Transactional Time Management—By Chris

UC Davis MBA

 This post will take you 3 minutes to read, and will save you at least 5 minutes in the next two weeks.  If it doesn’t, get my email address, write up a couple paragraphs stating the nature of your problem, include a brief description of your career goals, and I’ll write a personalized apology to you.

As an MBA student, to say time is precious would be an understatement.  Spare time is nonexistent, and even that’s a liberal estimate.

Given that time is short enough to hang-glide on a Dorito, it’s important to keep a healthy attitude towards prioritization.  Enter transactional time-management.

UC Davis MBA ---“Enter transactional time-management, exit poor work/life balance!” – James Hetfield, MBA

UC Davis MBA —“Enter transactional time-management, exit poor work/life balance!” – James Hetfield, MBA

Thinking about your efforts in terms of a simple cost-benefit analysis based on time isn’t enough anymore.  Time put in to a project does not necessarily equal final value.  If it were that simple, the Zohan movie wouldn’t have grossed more to date than a movie with actual jokes in it.

UC Davis MBA---“My favorite part about the Adam Sandler movie was that funny voice.” – Lots of people, apparently

UC Davis MBA—“My favorite part about the Adam Sandler movie was that funny voice.” – Lots of people, apparently

Instead of fixating on the sheer time put into a project, it’s far more effective to evaluate your efforts according to one of the triple constraint frameworks.  Triple constraints are three qualities that can never be achieved simultaneously.  For example, out of low cost, high quality, and short turnaround time, the maximum you can have is two.

In the business school experience, the triple constraint can help you honestly evaluate your expectations and prioritize your efforts accordingly.  Ask yourself if the project:

1.) Demands little time to complete (low cost)?

2.) Requires great presentation (high quality)?

3.) Depends on finishing it quickly (turnaround time)?

For example, if Zohan had to read 300 pages and write up a report by noon tomorrow, he would have to decide whether to spend less time reading the book, compromise his goals for the report’s quality, or beg the professor for an extension in a hilarious squeaky voice.

As an MBA student, you are given the goal of delivering all three triple constraints simultaneously.  It’s up to you to prioritize your time accordingly.

Christine’s Summer Internship at eBay—Summer Intern Series

UC Davis MBA ---EBAY Intern Experience--PowerUP conference in San Francisco

This summer I had the fortune of landing my dream internship at eBay, where I spent three months working with the social media marketing team. The company offers one of the best internship programs for MBAs, and they invest a lot into giving interns a meaningful experience.

While there were many things I loved about my summer, here are a few personal highlights:

My project and team. From the moment I arrived, my coworkers made me feel integrated into the fabric of the team. For my project, I had the perfect balance of autonomy and support. They trusted my expertise and wanted me to succeed.

The company culture. eBay has a very supportive environment. People were generally open with their time, willing to chat, teach and learn. This is an amazing opportunity when you’re surrounded by so many smart people!


The MBA treatment. There were many events throughout the summer, including a huge overnight welcome party, a three-day conference in San Francisco, learning lunches, and more.  The company also set aside special events for the MBA interns. This was an amazing opportunity to make new friends along the MBA journey and expand my network.

UC Davis MBA--EBAY Experience-Happy hour with fellow MBA interns

UC Davis MBA–EBAY Experience-Happy hour with fellow MBA interns

I feel transformed by my experience this summer at eBay. It was a whirlwind, and I loved every minute.

Kick it off, Second year!—-By Vienna

UCD MBA---Class of 2016

When I finally landed in my new room of an amazing house after twelve hours overnight flight, the summer vacation is officially over and here comes the second year, which embodies four classes, one IMPACT project, a TA position and a part time job. Yes, it’s not easy to believe that as an international rookie, I dare to take all things above, as well as it’s hard to believe I have gotten all the amazing chances.

I did a lot of fun things in the summer, worked out an international wealth management project for a top five Chinese bank’s American headquarter; explored the awesome New York summer; and traveled around and visited friends and family in China. But I did miss school a lot, missing the feeling of being surrounded by love and support.

The first week went through really well; we don’t have any core classes, which means it’s harder for the whole class to get together, but it’s good to see people trying harder to participate in connections, events and other activities to talk to each other.

It’s sad to say goodbye to class of 2014, but we have gotten the awesome class of 2016 and happy to embrace the new 50 more alumnus. The greatest thing about a relatively smaller program is, we do connect closer. This summer I got connected to a few New Yorker alumnus, who were really warmhearted and happy to embrace me to their connections; some classmate introduced me to their former colleague, some wrote recommendations for me without requests; and I happily helped out some MBA recruiting fair in New York.

