So You’ve Been Accepted…Now What?:

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First and foremost, congratulations are in order. You’ve been granted the opportunity to earn a degree only 2% of the population holds. Perhaps more interesting is the fact that many of you will also be getting your first summer vacation in years.

Taking time off between working and starting business school is a great way to reintegrate yourself to the student mindset. The prospect of having 4 classes with one lecture a week may make b-school seem like an extended vacation. While the daily grind of a 9-5 or an insane 80-hour work week may be on hold for the next two years, don’t let your new schedule fool you. While deceptively bare on the calendar, your days WILL fill up fast. Group meetings for assignments, the internship hunt, networking events, involvement in clubs, and general life will take over. Soon you’ll be wondering where all that free time you thought you would have went. So before you get bogged down in the nitty-gritty of school life, take some time to get a jump-start (or refresher if it’s been awhile) over the summer.

I know I said summer was for that vacation you’ve been putting off for years, and it is. Take trips, catch up with old friends, spend time with your family, and refresh yourself from being burned out by work. These are the most important things you can do to get your mind fresh for the next chapter. However, there are a few side tasks that are easier to get under your belt before you start school. Below is some advice I wish I had before coming back as student2.0.

  1. Get acquainted with excel! Being comfortable working with hundreds of rows of data will save you hours down the road. This includes everything from the basic shortcuts (like highlighting up to the last cell of data without the entire column), to slightly more advanced equation rules (like when to use ($) in formulas).
  2. Get your LinkedIn page up to speed. Before you get to school update your profile to include your candidacy. This will help you find alumni connections, set up informational interviews, and start the internship hunt. Getting your internship locked in as soon as possible will save you untold amounts of stress. Do not wait to start reaching out and creating those relationships.
  3. Refresh your statistics acumen. You don’t need to take a whole summer course, but do make a conscious effort to re-learn what a p-value is from your freshman year of college (or maybe high school for some of you). The basics of statistics will pop up in a variety of classes, from marketing to operations, and you won’t want to spend hours on Google trying to re-learn it just to finish your homework.
  4. Devote time just for thinking. You already wrote your application essay that most likely asked your future goals. And you most likely danced around and threw in a bunch of jargon-of-the-day verbiage to sound like you had it figured out. We all know you don’t. And that’s ok; the good news is you’re in! Now you have some time to actually sit down and figure out what that roadmap is to your dream job. Don’t just identify what company you want to work for and go back to sitting by the pool. Really figure out what types of tasks motivate you, what roles you enjoy being in, what skills you have that cover multiple positions and across industries. This may sound like fluff, but the basis of these conversations with yourself will come up in the job search, networking, and, most importantly, interviews. So sit down and come up with some actual answers…and the great news is you can do this at the pool.

Blog by Karen Mesrobian – Class of 2016

Most wonderful time of the year

UC Davis MBA Ambassador

The halls of the GSM are filled with a nervous excitement as the internship-hunting season is in full swing. With some classmates getting positions early at Intel, Wells Fargo, and other great companies, the bulk of internship interviews and hiring are happening as I write this. So, the question that is on the forefront of the mind of every future intern is, “How do I get the right internship for me?”

Excellent question, young padawan. First and foremost, figure out what sector you are looking to get experience and what role in that sector fits your skills, likes, desires, etc. Not every internship is right for everyone, and the worst thing someone can do is to accept an internship that is totally outside what you know you want to do (Example: Don’t go into Investment Banking if you want to be in tech marketing.) Next, leverage your networks, from everyone to prior coworkers and family friends to GSM Alumni and the Career Development team at the GSM. The key to getting an internship that makes you excited falls into two categories: Getting the Interview and Crushing the Interview. Your resumes, connections, that alignment of the stars, all work to get you in the door. Crushing that interview is on you. Be the best, most polished, likeable, and intelligent version of yourself you can be. Dress for success. Basically, do what the Career Development team tells you to do at an interview. (The GSM has great training and prep opportunities for students.)

