Thank You Notes Are NOT So Old Fashioned After All—-By Mackenzie

UC Davis MBA--Thank you notes

As a child, I loved Christmas. It wasn’t about all the wrapping paper and ribbons and new gifts strewn about the floor. But it was that glorious moment when my mom and I gathered and handpicked beautiful thank you cards from her stationary cabinet. Ok, I know I’m a little abnormal, but I truly loved the joy I got from drawing her fancy pen across the page, thanking my grand-mum/aunt/uncle/fifth-cousin-once-removed for the thoughtful present. I loved closing the envelope, pressing the stamp down in the upper right hand corner, and dropping it into the chasms of the street-side mailbox.

Little did I know my strange obsession with saying thanks would help me all the way through business school. Some people might think sending a thank you is old fashioned, but in a day of constant emails, online chat windows, and post-it note memos stuck to computer screens, people truly appreciate the thought that goes into a hand-written thank you card. I know, three of my interviewers called me back personally to thank me for the thoughtful cards. (All three also offered me internships!)

So plan ahead. When you head to an interview, get a nice professional thank you card ready. Interviewer name and address are easy enough (even pre-stamp so you can drop in in the mail right after you write it). Now pay attention in the interview to the person you’re talking with. This will help you write a more sincere thank you. And it is similar to thanking someone for a gift at the holidays. The gift they are giving you is their time and the opportunity to be considered for the job/internship you are interviewing for. Follow these five easy steps to a sincere, thoughtful thank you card:

1. Thank the person for the gift. In the case of a post-interview thank you card, thank them for their time and consideration.

2. Describe what you will use the gift for a why you are especially grateful for it. Here, mention a couple of characteristics you discussed about the job and emphasize or repeat why you are an especially good fit for the position. This can be a key moment to bring up a small point you feel you didn’t hit home. (It is too late to bring up big points you missed… the interview is over.)

3. Make a reference to a recent or upcoming event in the person’s life. Did you talk about his/her daughter recently applying to colleges? Did you discuss of hand his/her upcoming trip to Belize? Mention it and wish him/her well! This shows you listened to them even when it wasn’t all business details.

4. Mention something positive that is going on in your life. Whether you are excited for graduation in June 2014 or thinking of heading up to Lake Tahoe for the weekend, share something about yourself that is relatable and likable. Remember: people want to work with people they like.

5. Thanking the person again and telling them you hope to see them soon. Finish with a final thank you and reference next steps or hearing from them soon. This can help speed up an agreed upon time table or help keep you at the front of their minds when making final decisions.

Obviously, even the most expensive Hallmark card on the shelf is not going to secure the job (especially if you did not prepare for the interview), but it can tilt the scales in your favor. Again, remember people want to work with someone they like – but in light of the pile of 150+ resumes of eager, likable people sitting on their desk – they also want to hire someone they can remember, someone that stands out. So go ahead, give it a try. Give yourself a fighting chance, donate 35 cents to the good ol’ U.S. Postal Service, and send a thank you card!

(Also, sending a thank you at the end of an internship can put you in good graces with your boss and possibly translate into a job!)

Women in Leadership hosts Champagne Welcome with the Deans–By Christine

UC Davis MBA--Champagne Welcome with the Deans---2.	Interim Dean Ann Huff Stevens addresses the group

As a board member of the GSM’s Women in Leadership (WiL) group, it was an honor to help host the first-annual Champagne Welcome with the Deans event last month.

The event was devised as an opportunity for our students to meet the GSM’s senior leadership, learn about the importance of supporting future women leaders, and mix and mingle with professors and staff.

Armed with glasses of bubbly, we kicked off the night with an address by Interim Dean Ann Huff Stevens, followed by research specialist Amanda Kimball who authors the School’s annual “UC Davis Study of California Women Business Leaders.” Jim Kelly, Director of Corporate Relations, rounded out the evening’s talks with a discussion of men’s role in supporting women’s careers. The talks were capped off with a Q&A session with the audience.

UC Davis MBA--Champagne Welcome with the Deans--3.Mixing and mingling at the event.

UC Davis MBA–Champagne Welcome with the Deans–3. Mixing and mingling at the event.

