Sunday, December 27, 2009

Happy Holidays from Around the Globe

Sending a quick post from various trips and vacations, whether it is exploring new places or visiting our families. We are all enjoying a break from courses and taking advantage of the extending time away from campus. Recharged, we are all ready to go at it again in January!

Just a sampling of where the Wake Forest University Schools of Business bloggers are spending their free moments this winter break:


Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Allison Discusses Economic Policy

BB&T Corp. chairman and Wake Forest professor John Allison recently sat down with for a lengthy Q&A on economic policy and other topics relevant to MBA students. We are including one of those thought-provoking clips, and the entire library of footage can be found here.

Bring back the gold standard

Dawn with the Dean

~ I snagged this item off the University’s web site. I think this is a great tradition that facilitates physical and mental fitness.
It’s 6:25 am in the Worrell parking lot. Soon the daily ritual of cars weaving up and down lanes, their drivers desperately hunting for a parking space, will begin. But right now, in the calm before the storm, a ritual of a different kind is taking place. Business students, faculty, and staff are milling around in exercise clothes, stretching their hamstrings, getting ready to take a three-mile journey with Dean Reinemund (right). Because this is a Thursday morning, and around here that means one thing: Dawn with the Dean, a weekly chance to rub shoulders, share ideas, and — depending on your pace — sweat a little with Steve Reinemund.
Sometimes there’s lively discussion about current events in business, or about the upcoming plans for the combined schools. Other times there’s just the rhythmic pattern of breathing and feet pounding the pavement in unison. Which is exactly how it’s supposed to be. These aren’t scripted moments. There is no syllabus. It’s about colleagues, students, friends, and mentors sharing time outside the confines of the classroom, building relationships that go beyond walls.
For Dean Reinemund, it’s also about instilling healthy habits in students and colleagues. He’s been a runner for years, and believes exercise leads not only to stronger, healthier bodies but also to sharper minds.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Home Stretch

I’m proud to report that my peers and I have survived the first half of the MA program! When we started in July, I must admit we were all pretty nervous about the difficulty level of our classes. It is crazy how a group of Creative Writing, History, Music, and Religion majors just completed graduate level courses in Economics, Quantitative Business Modeling, Financial Accounting and Managerial Accounting.
We’re speaking a different language now … the language of business! We can read financial statements, make confident stock investments, and do break-even analysis in our sleep!
The courses were more difficult than I predicted, but I honestly feel as if I gained tons of valuable skills. I was sitting at my father’s desk over Thanksgiving break and he peered over my shoulder, as I was balancing accounts for General Mills, and said, “Is my daughter voluntarily looking at numbers?” I’ve gained a new level of confidence because of the conversations I can now participate in, as well as the jobs for which I now qualify. Just last week I was interviewing for a position that historically is designed for MBA graduates.
The more I interview and participate in admission events, I am amazed by the level of excitement employers display once they understand the concept behind an MA degree: A graduate business education with a liberal arts foundation.
Although we finish classes tomorrow, I still have another week with my new Wake Forest family. With the assistance of Mike Crespi, I’m organizing a trip for the marketing club to go to NYC and visit with companies such as BBDO, PepsiCo, Nautica, American Express, and Bayer. We’re spending three days in the city, networking and attending information interviews with these companies. Our visit to AMEX includes a marketing case studies and a presentation from their CMO. I’m really excited about the trip, especially BBDO, which is my ultimate dream company!
To finish the semester, SGA organized an awesome holiday party — complete with band and bar. Everyone got dressed up really nice and took tons of photos (see some below). In just these few short months, we’ve made long-lasting friendships and learned a lot about ourselves as individuals and team contributors. I’m looking forward to January. I will begin my Corporate Fellowship project, which includes a marketing campaign utilizing social networking.
Happy Holidays everyone!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Less than 24 hours to go…

The title of this post is correct … the first year class for the Wake Forest University Schools of Business only has a final exam in quant standing between it and a well-deserved break! The last week has been frenetic: a lengthy paper and live presentation for Organizational Behavior along with a team case study and studying for the quant exam. It is hard to see how students can slip in any social networking, but we did. Last week we had our first gathering of the first- and second-year classes as part of the new Working Professionals Association. It was great to meet those who have gone before us, getting tips on professors and classes and having a few drinks at Foothills Brewery.

Here are a few pictures from the event, which is sure to be the first of several planned in the months to come. Okay, I have to get back to studying!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

21st Century CFO = Chief Reality Officer?

“Insanity is doing the same thing and expecting a different result.” ~ Albert Einstein

Wake Forest University accounting professor Jonathan Duchac (right) led his talk at the CFO Alliance meeting in Charlotte by quoting the famous physicist, noting that such logic applies to risk management. With the financial crisis and recession, companies are under pressure to revert to the traditional ways of viewing risk, seeing it simply as a negative event that must be controlled.

Rather, Duchac encouraged the more than 60 executives in attendance Tuesday morning to seek opportunity when it comes to risk, albeit with an appropriate measure of caution. Rather than simply revert to the same methods that got us in trouble, companies must do a better job of understanding and identifying risk. “We need to change the paradigm,” he said. “Risk management is not about mitigating loss … it is about generating value.”


How do you manage risk? Duchac gave a terrific illustration of how risk management should work. First, identify, quantify and model risk v. reward. That allows a financial officer to communicate risks, opportunities and actions, which in turn leads to risk-based management decisions. The optimal end result is the creation of a competitive advantage. Be warned – a financial officer must always be aware of how risk can also destroy value in much the same way as value is created.

“Risk management is everyone’s job,” Duchac said, stressing the fallacy of making it all the responsibility of the CFO or a dedicated risk officer.

What are the prevalent risks for today’s financial executives? The audience was divided into six groups and encouraged to discuss the risks they face, with a reminder that risk is not isolated to negative occurrences. Here is a list of the 10 most discussed areas of risks (in no particular order):

1) Funding: Venture capital, private equity, lending, and donations

2) Key personnel: How do you handle critical employees?

3) Legislation/regulation: Taxation and health care reform were the biggest concerns

4) What to do with any profits: Do you invest in marketing, return it to investors, or stash the cash?

5) Cost cutting: Where do you cut? R&D, marketing, training, travel, benefits? When do you decide to bring those expenses back?

6) Brand image/reputational risk: Many were concerned about the impact of social media such as Facebook and Twitter

7) Supply and demand: How do you manage both, and what is the right pricing to use?

8) Shared risk: Do joint ventures make sense right now?

9) How to handle the agenda of an overly ambitious CEO

And finally

10) Are we taking on enough risk? Many are shell-shocked by current conditions and are too timid to take chances … are they missing out on the recovery?

Never Overlook at Clean Classroom

Ever realize how spotless our facilities are? We owe it all to our wonderful maintenance staff who arrive every morning at 6:30 am to make sure that our classrooms are ready to go, study rooms are clean, and bathrooms are stocked with soap and paper towels. 

On Tues., Dec. 8,  let’s show the maintenance staff some love!  Before we leave for the holidays we’d like to provide the maintenance staff with some goodies during their break that morning from 9:00–9:30 am.  We’ve arranged for Salem Kitchen to provide a continental breakfast, complete with biscuits, juice, and coffee. In addition, each maintenance staff member will receive a small token of appreciation.