Some subtle keys to success fall in that murky area between your ears. Trust yourself; know that you belong with the top-level companies in the best positions. Don’t let others talking about their success intimidate or stress you. As the saying goes around here: Everyone who wants an internship gets one. All good things in their own time. Internships are like playing house. They are for trying out a role that you think you will like, mostly to give yourself some perspective for that looming career decision after graduation. Happy hunting, future interns. You are going to crush it.

Blog by Jim Terheyden – Class of 2016

Imagining the school as your company

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One of the most awesome things about UC Davis is that the school identity is literally what you make of it.  We have roughly 50 people in each of our graduating classes, each with different goals, interests, skills, and talents.  In our school, we’ve been given a blank slate to play with – a sandbox where your experience is what you make of it, and you can find fit yourself into the broader picture however you like.

I encourage our new applicants to consider what kinds of things you like to do in a professional organization before you start class.  Are you outward-facing?  Do you lead teams through breadth of knowledge or do you prefer to be the resident subject-matter-expert?  What is one thing that you wish you could practice?

With these answers, seek out opportunities in school to explore your professional development.  Try your hand at handling a marketing campaign.  Make organizational processes more efficient.  Find outside partnerships and negotiate deal terms.  If you view the school as the company you work for, the effort will directly translate into real-world experience.  Your internship or full-time job interview will be a snap – “practiced initiative” is music to a recruiter’s ears.

The most rewarding part about this attitude is that the work you put into the school – in addition to training you for success – leaves the organization in better shape than you found it.  You’re paying your whole alumni network back by making our school even better than before.

We appreciate it, and you will too.

Blog by Chris Darbyshire – Class of 2015

Take some time to explore Davis after your GSM visit

One of the most important factors for me when applying to business school was the location. As far as college towns go — Davis is a gem.

After my class visit at the GSM, one of the things I wish I had done was explore the town a little more. Choosing a graduate school is a big deal, especially deciding where you want to live for the next two years. So my advice to anyone planning to visit the GSM, is to tour Davis too. Here are my pro-tips for things to do in Davis after your class visit or interview.

1. Stroll through Downtown Davis. Located an easy walk or bike ride from the Gallagher Hall, Downtown Davis is lively and full of all the usual college town amenities – bars, restaurants, night clubs, coffee shops, and shopping.

2. Ride a bike. Davis is an amazing town for bike riding. There are miles of bike trails that crisscross the city, designated bike paths, and beautiful scenery. If you can’t bring your own bike, there are several shops in town that will rent bikes by the hour. Be sure to ride the 12-mile Davis bike loop that takes you around the entire town.

Here’s map of some of the bike loops you can enjoy.

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And check out this cool time-lapse video of a guy riding the whole loop. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NkDguVJH9FE

3. Explore the UC Davis Arboretum. 100 acres of beautiful gardens for active recreation or peaceful contemplation, and plant collections from all over the world. Ride your bike around the Arboretum loop, take a stroll, learn about some plants, or feed some ducks. Just remember to take your allergy medicine in the spring.

Keep an eye out for the biggest cactus I’ve ever seen. It’s HUGE!

cactus

4. Grab a drink at a bar downtown. Downtown Davis has everything for everyone who likes to imbibe – beer bars, cocktail bars, wine bars. Get a taste of the local flavor at G Street Wonderbar. Order a Moscow Mule and play The Simpsons arcade game. I promise you won’t be disappointed.

 5Enjoy the City Park farmer’s market. Every Wednesday evening and there is an excellent farmer’s market with vendors selling locally grown fruits and veggies, cheeses, meats, and crafts. See live music from spring through fall. It’s a great place to take a group of friends, chill on a blanket, eat some food, and enjoy the great Davis weather. If you plan your class visit for a Wednesday, you should NOT miss the farmers market.

