Guest Blogger Series–Is there such a thing as “free time” as an MBA student? –By Anton

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Anton Mironov is currently a 1st year student at the GSM. He holds a bachelor’s degree from San Diego State University where he focused on Energy Studies with an emphasis on Business Management. Anton recently completed a full market analysis and marketing plan for the Department of Energy’s 2015 Solar Decathlon team from the UC Davis Energy Efficiency Center.

What is there to do while getting your MBA at the GSM besides go to class, read, study, do homework, search for internships, go to MBA career fairs, attend conferences, and did I mention…read??

Yes, this is a piece about time management, but luckily not about how to make sure you finish all your homework. Instead it’s about what to do with that mysterious little thing we know as free time.

Contrary to popular belief, we actually do find time to enjoy our life as full-time students. Being full-time students is a privilege most of us have not enjoyed in close to a decade. The transition from working full time to studying full time can be turbulent because your responsibilities are much less structured. You have to find the sweet balance between playing 36 holes three times a week and doing a conjoint analysis at 3:00 AM.

It’s tricky, but once you get it here are some suggestions of what to do with your free time as an MBA student at UC Davis.

Throw a party. Whether it’s Halloween, Super Bowl Sunday, or Valentine’s Day, your fellow students are probably feeling the pressure of a looming midterm or a report that’s due way too soon.  Giving your brain a break for an evening will let it recover, kind of like your biceps after a hard day at the gym. And socializing outside of a professional setting can do a similar service for your soul. Davis offers a great pub scene littered with killer happy hours, karaoke, and craft breweries. My personal favorite: line dancing at the Davis Grad.

Go to the mountains. I cannot say enough about how lucky we are to be a stone’s throw from some of the best skiing on the West Coast. There are amazing ski resorts within two hours of our doorsteps, and you have to take advantage while you can.

Visit San Francisco. One of the most visited cities in the world is in our backyard. Or I guess technically, we are in its backyard. From the deep culture of Chinatown and Little Italy and the inspiring beauty and freedom of Golden Gate Park or Dolores Park, San Francisco is a fantastic destination for a day trip or a weekend getaway. The cultural diversity of our GSM students is mirrored in the different parts of San Francisco, and everybody can find a place that reminds them of home.

Like I said, you don’t have much free time, but if you capitalize on the time you do have, you will be able to push a little harder when studying for the next midterm. You will also find that experiencing your classmates amazing personalities in a fun environment is incredibly rewarding. We all work insanely hard to maximize the value of our MBA and having a culture that fosters social interaction definitely enhances that value even further.

Volunteering at Habitat for Humanity

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Last Friday, a bunch of us had a fun day out volunteering at Habitat for Humanity in Sacramento!

Habitat for Humanity is a non-profit, faith-based housing organization established in 1993.  Habitat for Humanity works with people from all walks of life to build decent, affordable homes for families in need. Their goal is to eliminate poverty housing world-wide and to make decent shelter a matter of conscience.

We got the opportunity to sort through piles and piles of clay tiles, re-arrange their stock of doors and door frames, dismantle rows of lighting fixtures, price and display various merchandise for sale at their ReStore outlet, and just be of help to the staff.  Not only did we had a great time hanging out, but we also got a good work-out lifting and moving heavy items!

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Thanks for making this happen, C4C!  Can’t wait until the next volunteering activity!

WiL. I AM by Yoyo Wu

(Left to Right) Onyeka Enwerem, Vice President and Director of Finance; Yoyo Wu, President of WiL; Kanupriya Verma, Director of Marketing

(Left to Right) Onyeka Enwerem, Vice President and Director of Finance; Yoyo Wu, President of WiL; Kanupriya Verma, Director of Marketing

If you are a fan of the Black Eye Peas or Will.I.am, please don’t be disappointed that I am not highlighting your musical idol or think I made a typo. That being said, I am glad to introduce to you the WiL in GSM: the Women in Leadership Club.

WiL club is one of the smallest clubs operated through the Associated Students of Management (ASM), but also one of the clubs with the longest reach. Why? Because our goal is to effect and enhance the experience of every woman and everyone who works or will someday work with a woman. Our mission is to serve UC Davis Daytime MBA students and alumni through professional and social activities geared towards the development of future women business leaders.

WiL club is active in organizing activities to bring in benefits to future women business leaders. For example, we have a tradition of great activities like the annual “Mock-Tails with the Dean” during every fall quarter, providing an opportunity to all students to communicate with Dean Currall face-to-face. We also work to sponsor students to attend the annual Women in Leadership Conference in Haas, UC Berkeley. Lastly, we innovate new activities such as “Speed Mentoring”, inspired by Speed Dating, which connects second-year and first-year students in one-on-one mentoring sessions sharing interview skills and lessons.

This year’s board of WiL club comes from very diverse backgrounds. I, Yoyo, am the WiL President. I am a Chinese student with 5-years of auditing experience and the proud mother with a 15-month little girl. I realize the subtle balance women in business have to maintain as they have more social identities to handle, that was why I decided to lead the WiL club and try to help women leaders find out the balance to ensure success both in career and family life. Onyeka, our Vice President and Director of Finance, is from Nigeria where she worked as an engineer. She is very versatile, just to name some of her many talents: dancing, photo-shopping, and engineering. Kanu, our Director of Marketing, is from India and was also a mechanical engineer before she came to GSM. She plans to pursue marketing, using her instincts and skills to help WiL club with innovation and new ideas.

In our nearest upcoming event, WiL club will introduce some successful business women leaders to GSM students, sharing stories of their successes and failures. Then, WiL club will co-host another guest speaker event with Entrepreneurship and Innovation Society club. Looking forward to those exciting and inspiring events in May!

GSM Assassins

If you’ve spent any time at the GSM during the past few weeks, you may have noticed that something was different. Not the building, not the classes or the professors- but the students. They’re are cautious and alert- some are flat-out scared. They peek into a room before they enter. They scan the hallway before they walk. They peer around the corner before they turn. Why? They’re afraid of getting killed, of course.

You see, we’re nearing the end of an intense game of assassins.

In the game of assassins, each student is assigned a target. When the student kills his target, he must report his actions to the Assassins Coordinator, who will assign to him his next target.

If you’re killed, you’re out of the game. The game continues until there is only one student left standing. (Did I mention our weapon of choice is a pocket-sized squirt gun?)

The rules of GSM Assassins are as follows:

a) Shoot your target in the back (not the back of the leg, butt, arm — the BACK), but no one from the GSM can see. If there is a witness, your kill is null and void.

b) There are no sacred areas. All locations are fair game: Tahoe, GSM, your home, your bed, bathroom, etc.

c) If your target is in a suit, you may not shoot him/her. You don’t want to be responsible for a spoiled business outfit – that’s cruel.

d) When you kill your target following the aforementioned rules, you must say: “It’s for the kids.” (Because it is! There was a fee to play the game. The proceeds went to one of the most active clubs at the GSM- Challenge for Charity. Challenge for Charity raises money for children’s organizations in the area.)

As I’ve mentioned before, one of the best things about the GSM is its small size and collaborative nature- except when you’re playing assassins. It makes for a rather challenging game… I can’t wait to see who wins!

We’re mostly business at the GSM, but as I mentioned earlier- we like to mix in a little fun too. Especially when “it’s for the kids”!