Thursday, August 24, 2017

FTMBA Orientation: Week 2

If you haven’t read last week’s blog post by Zack, I highly recommend it. This post is a recap of the second (final) week of MBA Orientation.

Cosentino runs a pretty intense day-long case workshop
Over the summer, our cohort was advised to read the book Case in Point: Complete Case Interview Preparation by Marc Cosentino, CEO of To kick off week two of orientation, Cosentino joined us and introduced the class to case interviews and different strategies used to frame and solve business problems. He provided strategies unique to the following types of cases: Profit and Loss, Entering a New Market, Pricing Strategies, and Growth and Increasing Sales. At the end of the day, we all paired up and tested our skills. Case interviewing is more art than science – the majority of the class agreed that we need to set up teams to continue to practice together throughout the year [Editor’s note: Particularly for those pursuing consulting roles, Cosentino himself recommends practicing at least 30 live cases before entering an actual case interview scenario].

Tuesday was a nice break in the week. The graduate assistants in the class had TA/GA orientation at the Center for Teaching and Learning and we had our first opportunity for professional photographs for our student directory. Everyone had time to settle into our new lives in Athens and get their outfits ready for the “Atlanta day” on Wednesday.

Alumni panelists share a little inside baseball
Wednesday morning, we all arrived at Correll Hall extremely early for transportation to the Terry Executive Education Center in Buckhead (Terry’s Atlanta campus). The bus ride was rainy and we got bogged in morning traffic, but it was a good opportunity for building relationships and a decent recap of the Bachelorette finale. When we made it to Buckhead, we spent the morning with panels of recruiters and recent alumni who shared their experiences and valuable information on the MBA recruiting process. I felt fortunate to hear first-hand accounts so early in my MBA journey and we heard from representatives from the following Atlanta companies: Coca-Cola, Delta, Fiserv, The Home Depot, AT&T, and Duff & Phelps.

We spent Thursday in a Math Bootcamp with Dr. Ryan Fox. Dr. Fox came from Belmont University in Nashville and kept us entertained the whole day. He did a good job refreshing us on math skills that the majority of us hadn’t used in years. The highlight of the day was learning about his experience winning Jeopardy!, and the entire Georgia MBA Class of 2019 is now prepared to skillfully wager in Final Jeopardy should any of us happen to make an appearance on the show.

The week concluded with an introduction to more university-wide resources, a panel with the first-year MBA core professors, and an afternoon Excel Bootcamp with a recent alumnus. It was very helpful to have Sheila Devaney from University Libraries come introduce the library’s vast resources available to MBA students to help us prep for interviews and for academic research.

Since the majority of the class has been out of school a few years, the honor code discussion with Phillip Griffeth, Director of Student Academic Honesty, was a good reminder. The class met our professors in the morning panel and got a glimpse of what MBA life is going to be like. To conclude orientation, Blake Edwards (Georgia MBA ’17), who currently works at Fiserv, presented some tips and tricks about using Excel as efficiently and effectively as possible. He went through the Breaking into Wall Street curriculum and gave some tips of his own. As a recent alumnus in our shoes just two years prior, Blake was very approachable and the class gained some final advice before beginning the program.

Our students' first trip to the Terry Atlanta campus
Overall, the two-week orientation was very helpful and the entire MBA Admissions team, the Career Management Center, and Terry faculty did a wonderful job presenting, bringing in guest lecturers, and organizing the entire week to get us ready for the program. I think I can speak for the class when I say we feel more than prepared for classes and we look forward to the two years ahead.

By Emily Valz, Georgia MBA Candidate Class of 2019

Friday, August 18, 2017

From the Director: Why I Love My Job

Today is the end of the first week of classes, so the hallways have been bustling and the Career
Management Center is busy meeting with first and second year students. Today is also our Day in the Life of an MBA Intern event. Our second year students facilitate panel discussions about their internship experiences for our first year students. Some of those internship stories have been posted on this blog and there are more coming! What's exciting for me, even though I am focused on admissions and not participating, is that this is the time of the year when we hear the success stories.  Stories of exciting and interesting internships. Stories of job offers made and accepted. There is also the nervousness in our students about What's Next for their core courses (first years) and their futures (second years). But it is, most of all, a season about success. And this year, staff and students are reaping the benefits from Carmen Sullivan's internship at Hershey: we get candy and chocolate! That's not the only reason I love my job, but Hershey's candy on a Friday is a nice treat to finish the week. I'm sure that someone will post about Day in the Life soon, so look for that post.  In the meantime, I'm going to snack on Twizzlers and start preparing for our first Campus Visit Day in September.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Director's Post: First Day of Classes!