6Visit the Rhustaller Farm and Yard. E. Paino is a GSM alumnus who’s brewing and selling incredible craft beers just a couple of miles outside Davis. The Rhustaller Farm & Yard won’t be open again until March 20th, but if you can’t wait that long you can visit their tap room in downtown Sacramento.

http://ruhstallerbeer.com/ruhstaller-farm-and-yard/

brewery

 

Blog by Rachel Peri – Class of 2015

Frequently Asked Questions

Blog by Christine

As a student Ambassador in my second year of b-school, I get asked a lot of questions. From responding to email inquiries from around the world, to hosting the casual visitor during class, to having lunch with nervous prospective students right before their big interviews with Earl, I can safely say I’ve heard it all.

As such, I’ll try to answer some FAQs for anyone considering the UC Davis Graduate School of Management as their future home. Below are my personal answers to the most common questions we get asked by visiting students:

 Why did you choose UC Davis?

I personally chose UC Davis for a number of reasons. The biggest one was cultural fit. I knew immediately after visiting the GSM that its inviting, collaborative atmosphere would be conducive to my learning and development. Everyone I met was so friendly and open to my questions. I had an immediate sense of belonging that I didn’t get from visiting other campuses. My advice to others is to visit the schools you are interested in and see what feels right for you. (Check out this blog post by Chris for tips on getting the most out of your visit to the GSM.)

I also chose the GSM due to its vicinity to the Bay Area. My area of professional interest is in e-commerce, so being close to San Francisco and Silicon Valley was critical for me. My family is also based out of the Bay Area, so that was also a major factor in my decision.

How diverse is the GSM?

A surprising number of prospective students have asked me this question, and it’s always a fun one for me to answer because we are diverse in so many ways. I’ll do my best to cover the main areas where diversity is key.

In terms of ethnic/racial diversity, our student body represents 12 countries, with 20 languages spoken. Each class has roughly 40% international students, which really enables us to learn so much more from each other, as our experiences are varied in many ways and collaboration is key in b-school.

Women make up a big part of the GSM as well. Over 40% of our faculty and staff are women – that is among the highest percentage at top global business schools. Our student body ranges from 30-40% female as well, and our Women in Leadership club is very active.

We’re also ranked #1 by The Economist for the diversity of recruiters and industry sectors that provide career opportunities for our grads. We represent a diversity of industries and job functions, which you can learn more about here.

The GSM prides itself on the fact that our students are not “cookie cutter” MBAs – we really are a diverse group, and we like it that way. Visit our admissions page for even more info on diversity at the GSM.

  1. How do I prepare for my admissions interview?

Lucky for you, I’ve already written a blog post on this subject! Click here to learn what to wear, what the team is looking for in future students, and more. You’re welcome.

What is the work-life balance like in business school?

The answer to this question is different for everyone. Some of my classmates have young children, many of us are married. In fact, during my first year, I was planning a wedding on top of my school responsibilities, involvement in clubs, and internship search. As you can imagine, it was a lot of work! It can be overwhelming, but in general I was very comfortable with my work-life balance and found plenty of opportunities to have fun and blow off steam. This year, I’m on the board of three clubs and taking a full load of classes, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

So there you have it! There are of course many, many more questions, but I hope this helps answer some of your burning questions about the GSM and business school in general.

Blog by Christine Bolghand – Class of 2015

We Are Group!

Li Meng Blog

Group projects are the worst aren’t they? Remember back in undergrad when you always got put with the worst teammates? There was always one person that was only able to meet at 6:00am every other Saturday. Then there was the member who wanted the entire financial analysis project to be about cats and would argue if you disagreed in the slightest. And lastly, my favorite, the one who never showed up. Ever. Fortunately, I can tell you that has not even been close to my experience at the GSM.

Even before classes start, bright eyed GSMers are assigned to teams in order to participate in real, live case competitions organized by Fortune 500 companies. This is the first opportunity to get to know our classmates and how they perform in group situations. From the first day of most core classes in the fall, groups are either assigned or selected by students here in the Davis MBA program. Whether matched up with random teammates or ones you decide, the experience will always be a positive one. With a random group in Articulation and Critical Thinking, I was matched up with classmates I had not worked with before and very much enjoyed learning about their past experiences and varied viewpoints on the topics at hand.

