Monday, January 14, 2019

Silicon Valley Trek 2018

Our finals ended on December 11th, but we didn’t have the time to celebrate as we were headed toward the West Coast the very next day! Twelve first-year MBA students travelled to San Jose and San Francisco as part of the Silicon Valley Trek organized by the Georgia MBA program. The main goal behind this trek was to enable students to get a feel of the work-life culture on the other side of the country and make those invaluable connections that will only enrich their professional network. We did all of that, and more.

Over the course of two days, we visited 7 companies: PayPal, Tesla, Facebook and on Day 1 and Salesforce, Jackson Square Ventures, and Thumbtack on Day 2.

Day 1
We started the day with Paypal. Learning what goes on behind the scenes of one of the largest online payment companies in the world was so fascinating. You could see all the transactions happening on PayPal anywhere in the world in real time on this screen below in the photo.

Next, we went to the Kardashian of the Silicon Valley, Tesla. It’s always in the news these days, isn’t it? Anyway, if I had to summarize the couple of hours we spent at Tesla in a single word, it would have to be “Woahhh.” We had the opportunity to tour the famous Tesla Factory in Fremont, CA. It’s not only one of the largest buildings on the planet, it is also one of the world’s most advanced automotive plants. It uses 10 of the largest robots in the world. There were so many gigantic robots working seamlessly everywhere in the factory, that even if Optimus Prime (for those living under a rock for the past decade, it’s that big red robot in the “Transformers” movie) showed up there, I would’ve been like, ‘sure, of course he works here.’ Since we were prohibited from taking pictures inside the factory, we took one group picture before the tour began.

We then proceeded to a little-known company called Facebook.
The office environment was very relaxed, and it seemed more like a big startup than a corporate space with cubicles, which I loved. We even went past the old office of Mark Zuckerberg, which had all glass walls. No privacy, huh? Interesting. Here we are, at the famous 1 Hacker Way sign outside the HQ.

The last stop for the day was at It’s a subsidiary of Amazon and manages its search engine. It was impressive to see the kind of work they are doing in the field of augmented reality. As a tech geek, I thoroughly enjoyed learning every bit about the company. Below, Rory Partalis, BBA ’04, explains how A9 incorporates virtual and augmented reality into its algorithms.

Day 2
First stop of the second day was Salesforce. After a small tour inside the Salesforce Tower, we were shown just why Salesforce is regarded as one of the best companies to work for in the world. The culture is unique, and the focus is on the well-being of its employees.

Fun fact: Salesforce Tower is the second-tallest building west of the Mississippi River. With a view like this, who wouldn’t want to work here?

Next, we went to Jackson Square Ventures. The Managing Director of this small venture capital firm, Greg Gretsch, BBA 1988, imparted insightful gems of practical knowledge that you won’t find in any textbook on VC.

The last stop of the trek was a startup called Thumbtack. For me, the best was saved for last as this is the kind of place I hope to work. Technology based, fast-paced, innovative and focused on solving problems of daily life.

Between these company visits, we also squeezed in three dinners with our wonderful alumni. These dinners were partially meant to serve as networking events as well, but the friendly nature of our alumni made these interactions much more relaxed and casual. And, I had a ton of fun!

Georgia MBA students with alumni Michael Myers, MBA 1995,
Kurt Klein, BS 1986 and Damian Luna, MBA ‘10.
Here’s what some of the other students had to say about the trek:

“The trip was an eye-opening experience for MBA students interested in technology like me. It is amazing to observe the way PayPal processes and protects billions of transactions around the globe or the strong robot arms grabbing Model 3 cars at the highly automated Tesla factory. I also enjoyed the dinners with our dedicated alumni who helped us learn more about the culture on the West Coast.”
                                                                   -Eric Nguyen, MBA ‘20

“It was a great opportunity to learn a lot, meet new people and have some great fun!”
                                                                   -Ayushi Tewari, MBA ‘20

“I never thought I would have such a great chance to visit all of those tech giants in Silicon Valley. I was also amazed to meet wonderful alumni like Bert Niemi, Greg Gretsch, Rory Partalis, etc. Such a great trip!”
                                                                   -Hung Quach, MBA ‘20

“It was a great learning experience to understand the valley way of life and work. Met some great experts in their fields. This trip instilled in me a confidence on what we can achieve through hard work. The exposure that we got through this trip was invaluable.”
                                                                   -Ratna Govin, MBA ‘20

Looking back at the conversations I had and the connections I made, I would say this was a truly worthwhile trip and the perfect way to end my first semester.

-Shubham Garg, MBA ‘20

Friday, December 21, 2018

Reflections on the 2018 Professional Women's Conference

“Let your authenticity shine.”
Terry Full-Time MBA students (L-R):
Lauren Fendt, Maggie Rheney, Ali Probst
and Kaley Tabor
“Forming relationships is the key to successful business.”

“Your work reflects your character.”

These were just a few of the wise words attendees of the 2018 Terry College of Business Professional Women’s Conference heard from a robust lineup of accomplished and encouraging professional businesswomen. Held at The Home Depot Store Support Center on November 29, the conference was a time to hear from panelists and speakers from various professional backgrounds. The event was not only an opportunity to hear from distinguished guests, but also to network with fellow attendees.  

A general theme that was iterated across the day was the importance of being fearless and taking risks. Illustrated by anecdotes and personal experience, the day’s speakers discussed how to live out fearlessness in work and in life, and shared some of the secrets and advice from their own career journeys, including:

Carol Tom̩, Chief Financial Officer & Executive Vice President, Corporate Services РThe Home Depot
Carol discussed how to find the right person for a job position and urged attendees not to rush a hiring decision but take the time to make sure it feels like the right hire for the opportunity. She also shared that feedback is a gift and we must be willing to accept it.  As for the competition that can, unfortunately, arise between women, she stressed the importance of women celebrating sisterhood and supporting each other.

