Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Imperfection ... What's that?

By Shounak Ray (MBA '12)

Encouraging his students, especially the intimidated ones, to ask questions, one of my graduate school professors announces “No question is a stupid question”.

He is so wrong. There is always room for us to make mistakes when we are in that protected and comforting world of our overlooking family and close friends. As we grow out of that comfort zone and mature into embracing a society that is so perfect but we are not, we fear whether there is any room for our weaknesses and vulnerabilities. Most people, including me, do have that fear. And what do we fear? We fear not having understood or liked a book, of admitting to not having liked a particular sport or game, we fear of coming across too "old school," we fear our blogs will be too boring for readers..we fear our receding hairlines.

And what do we do to overcome that fear? Well, we just try to become more perfect - try to become more of something that we are probably not. Sometimes, we succeed, and sometimes we become the object of more ridicule and the fear only multiplies. There are actually some other effective ways to deal with our fear as well. One of them is to adopt the "first mover advantage" strategy. So, before our vulnerabilities are exposed, we go on the offensive and try to bring out the vulnerabilities or weaknesses of others around us. Quite an effective strategy, I tell you - it has worked pretty well for me on several instances.

And then we are tired; we feel like quitting this never-ending game and going back to our protected world where it was so easy to make a mistake. But that protected world doesn't exist anymore. We are on our own. Some questions are indeed stupid - we should definitely know.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Viral Videos: Why Force Them?

By Eric Wiggins (MBA '12)

(This is an except from an assignment I did in my Buyer Behavior class; we made a blog entry on an aspect of consumer behavior as it relates to advertising.)

Within the last few years, the global phenomenon of YouTube has, in turn, given birth to another global phenomenon commonly referred to as the “Viral Video.” Companies have seen the attention these videos attract, and salivate to get a piece of that exposure. As these videos are quickly (and often inadvertently) able to draw hundreds of millions of viewers to a single YouTube page, it is very easy to see the enormous marketing potential.

As a result, many companies have tried to intentionally create viral campaigns. However, the essence of a viral video, and part of what makes it “Viral” in the first place, is the unrehearsed, unintentional, spontaneous moments that either happen to be caught on film, or contain so much humor and entertainment value that viewers feel the need to share.

As a result, many of these “Forced Viral Video” campaigns have failed, for example Sony’s “All I Want for Christmas is a PSP” video, which backfired and left a bad taste in the mouths of viewers: GM attempted to cultivate a Viral Marketing Campaign in which they challenged buyers to create their own advertisements. Too bad they were completely unprepared for the environmentalists who began to submit negative ads!

Orchestrating the creation of a Viral Video can have high payoffs, but can also be risky to a brand. As is the case with most high-risk investments, the payoff can also be high. Companies just need to make sure they are not trying so hard that they lose touch of the core reasons a video becomes viral – viewers want to be entertained, and they want videos they can share with friends and family. While examples of some of the more successful companies include the Old Spice Man, as well as the Evian Roller Babies,, and the “Will It Blend?” Videos by Blendtec, most others have not been so successful. If I could send a message to companies out there: before jumping on the Viral Bandwagon, make sure you're being genuine with your customers, because they are smart enough to realize when you aren't. Pay attention to your customers, focus on making a great advertisement, and people will want to share it. But no company should focus their strategy on trying to force a viral video campaign.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Drinking From the Water Fountain

It has already been a month since I landed in the United States. How time flies! Finding a place to stay, unpacking and shopping for necessities all happened in a blurry week before orientation. I used the week-long student orientation to orient myself and shift my focus towards business school.

The first two weeks of business school are intense. Everyone feels like they have been "drinking from a fire hose". There are many who hate this phrase, but I don't know why. Maybe because people hate speaking in clich├ęs. But I don't mind using this phrase to define my experience so far.

We are already getting a taste of core MBA courses. Reading assignments, cases, team deliverables, club events, information sessions and social gatherings have become part of our life. All of this looks overwhelming. Nobody wants to fall behind the curve. Time management is key. I like what I am doing, so drinking from fire hose seems manageable to me.

What I do find particularly difficult is drinking from the water fountain. Truth be told, water fountains are alien to me. I don't understand why there are no glasses next to these fountains. I am convinced that it will take me a few more days to master the art of drinking directly from the water fountain.

Stay thirsty and stay foolish.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Welcome to Work Forest

by Victoria Osborne (MA '12)

Since starting the MA in Management program two months ago I have already been exposed to so many new ideas, experiences, and people. After a jam-packed week of orientation and a super intensive summer session, we’ve made it to September, home of shorter school days, slightly cooler temps, and (most importantly) football season! Last Saturday the head of our program gave us tickets to the Wake Forest/NC State game and I had a blast, not to mention Wake Forest came out victorious. We spend so much time with our classmates in Worrell that it’s always nice to see them outside of a classroom setting. A good majority of our class showed up to cheer on the Deacs and just as many came to the Student Government-sponsored tailgate before the game. Being from the South I love a good tailgate and am hoping SGA puts one on before every home game (hint, hint).

So far I have really enjoyed this program and, as cheesy as it sounds, have definitely grown and improved as a student and a future professional. Before coming to Wake I had a small Business background (I minored in Business at Wofford College in South Carolina), but the Business skills I gained during undergrad were mostly academic, whereas here they teach you skills in so many other relevant areas. A typical day consists of class from 9:30-12:15, lunch, group meetings and/or information sessions, dinner, and then leisure time to do whatever you have to do (9 times out of 10 “whatever you have to do” = homework). During Orientation they said a lot of people refer to Wake Forest as "Work Forest" and I'd say that's pretty accurate. To say we’re busy is an understatement, but luckily the work is manageable and we all find time to enjoy ourselves outside of the classroom. We’re all actually pretty close and generally enjoy spending time together, which is nice. When we’re not in class, doing work, or hanging out, we’re progressing on our job searches. Wake has already given us so many resources to help us discover who we are and want we want in a future career, so now it’s time to put the effort in to search for those careers we want and deserve. We're all ready for the challenge, though, and can't wait to see what the next few months hold!