Bringing so many people together in one room to discuss this important topic with enthusiasm, positivity and support was truly a dream for the members of WiL and I. We had a full house—even though the event coincided with the final game of the World Series (go Giants!). I think this speaks to the power of our community, and the amazing atmosphere we have at the GSM to learn and grow as professionals.

Champagne Welcome with the Deans was an incredible success, we hope the night will become a tradition that continues on in the future!

UC Davis MBA--Champagne Welcome with the Deans--WiL Board Members (left to right): Christine Bolghand, Venita Sivamani, Amber Lewis.

UC Davis MBA–Champagne Welcome with the Deans–WiL Board Members (left to right): Christine Bolghand, Venita Sivamani, Amber Lewis.

Earl’s MBA tour in Asia—By Rachel

UC Davis MBA--Tour to Asia

Each summer, Earl Raehsler, Assistant Direct of Admissions for the GSM travels to Asia with a group of top schools to attend International MBA Admissions Fairs. Earl sat down with me to tell me about his trip, the admissions fairs, and provide some tips for prospective international students planning to attend a fair.

Stops on the tour:

Taipei, Tokyo, Seoul, Beijing, and Shanghai.

UC Davis MBA--Tour to Asia

UC Davis MBA–Tour to Asia

About the International MBA Admissions Fairs:

Each city’s fair hosts admissions panels, school presentations, and test prep advisors, and also provides prospectives an opportunity to meet admissions directors directly.

Earl sits on the admissions panels and makes the school presentation for the GSM. The admission panels consist of 4 to 5 admission directors, each from different schools. Panelists give a broad view of what schools are looking for, MBA trends, and advantages of pursing an MBA in general. The school presentation provides an opportunity for prospective students to get a more personal view of the school and get information that they can’t simply find on the GSM website. This presentation is full of insider tips and information about what the GSM is looking for in candidates, and prospective candidates can ask questions about the school.

Why should prospective international candidates attend an Admissions Fair?

International MBA students tend to rely heavily on school rankings, location, and other people’s opinions of MBA programs and less on determining if a school is the right fit for them. Attending these fairs and speaking with admissions directors gives prospectives the chance to see if a school is the right fit, which is important because they’ll be spending 2 years at the school, and some students will have to move their whole family with them.

Tips for prospective students attending a fair next summer:

Presentation. Present yourself so you’re NOT memorable. Earl meets so many people during the admissions fairs that if a person is memorable, that is most likely not a good thing. Think about how you dress, how you present yourself, and the questions you ask. Think of it as a job interview. Admissions directors are looking at you as a candidate and evaluating you the whole time.

Questions. Ask intelligent questions. Ask questions that are meaningful. Ask questions that you can’t find the answers to on the internet. Don’t ask what the average GMAT score is for the GSM.

2-Minute Me’s. These are less necessary than people think, and Earl generally won’t remember what you say. Your one-on-one time with Earl is your chance to get your questions answered, and he will more than likely remember that you asked insightful questions and can show that you’re interested in the program. So don’t waste all of your time giving your life story.

Again, spend less time trying to sell yourselves and more time trying to find out if the school is the right fit for you.

UC Davis MBA--Tour to Asia

UC Davis MBA–Tour to Asia

Favorite stop on the tour:

Taipei — beautiful country, awesome people, love the city and country, and very green.

Guest Blog Series—Caleb  

UC Davis MBA--Hiking trip in Yosemite

Caleb Cavazos is a second year MBA student with a concentration in Marketing and Analytics. He spent the summer interning at Mars, HALL Wines, Mavenlink and New Faze Development.

I am 50 feet in the air on a tightrope and I look down. My heart is pounding, my hands and body tremble, and the thought, “I don’t belong here,” seeps in. I’m about to quit, but I can’t. I’m 50 feet in the air and I have classmates behind me, depending on me, pushing me forward to do what I set out to do.

“We are in this together” is posted in the student lounge. Call it cliché, call it cheesy, but time and time again my classmates have been there for support. Whether it is working on a project, finding an internship, or just grabbing a beer after (or between) class, there are always people on the same journey. As we continue this challenging, stressful, and expensive journey, I am thankful to be surrounded by people who are much smarter, more talented, and more accomplished than I am.

I have hiked Yosemite, camped Big Sur, sang in a piano bar in Houston, toured a dog food factory in Reno, tasted some of the best wines in Napa, and have had the time of my life. I don’t think about not belonging, but about how I wouldn’t have wanted to do this journey without all of you.