Diversity & Inclusion Panel featuring (L-R):
Beatrice Grech-Cumbo, Nina Boone,
Tanya Counter, Kim Hoefer and Mary Moore.
Photo Credit: Terry College of Business

Diversity & Inclusion Panel
Following the Q&A with Carol Tomé, we heard from a panel of speakers for the diversity and inclusion panel. A popular topic of the day was the discussion of the elusive “work-life balance.” Rather than discuss how to weigh one over the other, Nina Boone, Co-Sales Leader for Mergers & Acquisitions and Chair of Diversity & Inclusion at Aon, shared that “every minute of every day is a work-life balance.” Mary Moore, CEO and Founder of The Cook’s Warehouse, added that “balance is in loving what you do.” Nina also shared how we can each play a part in supporting others to achieve their dreams, noting, “There’s room for all of us. If you focus on helping others, it will help you. Focus on results, collaboration and mentoring and bringing people up along the way.”

Dr. Taz Bhatia, BS ’93, Physician, Best-Selling Author, International Lecturer, Acupuncturist, Certified Nutritionist
Often seen on The Today Show, The Doctors and The Dr. Oz Show, Dr. Taz illuminated just how detrimental the “superwoman syndrome” can be to our health. She shared different personality types and how each of those respond to stress while also giving us warning signs that it’s time to reevaluate our schedules and reevaluate what we’re doing to care for ourselves. As we heard inspirational words from other women about careers and the balancing shuffle between work and life, it was an important reminder that we also must take care of our personal wellbeing in order to give our best to others in work and in life.
Ceree Eberly, Former Senior Vice President & Chief People Officer – The Coca-Cola Company (retired)Through ten lessons, Ceree illustrated what it means to have strength, live authentically and support others, including: be your own advocate, let your voice be heard, be who you were meant to be on the planet and support other women.

As we left this year’s conference we were all challenged and empowered to lift others up, to lift ourselves up and to live authentically as we navigate work and life.

- Maggie Rheney, MBA '20

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Georgia MBA Wants to Change How Students Think About Purpose-Driven Careers

On October 30th, the University of Georgia’s Net Impact chapter program kicked off the fall season with an incredible event at Creature Comforts Brewery. The Net Impact chapter is led by 2nd year MBA, Zack Godfrey, who was the master of ceremonies for the event. Other notable MBA students on the Net Impact board include: Ratna Govin, MBA ‘20 – VP of University Relations, Tina Pu, MBA ‘20 – VP of Strategy and Operations, Jeremy Walton, MBA ‘20 – VP of Community Relations, and Jakob Kagel, MBA ‘20 – VP of Social Impact Events.
                The event began with an incredible discussion by four panelists who work in careers that infuse purpose in the work. Their conversation, moderated by Zack Godfrey, focused on the topic of Careers with a Purpose. After this engaging conversation, the panelists and audience grabbed a Creature Comforts’ brew and networked into the evening. A recap of the advice given follows:·         
(L-R): Matt Stevens, Christina Noel, Ariel Brassil, Nathan Stuck, Zack Godfrey

Matt Stevens, Director of Community and Culture at Creature Comforts – a rapidly growing brewery based out of Athens, GA – spoke about how engaged citizenship is important for communities to grow. He explained with passion about how Creature Comforts is doing exactly that with the Get Comfortable campaign to raise money for local non-profits. Launching its fourth season of Get Comfortable in January, Creature Comforts and Matt Stevens are driven to make a lasting impact in the Athens-Clarke County community.
Christina Noel, MBA ’14, is the founder and CEO of Arc Benders, a consultancy for purpose-driven companies. “Arc Benders was created to inspire & equip people that are using their unique talent to change the world.” This quote from Christina’s website encapsulates her words that evening at the Social Impact Event. She believes in helping businesses who are trying to make a difference in this world and compelled her audience to look for purpose in their future careers.
Ariel Brassil, MBA ’15, Strategic Programs LEAD at AT&T Smart Cities, proves that purpose can also be found in Fortune 500 companies. Ariel spoke about the purpose-driven work she engages in with AT&T Smart Cities to create a better, more sustainable environment for the future. Smart Cities is working to create cities with improved infrastructure, public safety, energy and utilities, and transportation.
Nathan Stuck, MBA ’17, Director of Corporate Culture at Ad Victoriam Solutions, gave us further insight into a growing tech company that has made the B-Corp certification a top priority, setting the bar for other tech startups. He also compelled the audience to find purpose in their work, as well as encouraging participants to get started now by attending Net Impact and B-Corporation events across the country. 
Thanks to the Net Impact chapter at UGA for hosting this exciting event and to the panelists for their impactful words. The University of Georgia’s MBA program wants to expand the notion of what a business school can be and what our students can accomplish. Business for good is an empowering ideal. Through our Net Impact chapter, we are providing an infrastructure for students to have a social impact across all areas of business.

Thursday, October 11, 2018

What to Consider When Considering an MBA (and Why There is Great Food in Athens)

It's no small task to research what MBA programs to apply to because the decision you make has long-lasting impacts on you personally and professionally (for the better!). But finding the programs that are the best fit for you is time well spent. Recently, two of our MBA program staff provided their insight on the admissions process, the MBA in general, and also a little information about how much great food there is in Athens! Visit MetroMBA for the whole story.