Another Perspective on the MBA Career Orientation in Shanghai

 

Jun Li compressed

At the end of July, I was enjoying the rare cool summer in Shanghai while considering how my upcoming MBA life seemed so far away on the other side of the Pacific Ocean. It soon became very close and vivid to me during the Foster Career Orientation in Shanghai. Thanks to the effort of Dodi, Sally and the MBA Career Management Team, I came to have a comprehensive understanding of the most challenging part of MBA life for an international student: job hunting.

Not only did we gain tremendously helpful networking skills, trans-cultural communication tips and resume methodologies during the two-day orientation, but I also particularly enjoyed the learning process. The orientation was held in the form of workshops, meaning each participant could bring new perspectives into the group discussion. I found this group learning process extremely inspiring and effective. For example, in the resume workshop, we were asked to use STAR principal to assess and polish one of our fellow students’ achievements. Instead of strictly following the principal, one Chinese MBA proposed to add a ‘wow factor’; what’s in this achievement that wows people? His journalistic perspective inspired me, a heavily left-minded engineer, to view my resume as a story rather than purely a list of quantified achievements.

With an even more diversified MBA community in Seattle, I’m sure that I’ll continue to experience similar career, academic and even life inspirations throughout the two years.

~ Guest post by Jun Li, Class of 2016 MBA Candidate


Posted by Megan Lewis - September 24th, 2014 - 0 comments - Permalink



18 Pieces of Advice to First-Year MBAs from Two Seattle Entrepreneurs

On Friday September 12th, 106 first year MBA students headed across Lake Washington to the headquarters of Microsoft where they had their Career Management Orientation. Below is a summary of the advice they received from two Seattle-based entrepreneurs, as collected by incoming student Nelson Tang.

Richard Tait and Foster alumnus Chris Howard spoke to new MBA Students at the MBA Career Management orientation.

Richard Tait and Foster alumnus Chris Howard spoke to new MBA Students at the MBA Career Management orientation.

Last Friday, the UW Full Time MBA students went to do a full-on career management day at the Microsoft headquarters in Redmond, WA.  We did a ton of activities, including a Q&A panel with recruiters in various industries, a ‘speed career date’ session with alumni and recruiters, and so on.  But the highlight for me was the keynote speech by Chris Howard (founder of Fuel Capital) and Richard Tait (inventor of Cranium, founder of Golazo, and tons of other companies!).  I was floored.

Because memories are fleeting, I’m writing this as a reminder to myself and my fellow MBA students so we don’t forget this advice!

  1. You’re gonna hear “no” over and over again.  Remember: it’s not about how many times you get knocked down – it’s how many times you get back up.
  2. Never blow out someone else’s candle.
  3. What do you want written on your tombstone?  Let those words guide your decisions and chart your path.
  4. Grades don’t matter.  There are 3 legs to the MBA experience, and networking is the most important.  While everyone else is playing fantasy football, you should be having informational interviews.  When you request someone’s time, be super prepared, have a super specific request.
  5. When the door opens and the opportunity arises, hit it with every fiber of your being.
  6. A good mentoring relationship should feel like osmosis…there’s an ebb and flow to the relationship, an exchange that goes both ways.
  7. On informational interviews:  Show up early, and do your research.  Have at least 10 awesome questions ready to go, and follow up with a handwritten note.  Keep them informal.
  8. Make a list of the 10 people you want to meet in the MBA program.  Have a tight filter/criteria for why you want to meet them.
  9. It’s not about grades or the classes you have to take.
  10. Go where the action is.
  11. You will make sacrifices to achieve your dream.
  12. Build a ‘Board of Advisors’ (about five people) for yourself that help you open closed doors and make big decisions.  Each person should have different backgrounds and specialties, but they should have some common values.  Check in with them at least quarterly.
  13. Be present.  Put the phones down.  These moments are the most impactful.  You owe it to yourself and your team to give 100%.
  14. Build a business plan for your life.  Check with your Board of Advisors.  Constantly re-evaluate your goals and values.
  15. Be open to “yes.”  You’re going to have to manage your time and say no to some opportunities to protect your time, but you never know what might happen if you say “yes.”  It might turn into something amazing.
  16. You’re going to be thrown a lot of opportunities.  Take risks, try things you’re uncomfortable with…whether it’s classes, clubs, activities, etc.  What do you have to lose?
  17. If you’re new to the region and don’t have a network – get on LinkedIn!  Networking takes a lot of work and you gotta hustle.  Seattle is a small town – everybody knows everybody.  Connect with all your classmates.
  18. After an informational interview, ask if there are two more people to meet.  See if they can help with the introduction, and include a form letter to make it easy for them.  And finally, for further reading, Richard recommended that we read “Zero to One” by Peter Thiel, one of the founders of Paypal.  The book basically includes notes from teaching the entrepreneurship class at Stanford.

