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.

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!

Net Impact BBQ

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Last Thursday, the Net Impact Club hosted our very first BBQ of the quarter.  As is the GSM’s culture, food served were bought  from local sustainable sources.  Delicious homemade condiments and sides were also served to accompany burgers and hotdogs.  Delicious!  Way to go, Net Impact!

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Two very important announcements were made during the BBQ.

Important Announcement 1:  Recipients of the Net Impact Public Interest Internship Fund were named!  The Public Interest Internship Fund helps first-year UC Davis Graduate School of Management MBAs spend their summer working for a nonprofit organization while earning enough to pay basic living expenses.  This Fund is entirely student-run through Net Impact and is made possible by donations from the GSM community.  Each year, classmates voluntarily donate 1-2 days pay to the Net Impact Public Interest Internship Fund.  The donations are collected and allocated through an administrative review process based on merit and need.  Recipients are students pursuing unpaid, or low paid, internships with non-profit or mission-driven organizations.

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This year, our winners are John Churchman and Filippos Stavrinidis!!  Congratulations to the two winners!  They most definitely deserve the funds they are receiving from Net Impact.

Important Announcement 2:  It was Matt Auman’s birthday!  As always, he will again turn 18 this year!  Happy Birthday, Matt!  Hope you had a great one (filled with no studying, lots of food and beer, good friends and the best jokes of the quarter.. *wink*)!

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WiL Power at Race for the Cure

For the second year, Women in Leadership (WiL) has coordinated a team of UC Davis MBAer’s to run/walk/donate to the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure event in Sacramento. This year, fellow ambassador Elena (and WiL VP of Finance) coordinated the efforts. The race was today. And of course, I know you want to see some pictures. So I shan’t hold back.

First, our team:


An awesome team, or what? This was a mix of MBA students and family.

A quick pic of the sign that Elena and her husband, Joe (pictured), made:


Absolutely necessary to do stretching. These 3 (Osh, Dustin, and Ben from left to right) decided to run, while the rest of us moseyed along. So silly.


And then it was off to the start line:


During the race, Ben M. and Zach hold the WiL sign (see how much male support there is for WiL? it’s not just for ladies!):


After the race, fellow ambassadors Marianne and Zach refuel:


Fun fun! What wasn’t fun was getting out of the parking lot after the race. After 1 hour and 20 minutes after getting into the car to leave, we were finally on the open road! Lesson learned: don’t park in the middle of the Cal Expo parking lot.

Google.org visits us!

Yesterday was a big day! And it all began in September! Let me explain. Keith, fellow 1st-year (not to mention famous), and I were talking when school first started, back in the yore of September 2008. I mentioned that I was interested in Google.org, and he mentioned that his other joint program (International Agricultural Development) was expecting a visit from the program director in May. Let’s talk, I said.

(PS: For those who don’t know what Google.org is, and are also too lazy to click on the link above, it’s the philanthropic branch of Google.com. Seriously, just click on the link. It’s super interesting.)

Lo and behold, Keith was able to get Frank Rijsberman, program director from Google.org, to come to our business school to present on the branch and hold a Q&A session. Check it:



The celebrity Keith, introducing Frank:


I desperately wanted to take pictures during the talk, but was worried that some of the information might be, you know, just for GSMers, so I didn’t. But it was a fascinating talk! Google.org does a lot of work that I never knew about.

OH, and today is someone’s birthday. A special someone. Someone who is very passionate about high fives. You know her, you love her: Christine! Happy birthday, Christine!

(I’d insert a picture of her here, but I have no other pics of her that you haven’t seen. So just imagine some great picture here.)

MBAdmit Day Recap!

Friday was MBAdmit Day @ UC Davis! The sun was shining, the birds were chirping, and the Daytime Class of 2011 joined us on campus to get a taste of student life. They started the day with a case workshop featuring Professor Yetman, an introduction to Career Services, and an overview of the Lam Research Leadership Skills Development Program.

I joined the group just in time for the networking lunch and student club fair, held at the Buehler Alumni Center. Among the admitted students, I met teachers, entrepreneurs, and scientists from Davis, Southern California, and the East Coast. After lunch, we enjoyed a hard hat tour of Gallagher Hall, our program’s future home. (I got the best hard hat. It was hot pink.) We learned about the building’s energy-efficient radiant slab heating system, as well as the central lightwell that brings daylight into the interior offices. Other cool features include an expanded student lounge and an innovation lab. Plus, you can see the traffic on I-80 from the third floor, so you’ll know if you should hit the road or keep studying. We caught a glimpse of the adjoining conference center and restaurant, including the space slated to be a Starbucks store. I wonder if it’ll be like the Starbucks in the ARC… Construction is on schedule and the building is expected to be open for classes in the fall. Too bad for those of us that are graduating in June!

I took the group on a short tour of the UC Davis campus, stopping by landmarks like Shields Library, the Memorial Union, and the Eggheads. The day wrapped up with a faculty reception, where I learned many important things. For instance, Professor Barber’s dog looks like a mini-Chewbacca and has its own Facebook page. Who knew? The admitted students headed off to dinner at Bistro 33, while I went home to get ready for Saturday’s awesome Women in Leadership conference at UC Berkeley. More on that later, my term papers are calling…

Thanks to everyone who helped make MBAdmit Day a success!

The Mondavi Center

Yesterday, I got a chance to see a concert of the most renowned violinists ever — Itzhak Perlman — and it’s all because of the UC Davis Robert and Margrit Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts (often referred to as the “Mondavi Center”). Each year, they offer some really amazing — and very unique — shows for faculty, students, and general audiences. (Huge bonus: students get an amazing discount of 50%!)

Some of the performances offered are so in-demand that tickets are sold out before they even go on sale. So this year, a portion of the tickets for the most in-demand events were set aside just for students — including such shows for Itzhak Perlman and Yo-Yo Ma. Personally, when I heard this back in October of last year, I thought I might wander by later in the week to the center and pick up some tickets — ha! Little did I know that a massive line had formed in front of the center on the first day of student ticket sales. Some of my friends stood in line for literally hours, and purchased extra tickets to several different shows. And because of that great idea, I was able to buy a ticket from them to both of the shows that I really wanted to see but was too lazy to stand in line for: Itzhak Perlman and Yo-Yo Ma.

So yesterday, Nick (a fellow GSMer) and I went to the concert and it was awesome. I found it to be one of the most entertaining concerts I had ever been to — full of energy and genius and humor. We saw several other GSMers there, too. And the Mondavi Center Center itself is gorgeous; this was the first time I had been there. The Arts & Entertainment Business Club had actually hosted a tour of the center last week, but I missed out — hopefully, they’ll do it again next year, especially since our new business building will be right next to the Center.

Anyway, if you’re in the Davis or Sacramento area, check out the Mondavi Center! And don’t make my mistake — pick up your tickets ASAP.