Applied Strategies: Project Update

Saturday, February 13th, 2010

We are about half way into the quarter…

Wow! I can’t believe I just said that.

Anyway. My team’s Applied Strategy consulting project is going strong! I wanted to send an update to my previous post to let you know how it’s going.

We’ve had three significant events so far. First of all, we met with our faculty advisor. Every team was matched with a faculty member that could bring their experience to our projects. Our advisor, John Castle, knows the company we are working with and was really helpful in putting our project into perspective.

The second major event was a visit to our client’s offices in Kent. The President of the company gave us a tour of their building and warehouse. Most importantly we were able to see how their product was packaged and delivered to their distributors. Seeing the client’s operations in action showed us the importance of the work we would be doing. The visit was very clarifying for our team!

Our last major event for the first half of the quarter was an information sharing session with our classmates. For this, we prepared and gave a quick Powerpoint presentation about our project. We then solicited feedback from our professors and classmates. We walked away from the session with a lot of practical advice and some contacts with expertise in the industry we are analyzing. We’re in the information gathering stage of our project right now. I will report back as we begin to wrap things up!

Guest Blogger: Allison Bilas, Foster MBA Class of 2011

Applied Strategies

Friday, January 15th, 2010

After a much needed break over the holidays, I came back to Foster excited for a fresh course load. I learned a lot last quarter, and loved my professors. But I was ready for new topics!

I think most people (myself included) were especially excited for one class in particular – Applied Strategies. In this class, each team is assigned to a consulting project with a local company. The format of the class is fairly open ended… It’s all about delivering results to our clients.

My team’s project is with a company selling medical devices. The scope includes some operations and some marketing. While I’m familiar with marketing and a bit of operations, I know nothing about the medical industry. I’m excited to get out of my comfort zone a bit!

We spent the first couple weeks of class talking about consulting best practices – scope, client communications, and project management skills. The classes included panels of students who did projects last year, and professionals who currently work in consulting.

On Wednesday we finally met our clients in person! My team is fortunate to be working directly with the President of the company. She was very excited to have us, and came to our meeting with a lot of information to share.

Now that we’ve kicked that project off, the real work begins, starting with an on-site visit next week!

Guest Blogger: Allison Bilas, Foster MBA Class of 2011

An Intense First Week

Tuesday, October 6th, 2009

One of my classmates was pondering on Tuesday if the start of classes would feel anti-climatic after 2 weeks of orientation and leadership training.

After two days of classes, I think I can safely say “nope”. Not anti-climatic at all… As a matter of fact, I don’t think the effort and energy required in this program will peak until we sign our job offers. (And even then, because hopefully we’ll all get offers post-internships, we’ll have to finish up the school year.)

The MBA program at Foster is intense.

The professors are intense. One of them knew all of our names and faces on Day 1. (He also knew about my personal blog! Aye.) Another one gambled with us. And another one shouted, “Show me the data!” Jerry MacGuire style. These people are passionate and well trained, and I’m going to learn a lot. (By the way, one thing I heard today from our accounting professor was, “Don’t confuse comfort and learning.” So true.)

The MBAA clubs are intense. I’m still grappling with what clubs to join… In the mean time, there are club events almost every day and evening. One of the clubs, just as an example, organizes around case competitions, which are essentially math club for MBAs. (Someone made that analogy for me, and I love it.) Case competitions are going to be intense.

My fellow MBA classmates are intense. Smart people, who are all accomplished, and who are all ready to take this MBA program and run. I’m going to have to become one with being very, very average. Not to mention the 2nd years who are back from summer internships, full of experience.

Speaking of… Searching for an internship/job is intense. We had our first job fair this week. I had my photo professionally taken last week. I ordered business cards. And I’m scheduling info interviews for, you know, that extra time on my hands.

So, what I’m figuring out is that I need to be intense. This pretty much means staying on my toes at all times. I need to do as much as I can proactively. And I need to load my Husky Card with money so I can ensure I’m caffeinated at all times.

As I wrap up my first full week of classes, there’s definitely one thing I feel very intense about… Show me the weekend!

Guest Blogger: Allison Bilas, Foster MBA Class of 2011