader to speak to us. Blocks 1 & 2 had Hugo Lindgren, Editor of the New York Times Magazine in September; blocks 3 & 4 had Ken Mehlman, Head of Global Public Affairs at Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. in October. It was finally our turn. In an unexpected turn of events, our schedule was changed, and we got to meet Gordon Brown! I was sitting in the front row, so I was one of the lucky few who had the chance to chat with him for a few seconds before he addressed the whole room and started talking to us about the massive changes taking place in the world economy. He spoke about the importance of the relationship between education and innovation in determining whether a country will succeed or fail and how global cooperation is essential for the world economy to prosper, before turning to us for questions.

I do not want to state mundane observations like “he was really nice,” or “he was brilliant,” so I will just say that it was probably the single most fascinating experience I have had at Stern so far. Life is full of surprises.