View of Foley Courtyard from Correll Hall
The ebb and flow of students and the sports calendar mark the seasons at the university, but for the MBA program, today is an important day.
Correll Hall and the MBA Program offices are humming today as classes gets underway. I am excited to have everyone back after a busy, but quiet summer. We have coffee and snacks set out for all students (and staff, too).  It’s great to see the second years again and hear how they are doing after their summer internships. The last two weeks of Orientation for the first year students were a great success (whew!) and they are excited to dig into their core classes. Tonight, we conclude Orientation with a social event at the Southern Brewing Company that brings both classes together for the first time.

For Admissions, the recruiting season for the Class of 2020 has begun! Recruiting events and started in July, the 2018 application is available, and our first Campus Visit Day is coming up on September 18. I’m excited to meet new people and talk about what the coming year will bring for the program. We have the energy of new students, new ideas, and new initiatives to fuel our efforts. There is SO much happening in the program, for the College, at the university, and in Athens that it’s hard to keep abreast of it all! I’ll be posting about admissions-specific topics throughout the year, and though these are drier topics, I know it’s important to explain the admissions process for prospective students. So stay tuned and good luck with your school visits and research.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

FTMBA Orientation: Week 1

The transition from employee to full-time MBA student can be daunting. If you’re like me and have been working for several years before heading back to school, you may be intimidated by the thought of late-night study groups, midterms, and pop quizzes. Fortunately, the Georgia MBA program does an excellent job of preparing incoming students for their next two years through a comprehensive two-week Orientation program. 

Week 1 of Orientation for the class of 2019 was long and jam-packed, but well worth the time. The MBA program keeps class sizes relatively small; the class of 2019 has 56 students. The focus on quality over quantity was apparent on Day 1, when I was able to connect with all of my classmates and feel an instantaneous bond with everyone. It really feels like you’re joining a large family committed to your academic and career success.

Student Success

On Monday, we held an extensive session with Santanu Chatterjee, Director of the Full-Time MBA Program. The conversation focused on the needs and expectations of the students, the Georgia MBA Program, and the University of Georgia as a whole. Together, we recognized that most of the questions and concerns raised by students were addressed by the ample resources available in the program. In other words, we have everything we need to be successful as students, job seekers, and members of the Athens community.

After a warm welcome and lunch with Dean Benjamin Ayers and Associate Dean Marisa Pagnattaro¸ the class spent the afternoon with Jake Mosley, head of Full-Time MBA Student Services. Jake talked about the myriad resources available to incoming students and highlighted ways to get involved in clubs like Net Impact and Toastmasters. Jake and the rest of the MBA staff are also incredibly receptive to new ideas. It’s great to be in a program that helps students push themselves to grow and create new leadership opportunities!

The author, Zack, participates in Dr. Rodell's session
Wednesday consisted of fantastic workshops focused on team building, diversity, and inclusion. Dr. Jessica Rodell, an associate professor of management, led an interactive and highly entertaining session focused on demonstrating personality types found within the class of 2019. Fortunately, our class has a great distribution of personalities; each of us has a unique perspective and way of thinking that enhances the group. Working with Dr. Rodell, we formed teams of 4 to 5 members; these teams will work with each other over the course of the year. I think these team exercises are great hands-on experiences that prepare you for a career working with diverse teams.

Career Success

Thursday and Friday were dedicated to career preparation. Patti Zettek and Paul Allaire from the MBA Career Management Center (CMC) led multiple sessions focused on interviewing skills, networking, and crafting your elevator pitch (just to name a few). We had guest speakers who dove even further into these key aspects, and we had a few opportunities to practice in teams and with partners. Overall, these crash courses lay the foundation to prepare us for a very busy fall semester.

