June, 2010

You Won’t Know Until You Go

Wednesday, June 30th, 2010

       If you aren’t sure what you’re looking for when you start your internship search (like me), the whole process can be a little overwhelming.  I took full advantage of MBA Career Services to help me make the right decision, going so far as to call them on Super Bowl Sunday via cell phone for some quick tips.  I ended up landing a selective fellowship called Climate Corps, created through a partnership between Net Impact and the Environmental Defense Fund.  Fellows are matched with companies to discover and evaluate potential energy savings while reducing environmental impact.  With an architecture background and a passion for sustainability, this seemed like a great fit.  However, upon receiving the offer, I still didn’t know what company I was going to be matched with or where I would be placed.  Having made such good friends in the program, I was reluctant to consider the possibility of leaving Seattle for the summer.  In the weeks that followed, I agonized over the decision to accept the offer.  Career Services helped me understand that summers go by in a flash and finding a good internship – wherever it may be – was critical.  When I found out that I had been matched with Procter and Gamble in Cincinnati, I knew it was an offer I couldn’t refuse. 

       With my summer sublet in place, I was free to fret over the internship.  Would P&G decide in the first week that I’m not good enough?  Would they think they’d made a mistake?  What will it be like to live in a foreign city all by myself for the summer?  Would I make friends?

Julia Li at the Pringles Factory in Jackson, TN

Julia Li at the Pringles Factory in Jackson, TN

       Fast forward now to the third week of my internship and I can say that I’ve made one of the best decisions of my life.  I am loving my internship and am gaining experience of a caliber I would not have dreamed of.  I literally walked in the first day and hit the ground running.  The amount of resources available at P&G is staggering.  I’m working on energy reductions at the Pringles plant in Jackson, Tennessee, and got to fly to Jackson in the second week of my internship and see the production lines first hand.  I met with sustainability experts, facilities managers, engineers in packaging, and the list goes on.  I am scheduled for two more trips in my short ten week internship.  Moreover, I have made great friends to spend my summer with. 

       The moral of this story is you won’t know until you go.  Life is about new experiences and most of them will be scary, but everything usually works out better than you expected.  I can now be proud of this independent step in my life and have a fantastic addition to my resume, which I can speak to in terms of finance, marketing, and sustainability.

       Stay tuned for an update at the end of the summer …

Guest Blogger, Julia Li, MBA Class of 2011

All Good Things Must Come to an End

Friday, June 18th, 2010
Lovely classmate, Katie Collings, at graduation

Lovely classmate, Katie Collings, at graduation

Twenty months of living and breathing the Foster MBA Program has come to an end. Now all I can do is relish in having a summer off, comfortably knowing that a consulting job is waiting for me at the other end of it. After all of this time I still find myself in awe of how much I loved being part of this program – the tremendous friends I made, the soul crushing volume of work I produced, the mastery of functioning on too little sleep and too many Americanos. There is no doubt that all of these assets, and the many others collected, will be invaluable in the years to come as my post-grad life and career meanders through time.

I have a good friend who is rather cynical of MBA programs and has had a front row seat watching my life over the past two years. Something he often mentions is how much of a “joiner” you have to be as an MBA. You join clubs, boards, committees, social circles, teams. There is easily something to join every night of the week – happy hours, dinner outings, pick up sports games. As an insider I argue that it is less about joining and more about that age old philosophy – “work hard, play hard.” MBA students work a ton, even if they are brilliant rocket scientists (like our classmate Carl). Therefore, when the time comes, they celebrate just as much.

Celebrating the end of our time together at Foster began in early April, ramped up in 20100613_jessica_mba_0027late May and finally culminated at the actual ceremony last weekend as we boisterously cheered one another on while each of us made our way across the stage to receive our diploma.

As much as I look forward to being reacquainted with the concept of a weekend and embarking on a new career, I know that the past two years will always be remembered as some of the very best of my life. Because of that, I can’t help but find myself jealous of those of you who are just beginning the MBA journey. Jump in, hold on and enjoy every moment.

And thanks for reading.

Jessica Didion – MBA, Class of 2010

First-Year Case Competition

Monday, June 7th, 2010

Case competitions are a rite of passage at most business schools and Foster is no exception.  We recently completed our annual spring competition, the topic of which was:  How and where should Costco expand?

My five-person team, along with all of the other 20 first-year teams had 7case comp winners2 hours to research Costco, develop recommendations for the company, and present these recommendations to a panel of professors and local business leaders.  After several long days, my team decided to pitch a more unconventional strategy—a launch in Chile.  We knew that the company was intent to expand in Asia and Europe, but we also saw great potential in South America and found ways to prove it.  To our surprise, this strategy paid off.  My team was one of the four groups selected for the finals and had the opportunity to present our findings to high-level Costco executives.  At a reception following the presentations, Jim Sinegal, the CEO of Costco, awarded us with the grand prize and an over-sized $2,000 check.

What I enjoyed the most about this experience, was the chance to integrate so many of the things I’d learned this year: teamwork, finance, marketing, public speaking, etc.  It was a wonderful learning opportunity and I hope to get involved with more competitions next year.

— Kaia Laursen, FT 2011