I just want to say thank you for the late-night pep talks, the after-class beers, the good laughs, and for giving me a reason to keep showing up. I found my tribe—we’re a little weird, a bit mouthy, but damn we know how to have fun.

UC Davis MBA---Hiking Trip in Big Sur

UC Davis MBA—Hiking Trip in Big Sur

Internship Advice!—Sasikanth

UC Davis--MBA

If there is one thing that is abundantly available at the GSM, it’s advice! People at the GSM differentiate themselves from other B-School campuses by being most helpful to their fellow classmates. I don’t know if it’s the small class size or the really sweet nature of people at GSM, you get advice all the time. At times this can be so overwhelming that it becomes infinitely difficult to extract Signal from all that noise!

So this blog post about Internship Advice might be entirely irrelevant to some of you, a little boring to most of you. But if I am able to connect to at least one person, I would consider my effort fruitful. So without much ado let me take you through another round of Advice!

  • Start Early: – This is as simple as it gets. I know all of you are a little overwhelmed by the 3 hour long classes and tiresome socializing processes. But if Internship is not the first priority on your mind from day 1, you are already on the back foot and that’s never good when you have got few bases to cover! Ok so how early is early?? The answer is ASAP!

    UC Davis--MBA

    UC Davis–MBA

  • Lamp List: – By now the career development people would have taken away at least 2 days from your valuable schedule with the two-hour job search sessions. I know that feeling but believe me, the LAMP process really works! Irrespective of your personal opinions. But the first thing you should do when you are in such a close knit family as GSM is to explore the Alumni contacts from LinkedIn and build a LAMP list from that. The hit ratio with such a list is definitely going to be high. I got replies from as many Alumni as I contacted. They really want us to succeed! Use them effectively.
UC Davis MBA

UC Davis MBA

  • Sort out your Resume: – This is the single most important aspect of the job search process. Then why the hell did I list it as my 3rd bullet point? Well often times the most important things need some preparatory ground work, if you know what I mean!!! Translating your experience and expertise to match the roles that you are aspiring for is the most arduous task you will face during your B-school. Mainly people with deep rooted experience in any specific field find it most difficult to bring out a one page resume and even if they do, they fail to connect those skills to specific roles you are targeting.

If you think you cannot do all this alone, approach Career Development and if that does not work out still, seek professional help. Ignore the costs associated with this process as we are in B-school and we know the concept of ROI. If you start early, then you can save many resource that go into building your resume.

My Old resume failed to get me a decent internship because there was too much technical information that could not bring out the qualitative skills needed for an MBA internship. Only by investing lot of time and resources on my resume, I was able to attract lot of attention from recruiters which eventually lead to couple of offers within 3 weeks of re-working my resume.

UC Davis MBA

UC Davis MBA

  • Networking: – This is the biggest B-school “dirty word” that you would love to hate! This is probably the most loosely used B-school concept. It is not defined by the number of treks you attend nor is it quantified by number of connections in your LinkedIn. There is more to it than meets the eye! To really understand the power of Networking, read the HBS case on Heidi Roizen and define your own approach to network. I do mine while I play Cricket every week in the Bay Area and while I travel in BART. But I have to tell you, those early morning commuters on BART do not appreciate you waking them up for Networking! Do not go unarmed.
UC Davis ---MBA

UC Davis —MBA

  • LinkedIn works! : – I know lot of you have your own experience and doubts about the power of LinkedIn, but for me both the Internships were posted on LinkedIn. Many of you might have done cost benefit analysis on the efficiency of having a premium account. For me unsubscribing Netflix and HBO Go worked out well. I mean I had to devour Madmen and House Of Cards in 3 weeks, but that’s not the point! You can effectively utilize it by enabling premium account only for those 4 months during which you vigorously search for jobs! It’s a pay as you go service model!
UC Davis--MBA

UC Davis–MBA

I hope at least some of this makes sense to some of you. If it does not, well there is one more bullet point left for you 6) Call 530 902 9572!!!

Happy Internship searching.

My internship at Salesforce—By Erin

UC Davis MBA--Internship at Salesforce

This summer, I had the incredible opportunity to land an internship at Salesforce. I spent four months working with the Solutions Marketing team as a Mobile Product Marketing Intern, an amazing experience.