For more from Nelson, check out http://www.nelsontang.com
Image creditwww.boomboombrands.com


Posted by Sarah Eytinge - September 17th, 2014 - 0 comments - Permalink



Pre-onboarding MBA Career Orientation in Shanghai

???????????????????????????????I had thought that all the MBA events and learnings would take place after the start of the program in September. I was very surprised when I learned that the Foster MBA Career Management Team would fly half-way around the earth to Shanghai, China to provide us incoming international students with a pre-onboarding career orientation on July 26th and 27th.

During this two-day session, Dodi and Sally taught us the American style of job hunting, like how to network, how to request informational interviews and how to maintain networking relationships. We also had resume workshops and even got the chance to have our first networking event with HRs and Foster alumni from Amazon, DuPont, Starbucks, etc. and recruiters from Apple.

T???????????????????????????????he most beneficial part of this face-to-face session was the chance to discuss which topics or tones are appropriate to use in informational interviews. As an international student, trying to adapt myself to the cultural differences in job hunting is not just about learning the process, but also about understanding the American norms and customs, which I cannot get through a virtual session. Also, by having guest speakers, HRs and alums with us, I had the chance to test my networking skills and build up my confidence. I also received feedback on my elevator pitch, which I will use in the career expo weeks later.

Through this session, I most certainly confirmed that choosing Foster was a very good decision. Students and alumni are always willing to share their knowledge and experience. Career coaches are very considerate and ready to help. Now I am looking forward to my MBA experience at Foster even more!

Guest post by Florence Fang, Class of 2016 MBA Candidate


Posted by Megan Lewis - September 16th, 2014 - 0 comments - Permalink



A Summer Marketing Internship at Google Singapore

This has been one of my favorite summers so far. I managed to get an internship at my dream company, Google, and in one of my favorite countries, Singapore. My role at Google is MBA Marketing Intern with the South East Asia, Small and Medium Business Marketing team.

The internship experience has greatly surpassed my expectations. First of all, I feel lucky that I’ve been given a real hands-on project for the summer. The amount of trust that has been placed in me and the resources I’ve been given make me feel that I am not just an intern. Instead, I am doing work that really matters for the users and the company. I’m involved in and actually lead certain key components of a regional marketing project and work closely with Googlers cross-functionally and cross-geographically. Moreover, my final delivery is a real program which will make an impact on both the end users and the company.

Secondly, I was a bit nervous on my first day. However, the moment I stepped into the Google office, I could see and feel the fun and open culture everywhere: the office design & decoration, interns’ high level of access to information, and of course the people I’ve met. Everyone, no matter how senior, is very approachable and open to talking with me. I have never been turned down or even responded to with hesitation when I reach out to ask job-related questions or request career advice. I am so lucky that my manager is a Foster MBA alumnus. He is always willing to share his personal experience and career advice with me. Every one-on-one session with him is more like a career coaching session.Hui Li Google Singapore 2

Now that I’m one year into my MBA program and two months into my internship, I see how I’ve changed substantially, especially in terms of strategic thinking and communication skills. There are so many moments during my work here that remind me of knowledge I acquired from group discussions at Foster. Moreover, the frameworks I learned from the classes are really helpful in solving the problems I encounter here.