How can you help? It’s easy! Simply contribute $2 and the rest will be taken care of. If you would like to do more, we need four volunteers to help set-up and clean-up next Tuesday morning, and we also need volunteers to help stuff goodie bags. Please see your point of contact below if you are interested in helping.

You can submit your contribution in one of two ways: 1) give your money to one of the designated points of contact; or 2) place the money in the envelope located in Ahkesha Murray’s box in the mailroom. Donations will be accepted until the end of the day, Fri., Dec. 4.

Points of contact

MBA c/o 2010    Katharina Haynes, Neeta Kirpalani

MA c/o 2010      Lauren Collins, Evan Raleigh

MBA c/o 2011    Ahkesha Murray, Brooks Pollard

Evening MBA     Jamie Bourgeois

Monday, November 30, 2009

Director’s Corner: Updates on the MSA Program

I trust that everyone had a restful Thanksgiving break and that you are now ready for the “home stretch.” I find it hard to believe that we have the Fall 2009 semester almost behind us! I find it even harder to believe that we now have a group of MSA students getting ready to graduate in December.

Congratulations to those of you finishing your last of three semesters in the MSA program! I know it has been challenging but I am hopeful that you have also found it rewarding. I look forward to talking with you all in graduate exit interviews over the next week.


Given that a group of you are graduating and many more will be graduating in May, I thought that I would take this opportunity to make you aware of an exciting new Council we are forming for the MSA program. We will roll out an MSA Young Alumni Council during the Spring 2010 semester. This is something we have considered for many years and that a May 2009 graduate worked on diligently both while here in her program and post graduation last summer. We are very excited about this Council and hope that most of our students will take advantage of this opportunity when they do graduate. The MSA Young Alumni Council is being formed by a group of recent alumni and will have their first meeting in conjunction with our Accounting Advisory Council in the Spring. Young alumni are extremely important to our program in so many ways.

• First, young alumni have the most knowledge about our current program content and how it met, or failed to meet, their needs in their first several years as they begin their careers. We will look to this Council to give us feedback regarding program content and to help us stay in touch with a rapidly changing profession.
• Second, young alumni are many times in a better position to understand the concerns and needs of current students and may help serve as mentors to these students during their program. As I am sure you know better than anyone, as a student you have many questions that would best be answered by someone fairly “new” in the field.
• Third, young professionals sometimes find it easier to “give back” to their institution through their time. Staying involved in a program helps the program stay current and helps further increase the value of your degree as time goes forward. We plan to have multiple committees so there should be something for everyone who would like to be involved.

Therefore, whether you are graduating in December 2009, May 2010, or December 2010 from the MSA program I hope that you will consider becoming a part of the MSA Young Alumni Council. This Council is truly being formed by young alumni and is primarily for young alumni and students.

I hope that you all have a wonderful last week of classes and make it through exams unscathed. I further hope that your Christmas break rejuvenates those of you returning in the Spring to continue your coursework. We look forward to welcoming those of you returning back on campus in January and we wish those of you graduating the very best of luck and hope that you stay in touch with us!

Warm Regards,
Yvonne Hinson
Director of Accountancy

Friday, November 27, 2009

Thanksgiving … and Black Friday!

After getting stressed out on the first two days of this week, I woke up a bit late on Wednesday morning. (For those of you who don’t know, the full-time MBA class of 2011 had back-to-back mid-term full-length exams on Monday and Tuesday.) First things first, I opened my university’s outlook mailbox and found: 14 unread emails. I frisked through the emails and to my surprise, none of them concerned any major deliverables and, 10 out of 14 had the word Thanksgiving. To my amazement, I was invited to four lunches and one dinner by five different families. That equals a lot of opportunities! After looking at the distance of each place from my house, I decided to go meet two different families for lunch and dinner.
At lunch, I was with the family of one of the physics professors, and he explained me the tradition of Thanksgiving. We ate a traditional meal and I thoroughly enjoyed eggplant lasagna and stuffing. For dessert I had baked apples and a delicious dish made from cranberries. For dinner, again had traditional thanksgiving food and well it was equally delicious. At dinner, I saw 50 First Dates, the one with Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore, with my hosts. We ate, laughed, talked and had fun. Both families made me feel like home and I enjoyed myself thoroughly. In short, I couldn’t have asked for more on such an auspicious day.
Black Friday was thrilling. Well, I didn’t wake up at 4 in the morning to be in one of the long queues, but yes I reached JCPenny at 8 am, early enough, to buy some clothes for the upcoming winter. It was surprising to see almost everything on 40-50% discount and it was challenging to fight the urge of spending.
Anyways, I still have 2 ½ days of break left and I think it’s time to run some long delayed errands.
~ Rahul Goyal

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

I’m so happy exams are halfway over! I didn’t realize how much I had learned in Econ until I took the exam. My roommate and I are going to visit my family in Atlanta for the Thanksgiving break. Most of the MA students are going home with friends as several live too far to go home for the short break. We’ve all bonded now through all the teamwork, tests and traveling we’ve done together! I can’t wait to eat fried turkey, a specialty of my favorite uncle. Friday morning we are going shopping for our holiday party dresses. SGA puts on a HUGE party every year and everyone looks forward to it. It’s the perfect event to unwind after our last final exams. Happy Holidays!
~ Lauren Collins

I am sitting in front of my fireplace, thinking warm thoughts about my life, my family, and the God who made it all possible. Keep this Spirit of thanks everyday Happy People.
~ Ahkesha Murray

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Thankful … For a Break!

I see a light at the end of the tunnel!
And no, it isn’t the sun peaking out for the first time in a few days … I wish! As I re-caffeinate after my morning exams for Law & Ethics and Economics, I am beginning to feel there is an end in sight. An accounting project due tomorrow, two exams and an ALP project after the short Thanksgiving break and I can declare the first semester finished. Then, it’s just a week and a half of classes until I can retreat into the cocoon of home and family.
I can feel the energy around campus picking up as students, both undergraduate and graduate, ready for their voyages home or prepare their own homes for incoming relatives. I am luckily joining my family on a trek into the mountains to celebrate Thanksgiving with my Grandmother in West Virginia, and will then relax in Raleigh a few days before returning to school.
My family is so close and I am happy I can join them for the short holiday, but I will admit that I am looking forward to catching up on some sleep too. My break will likely be spent resting, connecting with my family, and studying for the rest of my finals and filling out applications; although, it will be nice to study on my own time instead of trying to fit it around an already busy schedule!
I have heard that next semester is a little lighter, but considering the case I’ve already looked through for my upcoming Marketing class, I’m wondering if someone wasn’t pulling my leg. The MA program is by no means easy, but I’m beginning to think I will be very well-prepared for a high-paced work environment when I leave!
But now, I must get back to work as my triple-shot coffee is finished and I can feel my brain cells jumping once more. One more day and I can mimic William Wallace’s shout of “Freedom!”
~ Jen Ratliff

Monday, November 16, 2009

Director’s Corner

In my last article I shared some ideas for coping with the workload in the MA program. Today, I would like to build on this and elaborate on the specific mechanisms we have in place to support you on the academic side of the house.