People talked their summer experiences and career goal in the career development workshop, it’s good to see the beautiful data of the internship of our class; it’s better to hear people’s fun stories and how much they enjoyed the summer; but the best part is when people talked about their future goals, the rest of us were actively reacting by digging out connections to offer some help.

We still get ten months to fight together for our future, and the life time to support each other; it’s too early to have the emotional feeling about graduation and being separated, but that’s how much I love my program and fellows, and I am not going to hide it.

Go GSMer! Go Aggies!

UC Davis--MBA

Dear friends, the summer is here. All of the ambassadors are out for interns; we would be back in October, hopefully we can bring you some fresh stories in our intern; anyway, you still can leave you comments or suggestions here. Hope to see you again in the fall. Enjoy a nice summer! UC Davis–MBA

“Rock Steady” by Chris


DISCLAIMER:  I wrote this post after finishing my first year in the MBA program, and my last job was in the military.  It’s going to be heavy on the freedom fries and light on the political commentary, so buckle up tight!

(Unless that phrase offends you, in which case I totally agree that seatbelts are an egregious affront to the Third Amendment and ghostriding the whip should be taught in public schools.)

So a little backstory… I was in the Army for five years before school.  Ask any of my classmates and they’d tell you, “He was in the Army for five years before school.”

I’m not bringing up my military service to make myself look good.  Yes, I used to holler the preamble to the Constitution while fearlessly leaping from airplanes.  Yes, I rode the nose of a space shuttle and launched voter registration pamphlets with pinpoint accuracy.  No, I never knock at doors… because freedom rings.



UC Davis MBA—This is my favorite rock group. 

 I humbly mention my background because the military is a place where personal integrity and initiative are highly valued.  And the GSM produces hard-charging professionals ready to tackle real-world problems as a team, something that I am very grateful to be a part of.

This past quarter my classmates Vienna, David Z.,Erik and I teamed up in one of the most intense courses the GSM has to offer.  Together, we took on MGT 285: Time Series Analysis and Forecasting… also known as “Stats III: Return to Camp Crystal Lake.”  That meant late nights, grey hairs, and a killer grasp of analytical techniques that have real-world applications.

Without a doubt, this class required a huge personal investment.  But sometimes you have to pay an emotional price to emerge victorious on the other side.  Like the old Army saying goes, you can’t make a cheese omelet MRE without throwing away the cheese omelet.


UC Davis MBA– It tastes like it looks… but it comes with M&M’s!

 Anyone in Stats III was put through the wringer – losing sleep, wrestling with Minitab and Excel, constantly rewriting reports, Wikipedia’ing “R-squared” for some dim glimmer of hope, and becoming very familiar with working under extreme frustration.

But as a team, we got through it.  We counted on each other to back each other up and make progress on the reports, and to meet each other’s deadlines.  We learned exactly how to integrate each of our individual strengths for maximum efficiency.  We communicated quickly and clearly, and challenged each other to build solid conclusions from our data.  As my classmate Shareghe aptly put it, our “emotional stamina” was enhanced to the fullest.

And our sense of cooperation didn’t stop at the team.  There were plenty of late nights that saw different class members stick their heads in the doorway of a neighboring study room to ask for advice on regression methods.  We didn’t worry about competing for grades, since the intense nature of the class demanded that we all count on each other as a cohesive unit.

To me, that experience embodied a quality that so many organizations strive to achieve.  Our success as a class lay not in our individual grades, but because we all truly wanted each other to accomplish our goals.  No matter how busy we were, we always wanted to help each other understand and succeed in our collective mission.

And that makes the bald eagle of my heart soar with pride.


UC Davis MBA–Stats III, 2014 – Rock Steady!


A Note on Competition–By Christine


This week wraps up my first year of business school. As my classmates and I have been getting ready to disperse for summer internships, I’ve been reflecting on how supportive we have all been for each other.

When I entered business school, I expected to come across at least a few sharp-elbowed, hyper-competitive, grade-grubbing classmates. You know, the kind that only care about their own progress and self-image. With such a small class size, it would be easy to have a culture of over-achievers who are stepping over each other, hoarding contacts and information to snap up the best internships for themselves. Much to my relief, this hasn’t been the case at all!

In fact, our tight knit community as a small class size was one of the main reasons I chose to attend UC Davis, and this aspect of the GSM has proven itself priceless day after day. Particularly in our hunt for summer internships, I have had so much support from classmates. The generosity and willingness to help each other succeed really is something to be proud of. My friends at school have been there for me every step of the way – sharing a contact here, a recommendation there, a link to a job posting, and even a shoulder to cry on.