There are only three weeks left of my internship. While I’m enjoying this great experience with Google, I’m going to be fully recharged for fall quarter!

Guest post by Hui Li, Class of 2015 MBA Candidate


Posted by admin - August 29th, 2014 - 0 comments - Permalink



A Summer Global Digital Marketing Internship at Starbucks

Jamie Hui Internship starbucksSecuring an internship at Starbucks this summer had been a goal of mine since I started my Foster journey. I’ve always been drawn to Starbucks because I have a passion for food and I want to work for an innovative retail company with a strong consumer brand. This summer, I’m working on the Global Digital Marketing Team, focused on optimizing the performance of their social media campaigns.

I’ve learned so much about Starbucks and why they stand out, but I’ve also taken classes to become a Coffee Master, attended a Sounders game with my fellow intern class (in a box suite, nonetheless), and I’ve had great exposure to senior executives in the company.

Still, the best thing about my experience thus far is meeting the partners (employees) there. Everyone at Starbucks loves sharing their journey and they are so passionate about Starbucks – the company, the coffee, food, and the customer experience. What’s even better is the HUGE Foster alumni network at Starbucks and how supportive they are! They’ve set up “Ask Us Anything” sessions, happy hours and have even set aside time to watch us practice our presentations.  At Starbucks, this summer has been nothing short of amazing!

 
Guest post by Jamie Hui, Class of 2015 MBA Candidate


Posted by admin - August 25th, 2014 - 0 comments - Permalink



A Summer Strategy Internship at Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Kate Thorson InternshipAs I near the end of my internship at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and take stock of my experiences this summer and what I’ve learned, I am repeatedly humbled to be part of this remarkable organization. The campus is teeming with the foremost experts in a plethora of fields from around the world. As interns, we’ve been given an incredible opportunity not only to attend the many talks and fireside chats with people like Peter Piot and Bill Nye, but also the chance to sit down with C-level executives from across the organization and ask them about their experiences, leadership approach, and vision for the organization. I’ve taken away many lessons from these chats, and equally important have learned much from the incredible cohort of interns from across the country.

I’ve been thrilled to dive head first into strategy work for one of the global health programs. In reflecting on what skills I’ve most applied from my first year at Foster, I think, at a high level, it’s a structured way of thinking: which I practiced through a combination of strategy and marketing classes, my applied strategy and Service Corps projects, and case interview preparation. There’s a wonderful sense of gratification in knowing that I’ve approached my work this summer differently as a result of my first year in the MBA program, and that I’ll approach my second year differently as a result of my experiences this summer.

I had high expectations for this summer…they’ve been far surpassed.

Guest post by Kate Thorson, Class of 2015 MBA Candidate


Posted by admin - August 18th, 2014 - 0 comments - Permalink



A Summer Marketing Internship at a High-Growth, High-Tech Firm

Rachel_A internship compressed

Unlike many of my classmates who came into Foster with a laser focus on working at Amazon/Microsoft/Starbucks, I came into Foster with a desire to work at a certain type of company. I wanted to work at a high-growth, high-tech firm that was on the late side of early stage. One that was established and well-funded, but still operated like a start-up. I wanted to work at a firm that challenged the status quo and came up with a new way of doing things—a disruptor or a creator of their own space in the market. One that placed a high value on creativity, innovation, and new ideas. I also knew that I was interested in a Marketing or Communications role that was strategic. After spending a significant portion of my career in risk-averse, bureaucratic environments, I was excited to see what it was like on the other side.

I first heard of Apptio when taking the Software Entrepreneurship class with Greg Gottesman and Matt McIlwain, who are both managing directors at Madrona Venture Capital, where Apptio is a portfolio company. Through a random mix of networking, serendipity, and luck, I was contacted by an Apptio recruiter in the spring about interning with the Marketing Department on the Content Marketing team. Content Marketing turned out to be a great opportunity to combine my strategic communications background and the quantitative and analytical skills I have learned in the MBA.