When you find you need additional help beyond the classroom, your first line of defense should be your instructors. All of your instructors are dedicated to your success and are happy to meet with you outside of class. Because many of your instructors are also teaching in the full-time MBA Program, I recommend that you schedule a time to meet with them. Furthermore, in addition to meeting with your instructors individually, most if not all are more than willing to schedule review sessions if you ask.

Another key support mechanism is your study team. We deliberately develop the study teams in a way that balances the skills within each team. You should never hesitate to ask a teammate for help. In fact, it is likely that being helped by a teammate benefits your teammate as much if not more than it benefits you. Without a doubt, the best way to master something is to teach it to someone else.

A third support mechanism is our Student Affairs team. As many of you already know, our Student Affairs team can advise you on all the resources that are available to support you. Whether the issue is as simple as finding a tutor to something as complex as getting advice on strategies to deal with a learning disability our Student Affairs team is equipped to direct you to the resources that are available. For example, Student Affairs maintains a list of tutors for each course in the MA Program. We also may be able to help with the cost of obtaining a tutor for students in financial need. Finally, while on the topic of tutors I should point out that I generally recommend you first utilize your instructors and study teams and rely on tutors as a last resort.

As you all now know, the MA Program is a rigorous and challenging program. If you ever find yourself in a situation where you are struggling, I encourage you to proactively take full advantage of the mechanisms that we have put in place to support you. And the earlier you seek help, the better positioned we are to assist you. Finally, I welcome your suggestions for additional services we can provide to better support you.

~Scott Shafer

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Yes, Networking is a Form of Work

Yes, you can get sunburn in the middle of November. And naturally I did not get my face toasted by the sun holed up in my room pouring through my OB articles or crushing Excel for my next quant case. Those will be top of mind as I pull late nights from now until Wednesday.

For now, I want to emphasize the importance of stepping away from the coursework. Clearing your head is a necessary process, even if it creates a tighter rush to meet deadlines later down the road. This is an interesting time for Wake Forest sports as we transition from football season (hoping for better luck next year) into a promising basketball campaign. Friday night, I was invited to join several classmates to watch the men’s basketball team start their season against Oral Roberts. Great game and a win! 76-56

Saturday’s football game was less gratifying if the only criterion was the final score. This team has shown flashes of potential only to fall short so many times down the stretch.

What I have seen as the best opportunity from these events has been a time to connect with classmates and bond with members of my team in ways that would be inconceivable in our classroom setting. You get to hear about their backgrounds, current situations, and long-term objectives. You find common ground and you discover areas where bonds can be strengthened even further. It has been a terrific chance to work on networking.

There is more than just sports. I was able to assemble a team of evening students to compete in the first annual Schools of Business trivia contest last weekend at Waldo’s Wings. Hot wings, cold beer, and five rounds of trivia (with no questions dealing in accounting, OB, or quant)! Slowly but surely I will meet my goal of getting to know each of my 38 classmates on a personal level.

(Oh, our team finished 5th in the competition but we will be playing more trivia in coming weeks.)

There are going to be plenty of opportunities to spend more time with these folks over the next two years. We’re already planning on having colleagues make the “lengthy” trek to Greensboro to check out the restaurants offered by the neighboring city. The underlying message is that you must strike a balance between studies and socializing. Both will be an integral part of career development during the MBA or MA program and a major part of networking and upward mobility on the other side of graduate school.

Game on!

~ Paul Davis

Evening students mingling at semester-end event at Foothills Brewery downtown.

Happy Thoughts

Good Day world,

It is a beautiful Sunday afternoon and I am taking a break from my Quantitative Methods mid-term to give you some updates on life at Wake Forest.

As usual, I'll be brief, so don't blink or else you'll miss it (haha). Ready? Set ... Go!
  • Veterans' Day just passed and we still had to come to class, but I wasn't sore over it. On this day I was particularly proud of my teammate Andy (Pip) Rinehart who is himself a war veteran and has quickly become one of the coolest people I know. He is a great asset to my team and one of the many reasons I am grateful I find myself at Wake. I'm not the only one who appreciates this man's merits, however. You can follow him as a contributor to BusinessWeek's MBA blog - click here and enjoy!

  • Miracles and Blessings surround me daily (for instance, the fact that I'm feeling sane enough to take a break from my quant exam is a miracle - I promise you). I cannot attribute my most recent success to anything short of God's intervention and the good fortune to have awesome teammates. On Friday, November 6th Jasmine Smith (MD/MBA), Joy Fuller (MBA 2011) and I claimed 2nd place at Howard University's 14th Annual MBA Exclusive Case Competition, hosted by LMI Consulting! Yay God! This 2nd place is a step above Wake Forest's performance the prior year (we claimed 3rd place in 2008, and 1st place in 2007), so I like to think that we are working our way back up the ranks and I cannot wait to go back next year and bring home the win! Thank you Howard University & LMI for this opportunity and congratulations to the MIT Sloan-Kettering School of Business for their 1st place win and Rutgers University for taking home 3rd.

I don't know any other way to express how I feel other than "happy." I am challenged to grow on a daily basis, I'm always learning new ways to function in a team environment, I have brilliant classmates, and God continues to grant me his grace and mercy in marvelous ways.

I hope life is treating you well, world. I'll try to be back with more updates soon - there's always something!

Copious Peace & Blessings

~Ahkesha Murray

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Making the Right Connections

“It’s not what you know … it’s who you know.” Words from my father I overlooked as a teenager like most kids who ignored advice from their parents. It wasn’t until recently that I was able to understand the meaning of this common phrase. After repeatedly applying to online job postings and failing to get responses from employers, I realized I had to do something to separate myself from the other 15,000 people who are flooding PR firms with fancy resumes and perfectly written cover letters.
It all begins with networking. What is networking? How do I do it? Can I send an email or is better to call? Who in the company should I try to speak with about my interest? These are all questions I had for the Career Management staff.
They suggested I start by finding older executives whose career path interested me. When I meet with these executives, the Career Management Center said I should find a shared interest to make the conversation easier for both of us and then help them understand my career interest.
I found this instruction quite effective as I “networked” with two local executives last week. First, I met with an Account Manager at a creative advertising agency, who I immediately connected with because she handled the public relations for the firm. We spent most of the time discussing how and where I should start my career.
We also focused on what I should highlight in interviews and how I can broaden my skill base. She offered great advice about making my resume and portfolio stronger, suggesting I add letters of recommendation from previous employers. The other executive is a Vice President for a large advertising agency who offered a different prospective. He discussed the exciting facets of working for an agency but reminded me of the competitive and challenging aspects I could potentially encounter. For example, if the agency loses a single account then who ever worked on that account could likely lose their job. On the contrary, a corporate environment is one massive account, so there is more job security and room for advancement.
While building upon these new relationships, I’m finding great value in maintaining contact with previous employers and professors as well. I’ve always kept in touch with these individuals because I had great friendships and mentor experiences with them, but it wasn’t until recently I started leveraging these relationships to help me in my career search. Supervisors from my previous undergraduate internships have been great about editing my resume and quantifying the work I did with them. They’ve read through tons of resumes, so they know what drives employers crazy and what intrigues them to request an interview. My mentor from UF gladly reviews applications and essays before I submit them and sends me information about positions she thinks may interest me. More than anything, theses previous employers and mentors know my talents and limitations. Their honestly has helped me realize what strengths I should emphasize and what weakness to develop.
Through trial and error, I’ve quickly learned that applying to jobs via the web and mass distributing my resume isn’t as effective as targeting contacts in my desired industry and pitching myself to those individuals. I submitted my resume online to about 20 companies and received very few responses. However, every connection I’ve made through networking has led to a phone interview or lunch meeting with another executive. With each additional conversation, I feel closer to reaching the right person who will hear my story, feel my passion, grasp the depth of my curiosity and be willing to take a risk on an extremely teachable and highly qualified candidate.
~ Lauren Collins

