Sunday, October 16, 2011

What to Keep in Your Back Pocket Here in Charlotte

I kept four things readily accessible in the back left pocket of my jeans this week – my Wake Forest campus key card, my Wake Forest copy card, my bank card, and a Yoforia gift card. When I realized mid-week that I subconsciously transferred all four cards through every pair of jeans I wore over a couple of days, it dawned on me – this was, in fact, an exam week, and I was going to need copies of accounting practice problems just as much as an already-paid-for pomegranate frozen yogurt. And I was ready.

This week required a lot of each of us here in the Charlotte program; it was the first time since we started the program in August that the stakes were raised – we were responsible for two midterm exams, a Quant Methods individual assignment, and a rough draft of a team accounting project. Not to mention, of course, our full-time jobs. If you weren’t 100% enrolled emotionally in the business school experience, you were going to be. Real fast.

The thing is, we weren’t alone – we came through for ourselves, yes; but, we came through for each other, which speaks to one of the things I love about Charlotte’s program – the people; this Class of 2013 team. We made copies for each other. We camped out in the copy room for hours talking and working through practice problems. We called. We texted. We e-mailed out study guides to everyone at 2 o’clock in the morning before the test (and by ‘we’, I mean, Morris).

Again, we weren’t alone in this experience. This past Friday, the end of exam week, Harris Teeter’s President Fred Morganthall came to the Charlotte campus to speak about his experiences and the Harris Teeter ‘story’. Organized by a second-year Charlotte student, Bryan Sprayberry ’12, the event provided insight that extended far beyond the retail world. One such insight by Mr. Morganthall - you’ve got to have the right people –your own people familiar with the company’s culture, community, goals - in place for a new store to do well in a new market. If that’s the case, then, Charlotte’s Class of 2013 – the right people to know in this new adventure - we kept each other in our back pockets this week.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

VIDEO: Students Volunteer at the Food Bank Community Garden

Will it be a three-peat?

Congratulations to Wake Forest University Schools of Business students Mike Allen (MSA ’12), Dan Kim (’13), Stephanie Gifford (’12) and Greg Gorman (’12). They will represent Wake Forest at the KPMG International Case Competition semi-final on Jan. 20 in Miami.

Mike is a Master of Science in Accountancy candidate. Dan and Stephanie are Finance majors and Greg is a Business and Enterprise management major.

“Team Wake” was selected after participating in a campus competition that took place on October 3.

Megan Petitt (MSA ’12) and Swayze Smartt (MSA ’12), two of the members of the Wake Forest team that won the global championship title last year at the KPMG International Case Competition in Istanbul, Turkey, gave a presentation on Sept. 30 to campus teams before they picked up their cases. The former champs offered advice and suggested “do’s and don’ts” of case preparation.

Wake Forest also won the world title competition held two years ago in Athens, Greece.

The Wake Forest team will compete against the University of Virginia, Ole Miss, Florida State and North Carolina A&T in the semi-final competition.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Graduate Finance Club Hosts Investment Banking Weekend

On Friday, September 16 and Saturday, September 17, the Graduate Finance Club held its “Investment Banking Weekend” (“IB Weekend”). The IB Weekend—a resurrected event by the Finance Club from years’ past—was purposed to help educate MBA, MSA, and MA students about the various career paths in the investment banking industry.

Selected topics included: delineating the differences between boutique and “bulge-bracket” firms; describing new hires’ roles and responsibilities, and; discussing behavioral and technical interviewing best-practices. Dr. Rob Nash, Professor and Orr Fellow in Finance, and Dr. Jon Duchac, Merrill Lynch Professor of Accounting, offered insight into specific coursework and concepts relevant to students being successful on the job.

The Weekend featured an Alumni Panel on Saturday, September 17th.. Featured speakers on the panel included:

  • Drew Cannon (MBA, 2005)
  • Sean Kelley (BA, 2005)
  • Clint Bundy (MBA, 2006)

All of the alumni the students were fortunate to learn from have extensive experience in the investment banking industry, having worked for venerable institutions such as Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank and Wells Fargo (formerly Wachovia). In addition, the alumni have worked in various locations and geographies including Charlotte, Richmond, VA, New York and Hong Kong.

The IB Weekend concluded with the Finance Club jointly hosting a tailgate with the Graduate Marketing Club for Wake Forest’s football game against Gardner-Webb. The Demon Deacons did their part on the field in making the Weekend a success all-around, as they defeated the Gardner-Webb Runnin’ Bulldogs, 48-5.

(Guest Submission By: Graduate Finance Club Leadership Team)

Friday, October 7, 2011

Business School and Sports Analogies: Inseparable

Touchdowns Home Runs and and Goals, Oh My!
“You miss a 100% of the shots you don’t take.” While this expression could easily apply to World of Warcraft or photography, I usually understood it as referring to basketball. Turns out, the speaker of this quote was Wayne Gretzsky, so I still had it wrong. In business school, however, I have ample opportunity to learn about sports. It’s seemingly inescapable, especially now in the season I used to know as fall. Now I know it by it’s rightful name: football season.

Sports references abound both outside and inside the classroom. In the hallways I hear murmurings about Antonio Gates, Chad Ochocinco, and Tony Romo echoing off the walls. Between, and I imagine during, classes, fantasy stats are being checked, adjusted, and discussed. Study sessions often feature the undulating cheers and constant chatter of a football game on TV. But students are not the only ones obsessed with sports. Professors will use basketball stars in problem sets and ask us to calculate standard deviation for high school track race times. Teamwork is taught in the framework of a sports team using inspirational sports movies as examples of the stages of team development. These references play, pardon the pun, to the interests of many business school students, but not all.