UC Davis–MBA

I think at the end of the day, we all know that any one person’s success is all of our success. It behooves us to collaborate, to build and strengthen bonds, and to support each other. This is something I’ll be feeling thankful for and truly missing all summer long.

See you in the Fall!

-          Christine

Silver Linings MBA—-By Wataru


images (3)


Individual and Group dynamics. Not only is it a core class that first years will take in Spring quarter but it’s also something GSMers must consider in their day to day lives as future leaders. Having led an Admit Day and coordinated a speaking event with the VP of global marketing for The North Face I’ve had my opportunities for leading groups this year. Most students will come into the program with some level of leadership and will certainly lead groups while attending the GSM but it’s insightful knowing how exactly your actions as a leader motivate a team.


Most students blog about their successes but I’m going to share with you an experience about my failure as a leader. Prior to business school whenever I had the opportunity to lead I felt as though I had to have everything under my control, that the successes and failures of the group were solely my responsibility. How naïve. First of all, it was naïve to believe I could control for all factors. Second of all, I was naïve in thinking that a team’s success was based on a single person. The word “team” should have been the first indicator.


When I was a lead for planning a speaker event this year I went into my default style of leadership and required everyone on the team to follow my strict orders. As I learned in group dynamics class, I was being a “directive” leader. I hounded the group, wanting to know the breakdown of exactly what they were planning and what they had already accomplished. Timelines were required for even the most minuscule of tasks. What I should have done was “empower” everyone on the project. I had completely neglected the fact that the task force was composed of the most capable people at the GSM. They were All-Stars at their respective companies and I was treating them like individuals who have never had a project assigned to them. In a way I was disrespecting their competencies; I was indicating that I didn’t trust them to handle simple tasks. In that way, I failed as a leader.

I won’t be making that mistake again.

Luckily, these are fixable attributes and I make it my mission to become a stronger and more effective leader for future projects.


The Big Bang Journey—-By Kellan #Guest Blogger


Getting involved with Zasaka this year was a true highlight of my entire Graduate School of Management experience – and it proved that UC Davis was totally the right school for me.

One of the main reasons I decided to get my MBA at the GSM was the sustainability and entrepreneurial culture that seemed to be widespread across campus.

The Big Bang! Business Competition is just one of the many programs here at UCD that helps keep that culture alive and well. The competition is run by the amazing UC Davis Child Family Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship. They provide opportunities year round to work on new business ideas and meet great people (like the Zasaka team: Carl, Sunday, Rashmi, and Julia!).


UC Davis MBA—-BigBang

I first got excited about Big Bang! when planning my move from Boston to California in 2012. That year’s winner was an improved solar power technology and the People’s Choice Award winner was a technology for asphalt roads that captured energy from the sun and the pressure of passing vehicles. How cool!

Then in my first year at the GSM, I took Marc Lowe’s New Business Ventures, where student take business ideas from startup to VC funding to 10x. I worked on a team that developed a news platform for college-aged millennials. We took it all the way to the Big Bang! Semifinals! The judges asked seriously hard questions about finances, differentiation, and operations that kept us learning more at every step in the competition. I found out through the process that I had built some great skills by that point in my MBA! It made me eager to stay involved with entrepreneurship on campus and further tailor it to my interests.

This January I first met the incredible Zasaka team through the course, D-Lab, taught by Kurt Kornbluth in the UCD Program for International Energy Technologies. The class was developed by the UCD Energy Efficiency Center (EEC) and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). What an incredible 10 weeks! We broke into seven teams that used small business ideas with innovative design and technologies to address real problems in developing countries with international partner communities. The projects from our class and a few past years are here:

At this point I knew absolutely nothing about post-harvest grain storage and crop yields in Zambia. Nothing! Through weeks of research and regular conversations with the Zasaka founders, our team helped develop a financial model, stakeholder analysis, and go-to-market recommendations. We built an understanding of the governmental climate of Zambia, lives of smallholder farmers, and crop trends.


UC Davis MBA—-BigBang

I had grown to love this little company.

So, I took the Zasaka team up on their offer to join their Big Bang! group. Countless financial models, value chain descriptions, crop cycle explanations, and amazing team conversations later, Zasaka was pitched to the Big Bang! judges.

Five pitches, 10 judges, and 150 audience members later, we were honored to win both the Ag and Food Innovation and People’s Choice awards!


UC Davis MBA—-BigBang

The competition and team Zasaka confirmed some of the main lessons I learned at the GSM. Seek out difficult feedback and constantly iterate. Get the right people in the room. And keep pushing yourself to take on challenges inside and outside of the classroom.

Thanks to so many sustainability and entrepreneurial leaders, we have a culture that can’t be beat here at UC Davis. I’m excited to stay involved with Zasaka in the years to come and wish all future Big Bang! competitors the very best of luck!