Analyzing Your Resume Artistically

I had my first appointment today with Eric Chaiken, the career counselor for the Evening MBA program, who gave me numerous pointers for improving my resume and reaching out to potential employers. I promised not to give away all of his secrets, but this one was so fascinating and innovative that I have to share it.
Eric took me to Wordle, where he had me cut and paste my resume into a open box. Strange request, I thought, because the site seems more about creating abstract art. After submitting the information, the site produced an interesting representation of my professional and academic career. The most frequently used words are larger, giving a great visual on what I have elected to emphasize. I was amazed at what a great barometer I was seeing!
The Wake Forest student blog would like to see the practical artists we have in the business schools. Play around with it and have fun. Then email your Worldle creations to and show that MBAs and MAs can produce some amazing visual works!

Is it break yet?

Things sure are busy in Winston-Salem! It's been almost a month since my last post, and for that I apologize. We were told by the second year students that this time of year is the busiest. They weren't kidding! It seems each week we've got a final, a project, or some mix of both. We've finished two courses so far, Managerial Economics and Management Communications. This weekend we write our case final for Quantitative Methods, then take that final exam Monday. On Tuesday, our accounting projects are due. Next Monday and Tuesday, our accounting and finance exams. Then we have a break for Thanksgiving, then as soon as we get back, our main project for Organizational Behavior is due, followed quickly by a marketing final. Phew!

On top of that, we still have regular classes, complete with pop quizzes and lengthy readings. My advice to any prospective student: invest in a comfortable chair and some good lighting. Your eyes and back will thank you! The quiz count this week is three so far, with another one to come tomorrow. I wouldn't say this was an abnormal week, but definitely a trying one. With all these projects and exams and classes coming to a head, things feel at a bursting point. I keep telling myself, December isn't far away!

In other news, things continue to progress on other fronts. Various groups continue to meet and discuss issues and trips. The Wine Club had a rousing meeting where we tasted various new world reds. The Marketing Summit team continues to plan and strategize for this year's event. Project Nicaragua has selected its group for the January trip. The international trips have been announced and people are excited to figure out where they want to go next May. Football season is about to end, but the Demon Deacon basketball team is set to begin!

It's definitely a period of change right now. The weather is changing. The leaves have packed up and headed closer to terra firma. Some classes are ending, others are beginning. We are nearly one quarter of the way through our MBA, and it feels like just yesterday we started this crazy adventure!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

A Thought for the Day

I really love my school. An integrated program works wonders. Also, being a student as an adult has been much more interesting than undergrad, simply because of the quality of shared experiences. I’m learning that not only can I not do it all on my own, but other people's experiences and perspectives are oftentimes a huge asset to problem-solving. I am growing every day and I LOVE MY LIFE!

~ Ahkesha Murray

Monday, November 9, 2009

A Whole New (Business) World

The past few weeks have been very busy for students in the Schools of Business! We’ve had numerous speakers and companies on campus that have provided our community with some really exciting perspectives of today’s business climate.

As an MA candidate, I am biased towards the outside world, in that I have yet to leave the comfortable cocoon of university life. Until recently, I wasn’t really focusing on the business community. 

The variety of speakers, spanning from industry panels, to corporate representatives, to presentations on leadership, to influential individuals within a specific field, has opened my eyes to the wider business community. They have forced me to step outside my comfort zone to consider the environment of the world I am attempting to enter in a few short months. I’m beginning to think outside of the box.

Andrew Robertson , CEO of BBDO Worldwide, was on campus recently and discussed BBDO’s work structure and value system. He also consented to a small roundtable discussion of which I was able to be a part. Very exciting! While his speech focused on BBDO, the roundtable was based upon questions we asked: about him, his career, his perspective, etc. He is such a strong personality, and it was an incredible opportunity to have him in such a small setting and to pick his brain about the current marketing community. 

We discussed how he decided upon Marketing (a story including an Engineering major and making friends at a local pub) as well as his opinions on the current Marketing world – such as his dislike of “buzz words” and his passion for the creativity involved in ads.

I also had the opportunity to attend a company session with PepsiCo where they unveiled a new internship program with Wake Forest’s business schools. To have such a well-known company working with our programs is a really neat chance to learn about and develop within the business community outside of the university.

Also, within the MA program the teams work with outside sponsors on various consulting projects and our first deadline is looming this week. My team will present for ISP, a local sales agency responsible for collegiate multimedia rights management. ISP also has strong ties to Wake in that its founder, Ben Sutton, worked with the university’s Athletic Department for years and is a well known Demon Deacon! The Action Learning Project, as its called, is a series of four smaller consulting projects ranging from talent management to data analysis to a larger project at the end of the year. We’re learning to deal with the pressure of a project deadline as well as multiple project deadlines within our classes. It’s been quite a couple of few weeks!

On another note, I’ve been enjoying the cultural opportunities at Wake, having had the chance to see Sonnets for an Old Century this weekend – a wonderful play by José Rivera (right) , put on by Wake Forest University’s Theatre Department.

So life is balancing out, and I’m learning to focus on life outside of the university as I’m planning on joining it in a few short months. … Oh, my.
~ Jen Ratliff

Director’s Corner – A Focus on Job Placement

As you go through your program, you are likely spending a considerable amount of time and energy looking and preparing for a job or an internship. Doing those searches, in addition to managing your coursework, can be a daunting task, especially under the current economic conditions. The aim of this message is to highlight some of the initiatives that we are pursuing to ease the burden of your search and increase the likelihood of your success.

First, as you may know, we have made (and continue to make) considerable investments in our graduate Career Management Center (CMC). We have dedicated career counselors for our MBA and MA programs and will hire a dedicated MSA counselor soon (to support the accounting faculty who manage the recruiting process).

We are also expanding our corporate relations team to increase our on-campus recruiting activity and, more importantly, pursue innovative placement strategies that will allow us to match job opportunities with students in a targeted fashion (outside the traditional on-campus recruiting process). Finally, to enhance the reach and effectiveness of our corporate outreach, as of this year we are working with the University’s placement office to share resources and to provide a single-point of contact to recruiters. These changes are already having a positive impact on our ability to bring recruiters to our campus.