My internship encompassed two main components: tracking the adoption and use of the flagship mobile product, Salesforce1, and the support of team efforts for Dreamforce.

The first part of my experience was similar to what product marketers do across the board: develop the messaging for a product, identify blockers to adoption or use, and come up with ways to drive demand. There was a steep learning curve in every possible way: the incredible city of San Francisco that I found myself in; Salesforce’s Aloha culture; the technical aspects of the Salesforce1 mobile app and Salesforce’s entire portfolio of products; our customers and their needs; and even the tools and programs that made me able to do my job.

UC Davis MBA--Internship at Salesforce

UC Davis MBA–Internship at Salesforce

The other aspect of my internship was centered around Dreamforce. Dreamforce is an annual event designed to “excite you, entertain you, educate you, inspire you, and motivate you,” according to Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff. It is the largest software conference on the planet, filled with huge names in thought leadership like former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, motivational speaker Tony Robbins, and investor Marc Andreessen; over 1400 breakout sessions where attendees can learn about the latest in Salesforce products, technology trends, sales tools, and industry-specific use cases; but also brings the fun with over 20 performers like Bruno Mars, Cake, and The Beach Boys.

UC Davis MBA--Internship at Salesforce #Bruno Mars

UC Davis MBA–Internship at Salesforce #Bruno Mars

I had the opportunity to work on the Salesforce1 Campground, learning from visionary product marketers how to present our product and message in engaging ways. From the concept to the reality, I got to play a part in bringing our super-size device theater illustrating Salesforce1 across every device – featuring a 12 foot phone, desktop, and tablet, and the biggest watch you can imagine.

UC Davis MBA--Internship at Salesforce

UC Davis MBA–Internship at Salesforce

Another key project that I was able to shepherd was the Salesforce1 Mobile App Guided Tour. In this immersive experience, we showcased the newest and most popular features of the new release. I took the lead on the development of the script, and forced customers to listen to my voice as I guided them through the app.

Finally, I led two breakout sessions illustrating Salesforce’s innovation at work. Featuring Salesforce Chief Information Officer Ross Meyercord, and his right-hand man, Senior Director Wing Yu, we presented how Salesforce, Forbes’ 4 Time Most Innovative Company, uses its flagship mobile app, Salesforce1 to make employee processes easier and faster. I was given a front row seat to what innovation at scale really means, as well as the opportunity to both form the message around Salesforce’s employee mobile strategy, and to bring that strategy to our customers at breakout sessions. Understatement of the year: I was thrilled to be able to present with two incredible gentlemen  - as an intern!

I could not have been more thrilled to have landed my dream internship. What an phenomenal experience!

UC Davis MBA--Internship at Salesforce

UC Davis MBA–Internship at Salesforce

UC Davis--MBA

Dear friends, the summer is here. All of the ambassadors are out for interns; we would be back in October, hopefully we can bring you some fresh stories in our intern; anyway, you still can leave you comments or suggestions here. Hope to see you again in the fall. Enjoy a nice summer! UC Davis–MBA

MBA in the DNA—By Chris


The coolest thing I’ve noticed about being an MBA student is how much it shifts your thinking into a business mindset.  I read the news, watch movies, and overhear conversations these days and I can’t help but think of the concepts we’ve been learning in our classes.  When we take the time to stop and think about it, it’s incredible how much knowledge we’ve been able to absorb in such a short period of time.

For example, a recent superhero movie had a plot device of big data being collected from social media that can “predict the future of every American.”  I immediately thought of our Time Series Analysis class and joked that I’d like to have seen their p-values!  Of course my date thought I was a giant nerd, but that should have been obvious already since I took her to a movie about men in tights saving the world.

Bill Gates at CES 2007

UC Davis MBA:“Here’s a guy who probably got called a nerd once too.”


But the way of looking at things at the GSM is also really useful in a lot of ways outside of the classroom.  I used some of the negotiation tactics from our Individual and Group Dynamics class to help me get a sweet deal on a new phone.  I talked with a friend of mine who was stressed out at work on how he could better organize his employees using our Managing for Operational Excellence theories.  And a family member looking at starting her own business got some free knowledge courtesy of what I learned in Corporate Finance.  All of these conversations went into business mode with little effort – it was just the right way to look at things.


UC Davis MBA:“A typical family dinner in my house since the start of the MBA program.”

