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!
Former Marine Corps Captain Michael Van Derwood shares his experiences transitioning from the military to student life at UC Davis. He is currently enrolled in his first year of business school after completing one year of law school.
- How has your background prepared you for current student life?
- It’s given me perspective regarding my current situation, understanding what’s critical versus what’s just important. The military helped me grasp how to manage myself in terms of time and efficiency. I think I have more experience than most when it comes to leading teams. Group work is a big part of business school and working in groups is not something I find difficult or frustrating.
- Can you describe your transition from the military to civilian life?
- The biggest transition challenge other vets and I have experienced is understanding that the military system we lived in, although efficient, is not directly translatable to the student environment. The established leadership structure we experienced in the military doesn’t necessarily apply to the classroom. You’re among your peers and no longer formally in charge of anything. It makes life easier in some ways because I’m allowed to experiment with different leadership styles. But not being in a true leadership position means I don’t have the same responsibility as I had before. On a lot of levels, I just have to worry about myself. This setting grants a much greater deal of autonomy than the military does.
- How has UC Davis welcomed its veterans?
- Both the law school and the GSM are very receptive to veterans. In today’s society, people value vet’s experiences and are more willing to listen to how we can contribute. Both schools are interested in my experience and have been very welcoming; I’m happy with the overall reception. But I also think universities are still in the process of determining how much value veterans add because people don’t necessarily understand the nature and type of experiences that we come from. For example, people know what it means when you say you’re a district manager in a retail chain. But that same understanding is lost when you say you’re a company commander in the Marines. It can be difficult to translate prior experiences and make people understand what it means. We’re not often looked at as belonging to the diversity pie but I really think we do. I don’t think the diversity definition should stop at socioeconomic status, gender, or race. Prior work experience plays a huge role as well. I think the military adds value because it contributes people with different types of reasoning skills and life experiences.
- How do you plan to leverage your education for future success?
- I think there are a lot of parallels between military and management instruction. The military taught me how to do a job and how to lead. Business school teaches a similar type of overall management skill. But vets need to realize that the civilian job market is very different from what we’ve experienced. The MBA is valuable because I’m leveraging my prior experience while filling out a skill set that’s translatable to the civilian world. I think that’s why so many vets decide to pursue business school after the military.
- Is there anything you miss about your time in the Marines?
- The intensity of the experience creates a different kind of bond among peers, coworkers and colleagues. It’s a tighter community in some ways by virtue of shared experience. Even though law and business school is strenuous and stressful, that kind of bond I experienced in the military is difficult to duplicate.
- Any last words why a veteran should consider graduate school at UC Davis?
- Because there aren’t a lot of veterans at the GSM or law school, we do have an opportunity to stand out. Other schools might have thirty vets per class. Veterans are valued here; faculty and staff want to include us in the community and see us succeed. I think that because there aren’t a lot of veterans at the GSM or law school, we do have an opportunity stand out. I’ve landed interviews at companies based solely on my military background. The GSM career staff is learning quickly how to leverage and take advantage of that.
Michael Van Derwood
Founder & President of Veteran’s Association at UC Davis Law School
Next up, we hear from Deepti, who landed an internship at Apple! Find out how it’s going…
I am about to complete 6 weeks at Apple and my journey so far has been really fantastic. I am part of the Retail Fulfillment and Logistics team, which is responsible for keeping the retail stores all across the globe stocked. So, next time you walk into an Apple Store and you don’t find your favorite Apple products please don’t get mad at me! I know we are so amazing that everyone wants to buy our stuff. Isn’t that true?!
My task this summer, called the Slow Runner project, would allow Apple to access, which of the Third Party Products (3PP) are not selling well and not generating enough revenue. Then, the merchants and planners, who decide the assortment in the store, could decide to hold fewer inventories of those SKUs in the back-of-house of the store.
The day I started working on this project, I was amazed how well the concepts taught in the Supply Chain class and Operations Efficiency class apply to the real world. All the technical terms seemed familiar, and I was actually able to incorporate some of my learnings to my work. The task is enjoyable and I also get weekends off, unlike school where we had some assignments or exams due every week.
Apple is actually a cool company. Just like its products and the feel of those products, Apple believes in providing a well-rounded experience to all the employees. The most interesting part of the internship, except for the discount on Apple products :), is the special events organized for the interns wherein we can talk to the top executive of the company and these are very informal. I attended one such session and met Deirdre O Brien, VP Operations. I was charmed by her enthusiasm and energy. She joined Apple right after her graduation and has been with the company since then. She said that she enjoys coming to work everyday, and I am sure she left a mark on every intern who attended that session.
Well, the thrill continues and I have six more weeks to go!