In addition to the above enhancements, we are investing resources in two other areas: career/professional development curricula and our executive partners program. Our CMC and E&Y center teams have formulated comprehensive professional development programs to prepare you for your job/internship search. Our MSA students are receiving professional training from our E&Y center. Our MA and first-year MBA students are going through a new CMC curriculum this year. Our 2nd year MBA students experienced several of its components last year and are receiving the new elements during one-on-one meetings with their counselors.

We are currently working on delivering similar programs to the MSAs and to the working professional MBA students who need it. The positive feedback that we are receiving from our corporate partners on the impact of the new preparation programs is strong. If you are not in the 1st year MBA and MA programs and wish to experience the new CMC curriculum, please visit our CMC office and ask that you meet with one of our career counselors. I expect that you will find the new curriculum to be both challenging and rewarding.

Our executive partners program is a new initiative that aims to create the best student mentoring program in the nation. The program will pair-up each student with a seasoned executive in a mentoring relationship. Each participant (student and mentor) will be interviewed prior to joining the program to understand his/her needs. Mentors and students will be matched using a computerized system and the data collected during the interviews. Both the students and the mentors will be guided as they go through the mentoring relationship. We will begin rolling out the mentoring program to our MA students in January and to our other programs between August 2010 and August 2011. For more information on the program and its benefits, please click here, or contact Hansford Johnson.

I recognize that each one of you has different career needs and interests. I also understand that the relevance of the above initiatives will differ across programs. We are working intensely to ensure that you are receiving effective career preparation and coaching, and have access to opportunities that will make your job placement successful. The early results so far indicate that we are making good progress. Our MSA program is concluding a very successful internship and full-time placement season. Our full-time MBA placement this summer was strong compared to the market (three months after graduation, we placed a higher proportion of students than many top schools, including Duke, UNC/Chapel Hill, UCLA, Wharton, and SMU). While this is a challenging time and jobs are hard to find, we are working on achieving high placement results for all of our first and second year full-time MBA and MA students along with unemployed students in our MSA and working-professional programs.

For those of you who are still looking for employment/internship opportunities, we will continue to focus on your placement until you are successful. Until that happens, our work is not done.

~ Charles Iacovou

Monday, November 2, 2009

Director’s Corner – First-Year Focus

We’re already into November! I can’t believe how fast the semester is flying by! Many of you mentioned to me that you feel like you’re in a whirlwind of activity, barely putting out one fire (read: deliverable) before a new fire starts.

The cynical part of me says “welcome to graduate school.” The realistic part of me says, “I understand. I feel that way too! There are not enough hours in the day.”

When I reflect on my graduate school experience, I remember feeling the way you do. I could barely grasp a concept or contemplate a new method before the professors were moving on to the next subject. Several of you have told me that you don’t feel as though the knowledge is sinking in. You fear you are not learning anything because you are being exposed to so much.

My advice: “keep the faith.” You don’t realize how much you’re learning because you haven’t had the chance to go out and apply it. Each summer, when the classrooms are empty and the halls are not lined with students waiting for Jon Pinder, I get emails from students working in their internships. I know my colleagues receive these emails too, where students are telling us how they’ve had a chance to apply what they’ve learned in our classes. Those emails are very fulfilling to my colleagues and me because we realize that we have taught you something useful and this validates our efforts. But it also sends a message to you that all the hard work from your first year is paying off. These tools in your tool box are actually being used and they are actually useful! You impressed your boss and it felt good!

At this time of the school year, things are very hectic and stressful. There will be other crazy periods as well. At these times, it is important to remember to keep the faith. I realize that it’s very easy to say and very hard to do, but I’m asking you to trust me on this and I’ll look forward to receiving your email over the summer!

~ Sherry Moss

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Andrew Robertson Talks Leadership at Wake

Andrew Robertson, the president and CEO of BBDO Worldwide, was a featured presenter Oct. 29 as part of the Wake Forest University Schools of Business Leadership Speaker Series.
Anyone who missed this creative talent should catch the video. Click here to see the entire presentation.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Emerging from the Ranks

Good evening, world!
I will understand if you thought your girl fell off of the planet, but fortunately, I did not. I have missed you world-wide-webbers, but please know that I have been keeping myself busy (as I promised you that I would).
Things are going very well for me in the Wake Forest Schools of Business community. Please allow me to debrief you on some highlights:
  • I was elected as the first-year representative of our Women in Business club (we have since been renamed as Wake Graduate Women In Business)
  • My good friend and classmate Sandie Taylor is also a co-chair in our club, and just this past Wednesday she helped to bring Dr. Kathy Korman Frey of George Washington University’s Hot Mommas project to come talk to us about Building Effecting Mentorship Networks Close to the Gender Leadership Gap. Sandie has her own blog and she’ll be posting about the event soon, so please be sure to visit her. The event was so inspiring!
  • In September I attended the National Black MBA career fair in New Orleans and was actually able to land some interviews for summer internships. I will humbly admit that I did not land any of them, but I was honored to have the opportunity (competition was fierce) and I left feeling well-prepared for my interviews to come.
  • Wake has placed in Howard University’s MBA Exclusive case competition for the past three years, taking 1st place in 2007. I have been lucky enough to be selected to compete on our team this year and the competition is just a week away (Nov. 5)! It is my hope that we will bring the trophy back home this year (wish me luck).
  • We are currently in the thick of it with classes right now. Exams are dispersed over the next few weeks between now and Thanksgiving break, so everyone is feeling the pressure, but we have made it this far and I feel confident that we will all come out ok.
There is so much more to say, but I have to run to another presentation. Renowned author Marc Cosentino is here to talk with us about mastering the case interview – it just keeps on going and I love it!
~ Ahkesha Murray is a first-year full-time MBA Candidate.

Reflecting on Fall Break

We wrapped up our "fall break" a few days back. A whole one day class free.

I spent my day off sleeping; went to bed at 2 am, woke up at 1 pm. You read that correctly. It was amazing. A perfect use of my free time! Now it's back to business and getting some work done. Since a lot of people were headed out of town for the weekend, it proved to be relatively quiet here in Winston-Salem.

I also had time to reflect on my first exam. Three hours of accounting was pretty rough. More exams are coming up in the weeks to follow, as we end the first mini and begin the second.

Most classes carry over between minis, so it's not like we have a fresh slate of professors. Just a new seating chart (I move from the cushy confines in the back row to the first row off to the side) and new material.

I've talked a lot about balance in business school, as have several other student bloggers. What is the right balance between class work, activities, and personal time? Honestly, I don't think there is one. I don't think I'll ever reach a point where everything fits into my schedule. Some weeks the coursework is light, so I focus on myself or other obligations. Other times, I have tons of work for classes and everything else falls by the wayside. Mostly, it's a mix of stuff and it's impossible to fit everything in.

