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.

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Three Veterans' Perspectives on the Georgia MBA Experience

Below is summary of our three Active Duty Military Officers within the program, each has their own 
(L-R) Brandon A. Shah, Phillip Edmondson,
and Nicholas Cherry,
MBA Class of 2018
motivations for selecting an MBA, specifically at Terry, but cumulatively their choices have been influenced by slightly different motivators than the rest of their cohort. You’ll hear words that resonate with the military, retirement positioning, and family. Albeit other students have just as many special considerations, these members bring a much different perspective to selecting and experiencing Terry.

Brandon A. Shah

I debated incessantly about the right school, the right graduate degree, and right location, both internally and with family. The struggle was more than just finding and being accepted into a competitive school, it was about a strategic reflection on what would benefit my family and I during our remaining years in service and what I might find myself doing in a future civilian career once I arrived at the “golden twenty.”

Stationed in Savannah (Hunter AAF/Fort Stewart), Georgia, I researched what schools in the south provided the best opportunities and culture, while simultaneously planting long term roots in the low country. I listed out a few requirements, 1) I needed a clear professional degree that would help hone my skills as an operational field grade officer, 2) provide the ultimate freedom to explore career paths post military, 3) a recognizable school with a large alumni chapter that could be leveraged post retirement and 4) had to have a strong identity, be in the SEC, and love football. GO DAWGS!

The University of Georgia, the only school whose website clearly reflected its professional culture and veteran friendly attitude, was an apparent choice. Not to mention the less than three-hour drive to/from Savannah.

There is certain level of ascendency attending a Top 40 MBA program, whether you’re a veteran or not. Moreover, there is also a lot of power and assurance in knowing that the UGA is conveniently located in an area that offers easy interface with some of the nation’s top fortune 500 companies in Atlanta.

During my tenure as an MBA, the discussions, open dialogue, and lessons learned from the faculty, guest speakers, and staff have been remarkable. The small class sizes have also eased the culture shock of the nearly 100% “Type-A” coworker environment into a more passive academic setting. The concentrated atmosphere keeps communications with faculty and students personal and is something that I find extremely familiar with military ethos – it helps facilitate teamwork and idea-sharing and even allows some of the few positive leadership attributes I’ve learned over the years to shine. Additionally, the intimate structure lends itself to professors and staff who not only know your name, but assist with mentoring, reach out for additional opportunities for experiential learning, and as a student, value your voice and feedback for change.

If you’re considering an MBA, not quite confident because your background is completely opposite of business, consider the various concentrations, and know that an MBA allows the opportunity to explore and leverage the many experiences the military has afforded you in operations and management. You may even find yourself correlating strategy with that of marketing or finance.

Phillip Edmondson

The journey for the Edmondson family to UGA continues to reward us daily. Fall days at my wife’s alma mater culminate with a call to the Dawgs. Our children ring the Chapel bell after each report card. Mild winters allow for continued play at a time when our goal is to maximize family time. We couldn’t pick a better college or college town to be at.

The decision in favor of Terry was, for us, easy. We spent three years at Fort Lewis, Washington. Two of those years, I was in command of at Troop and a Company. It was the most demanding and rewarding assignment we’ve experienced yet. We decided family time was our main concern and wanted to choose a graduate program that would challenge me mentally, but also provide the time and proximity to family. UGA is my wife’s alma mater, our extended family resides in Dalton, Georgia and the program allowed the time and opportunity to grow our family closer together before our next active military assignment. As such, we decided on Terry and have never looked back.

The academics were exactly what I thought they would be. I’ve stretched myself mentally, mainly focusing on operations and supply chain management. Through study within the program I’ve come to conclusions that I hope to apply in the operational force to improve our organizational management. And we’ve also brought our children to a wonderful elementary school, do homework with them and share in their successes at school and at home. I’ve brought my youngest daughter to class with me. We attended the Dawg Walks during fall. We’ve supported our daughter’s favorite gymnastics team, the Gym Dawgs.

On long weekends we travel to see family, or south to Disney World. During the summer, we hiked the falls of Northeast Georgia and got out and about to enjoy a lazier downtown Athens scene. The program at Terry offered us exactly what we needed to rejuvenate during a different type of assignment and we’ve taken as full advantage of the opportunities as we can.

I would recommend Terry to any active service member with the opportunity for advanced civil schooling. You will find no better faculty, ready and willing to assist in your development as a student. You will also find no better community and college town to provide respite and quality family time to enjoy a fuller growth and development. We love Terry and UGA and would make the decision to come again without hesitation.

Nicholas Cherry

As an Active Duty Officer, I came to the MBA program with a different set of criteria than most of my cohort. Their end goal was to transition their careers to the next phase, in which they become a more valuable commodity to businesses and get that better, higher paying job. Since I had a job for at least the next 8 years, that wasn’t a consideration.

I was doing this more for the academic pursuits and to glean knowledge from my classes that I can apply to my Army Career. As an Acquisition Officer I work with industry on a daily basis to provide supplies and services to the Army. The MBA program has given me a better understanding on the structure, motivations, goals, operations and functionality of businesses, which can be varied across industry, but is also different from how the Army and government operate. I have had outstanding operations and management courses at the UGA MBA program. 

I’ve been able to expand my network outside the Army and defense industry through other MBA students and Alumni.

Another draw to this program is the setting: Athens. I went here as an undergrad, and knew how great this town was. The social scene with food, music, and bars can’t be matched by other college towns. This is also a great town to raise a family. My kids are in a great school with lots of friends.  We live in a fun neighborhood with block parties and other fun events.

Friday, April 20, 2018

Meeting the Oracle of Omaha

Daniel Stykitus, MBA '19

A throwback Friday to the Georgia MBA trip to Omaha to meet Warren Buffett. First-year MBA student Daniel Stykitus recaps the student experience in Omaha, and how Buffett was just as interested in dispensing life advice as he is sharing insight on value investing: "The Q&A session closed with perhaps his two most important pieces of advice. First, be mindful of the company you keep. Warren told the audience to hang out with people who are better than you and marry someone who is better than you. Paraphrasing Winston Churchill, he said 'You shape your houses and they shape you.'

Finally, he told us to never give up on our dreams. 'Work,' he said, 'but don’t settle.' As a boy he found a book on investing on his father’s desk and discovered his passion in life early. Some of us don’t discover our passion in life until we’re in our early twenties. Some of us don’t discover our passion until much later in life. Either way, I left the event richer than before, eager to apply the sage wisdom from the Oracle of Omaha to my own life.

Daniel has a background in software development but joined the MBA program to pivot into finance. Read the full account of the trip on Daniel's blog.