MBA in the DNA—By Chris


The coolest thing I’ve noticed about being an MBA student is how much it shifts your thinking into a business mindset.  I read the news, watch movies, and overhear conversations these days and I can’t help but think of the concepts we’ve been learning in our classes.  When we take the time to stop and think about it, it’s incredible how much knowledge we’ve been able to absorb in such a short period of time.

For example, a recent superhero movie had a plot device of big data being collected from social media that can “predict the future of every American.”  I immediately thought of our Time Series Analysis class and joked that I’d like to have seen their p-values!  Of course my date thought I was a giant nerd, but that should have been obvious already since I took her to a movie about men in tights saving the world.

Bill Gates at CES 2007

UC Davis MBA:“Here’s a guy who probably got called a nerd once too.”


But the way of looking at things at the GSM is also really useful in a lot of ways outside of the classroom.  I used some of the negotiation tactics from our Individual and Group Dynamics class to help me get a sweet deal on a new phone.  I talked with a friend of mine who was stressed out at work on how he could better organize his employees using our Managing for Operational Excellence theories.  And a family member looking at starting her own business got some free knowledge courtesy of what I learned in Corporate Finance.  All of these conversations went into business mode with little effort – it was just the right way to look at things.


UC Davis MBA:“A typical family dinner in my house since the start of the MBA program.”

Every now and then I’ll have a nonsensical dream where I’m trying to solve for the dividend growth rate on a basket of French fries, but besides that it’s awesome to be able to whip out b-school ideas in everyday life.  Our brains are being trained to take apart problems and look at them from a business perspective, even when we don’t realize it.  Even when we struggle with a class concept, or miss a point on a test, or feel like we’re in over our heads, we’re still getting stronger.  The best part is, we didn’t have to get bitten by anything radioactive to become so amazing!

What to wear to your business school interview—By Christine




I recently sat down with Earl Raeshler to get some practical advice for prospective students who have made it to the next phase of the admissions process. Earl is the Assistant Director of Admissions for the GSM’s Daytime program, so this advice is coming straight from the source! He’s shared some sound advice on how to prepare for your big interview at the GSM, which I have summarized for you here.


Before I dive in to specifics about wardrobe, however, I thought I’d share an extremely important piece of insight I got from Earl – if you take anything away from this blog post, it should be this: the admissions team is looking first and foremost for candidates who can tell their story in an engaging and authentic manner. Ultimately, Earl and his team are looking at the person you will become two years down the road if you are accepted. They are evaluating you today, but also what you will look like to job recruiters when you graduate. Savvy candidates will keep this in mind every step of the way!


And now, on to the fashion! Here are some themes that came up in our conversation.


Dress to impress

While it might sound old-fashioned, this is your chance to impress the admissions team, so you want to dress appropriately for the occasion. Of course, the tricky part of this is determining what is “appropriate.” Earl says to always err towards business formal if you’re not sure. It’s better to be overdressed than underdressed. Here are some hard and fast rules to follow:


  • For women

o    Women have a bit more freedom

o    Pants and skirt suits are always appropriate

o    Professional looking dresses are okay too, but keep it simple

o    The blazer is optional, a nice cardigan will also do



  • For men

o    Wear a classic dark suit, white shirt and a subtle tie

o    No matter what you wear, the blazer is not optional



Never, ever, ever…

Here are some things to avoid at all costs. Earl says to let your words speak for your personality in the interview. For example, if you’re really passionate about surfing, definitely feel free to bring it up in the conversation. Just don’t “wear” this aspect of your personality or you’ll risk losing points. Here are some specific things to avoid:


  • Don’t be flashy (gentlemen, no bright or goofy shirts or ties; ladies, avoid funky nail art)
  • Don’t wear dirty shoes—they don’t have to be brand new, but they should look clean
  • Ladies, no tight forming stretch pants! Really!
  • Don’t look sloppy—shirts tucked in, hair brushed



Definitely, always…

  • Sport a well-tied tie
  • Present the best version of yourself
  • Focus on your story and how you can contribute to GSM community



At your own peril…

  • Open toed shoes are controversial for women because some people think it’s unprofessional. Better to play it safe.
  • Some people have pulled off wearing jeans, but Earl doesn’t recommend it. It can work but it’s a gamble!!



Parting thoughts

Some of you might be wondering, “Okay, but how much does my physical appearance really play into the admissions process?” Well, Earl admits that from an admissions standpoint it’s not really a factor unless you really show no effort. You can absolutely overcome not having fancy clothes, but you can’t overcome a bad personality.


Good luck to everyone applying!