Apptio is the most measurement-oriented company I have ever worked for. They measure everything and analyze all actions, tying them back to outcomes and results. All of the Marketing efforts are tied to sales goals. The company has a sophisticated sales funnel, and tracks all prospects on a detailed level.

My project is creating the SlideShare strategy and then creating presentations to post on the Apptio SlideShare channel. It is a fun challenge to come up with engaging and compelling content that explains a solution to complex, technical problems.

At my job before going back to school, I was the person everyone came to when they wanted to know what the latest social media and collaboration tools were. When I arrived at Apptio, I was greeted with a plethora of tools I had never heard of, such as Slack, Trello, and Marketo.

I am currently one month into the internship, and I have already learned so much. From the exposure to new tools to meeting great colleagues to understanding the sales funnel, this internship has been an excellent opportunity to see what it is really like to work at this type of firm.

Guest post by Rachel Azaroff, Class of 2015 MBA Candidate


Posted by admin - August 11th, 2014 - 0 comments - Permalink



A Summer in Consulting at McKinsey

I’m a little over half way through my sJohnCzerniakMcKinseyummer as a consultant at McKinsey and I still don’t truly know how to describe what a consultant does. I can say that what we do, we do for many hours a day during the week and earn a few hotel points and airline miles along the way. This summer, I am involved in a high-level, corporate strategy project with a Fortune 100 company. It blows my mind that someone like me, only half-way through my Foster MBA, is influencing the strategic direction of a corporation with executives who have lived and breathed the industry for decades.

I knew going into my summer at McKinsey that I would have the opportunity to have real impact on big problems, but I never thought I would meet so many great people. I have to admit that prior to starting my internship, I had a certain stereotype in mind. However, aside from employees referring to McKinsey internally as “the Firm,” any notion of pretentiousness has been shattered. The nature of my project makes it fairly top-heavy, but despite my relatively minimal experience, I’ve been encouraged to speak up about my ideas and exercise an “obligation to dissent.” Inside the team room, all ideas are considered and reacted to based on the same criteria. The goal is client impact – whose mouth that impact comes from is unimportant.

The best part of my summer has been the chances I’ve had to spend time with fellow West Coast interns. At this moment, I’m at the Reno Airport getting ready to come back from a weekend spent with 50 other interns in Tahoe. Combining that with a conference in Florida and a training in San Francisco, I’ve developed friendships with some incredibly talented people. They come from colleges and business schools all over the country and from a wide range of experiences. I’m humbled to be part of this group and the amount I’ve learned from my new colleagues and friends has been invaluable. I’m excited to bring this experience back to Foster in the fall.

Guest post by John Czerniak, Class of 2015 MBA Candidate


Posted by admin - August 4th, 2014 - 0 comments - Permalink



It Takes a Village

Rachel Azaroff bikingThe weekend before the last week of class, I set out on a bike ride with three friends from school. We were excited to enjoy the afternoon outside, and three of us were training for a triathlon that we had signed up for together. On the way home from the ride, my wheel got caught in a railroad track, and I was thrown from my bike. When I came to, I was on the ground and had no idea how I got there! I looked up and immediately felt comforted by seeing a familiar face, one of these friends, telling me that I was going to be OK.

The other two pulled up by bike, and one quickly called 911. One rode in the ambulance with me. She and two other friends from the class who met us at the hospital stayed in the E.R. with me for five hours on a Saturday night to make sure I was okay. I ended up with a broken wrist, stitches in my forehead, and road rash down the right side of my body.

I credit co-chairing the 2014 Business Plan Competition for bringing me together with a friend who generously offered to take me into her home and take care of me in my recovery. She drove me to all of my appointments and took copious notes. She managed all of my medicines for me and checked in on me constantly to make sure that I was comfortable and had what I needed. She even washed my hair for me over the side of the tub—creating a salon-like set-up with a camping chair and a removable shower head—since I did not have the dexterity to do it myself. She took me to my surgery at 6:30a.m. Keep in mind that all of this was during the last week of school and finals, which is a stressful time for everyone.