 

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For Statistics, we were allowed to form our own groups and I managed to join an all-star team of 4 eclectic individuals. Though we all came from different backgrounds and industries, we all came together and contributed equally to the challenging projects we were faced with. From the beginning, we spent much time given each other nicknames and pasting funny pictures into a shared Google doc. However, every member’s drive and own brand of humor propelled us to do great work for the projects and the class in general. The food we brought for each meeting certainly did not dampen our spirits.

I hope you are as excited as I am to be working with peers here at the UC Davis MBA and hope that this blurb eased your doubts about group projects at the MBA level a bit. Just remember to bring snacks!

pizza

 

Blog by Li Meng – Class of 2016

“You’re Doing It All Wrong”

Mackenzie's blog

I am writing from the other side. That’s right. I made it. Graduated. Took that MBA bull by the horns and held on tight for two years until the program flung me violently off into the real world – and into my dream job. But that’s beside the point.

After rewarding myself with vacations to Hawaii, Nepal, and Australia along with some much needed relaxation after the grueling and incredible MBA program at Davis, I finally could get some distance and look back at my experience. And I am writing to tell everyone who is lucky enough to still be there that you are doing it all wrong.

Don’t skip class. Seriously, about half of the math nerds in there have done the calculation for how much we are paying for every 15 minutes in the classroom and you don’t want to think about how much you are throwing down the drain if you skip a single one. (Note: I skipped a grand total of 8.) And when you are there, pay attention. Shut the laptop once in a while and take notes by hand. Do whatever you have to do to really listen. There isn’t a single day that goes by that I don’t wish I could pull exactly what my professor said in Strategy out of my sleeve in a meeting, and dear me, I would give anything to go back and master accounting (it is the key to everything in business). And definitely take classes outside your discipline. Make yourself as valuable as you can in your future.

Oh, and while you are at it, please network more. I had an informational interview schedule of at least one every two weeks. I wish I had done three a week minimum. That “MBA halo” doesn’t last forever – and you wouldn’t believe the people you can get to sit down with you while you are in the program.

Now, definitely join a club. Join three! Attend to a club event. Make a difference in your school community. Help set up for an event. Also, make sure you play IM sports – or if that’s not your thing – go cheer on your awesome GSM classmates in the big game. Make a sign! (ASM has all the supplies in the clubroom…)

And play way more. Have a beer with your friends after class. Or red wine, if that’s your druthers. Enjoy the student lifestyle; I can promise you it does not last forever, for better and for worse.

I think what I am saying is: you are probably doing some of this and doing it really well. Do more. You are here for so many reasons – to get a job, to jumpstart your professional life, to meet likeminded motivated individuals, to have unforgettable experiences. You are not actually doing it all wrong, but I guarantee you that you are not taking advantage of all the amazing opportunities that you have in front of you right now.

So, you’re not doing it all wrong at all. You’re doing great. Be present, work hard, and have fun. You’ll be amazed where you end up. I promise.

“Dress (and Research) for Success”

I tapped my toes nervously in the waiting room outside the office where I would shortly be having my interview. I looked down and saw I was wearing neon green spandex running tights, a loose button up shirt, and my slightly scuffed running shoes.

What might have been a nightmare for almost anyone else (equivalent to realizing you went to the interview in your underwear), just reminded me of how thankful I was for the sweat-wicking properties of my interview outfit at that moment.

“Mackenzie?” My interviewer at one of the USA’s major sporting brands stuck her head out of the room. She had a sporty ponytail atop her head hinting she may have gone running that morning and was wearing (similar to my outfit) running tights and a baggy sweater. As I got up and walked through the door into her office, she said with a smile, “Nice tights! You look like you already work here.”

A week later I was suited up head to toe in the most classic corporate America interview wear possible interviewing for a job at a top level insurance company.