The CMC's Paul Allaire introduces himself
The key message that I got from the career prep panels was this: the point of the MBA is to find your next job and provide the groundwork to accelerate your career, and it's important to balance the extracurricular/career activities with academics. Balancing it all will be a struggle, but much more important than the final letter grade is answering the question, "did you learn something that you will carry with you?" If the answer is yes, then that class helped provide another tool to make you more appealing to potential employers. 

The Georgia MBA program starts earlier than many schools in other regions of the US. However, since major career fairs such as NBMBAA occur beginning in September, the early start and focus on career success give us a leg up on the competition.


All of this hard work during Orientation didn’t come without its rewards. Most evenings, the MBA candidates hung out at a few of the local Athens bars and restaurants, heard local bands on the Georgia Theatre rooftop, and played trivia together (2nd place — not bad for our first time!). Then, on Saturday, we had an incredible time working together on UGA’s Challenge Course.
The ropes courses have long been fixtures of the Georgia MBA orientation
The low rope and high rope courses were designed to push us out of our comfort zones and help us face our fears. More importantly, these activities taught us the value of teamwork and demonstrated how our various personalities can come together to be successful. Overall, these courses helped bring the MBA candidates even closer together and helped us all feel like we’re in this journey together. I love being part of a group that focuses on building each other up rather than competing to succeed.

Overall, the first week of Orientation was incredibly informative, engaging, and helpful. I feel like I’m being provided the tools to be successful, not just this fall, but throughout the next two years and beyond. I know Week 2 of Orientation will be just as great!

By Zack Godfrey, Georgia MBA Candidate Class of 2019

Internship Snapshots: Justin Nachsin at Colgate-Palmolive

I decided pretty early on that I not only wanted to work in brand management but since I was a career switcher, I’d might as well switch everything up and find a company that would put me in the heart of Manhattan. After several trips and interviews, The Colgate-Palmolive Company made me an offer. I moved into an apartment in Hell’s Kitchen, immediately began to resent tourists, and got one of the purest brand management experiences I could have hoped for.

Got to wear many hats this summer
I’ve spent the summer on the Cleaners business, helping manage and grow Fabuloso and Murphy Oil Soap. Many (I’d even say most) brand management interns would spend their summers mining Nielsen data to produce a slideshow on a topic, present the topic, then have a very different life as an Associate or Assistant Brand Manager (ABM); instead, I’ve had multiple projects all summer that truly supported the brand. 

I’ve managed the development of a new webpage for a product launch, the design of new product labeling, organized a "claimstorming" session where folks from across the functions  brainstorm potential new product claims, built informational material for our Consumer Development Organization, and put out a lot of fires. My day-to-day mirrored the ABM on my teams much more than many of my fellow interns inside and outside the company.

Results of a "claimstorming" session, with a nice city backdrop
I've received the experience I'd hoped for - an opportunity to manage a business - and my summer could not have been designed any better. The bill of goods I was promised as a brand manager was exactly what I got, and I couldn’t be happier.

Solid internship and host city
What about the lifestyle? Well, it is marketing, so for most events there is a two drink minimum and summer hours mean we get off at 1pm on Fridays (if your work is all done). The company did a fantastic job getting us connected to each other through events and programming—we visited the Widow Jane distillery in Brooklyn, had a happy hour every week, engaged in team building events, and watched a movie at the Newscorp HQ. They also did a great job exposing us to all aspects of the company (from Pet Food to Global Supply Chain) as well as senior leadership (lunches with everyone in the chain of command from my boss to the CEO, Ian Cook). And, of course, I’ve been exploring New York, making new friends, and trying to figure out where all my money goes! New York comes with its challenges and an acclimation period, but it is an exciting and fulfilling place.

My summer wraps up on Friday, and it is back to Athens with football, my classmates, Cali N Tito’s, and all the things I love about my adopted home. I’m grateful I was able to spend the summer learning the ropes of brand management at a 211-year-old company in the heart of NYC—this is an experience that will stick with me forever. 

PS, Buy Fabuloso!  

By Justin Nachsin, Georgia MBA Candidate Class of 2018 and Intern at The Colgate-Palmolive Company