~ Justin Bertholot is a 2011 full-time MBA candidate

Probability and Me

2011 Full-time MBA candidate Rahul Goyal carved out a few minutes before Halloween to present an interesting take on playing the odds in life and academics at the Wake Forest University Schools of Business.
What's the probability that even after studying hard for an exam, I'll score an A? Hmm. Almost .0001%.
What's the probability that I would remember what I studied last night in exam?
Thinking 0.00001%.
My Experiences with Doors
What is the probability that I would be able to open the door with the first key randomly selected from a set of six keys? 0.0000001%. From the second one - 0.00001%, From the third key - 0.0001%, Fourth key - 0.001%, fifth 0.01% and the last key - 10%. Wondering where's the rest? Depends on the kind of the door.
And When it Rains…
The probability that I'd forget my umbrella when it's pouring outside? Definitely 75%. And the probability that I'd get drenched even after carrying an umbrella? 80%. (Why? At times, umbrellas just get jammed up on me … and don’t forget the issue with finding the right key on the first try.)
Ok Ok! I’m not writing anymore about the probability of my failure in so many trivial activities. I've even stopped wondering, “why me?” because it has become natural to me. Now, while opening doors, I wait until the the last key comes in my hand. While writing exams, I give myself a scope of error from "forgetting concept" and expect no more than a B+.
Why am I documenting the trivial and stupid things? Believe it or not these things have started affecting me and my surroundings enough that I've found same folks saying "Pass on the keys, let me open the door." Consistently these people unlock the doors in seconds. Unlike me, who may first struggle with the keys for a good 10 minutes and then look helplessly at people who offer a helping (key) hand. Sometimes in spite of the probability, happenstance prevails!

State of the Schools of Business

Steve Reinemund and Gordon McCray detailed their visions for the business schools at a meeting held Oct. 26. Topics included: purpose behind integration of the schools and its benefits to students, our progress against current goals, and future goals.

Your student ID and password will be required to access video through this link:

Thursday, October 29, 2009

My Unbelievable Opportunity ~ Corporate Fellowship

~Lauren Collins ~ MA in Management Candidate 2010, Corporate Fellow
When I was making preparations about post-graduation plans last May, I was hesitant about my next move. Although applying to jobs and graduate programs, I honestly wasn’t sure what I wanted to do with my career. I knew that I didn’t want to settle for a job just because it was offered, and I didn’t want to take out loans for a graduate program I wasn’t truly interested in.
“FREE MASTERS PROGRAM AT WAKE FOREST FOR MINORITY STUDENTS!” I remember receiving this e-mail thinking this must be a hoax. A free masters program? In my personal research, that was simply unheard of, as most masters programs give minimal scholarships.
After receiving the e-mail, I began researching the MA in Management program and the Corporate Fellowship at Wake Forest. First, I read about the Wake Forest Schools of Business through its web site and other sites discussing business schools. I wanted to make sure that if I decided to pursue this opportunity, I would be entering a welcoming learning environment and have access to resources needed to make me a better candidate by the time I graduated.

Once I was convinced by Dean Reinemund’s (left) vision for the business schools and his commitment to a diverse learning environment, I reached out to Debra Jessup, who was the diversity coordinator at that time. I emailed Debra expecting her to briefly answer my questions and re-direct me to some non-human communication tool as do most “busy” administrators. Needless to say, I was surprised when she asked for my phone number and a convenient time to chat. We talked for more than an hour about Wake Forest, the Corporate Fellowship, and the application process to the MA program. I was even more surprised at her honesty about the small number of minority faculty and students at Wake. But she confidently expressed that the Dean, who had been recognized for the diversity initiatives he implemented while serving as the CEO of PepsiCo, was actively working hard to recruit and retain the best minority talent.

Immediately after our conversation, I submitted an electronic application to the MA in Management program because I knew I wanted to be a part of the program and attend business school at Wake Forest. As a part of my application, I did a 30-minute phone interview with Stacy Poindexter Owen, who was also very personable and made me feel even more secure. After submitting all my materials, I was invited to an MA Open House to learn more about the program. Though the admissions event was geared toward students who planned to enter the program in 2010, I took advantage of the opportunity to visit the school and meet the faculty and staff to whom I would potentially commit the next year of my life. The morning of my visit, I received an acceptance letter via email stating I was admitted to the MA in Management program. I was thrilled and waited anxiously until the end of the Open House to find out if I would receive the Corporate Fellowship. By the end of the afternoon Stacy and I were sharing a box of Kleenex over tears because I was so expressively happy when she told me I indeed had received the Corporate Fellowship, which includes full tuition and a living stipend.
Six months later, I’m in the second module of the MA in Management program and still quite content with my decision to accept the scholarship. I’ve become close friends with the other Fellows, who have degrees from Harvard, Stanford, Vanderbilt, Brown, Davidson, Emory and Wake Forest. We meet bi-monthly over breakfast with our program director, Hansford Johnson, to discuss our experiences with our sponsor companies and the various challenges and opportunities that come along with being a graduate student.
My sponsor company, Flow Automotive, has provided me a unique mentorship with its Vice President of Organizational Development Dennis Chriss, as well as direct guidance from the CEO Don Flow. In the spring, I’ll complete an educational project covering four of the functional areas of business using Flow Auto as the subject. Don and Dennis have done a great job of providing me career coaching and leadership development. All of the Corporate Fellows (right) are having an amazing experience and gaining marketable skills from our sponsor companies.
Last week, I had the pleasure of sitting down with Dean Reinemund to discuss how we could help add more value to our sponsors. We want to make sure that we are doing everything possible to maintain ongoing relationships with these admirable companies on behalf of Wake Forest, so next year’s Corporate Fellows will have an even greater experience than we are currently enjoying.
The other corporate partners for 2010 are: Alex Lee Inc., BB&T Corp., Frito-Lay, Hanesbrands Inc., Primo Direct, Reynolds American, and VF Corp.

BWIB: Out with the Old … In with the New

Good morning!

We would like to thank the students who submitted suggestions to re-name the Babcock Women In Business. We were pleasantly surprised to discover that the majority of the suggestions came from men – thanks guys!

In the end, we decided on a name that reflects the fact that we interact with many different groups and are ourselves a very diverse group. We also wanted to keep it simple. However, we liked the mission statement from one of the suggestions because it reflects what the club does now and what we hope to do in the future.

Wake Graduate Women in Business is committed to empowering female students through mentorship and social support, as well as helping female students gain the skills and training needed to successfully position themselves in the highly competitive workplace.

Congratulations to Carmesha Scott, MA 2010, (right) for helping us define who we are regardless of what program we are in. The $75 gift certificate will be placed in her box in the next few days.

The name change is effective immediately and will be reflected in all materials as quickly as possible.

Thank you,

Wake Graduate Women in Business

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Monday, October 26, 2009

Director's Corner ~ Happenings in the MSA Program

Greetings Everyone!

I trust that you are all doing well and enjoying the fact that you are now past the halfway point of the semester! Thanksgiving and Christmas breaks are rapidly approaching. As the end of the semester approaches, things can get a bit hectic and stress levels can increase. Please try to make sure that you are taking time out for yourself and getting plenty of exercise during these crunch times.

I understand that there are many intramural sports teams already set up through the graduate programs. These are an excellent way for you to have something fun to do, besides coursework of course, and to get to know others. If you are not currently involved in these activities I strongly encourage you to consider them. More teams will be forming as we move into the winter and spring so there will be plenty of opportunities for you to get involved.

