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!

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Blog by Li Meng – Class of 2016

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.

Teamwork, Initiative, and Super Bowl XLVII—By Chris

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On a Sunday afternoon in early February, Lecture Hall 1213 at the UC Davis Graduate School of Management was packed to capacity.  Shouts of excitement and laughter bounced off the walls of Gallagher Hall, as first- and second-year MBA candidates and students from the Master of Professional Accounting program (MPAc) came together to enjoy food, drinks, and a legendary matchup between the Seattle Seahawks and Denver Broncos streaming live on the projector screen.  Super Bowl XLVIII was on full display, providing an appreciated break in the high-intensity life of the GSM.

Attendees were treated to a real-time display of professional teamwork, strategy, and perseverance, all in the same room where students test their own mettle in subjects such as accounting, financial analysis, marketing, and business strategy.  Over 50 students, even with midterm exams just around the corner, enjoyed the most-watched television event in US history from their familiar surroundings in Room 1213.

But the real demonstration of team effort and organization took place behind the scenes in the two weeks leading up to the event.

Two weeks prior, student government representatives in the Associated Students of Management facilitated an honest, open-table discussion of ways to improve the student experience at the GSM.  During one session held with ASM President Mackenzie Guinon, several students offered up suggestions on how to maximize and maintain the tight-knit student community that has become synonymous with UC Davis.  In that session, the idea for a school-wide Super Bowl viewing was born.

And why not?  Super Bowl Sunday is revered across the country, regardless of the teams participating.  Friends and family across the nation get together for the big game, and a GSM Super Bowl Party was pointed out as a great way to introduce a classic American tradition to students who may otherwise never have experienced the excitement.

But what started out as a simple suggestion quickly evolved into a larger vision of school unity, as student organizations quickly identified ways to enhance the experience for their classmates.

The Sports and Entertainment Association (SEA) took the lead on getting the lecture hall set up, and coordinated catering from local businesses for the audience.  Recognizing that students varied in their enthusiasm for football, the GSM’s Challenge 4 Charity club organized Super Bowl Squares and Team Trivia to help entertain the audience for a good cause.  And ASM, the backbone of student organizations at the GSM, paved the way for logistical and promotional support.

“The most impressive part about this is that everyone saw an opportunity to make something happen for our school,” second-year MBA candidate and President of SEA Jake MacLeod-Roemer said.  “We were able to organize this event from the ground up in a short amount of time, and it’s all because the different organizations jumped in with both feet.”

“We all saw how we could make this event better, and because we had that shared vision we were able to accomplish more than we initially thought.”

It is that shared vision, and eagerness to contribute that defines students at the GSM.  The concept of synergy, in which an organization’s whole is greater than the sum of its parts, is not just an abstract notion confined to the classroom.  Each contributor, from the individual attendees bringing homemade snacks for their friends and classmates to the student organizations who put in countless hours to bring the school together for an American tradition, understands that the UC Davis GSM’s strength lies in the commitment to each other.

The planning, cohesion, and initiative that went into the GSM Super Bowl Party would have made even legendary NFL coach Vince Lombardi proud, and is a source of pride at UC Davis GSM.

 

Biology, Photography and MBA—By Wataru

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It’s strange how little moments can so drastically affect your future. I was a young lad at the tender age of 12 and I had just finished reading Jurassic Park(It would be the first time I could say “Yeah but the book was better”). But I digress, I could not believe that the technology I was reading about existed in my time. From that moment on I knew I wanted to work within the genetics field of biology. My academic path would reflect this choice as my classes would primarily focus on AP Biology and Chemistry. It went as far as my senior thesis in high school being centered around the morality of genetic research. Four years later I would go on to graduate from UC Davis with a B.S. in Genetics. I mention all of this because my academic life had always dictated my career path and rarely left room to combine interests.

