Monday, February 23, 2015

Making the Transition from Military Service

Adam John, USMA '08, MBA '16
What did I do in the military?
After graduating from West Point, I served as an Infantry Officer and U.S. Army Ranger for about 6 years. During my service, I conducted five combat deployments to countries such as Iraq and Afghanistan. I am extremely proud to be an American and to have had the opportunity to serve our Nation.

After transition from the military to B-School—what did I learn?
Gaining perspective and experience prior to attending b-school is extremely beneficial. Whether that means transitioning from the military early to conduct a spring internship or spending a few weeks at a company shadowing executives, gaining corporate exposure is a must. After transitioning from the military, I spent 5 months in Washington D.C. working for an organization that allowed me access to several corporations, NGOs, and non-profits. In doing so, I expanded my network and gained valuable industry exposure. Several companies (e.g., Goldman Sachs, PwC, Google) have phenomenal programs for either pre-MBA veterans or recently transitioned veterans. I encourage all veterans to take advantage of these opportunities.

What are my initial lessons learned from B-school?
1.)  As in the military, teamwork is also essential in business school. From presentations to group case studies, working together as teams is vital for success in the classroom.
2.)   Several attributes from the military directly transfer to b-school. Leadership and hard work directly transfer, while planning, strategy development, and operations management are only semantically different.

What is the SVRC and what does it do?
The SVRC is a center within the Student Affairs Division that connects the 240+ student veterans who are enrolled at the University of Georgia with an array of resources. The center advocates existing programs within UGA (e.g., Career Center, Academic Enhancement) and several organizations outside the university (e.g., VA, VFW) to our student veterans to ensure their continued success. More on the SVRC:

What do I do at the SVRC?
Currently, I am one of two graduate assistants who serve in the SVRC. I work directly for the SVRC Director and am responsible for managing several center initiatives. For instance, part of the SVRC’s mission is to posture student veterans for challenging internships and career opportunities. I lead these efforts through our Corporate Outreach program that provides veterans’ access to prospective companies that are interested in hiring them. Basically, I connect veterans who are searching for employment or internships with companies that have human capital requirements.   

For me, it's an awesome opportunity to continue to contribute and give back to fellow veterans.   

What are my future plans?
While at business school, I have dedicated my job search to a career in management consulting. I found that my passions—leading teams and solving complex problems—are directly applicable to consulting, and I believe that I would best use my skill set here. This summer I will be working as a Summer Associate with Cognizant Business Consulting.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

MBA Entrepreneurs Collaborating Across UGA

I entered the MBA program with one goal: start a business while I’m in school.  I was looking
Kari Baker, MBA '15
for a program that would provide the support that I needed as an aspiring entrepreneur. 

Upon entering the program, I became involved with the Entrepreneurship program within the Terry College of Business. With time, myself and other MBA entrepreneurship students started to hear whisperings of other exciting entrepreneurial things happening all over campus.  We began exploring and talking with researchers, professors, and administrators in other colleges.  What we found was a vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystem that was unfortunately siloed within the different colleges on campus. 

We began to dream of what it would look like if entrepreneurial computer science students communicated with business students, or family and consumer science students collaborated with art students, etc.  In talking with entrepreneurial students from different disciplines, we found this theme echoed: Students do not know how to connect with entrepreneurial people outside of their “silos”.  We also found that many students did not know how to take the next step with their business ideas.

This is what inspired us to create the Tree Fort, a business incubator created by students, for students.  The Tree Fort was founded by Daniel McBrayer (MBA), Alex Edelstein (undergraduate MIS major), and myself to provide students with co-working space, interdisciplinary resources, and accountability in taking the next steps with their business ideas. 

The Tree Fort is a place to put into practice the entrepreneurial/innovation skills that we’re learning in our classes.  Though this incubator, we now have physical space to pursue our business ideas, not only with other business students, but along-side some of the brightest students from all over campus.

What I love about the Terry MBA program is the amount of support we receive from faculty and staff.  Not only do they know our names, but they know what we are passionate about and are eager to support us as we pursue these passions.  The Tree Fort would not be where it is if we did not have faculty and administrators like Dr. Sutherland, Chris Hanks, and Don Perry who believe in us and have helped us to find the resources that we needed to pursue this dream.