Throughout my recovery, I was flooded with texts and calls from classmates, professors, and the program office to make sure I was okay. Numerous classmates stopped by to bring dinner, snacks, flowers, and to see how I was doing. One even picked up my mom from the airport when she got to town after my surgery, even though they had only met once briefly.

A few weeks later, when I moved into a new apartment and could not lift anything with my right hand, the Foster family stepped in again. Classmates helped me unpack, hang things with a power drill, assemble furniture and dispose of boxes.

I am from the East Coast, and it was scary to go through something like this and not have family nearby. It was comforting how quickly the Foster family stepped in to take care of me and make sure that I was OK.

Guest post by Rachel Azaroff, Class of 2015 MBA Candidate


Posted by admin - July 28th, 2014 - 0 comments - Permalink



My First Meeting with My MBA Mentor

January 30, 2014. 10:30 a.m. A coffee shop on Mercer Island.

“So Karshit, tell me, what’s the most pleasant surprise or the best thing that’s happened to you after moving from Mumbai to Seattle?”, I was asked.

This was during my first meeting with my mentor, Dennis Karlinsky, a UW alum and a senior director at Microsoft. Before the meeting, I was a little nervous. Dennis is such a senior executive and had committed an hour of his time, and I didn’t want to sound stupid.

My meeting with Dennis was scheduled from 10:00–11:00 a.m. At 8:30 a.m. I got an e-mail notifying me of a location change request from the earlier planned Redmond location to Mercer Island. I frantically reserved a cab and ensured I reach Mercer Island on time.

Right from the first impression, Dennis came across as a very humble, and a down to earth person with a contagious smile and a positive welcoming aura. During the conversation, he made me extremely comfortable and started asking me about my background, the experience in the MBA program so far, and what I intend to get out of the program. He also told me about his journey from modest roots to now, his rationale behind pursuing an MBA and the various difficult choices he had made during his career. I asked him for advice for the upcoming MBA internship season, and what qualities he saw in successful candidates during an interview and in the corporate world.

Perhaps, the most valuable thing that I got out of the interaction was how to convey my personal story better and build an emotional connect during an interview. Having left my family and friends and moving across seas to a totally new culture, risking a significant financial loan, and quitting an existing job to build skillsets to invest in advancing my career — after having sacrificed so much, I knew I wanted nothing but the best. Within such a short time, Dennis helped me tell my own story in a much more inspiring and effective manner.

We shared common beliefs and topics of interest–our belief in the power of good Karma, and building genuine relationships with people around. We talked about the Seahawks and the then-upcoming Super Bowl. The discussion continued, and a one hour meeting extended to three hours of a great conversation. Sadly, it was time to end this conversation and leave for a class.

Upon knowing that I had taken a cab in the morning to come meet him, Dennis was slightly infuriated [that I had to spend the money] and made it a point to drop me back to Foster. It was completely unexpected. Every single second of this meeting had left me overjoyed, and given me a whole new perspective.

As I walked back to the class, I pondered back to the question Dennis had posed, and I was convinced, this meeting with Dennis was the best thing that has happened to me in Seattle, yet! I feel lucky to have Dennis as my mentor, and intend to carry on the mentor-mentee relationship not just through the MBA program, but also beyond.

Moments like these have also made me reaffirm my belief in paying it back to the school and helping the future generations of MBA students with any help they may require of me.

I would also like to thank Susan Canfield and the MBA Career Management team for helping organize the Mentor Program, which is certainly invaluable for all the MBA students.

— Karshit Shah, MBA Class of 2015

 

More Information About the Mentor Program for MBA Students:

http://www.foster.washington.edu/mbacareers/Pages/MentorProgramStudentInfo.aspx

 


Posted by Karshit Shah - May 1st, 2014 - 0 comments - Permalink