After becoming a student at the GSM I’ve come to realize it doesn’t need to be so cut and dry. I can combine many of my other passions with my pursuit of an MBA degree. In fact it’s not only that I can pursue it but that it is welcomed and encouraged. For example, I took up photography as a hobby about 5 years ago. My old labs would probably have had no interest in my hobby, moreover NDAs would likely dictate specifically not photographing proprietary equipment in the labs. However, it’s different now that I’m pursuing an MBA. You are encouraged to use your talents.  While I am certainly no professional I was responsible for taking the portrait photos for the Ambassador’s website. I have shared the link to my friends and due to the exposure many asked me if I would take their LinkedIn photos. After posting their new pictures on LinkedIn I have been getting offers from their coworkers to take their “professional” photographs at a premium.

After taking Marketing classes this quarter it is interesting to see how value is created and enhanced. I take photographs, I create value. I sell photographs, I exchange that value for money. I find pleasure in knowing how to create value and how to distribute it appropriately. Looking back on my laser focus with genetics I know now that value for my future does not rest solely on my academic pursuits and knowledge but it’s what I do with that information that matters. I have no crystal ball and there’s no predetermination for how my career will look. However I do know whatever path I choose doesn’t need to restrict me from other passions. I look at this MBA degree from a marketing lens now. We are often told that as students we are products of our schools. While I don’t entirely disagree with that statement, more than just the school I think we are all the products of our own individual efforts, and this MBA degree is merely value enhancing. That said, it looks like I’m already a product manager! Seems this will have to go on my resume. ImageIMG_1910IMG_0386

Our GSM Village By Vanessa Errecarte

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In July, my husband and I are expecting to welcome our first child into the world. Of course, as first time parents, we have lots of questions—from wondering which car seat is the safest to what to expect in those first few months of having a newborn. They say it takes a village to raise a child, and my husband and I do not doubt that, however, what we didn’t realize is how much of our village we would find at the GSM.

We announced our pregnancy after about three months, right at the beginning of winter quarter. As my classmates found out, the support I received was overwhelming. You see, we have a handful of new parents in our class—three of which had babies during the first year. Immediately my classmates offered advice and answers to my many questions. One even offered some newborn gear that he and his wife no longer need. Additionally, there are three fellow moms in my class, and listening to them about how they balance careers and children has been extremely valuable as I will face that in just a few months. In short, I knew it would be fun to share this experience with my classmates that have become such good friends, but the outpouring of support and good cheer has completely exceeded my expectations.

This feeling extends beyond fellow students to staff and faculty too. I’ve had professors congratulate me and share experiences with me as well. All of this highlights an important point about the GSM. We are more than a close knit community; we are like a family.I truly think this is unique for a business school or any professional program, yet my experience at the GSM has proven to me over and over that we are always there for each other. There have been so many times that wehave put competition aside and helped a classmate with interview prep—even if we were interviewing for the same position; or stayed up helping a classmate master one last topic before a midterm that we knew would have a tight curve. I am certain that this family feel—this collaboration before competition will make us all better business people in a world that is becoming more and more connected by the second.

I always knew that I would have a great network of business colleagues when graduation came along. But now, with graduation just a few months away, I realize every day that we are so much more than just colleagues. We are the village that will help raise each other’s children, pick up the phone at 2 a.m. to help a business school friend weigh the pros and cons of a big move,and practice with that friend for the next job interview. We are the GSM family that extends far beyond just business.

8 Realities Facing Every First Year MBA—-By Christine

In the tradition of BuzzFeed and other funny list sites (my personal favorite being Whilst in SF), I present to you a list of the first-year MBA experience!

DECIDING WHAT TO WEAR ON THE FIRST DAY OF CLASS: 

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FINDING OUT ONE OF YOUR CLASSES HAS GROUP WORK. YAY FRIENDS!

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FINDING OUT EVERY CLASS HAS GROUP WORK: 

 

REALIZING YOU’RE THE OLD GRAD STUDENT IN A SEA OF UNDERGRADS: 

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EXPLAINING FINANCE TO YOUR FRIENDS…

…what you THINK you sound like:

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…what you ACTUALLY sound like:

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AFTER THE 100th TIME YOU’VE BEEN ASSIGNED AN APPLE CASE:

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AND THAT UNSHAKEABLE FEELING THAT FINALS ARE LOOMING…EVEN THOUGH IT’S ONLY WEEK 3:

(all images via giphy.com)

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!

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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