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
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.
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.
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!
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.
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
The end of the MBA program can be bittersweet. There are times where moments with classmates are so meaningful and fun that is it hard and sad to imagine we will all be moving on to the next chapter of our lives in a couple of short months. However, there are also moments of pride and accomplishment that are extremely happy, and today was one of those moments.
Each year, the GSM hosts a student awards ceremony for its top academic achievers and student leaders. The top 20% of students in each of the MBA programs and the Master of Professional Accountancy program get inducted into Beta Gamma Sigma, the worldwide honors society for business students. Additionally, there are nine student fellowships given to 11 students across all of the MBA programs, and four Alumni Association awards given across all programs.
As you know from this blog, many of us wear several hats at the GSM. From family commitments, to school commitments, to extracurricular activities outside of school activities, life can get downright hectic. Sometimes, simply staying on top of things is challenging, so achieving one of these awards involves sacrifice and commitment.
As I was inducted into Beta Gamma Sigma today, along with nine of my colleagues from the full-time program, I certainly reflected on my accomplishments, but I also reflected on the people who made them possible. I thought about all of the times family members worked around my busy schedule for dinners and visits. I thought about my husband who always became busier right along with me as finals approached, taking on more than his fair share of errands and chores so that I could finish projects, study, and squeeze in some sleep. Then I thought about my colleagues at school. By nature, business school is a competitive environment, but I can’t think of anyone in my class who walked across that stage today who hasn’t lent a helping hand to classmates. I believe this collaborative and inclusive community is special and rare and something that makes the GSM stand out from any other business school program. In fact, one my previous blog entries centered around this theme. (http://ucdavismba.org/2014/01/31/our-gsm-village-by-vanessa-errecarte/).
Our next big celebration is graduation, and while we will undoubtedly be reflecting on our accomplishments at that milestone as well, we will again be thinking of all the people that made it all possible. After all, during the sad moments, where is it hard to imagine going our separate ways, it is not our accomplishments that are tugging on our heart strings—we get to take those with us. What really is tugging on our heart strings is the tight knit community that made all of these accomplishments possible. So, as we all go out into the world and forge our paths, remember to take that community with you too—keep in touch, come back to alumni events, and continue to foster what makes the GSM so special. And to all of the prospective students out there, remember to foster this community from the very beginning—two years pass by quicker than you can imagine!
When I moved to San Francisco four years ago, I knew little about Bay Area except San Francisco and Silicon Valley. For most people from other states or countries, you may not be very familiar with this region which surrounds San Francisco in Northern California. It’s an absolutely gorgeous area, and there are numerouse reasons why you should never miss the opportunity to experience the life here.
California is well known for its pleasant sunny days. Even it’s a little chilly in Northern California, you won’t worry too much about the weather. The temperature is usually around 50s and it barely rains from March to November. It’s common to see people wearing T-shirts and those wearing coats at the same time-it all depends on how you would like to enjoy the famous California sunshine.
You must hear about Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz before, but Bay Area has more iconic views other than those. In the city, there are many places you can go: Twin Peaks, Fisherman’s Wharf, Golden Gate Park, Coit Tower and Alamo Square. You can also drive on Highway 280 or Highway 1 to see the beautiful landmarks and scenery spots.
This is for the all the sports fans out there. The Bay Area has several amazing teams: San Francisco Giants (2013 World Series Championship), San Francisco 49ers, Golden State Warriors, San Jose Sharks. Catch those games in the well-located stadiums with your friends. Doesn’t it sound good?
Facebook, Google, Twitter, Yahoo-most dot companies you can name are headquartered in Bay Area. With a culture of Venture Capital investments, more and more tech companies are being founded. In Bay Area, you are exposed to the new technology coming up every day. I am sure it will serve as a major inspiration for you.
People from all over the world move to Bay Area. This creates so much diversity. I’m sure you are all aware that San Francisco is booming with people from all over the world. In other words, everyone is welcome! It’s so great to be in a place that welcomes everyone with open arms, and so eye-opening as well.
In a word, this amazing place is full of opportunities for you to explore and I believe you will like it as much as anyone else does.
On April 12th, we at UC Davis celebrated our 100th picnic day celebration. For those uninformed, Picnic Day is an open house for all clubs, organizations, and departments to showcase the talents of their respective groups. Whether you attended a Chemistry Magic Show, received strawberry plants, or watched the Dachshund Races it was most certainly a day of joy and celebration!
Here are a few pictures which try to, but don’t quite, capture the excitement of Picnic Day.
Starting the day with a few members of the GSM
Sometimes you just need to let the excitement out!
The responsibility of taking care of young plants weighed heavily on Christine’s fiancé.