I would also like to take this opportunity to update you on some important MSA events:

• We will have a Town Hall meeting for all students who have recently joined us from other universities on Sunday, Nov. 1, at 5 pm. Please plan to join me and discuss the transition to Winston-Salem, Wake Forest University services, job searches, and your current course load. We want to hear how things are going for you and hope that you will be willing to share your experiences with us.

• We will be setting up a Town Hall meeting shortly for all MSA students (those who have been here and those new to our campus). We would like to hear about program issues and concerns that relate to everyone and may not be as related to transition to a new place. Please plan to attend this event as soon as it is set.

• We are still looking for MSAs and MBAs to compete in the KPMG Global Case competition. This is an international business case competition and not just accounting so we need non-accountants on these teams as well. To be considered for this you need to have the following dates fairly open: Nov. 20-23, 2009 (WFU team competition); Jan. 22, 2010 (Atlanta trip for national competition ); April 7-9, 2010 (possible international trip to Athens).

Please feel free to contact me anytime at or 758-5113.

Best, Yvonne Hinson, MSA Program Director

Friday, October 23, 2009

Career Search: Combining Purpose with Passion

As the weekend approaches, I am excited about the possibility of sleeping. In undergrad, naps seemed like a daily necessity. I would go to a whopping two hours of class a day, maybe a 30-minute club meeting, devote a few hours to studying, and still have time to nap before making a hearty dinner. These days I’m in class for five hours a day, usually have up to three hours of meetings and on top of it all…
I think that is the biggest difference between my undergrad experience and being in grad school. When you’re in undergrad, you aren’t thinking as heavily about your career. Your ‘focus on the future’ is that week’s football game and planning spring break.
Graduate school brings a new challenge everyday. On top of tests, quizzes, papers and assignments, you spend just as much time interviewing, researching jobs and writing cover letters. I think I’ve written about a dozen cover letters this week. I wrote one during my entire four years of undergrad, a general letter that got me three great internships. Of course I changed the date on each of them, and maybe added a company specific sentence to mix it up.
However, what the Career Management staff at Wake is helping me realize is that employers want individuals who know their company and sincerely want to make a life-long career working with them. I never knew how much easier a job search could be if I simply put “purpose to my passion.” When I applied for jobs in undergrad, I mass distributed my resume like it was the New York Times and interviewed with anyone who would listen to me ramble. Recently I’m realizing how key it is to find an organizational fit with a company and make sure they can meet all my needs.
So now I hold my resume close to my portfolio, only peep-showing it to employers I foresee a life-long relationship with, because there isn’t enough time on either end to be wasted on a job I won’t be happy doing. And if a company is so lucky to get a personalized cover letter from me, when I’m sitting in the interview room with their most esteemed human relations generalist, I’m evaluating them just as critical as they are interviewing me.
~ Lauren N. Collins, first-year candidate, MA in Management program, and Corporate Fellow

Thursday, October 22, 2009

A Period of Academic Discovery

Is it really the middle of October already? It feels like just a few short weeks ago that I arrived back on campus to start my journey as an MA in Management. Graduate school has certainly been different than my three years as an undergrad at Wake Forest. Business school has been a whole new ball game for this former History/French student. Talk about jumping into the deep end!

I certainly didn’t anticipate everything escalating so quickly in such a few short weeks – October for the MAs or at least me, has been akin to that one week of midterms undergrad when you never left the library aside from actually going to class – and even then you considered skipping class just to get your work done.

Here, skipping class certainly isn’t an option, especially since with only 40 students, its rather obvious. So thank goodness for classes starting at 11:30 in the morning as opposed to 8! So far the MA program has been challenging but rewarding, and I’ve seen an improvement in not only my basic business skills but also my ability to follow a business conversation.

Prioritizing has taken on a whole new meaning for me, especially this month, as I try to decide whether I want to study for a potential quiz, read the 20-some pages, work on the quant problems, attend one of three club meetings, see my best friends, hang out with my new MA friends, or actually eat and get some sleep. Whew!

My journey as an MA so far has been quite an adventure. I consistently remember Columbus and his belief that he was embarking upon a trip to the Near East, and his surprise at arriving in parts unknown and “discovering the New World.” Well … I certainly won’t compare myself to Columbus and his immense luck, nor do I believe that I will discover anything that is new to a seasoned business person. However, I certainly will admit that I am constantly surprised by what I’m finding in my classes and my journey through school and planned port is changing daily.

Next week looks particularly busy, with PepsiCo reps coming onto campus, club meetings, a debate on the Sherman Act, speakers, and a free “etiquette dinner” being offered to those interested in perfecting their business dinner acumen – and that’s only on the academic side!

~ Jen Ratliff is a first-year student in the MA in Management program.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Tomorrow’s Financial Leaders Weigh in on Industry Issues

This was an interesting set of observations included in a newsletter issued by Taylor & Co., an executive search firm. Rod Taylor recently conducted a survey of future leaders in finance, and these are his findings on the top issues faced by the industry.


Throughout the world of financial services, industry and government leaders are making extraordinary decisions in the wake of unprecedented chaos. Inevitably, the next generation of leaders will inherit a new industry paradigm resulting from those decisions.

Too few younger leaders are ready to succeed the multitudes of retiring baby boomers so their career choices will determine which institutions win or lose as the future unfolds. Therefore, to help clients better understand how to attract and retain them, Taylor & Company surveyed over 100 young executives and asked “What are the issues, questions, or challenges facing the financial services industry today that concern you most?”

Here are 10 answers that represent the consensus of survey responses:

Shareholders, employees, customers and regulators no longer trust the system.
How do we rebuild, regain, and restore faith, trust, and confidence in our institutions?

There are too few leaders ready to replace the many who soon will retire.
Who will win in the “War for Talent,” and how?

Real capital has disserted the industry.
What must we do to attract investors with realistic expectations?

Much of the industry’s existing infrastructure is obsolete.
How can it be transcended without overwhelming losses?

As a new industry paradigm forms, “old school” credit skills are in short supply and badly needed.
The “skill vacuum” requires empirical knowledge beyond academics. Who will teach and train …and how?

A get rich quick mentality made many forget the virtues and values of an honorable career.
Can the professional traditions of integrity and loyalty as guiding principles once again be embraced in both policy and practice?

A new regulatory system must be practical, integral, efficient, cooperative, and focused on industry reality well beyond the systemic abuses of the recent past.
The rules can change, but can the “rulers” make them work?

Global economic interdependence will accelerate systemic integration universally.
How will we engage and/or compete with the much larger monolithic foreign institutions that are positioned to acquire and expand everywhere, including here?

As universal institutions shrink in number, loyalties are becoming even more transient.
What will be the profitable service delivery model that wins and retains loyal, local customer relationships in the future?

New perspectives on segmentation are emerging with a dynamic demographic shift in America’s population.
How will market strategists reach multiple segments with superior efficacy and efficiency?

To view the entire newsletter, click here.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Women In Business Mentorship Program

Lately, I’ve been feeling like business school is exploiting all of my weaknesses, so I wanted to post something that focuses on the positive.

Before I started school, I conducted a 360 degree feedback survey to identify both my strengths and weaknesses. One of the abilities I would have liked to have ranked higher on was Influencing Others. I believe this is a must-have quality for any leader, so the mid-level rating I received for this ability won’t do. I’ve seen myself lose steam advocating my ideas or those of others before, and the fact that others have noticed this too, gives me motivation to change.