Every now and then I’ll have a nonsensical dream where I’m trying to solve for the dividend growth rate on a basket of French fries, but besides that it’s awesome to be able to whip out b-school ideas in everyday life.  Our brains are being trained to take apart problems and look at them from a business perspective, even when we don’t realize it.  Even when we struggle with a class concept, or miss a point on a test, or feel like we’re in over our heads, we’re still getting stronger.  The best part is, we didn’t have to get bitten by anything radioactive to become so amazing!

The Road Goes Ever On—By Erik #Guest Blog Series

Picture 1

UC Davis MBA

Erik is a first year MBA student, focusing on Marketing and Business Analytics.  He spent the past five years working at Walgreens as an assistant manager where he developed an interest in non-profit leadership while leading teams to raise funds for Children’s Hospital of Central California.  As the president of Challenge for Charity at UC Davis, he enjoys volunteering with Habitat for Humanity, giving back to the community while also being active and outdoors. 

A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of taking a respite to Yosemite National Park with a few of my classmates for a day hike.  We started our outing at 4 in the morning; a journey in the dark.  Our goal was the top of Nevada Fall, a seven mile hike with some intense sections of elevation gain.  Getting there and back again turned into an all-day affair.  We returned to Sacramento ragged, worn, and exhausted.  We wore the dirt and sweat from the trail, but also smiles. It was not until sometime later, reflecting upon our journey, when it occurred to me that the hike that day was analogous to the first year of my MBA experience at UC Davis.

It takes preparation and work just to get to the start of your journey. Then the real work begins.  My first year as an MBA student has been an uphill struggle where the path has not always been clear. But I never had to struggle alone.  The new friends I have made at the GSM have stuck together, supported each other, and taken turns leading the way to ensure we accomplish our goals. The intense focus needed to keep moving upward while maintaining one’s breath is punctuated by the type of engaging conversation that shape the foundation of life-long relationships.
So if you are considering taking on a challenging journey, be it B-school or a hike, remind yourself of the following. You will be challenged and you will be tired. There will be times when your physical, mental and emotional limits are tested.  But there will also be amazing food, and drinks, and friends.  And at every landmark not only can you look back and see just how far you have come, but you can also look ahead to the next challenge, knowing that every bit of the struggle will be worth it. Finally, remind yourself to take a few pictures along the way, because it really is a beautiful time in your life.

Picture 2

UC Davis– MBA

EyeCandy Inc.On Board—By Sarah #Guest Blogger



April 27th marked the end of the 50th International Collegiate Business Strategy Competition (ICBSC), and five solid months of hard work running EyeCandy, for first-years Saumya, David, Roman, Sasi, and me, plus one of UC Davis’s finest professors and our advisor, Hemant Bhargava.

We formed our team back in December. While everyone else was skiing, we were reading the 200+ page simulation manual, and designing our product. At the end of January, the competition started.

Every quarter in the simulation, we had to make a series of decisions in response to the market, including pricing, advertising, sales force compensation, R&D, training, plant expansions, stock, CDs, corporate bonds, and stock sales. The decisions started at one a week, but accelerated to two a week the second and third year. In between years, we wrote a full-length strategic business plan and annual report.




Road trip! Five people, one car. After three years running EyeCandy, (3+ months of decisions and reports) we headed down to Anaheim, California for the intensive phase of the competition. After seven hours of driving, we were next to Disneyland, but we did not see much of the scenery.



We spent almost the entire competition holed up in our hotel rooms analyzing data, making decisions, preparing presentations, and writing reports. We had to submit a decision set every two hours while preparing a presentation to EyeCandy’s Board of Directors (our judges). It forced us to stop heavily relying on data, and start relying on our instincts.



On the final night of the competition, everyone sat down together for a wonderful dinner and awards ceremony.

We may not have won the competition, but we were definitely the biggest winners overall because the ICBSC allowed us to apply and integrate our classroom lessons while thinking critically about multiple, on-going aspects of business over an extended length of time. We are absolutely ecstatic that we had the opportunity to represent UC Davis and the GSM at this competition, and we look forward to advising next year’s ICBSC team.



Left to right: EyeCandy’s COO Roman Terentiev, CSO Sarah Guthrie, CEO Saumya Garg, CFO David Werner-Sexton, and CMO Sasikanth Vadlamudi