P.S. Here are a few little things that you wouldn’t know about the Schools of Business from just looking at the website/admissions booklets:

*It is custom here (and in most business schools, I’ve heard) to call your professors by their first names
*Every Wednesday SGA supplies free bagels and doughnuts for students
*You have to dress up for class each day. It really isn’t as bad as it sounds though; I used it as an excuse to go out and buy business clothes. Any day you can justify shopping is a good day.
*After every exam our program provides us with food…I’m talking REAL food. For our first exam we had fried chicken, pasta salad, macaroni and cheese, green beans, and cornbread. No complaints here.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Character Assessments

Thus far the MA in Management has been an incredibly challenging and invigorating academic experience. We have covered a variety coursework in accounting, quantitative modeling, and macroeconomic principles. However, some of the most interesting work we have done has consisted of personal interest and character assessments in our career management and organizational behavior courses.

In the beginning of the program, all of us took the Strength Development Inventory that classified us into 7 different motivational value systems. This information was then used to group us into our Action Learning Project teams so that they would be well balanced. We have also taken assessments in our learning styles, skill strengths, and emotional intelligence. These exercises have been incredibly useful tools to help highlight our strengths and weaknesses as individuals and team members within a group. I strongly believe that our group has benefited immensely from these assessments in terms of delegating tasks and facilitating communication.

The most interesting evaluation gauged our emotional intelligence (or EQ for short). We did this in our organizational behavior course by sending a questionnaire to 5 people, in which they evaluated our EQ. The results were incredibly enlightening and have really motivated to me to work on my weaknesses. One of these is conflict management. I try to avoid confrontation as much as possible but I know that this hinders me from maximizing my EQ. As a result, I have taken up bikram yoga, and journaling to help me center thoughts and my emotions for when I do have to be in those types of situations.

Taking these assessments has also helped me hone in on the type of career I would want to pursue after the program. I am confident that knowing my skills and strengths will be a huge advantage during my job search. For instance, when I saw that some of my strengths included influencing others, coaching and mentoring, creative production, and enterprise control, I began considering careers I had not previously thought of pursing like consulting and human resources. Additionally, I will be looking over my results before interviews because I think they will be useful in guiding my responses to tough interview questions.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Let the Juggling Act Begin

by Gina Katzmark (MBA ’13)

The word “relief” best describes my initial feeling after diving into graduate business student orientation at Wake Forest University Schools of Business. Taking the plunge and pursuing an MBA degree while working full-time and having a family is a huge commitment. Like any other commitment, I have gone into this adventure with plenty of concerns.

The Concerns
Let’s start with can I achieve an acceptable score on the GMAT? Nearly two decades had passed since I looked at a quadratic equation, so I knew that test was a hurdle I needed to get over. After surviving the GMAT with minimal emotional scars, my next concern elevated…Can I handle the rigorous coursework? Just hearing the words “quantitative methods” makes me break out in hives. While we are on the topic of work, how can I handle the housework and the yard work? Being part of a family takes work, too. Am I putting too much of a burden on my husband while taking classes and studying? Will he grow to resent the fact that my time will be dominated with the selfish pursuit of my desire to earn an MBA? Yet another concern arises, will I fit in with the rest of the class? Will there be others with an educational background in liberal arts? Am I going to be significantly older than my peers? Will there be many other women? How am I going to find time to eat and sleep?

The Relief
Guess what, I can chill the heck out because I am not alone. I am surrounded by intelligent, caring individuals who want me to succeed. Many conversations with classmates involve shared concerns. All of the concerns haven’t gone away, but I feel tremendous support. I am also encouraged and inspired. After hearing messages from such accomplished leaders as Dean Reinemund and Dr. Christopher Howard, I am reminded of what a privilege it is to be a student at Wake Forest University Schools of Business. As my dad would be quick to advise, I “better not screw this up.”

Friday, September 2, 2011

Wake Forest To Launch Unprecedented Retail Marketing Center!

Indoor sketch of new Farrell Hall, future home of the Center for Value Delivery Innovation

Attention all you Retail Marketers!

The Wake Forest Schools of Business are poised to become a leader in retail marketing development, with the launch of the Center for Value Delivery Innovation (CVDI) in 2012! The center is a joint collaboration between the Wake Forest Schools of Business and Inmar Inc., a leading provider of technology-driven data analysis solutions.

The Center will serve as a collaborative link between the retail industry and academia, attracting students, faculty, and professionals alike to participate in events, workshops, and training for marketing management. Students will have direct access to the center, providing opportunities to connect and network with companies, participate in new and innovative projects, and learn about current trends in retail marketing!

“Thanks to the Center, our students will get the opportunity to learn and have an immediate impact on the retail industry,” said Roger Beahm, Wake Forest Graduate Schools of Business Professor of Practice, who also serves as the faculty advisor to the Wake Forest Marketing Summit.

The official CVDI Kick-Off Event will take place during next year’s 22nd Annual Marketing Summit Competition, which will begin here at Wake Forest on February 16-18, 2012. The new Center will be located within Farrell Hall, the brand new Graduate Business School building scheduled to open next year!

For more information, check out the official press release:

And be sure to check out the Facebook Page! The site is constantly buzzing, complete with contests, prizes, up-to-date information, and opportunities for page members to influence future CVDI programs and events!

For more information on the Marketing Summit Competition, check out:

Tell us what you think in the comments! You will need a working gmail account to post your comment.