I got my first opportunity to improve my persuasion skills as the co-chair of the Babcock Women in Business mentorship program. My co-chair, Vaishali, and I were tasked with four objectives: 1) identify women in the graduate business school who wanted mentors, 2) find mentors to match them with 3) design a mentorship program 4) host two workshops a year on the mentoring process.

When I was told this summer that we needed to find a speaker for our first workshop, I immediately thought of Kathy Korman Frey. She’s a professor at George Washington University’s business school and an expert on female leadership issues. Kathy also founded the Hot Mommas Project, a social enterprise that raises the self-efficacy of women and girls through exposure to role models.

I’ve been following Kathy on Twitter and her blog for several months and was jazzed about bringing her in to speak at Wake Forest. When I found out our budget for the event and her speaking fee, I saw a problem…and an opportunity.The problem was obviously the lack of funds, but I had the opportunity to influence others to supply those needed funds. I thought about the other student organizations that might be interested in utilizing Kathy’s knowledge on entrepreneurship and started chatting them up. Then, I thought about the lack of women in our program and how the admissions office might want to support an event like this that shows our school cares about helping women succeed. Vaishali had also developed a relationship with the Career Management Center and knew mentorship had become a significant priority forDean Steve Reinemund.

Our first attempt at selling this event to CMC was met with a luke warm response. The reason for bringing this particular speaker had to be put into perspective. I presented some research I had written an article about in my job as managing editor of the McCombs School of Business alumni magazine. It showed that women with mentors made less than men with mentors and that women with mentors make more than men without mentors. Now, our CMC partner is using this research in speeches he gives about the dean’s mentorship initiative, and his office is funding the other half of the event, along with the Admissions Office who was all for helping out from the start.

So what did I do to change my influencing abilities? I spent more time considering how the issue would be viewed from the other person’s perspective and sold the idea accordingly. In the past, I focused more on my point of view on why a certain idea was good and not as much on how benefits could be interpreted by others.

I’ll admit that even though school has been getting me down the last few weeks, I can at least look back and see that I’m growing from these experiences. In the last two months, I’ve probably had more opportunities to work on my weaknesses than I had in my four years of work experience. It’s a severe shock to the system, but perhaps if I celebrate these small successes it will give me motivation to keep confronting the mounting workload and overcome the discomfort I feel so often in everyday situations. This is what it takes to get an MBA.

Director's Corner

Greetings students,

At the MA town hall meeting on Wed., Oct. 14, an issue that came up was your current workload and how to handle it. In addition to having a full load of courses, you are also working on finding a job, have Action Learning Projects to complete, and are trying to maintain some balance between school and having a life.

We all recognize how difficult this is and the stress it can create. Throughout the MA program there will be peaks and valleys in your workload and right now you are in one of the peak periods.

While all of these elements of the program are important, there will be times where you have to prioritize what is most important to you and allocate your time accordingly. Developing this skill now will serve you well for the rest of your professional and personal lives.

A couple of other strategies that you might also consider to help cope with the demanding workload include:

  • Seek the advice of some of our second year MBA students. I’m sure they would be happy to share with you the strategies they employed to navigate the set of courses you are currently taking.
  • In the past I have offered a sequence of three to four workshops on time management for the MA students. I would be happy to offer these again if you have an interest.
  • Finally, please let me or Jan know if you feel that you are so overwhelmed that you can’t find the time to take a break or that you are generally not coping well with the workload.

~ Scott Shafer, director of the MA program

Thursday, October 8, 2009

They Said It Would Be Hard

And they were right! From when we first arrived on campus, the second year students told us that October (along with February) is absolutely brutal in terms of workload and the busy factor. They weren't lying. Just this week alone I've had three presentations, a pop quiz, six meetings, a deliverable for econ and many other things. This weekend is my reunion and homecoming, but we also have an accounting final Monday morning. This is a crazy balancing act!

I fully understand what they mean when they say October will test your will. While mine hasn't broken, it is definitely being pushed to the limit. I don't think I've woken up and felt confident about my work for that day. I continue to plug away and try and do the best I can; at the end of the day, that's all you can ask of yourself.

Last Friday I had my first interview for an internship. I had heard about it from our Career Management Center and spoke with several students who did this same internship last summer. For my first interview, I think it went well. It was completely behavioral, as I'm sure most of mine will be. I did get a nice bag of swag, which is always nice! It was also my first attempt at a career fair. It can be daunting, walking up to potential employers and literally throwing yourself in front of them. While a good number of companies were not in my future plans, it was excellent practice.

Things continue to spin dangerously close to the ridiculous line here at Wake Forest Schools of Business. You can see stress levels rising each day when someone has a presentation or interview. It's October, so the first mini is almost over. Can't believe 1/8th of our MBA program has gone by!

Books, Job Hunt and Clubs … So Much To Do!

I have received a lot of questions since my last post. How have the first months been? What am I doing in terms of an internship hunt? Have I had my share of fun? Have I joined any clubs and do I have the time to participate in these activities?
These are all very good questions that will help you understand how I have gotten acclimated to Wake Forest University’s Schools of Business. As you might remember, I moved to North Carolina from India in August to prepare for my full-time MBA program.

Tighten your seat belts and get ready … I am going to answer each question right away.

How’s it going?
As I have said before, it is very hectic these days. I didnot realize how quickly these eight weeks went by. On weekdays, it’s all about pre-class reading, home work and some extra preparation for unannounced quizzes. Honestly, there haven’t been many days when I have actually finished all the given readings, assignments or in general felt confident for the next day’s classes. Weekends usually end by mid-Saturday because there’s always some class work or team deliverable requiring special attention. Between, I could not even realize that the first mini-semester is almost 80% done. The first set of main exams will start on Monday.
Overall, I am enjoying my stay and am thrilled to be in such a competitive yet learning atmosphere.
What am I doing in terms of my internship hunt?
Every day I try to keep myself well prepared for the next day’s classes. The internship hunt has also started in full swing so I am working along with a very helpful career management center (CMC) at school to identify industries, companies and areas of interest. I’ve already had my resume and cover letter critiqued from a highly experienced CMC team, and I have applied to a few companies. On a positive note: I hope to get some interview calls pretty soon.
Have I had my share of fun?
Oh sure I have! I’ve already been to a couple of football games, and the tailgates are so much fun. I’ve started playing ping-pong in school – yes Wake has tables - and I never realized that I could learn it so fast. It’s always fun to have a few close and competitive games sneaked in between the classes. It’s a great way to relieve tension!
Have I joined any clubs and do I get time to participate in these activities?
Oh yes I’ve. I am an officer in the International Students’ Association (ISA) and Entrepreneurship Club. I also joined the Finance club and Project Nicaragua. I’ve already been a part of couple of key ISA activities, and there are some activities coming up for entrepreneurship club, I am looking forward to the investment banking week by Finance Club and the next chapter of project Nicaragua has goten in full swing too. (Please feel free to click on the links to learn more about these clubs.)
Hope to write pretty soon.
~Rahul Goyal, full-time MBA candidate, class of 2011