While these are two extremes on the spectrum, the lesson is applicable everywhere. Know your industry and know the company culture where you are going to be interviewing. Some more granola or sports oriented companies won’t even consider you if you come dressed in a full suit (“S/he just wouldn’t fit the culture”). Others it would be a seriously bad decision to wear neon green of any kind in the interview.

Before an interview, you should be researching your company extensively online (probably set up Google alerts to know of any recent news), but also talk to as many people as you can who have contact with the culture (second years and peers who have already interviewed, alumni who work in the company, and more).

You only have one chance for a first impression – dress, and research, for success!

Blog by Mackenzie Guinon – Class of 2014

NOM NOM NOM!

NOM NOM NOM

UC Davis is world renowned for its expertise in the agriculture industry.  This is one of the main reasons I chose to attend the MBA program here.  Food and cooking have always been passions of mine which have turned into a desire to launch a career in the agribusiness sector.  As students at the Graduate School of Management (GSM), we have access to the latest advancements and cutting edge technology in the food and beverage world.  Speakers often visit giving talks about what the future holds in this challenging but ever important mission to grow crops.  I knew I would be surrounded by a bunch of “Aggies” here in Davis and couldn’t wait to soak up all the information available.  What I didn’t realize was that my education would expand beyond agribusiness into an exciting world of cultural cuisine.

Although our full-time MBA program has 45 students, we are an extremely diverse group.  Which brings me to the meat and potatoes of this posting.  After just one quarter in Davis I have been introduced to all kinds of delicious new recipes and cooking styles.  In October, a few of my classmates from India invited us all over for a traditional meal.  All we had to do was provide drinks and silverware and they took care of the rest.  We arrived to a feast of dishes prepared to perfection by Rahul, Zalak, Sriram, and Gaanesh (All Class of 2016).  The air was filled by the smell of Daal, Chana Masala, Zeera rice, Gulab Zamun, Papad, Rotis, and Raita.  An even more formal gathering was arranged soon after called the Diwali Festival.  This included traditional Indian food along with Indian dances and games.

Later in October it was time to head east to the Philippines.  This meal featured small pork rolls called lumpia that I think I could eat for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  NOM!  Filipino night also included pancit bihon which we washed down with some calamnsi juice.  Soon after we ventured north to the Sichuan Province in China.  Luckily my roommate Elizabeth Liu(AKA Mother Liu Class of 2016) toned down the spices so that our American taste buds could live to see another burger.  Sichuan night was unforgettable because the food never stopped coming!  Double cooked pork, Ma Po Tofu, mushroom stew, cucumber salad, stir fried pork, kung pao chicken…you get the picture.  We ate for dayssss.  Literally though, we were eating some of the leftovers 4 days later.

Sichuan night was such a hit that we had to do another round of Chinese cuisine.  We switched it up and wandered to Northern China with the Meng Dynasty (Li Meng class of 2016).  Peking duck, dumplings, Nu Rou, shrimp stir, and green bean stew were prepared flawlessly.

I would be foolish not to include the largest feast of the first quarter, Thanksgiving.  This was not just any Thanksgiving feast.  It was a giant potluck that brought together full- time MBA, part- time MBA, and Masters of Accounting students.  For many international students this was their first Thanksgiving and the requirement was to contribute any dish you may serve at a large holiday meal.  All the classics were present including turkey, gravy, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie, and stuffing.  But as you meandered along the feeding tables there were many new additions that provided exciting flavors.

I am now far too hungry to continue writing about the mouthwatering meals we MBA students have shared together.  It has been a wonderful surprise being able to experience so many authentic cultural cooking styles in such a short period of time.  But really the most important aspect of this unexpected education has been the ability to bond with classmates.  Simply being around one another away from the classroom setting really allows you to get to know the people sitting all around you during that Financial Accounting course.  Food has a way of bringing people together and here at the GSM we couldn’t agree more.  This quarter we will be continuing our world travels to my roots in Portugal when we cook up linguica, morcela/blood sausage, and a splash of tawny port to cap it off.  NOM NOM NOM!