Don’t get me wrong, I do enjoy sports. I played two of them in high school. But I’ve also played in a band. I’ve been part of the cast of a musical play. I’ve performed dance routines with a group. All these activities have granted me the opportunity to be part of a team as well as a leader. But where are all the arts analogies in business school? Why not try “Most people live with their music still unplayed. They never dare to try,” by Mary Kay Ash, founder of Mary Kay Cosmetics. Or “As good as I am, I’m nothing without my band,” Steven Tyler. How about calculating the standard deviation of beats per minute across musical genres or the number of words per sentence in a Hemingway novel? Professors sometimes start class by playing a song, which I greatly appreciate, but don’t let it stop there. If Wake Forest is truly attempting to foster an inclusive environment for all its students, we should consider expanding the topics of conversation beyond just sports.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Speaker Series - Dean Steve Reinemund

Whatever your faith:

  • You should be free to share your thoughts.
  • You should not object to others thoughts.
  • You should make a conscious effort to respect the thoughts of others.

Talks about leadership or success have always sparked my interest. Last week, I had the opportunity to attend our Dean Steve Reinemund's speech on leadership, success and significance. He shared his leadership stories and his success journey. I would like to share some of the highlights from his speech, a few quotes, and a particularly interesting question from the audience.

Success comes from three C's:

  • Character (1st most important attribute for success)
The biggest attribute for success in business is "Character". It determines success vs. failure. Character is built from beliefs. It comes from commitment to a particular faith. It comes from belief in God. But character will be challenged and tested many a time. He said that "Character" is one of the attributes CEO's look for while recruiting.
  • Commitment (2nd most important attribute for success)
It is the second most important attribute for long term success. And long term success is based on a series of short term successes.
  • Competence (3rd most important attribute for success)

Talking about his last business trip, the Dean said that it is intimidating to be in Silicon Valley unless you are a genius. To be successful in business, everyone should work hard with his or her God-given IQ. It is important that we take our intellect to the highest level possible.

Quotes from Dean Steve Reinemund:

"If leaders believe that they are right all the time, then they are doomed to fail."

"The right job is not the one that your parents think you should take."

A very interesting question from audience:

When do you become angry, and how do you control your mind?

"Leaders closely control their emotions. Most of the time, we don't know whether they are angry or not. Anger is OK as long as it is not disrespectful and not selfish."

It is a great experience, learning from the industry leaders. We can learn a lot just by listening to their stories. I recommend everyone to attend the Speaker Series.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Cheers to the Weekend

by Victoria Osborne (MA '12)

The past two weeks have been incredibly busy, and yet somehow I find a way to squeeze homework in with all the things I’d rather be doing. I am a firm believer in work-life balance, and since I do work almost non-stop Sunday-Thursday, the weekends are the perfect time to just have fun and relieve stress. This weekend was no exception. Yesterday, Dean Reinemund hosted his annual “Backyard Ball with the Dean” basketball tournament, where various groups from the Schools of Business competed in a double-elimination tournament. I stopped by the tournament (held on a full basketball court in the dean’s backyard, no big deal) to root on my fellow MA in Management students. We had two teams in the tournament and even though the 1st-year MBAs won our teams still had good showings. It was nice to interact with the dean and other Business students in such a fun, relaxed atmosphere. After the tournament I’d planned to go to Worrell to knock out some studying (and possibly this blog) when another student in my program said, “Hey I’m about to go suit shopping, do you want to come?” Four hours and six stores later I had not completed a single bit of homework but alas, I’d found a suit. It’s a business suit so that has to count for something…right?

Before going to the basketball tournament, I spent my Saturday morning volunteering with United Way and Hanes Brands. Hanes held a massive sale of their products, as well as some Ralph Lauren items, with all proceeds going to United Way. I was a “replenisher”, so I was in charge of restocking items as supply depleted. Sounds simple enough, I thought, until I got there and saw what can only be compared to Wal-Mart on Black Friday. There were cardboard boxes everywhere, piled high with t-shirts, shorts, socks, pajamas, underwear, etc. It was hard to know where to start because everything needed replenishing and yet nothing needed replenishing at the same time because there was so. much. stuff. I’m the kind of girl (woman?) who organizes her closet by type of item and then by color, so I was definitely overwhelmed. Not knowing who or where my supervisor was, I just started going through boxes and making sure what was in each box matched what was written on the outside of each box. If I had to guess there were probably 200 boxes total, each one swarming with bargain-hungry Winston-Salemites. Oh, and did I mention the rain? Yes, it rained, yes, we were outdoors, and no, this did not deter the crowd in the slightest. As chaotic as it all was though, I had a good time.

Lastly, the Dixie Classic Fair is in town. Though I am ride-adverse (see: Final Destination 3) I absolutely LOVE fair food and the thought of a giant turkey leg was enough to convince me to go. The fair was amazing—such good energy, tons of rides, and endless opportunities to develop diabetes. One stand even had deep fried butter… and here I thought there were limits to what could be deep fried. On a dare, I actually tried it and it literally was the most revolting thing I’ve ever eaten. I was so hypnotized by the fact that it was covered in cinnamon and powdered sugar that I ignored the fact that underneath lay an actual stick of butter. I have a strong stomach but boy, was it tested last night. Though it was hard to top that experience, I’d have to say the best part of the night was the fireworks show (though I will say I did not get to see “The Woman with 8 Legs” or “The World’s Smallest Horse”). The fair is in town all week so if you’re in the area and haven’t been yet, I recommend you go! ….but please stay away from all things deep-fried.