This week we have a great post by Peter Kazarian (Class of 2016)! You might remember him from his writeup on the Japan study tour and the 2015 Silicon Valley Tech Trek. Just last summer, Peter had a great opportunity to intern at Starbucks in their channel development department. Read on for more about his experience at one of the most exciting brands in the world!
Posts Tagged ‘Career Management’
Today we have a great interview with Peter Woodward (Class of 2016) about his experience as a career changer and his internship at Goldman Sachs. Peter comes from a non-traditional pre-MBA background, but he’s successfully parlayed that into a new career and is a great example of someone who was able to simultaneously change industries, geographies, and job function. Read more about his experience and his advice below!
Guest post! Brennen Ricks (Class of 2015) wrote a 4-part series on his blog, 1personsexperience.blogspot.com, to answer the question: “Was the MBA worth it?” We’re featuring an abbreviated version of the 4th and final part of the series here. For the full version of the article and more from Brennen, be sure to check out his blog!
The Benefit of an MBA
This is my last post of a series on if an MBA was worth it, even though there is still plenty more I could say.
This isn’t going to be a ‘tooting-my-own-horn’ essay. It’s an objective list of what I got out of the Foster MBA program that I could not have received through my own self-directed learning from books or online tutorials.
Let’s also be real and acknowledge that a formal upper-tier MBA program gets you access to some things that self-directed study just can’t…such as (brace yourself for buzz-words) access to networks of people, certain hands-on experience, job-placement systems, friendships, and a unique way to learn about yourself.
I have 4 main topics, and if you read any of them, I hope you read the last section.
Nike. The swoosh. The brand. The company. I couldn’t believe I was lucky enough to be there this summer. So what was it like to intern at one of the best brands on the planet?
Today we have a great guest post by Dan Tadiarca (Class of 2016)! Dan had the opportunity to spend the summer as a MBA Finance Intern at Nordstrom, one of the best fashion retailers in the world. Read more about his experience below:
If you enjoy shopping for things (clothes, food, tech, you name it) as much as I do, it’s easy to see how landing an internship at renowned retailer Nordstrom over the summer can make you giddy with anticipation. Known for its best-in-class customer service and a generous return policy, Nordstrom embodies a culture of collaboration and diversity. So when I received an offer for the MBA Internship in Finance this summer, I jumped at the chance, despite some hesitation around returning to a Finance role. That decision to keep an open mind and take on challenging opportunities led to one of my best summers in recent memory. Ever, perhaps.
Working for Microsoft is like a dream come true since it was my goal when I applied to the Foster MBA program.
Over this past summer, I interned with Microsoft as a Partner Channel Marketing Manager Intern in the Worldwide Partner Group, under the Small and Midmarket Solutions & Partners organization. Being an international student, even though I had similar marketing background in the technology hardware industry, working for Microsoft was still an eye-opening and a learning experience for me.
During the twelve-week internship, everyday was a new challenge since Microsoft is such a big organization and it required multiple stakeholders’ support to get things done. My project was to advocate the benefits of Microsoft’s Cloud solutions, and I worked closely with vendors to create training videos, blogs, and the worldwide partner training guidebook. It was truly rewarding to see my work being posted on the Microsoft Partner Network website which 400,000 plus partners use. Moreover, in order to get support from other stakeholders in rolling out the project, I had to overcome my shyness and proactively set up meetings with various colleagues to gain their buy-in. To my surprise, despite the fact that many colleagues were senior and very busy, they were still willing to spare time to listen to my pitch, and also gave me feedback, which truly demonstrated the teamwork and collaborative spirit at Microsoft.
I was also given a great opportunity to go on a business trip to Washington D.C. in July to attend the annual Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference. It was an important event for the company as attendees came from over 150 countries and represented many of the most successful, top tier partners. I was thrilled to be there and talked to the partners in person. We also had fun watching the FIFA World Cup Championship game together!
Last but not least, Microsoft also cared a lot for interns. There were many speaker events where we got to meet CEO Satya Nadella, the CMO, the head of HR, and many others to learn more about the company. Let alone the fun intern activities to Leavenworth, Puyallup, Casino night, Lake Washington Cruise and kayaking in Portage Bay. I had a great time meeting other interns and the Microsoft internship experience is truly one of the most unforgettable summers I have ever had! I am excited to be going back to Microsoft for a full time role after completing my Foster MBA.
Evelyn Chia-Wei Chiang
Foster MBA, Class of 2015
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
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.
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!
- 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.
- Never blow out someone else’s candle.
- What do you want written on your tombstone? Let those words guide your decisions and chart your path.
- 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.
- When the door opens and the opportunity arises, hit it with every fiber of your being.
- A good mentoring relationship should feel like osmosis…there’s an ebb and flow to the relationship, an exchange that goes both ways.
- 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.
- 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.
- It’s not about grades or the classes you have to take.
- Go where the action is.
- You will make sacrifices to achieve your dream.
- 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.
- Be present. Put the phones down. These moments are the most impactful. You owe it to yourself and your team to give 100%.
- Build a business plan for your life. Check with your Board of Advisors. Constantly re-evaluate your goals and values.
- 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.
- 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?
- 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.
- 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 credit: www.boomboombrands.com
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.
The 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
I’m a little over half way through my summer 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