Blog by Jeff Ornellas – Class of 2016

Communicating in English as Second Language

UC Davis Ambassador

The first challenge I faced in B-school was communication in English.

Communication is key in day-to-day business. This is a fact. This is also a challenge. As an international student who speaks English as second language, I’m pleased with how much progress I’ve made in such a short amount of time.

While I was applying to B-school, I heard about the Articulation and Critical Thinking course that is required during the first quarter. In fact, GSM offers a multitude of opportunities to improve your communication skills.  These range from classes, workshops, help sessions and much more. I can give you a long list: Articulation and Critical Thinking, Business Writing, English Blast, Cover Letter Writing, Strategic Communication, and so on.  Some of them are specifically designed for international students. They cover almost all of the different skills you would like to practice, from pronunciation to strategic argument building.

I have  benefited from these offerings so much  that my progress exceeded my expectations. Beyond the actual knowledge I’ve acquired, the learning environment the GSM has provided is equally impressive. You have easy access to a variety of resources. Faculty and staff are approachable. If not one-on-one, group sizes are small and manageable.. You receive attention, assistance, and support that are well tailored just for you.

I have to mention some  names who have helped me on this journey: Elizabeth Moon, communication expert, who taught English cross-culturally for quite a few years. She is very supportive and adaptive to your needs. Daniel Kennedy, professor of Articulation and Critical Thinking class. He gave each of us individual feedback and comments on our public speaking skills, as well as business writing skills. Of course include my wonderful classmates.  They are nice, helpful, patient, and a joy to be around. I learn from them every day. They offer their sincere help whenever I ask. I am more confident in the skills I have gained since arriving at the GSM.  Now I have the tools to create effective and thoughtful communication.

I would like to thank everybody who has helped me along the way: My roommates, my friends, GSM staff and faculty.

Blog by Elizabeth Liu – Class of 2016

Don’t be a Robot: A Practical Guide to the Personal Statement

UCD Ambassador

UCD Ambassador

One of the biggest opportunities to set yourself apart in the application process is the personal statement. After being out of school for a while the thought of writing an essay is groan inducing. Add on top of that the idea that you’re supposed to have your future perfectly mapped out with all the answers. In reality, if we all knew exactly what we wanted to be doing, and what we needed to get there, we would be doing it already. Instead, treat this section as a thought experiment and use the following guidelines to help you along the way.

A major component of the orientation program is creating a coherent story- an elevator pitch about yourself. The personal statement section is like a written version of your pitch. It should have a common thread that ties your past experiences (primarily the skills you’ve acquired along the way) to what you’re looking to do and how an MBA fits into it. The thread may not be obvious at first. Dig deeper to see what commonality the major career decisions you’ve made so far all share. Say you are trying to get into logistics but your experience is only in marketing. A thread may be that the reason you love marketing is understanding consumer needs/wants and finding the most efficient way to deliver them. You can carry over the skills of creating efficiency and understanding complex systems to logistics.

People get tripped up when they are trying to make a shift (either in their role or their industry) or if they aren’t sure what they want to get into. While you don’t need all the answers right away, the personal statement is a great opportunity to really sit down and start the work of narrowing it down. The more thought and effort you put into this statement the further ahead you will be in professional networking and internship hunting.

The best advice is to be realistic in your expectations for the future.  Nobody expects you to be the CFO of a Forture 500 company a year or two after getting your MBA. The statement is not the place for grandiose plans of world domination. Be practical and logical in developing a reasonable plan. As much as you can, be specific. Knowing the first role you want, or a niche in an industry you want to be working in, coming out of the program will help you shape the steps to get there. Finally, don’t be afraid to show your personality! This is the first opportunity you have to come to life and be more then an application number. Use it to show all of the interesting things you bring to the table as a person and not a robot reiterating their resume. Good luck and happy writing!

Blog by Karen Mesrobian – Class of 2016