I was offered an opportunity to pose with one of the star athletes and I was going to say no!
One of the cool things about being a first year at the GSM is all of the new experiences that we get to have. Not only are we learning a lot in the classroom, and increasingly through extracurriculars, but there are cool traditions that we get to become a part of. From the monthly ASM barbecues, to Fall’s Casino Royale and last week’s Capital Connections with the Sacramento program, it all contributes to the fun sense of community that we have in Business School.
One of the cooler events (that I hadn’t even heard about until we started secretly planning) is the GSMen’s Night. Every year, the women of the GSM get together and plan a secret party for our male counterparts. Better yet – then they reciprocate!
The womenfolk secretly gathered to plan the theme, scout locations in the area, and let the guys know to set aside the evening. For our Honky Tonk-themed night, we took over the outdoor area at Plainfield Station on County Road 98, made sure it was decked out for their arrival, and a fleet of drivers chauffeured the men – blindfolded! – to the party. It was a fantastic evening with great times and big laughs by all. Next up is the Ladies’ Night. Stay tuned!
Two years ago I stepped into Gallagher Hall for the second time. The first time was for an interview – I was nervous, anxious, and stressed all at once. The second time, however, was a far more pleasant experience. It was Admit Day, and I was excited to truly see what the GSM was all about. I met current students, got a tour of the Mondavi Center, and was introduced to several faculty members I still keep in touch in with today. It was a positive experience that led to a signed letter of intent.
All candidates admitted to the MBA program at UC Davis are invited to attend Admit Day. This event is dedicated to exposing new admits to the GSM culture. Whether it’s through the campus tour, the student panel, the faculty lecture, or the wine and cocktail reception, admits are shown the close knit and collaborative community that truly differentiates the GSM from other MBA programs.
This year I had the opportunity to help organize Admit Day, along with my fellow student ambassador Wataru. Over twenty percent (!) of our entire program volunteered their time to talk with admits, who appreciated the personal touch of having plenty of current students to have 1:1 conversations with. We greatly enjoyed hosting the admits, as we formed good relationships with potential classmates for next year.
For the past 18 years, UC Berkeley Haas business school has been holding Women in Leadership Conference with tremendous success. And we, Women in Leadership Club in GSM, UC Davis have always helped to promote and involve in this great event. Let us hear some sparkling takeaways from GSMers who attended this year’s WIL conference.
1. You are more powerful than you think.
Many speakers at the conference shared their experience about how they design their future. In the story telling session, Kim Le shared with us how she came out of the homeless situation, self-supported her education with 4.0 GPA, and started her own company to support women and minority. It was inspiring to me. When I think about how a 6-year old Vietnam homeless girl can fight her way to become such a successful business woman, I say to myself, “you are more powerful than you think, you may be surprised by what you can achieve.”
2.Don’t try to mimic men to break the “stereotype of women”.
I attended the Finance panel in the morning. Larissa Roesch from Dodge & Cox shared her experience as a former trader. She said how she realized that she lost herself by unconsciously mimic men to be “fit in”. However, when she actually stepped back, reflected herself, and just acted as herself, she actually demonstrated her unique value to the team and gained even more respect from men. It was a very helpful suggestion that will help me in my future career.
1. It’s a great event.
I recommend every lady in GSM to attend. Great topics about career and life of professional women, well organized in the beautiful Hass Business School, and great opportunity to meet real world female leaders in different industries. And it’s very close to Davis.
2. Many professional women choose to slow down their career during the years babies were young, but it is not necessary.
Most speakers of the event are not only female executives, but also mothers. Their true stories of being a pride mom and the fact family and career can nurture each other reinforce my belief of it. As my grandma, who was a doctor and a beloved mother and grandma, told me that you are not complete if you are only successful in career.
I went to the Social Impact and Re-Frame sessions. Here are a couple of takeaways:
3 types of managers who fail: 1. Golden Retrieve (best friend) 2. Greyhound (hasty, rescuer) 3. Sheep Dog (team protector)
Words of advice: Be forward-looking, test and learn, teamwork
I went to this conference twice and was inspired all the time, so I will go there again next year(s). It was a great place to share, to learn, and to build network. Some takeaways from guest speakers and panelists were about accepting yourself and how to:
Larissa Roesch: Be authentic. Embrace who you are. Just own it. Understand what is the big “YES” in my life, because you can’t do everything for everyone. Find out primary and secondary things, and cut the latter. Wake up without feeling overloaded. (My thought: trimming secondary until you hold on to the true core values is important)
Carrie Dolan: I am not the person who is optimistic about everything. I see the risks. (My thought: OK to accept this “me”, the pessimistic personality can still be a good asset)