Friday’s Feast

First-years looking full and happy

Last Friday the Graduate Business Association hosted the school’s first International Potluck Celebration.  Students brought food from their home countries to share with classmates.

I have planned many social and educational programming events in undergrad and now with Kogod.  This event was by far the least expensive and overall, pretty easy to put together.  Although so simple, Friday’s dinner provided insurmountable value to students.  I speak for all of my US classmates when I say that it was a privilege to honor Kogod’s international students.

One of our favorite professors, Ajay Adhikari, with students

The potluck dinner showcased cuisines from China, Thailand, India, Bangladesh, Iran, Iraq, Ecuador, and various regions of the United States (just to name a few).    International students are deserving of everyone’s admiration.  Not only have they moved from opposite ends of the globe to study at Kogod, but they bring valuable knowledge that spans beyond the classroom.  I love learning about their home life, previous work experiences, travel adventures, or even beer recommendations.

The butter chicken from India and lamb chops from Bangladesh placed second to the camaraderie in the room Friday night.  I can’t wait for another International Potluck Celebration next semester!

19th Annual Kogod Case Competition

"What's your Economist time?"- One of the ad campaigns from our presentation!

I’ve always thought of myself as a team player- I get along with most people, but am not afraid to speak my mind. But two weeks ago I embarked on a team challenge like none I had ever been through before: The 2011 Kogod Case Competition. For those of you who might be new to the world of business and are thinking “what the heck is a case competition!?”, don’t worry, up until my first day of MBA orientation, I was right there with you! A case competition is an intense, normally three day, analysis of a business case, basically a business situation or problem that you’re tasked to solved. You and your group of 4 to 5 people act as a consulting group trying to help the business the case focuses on- this year, we focused on The Economist. And while a case competition comes with many perks (great networking, good learning experiences, free food…) it can also be some of the most trying days you’ll experience during your time at Kogod.

Now before my teammates, Andrew, Kevin and Rick read this post and think I’m griping about them, please let the record show that I thought they were one of the best teams I have ever worked with. And it was through my experience as their teammate that I learned more about myself as a group member than ever before. There was a moment, about an hour before our initial presentation,that the boys and I were practicing in a break out room and I immediately felt transported back to my undergraduate days as a music major. My team was more than a team, we were an ensemble. Over three days of spending hours upon hours together we had learned to work as a single unit. We breathed together, we fed off of each other’s energy, and most importantly we learned to rely on one another.Of course there were times when we fought and the boys learned first hand that I’m not such a nice girl after my 11pm bedtime, but all in all, this case competition for me was hands down one of the best Kogod experiences that I have ever had.

Team MARK after our big win!

Teamwork is a big part of life at Kogod and in the real world, and while sometimes teams can provide more frustration than fun, I hope everyone can experience a true ensemble experience as I did two weeks ago. In the end, my team, Team M.A.R.K., took first place in the graduate division! And I’m so proud and happy to say that in that final round my team didn’t just include Kevin, Andrew and Rick, but also all of my amazing first year MBA colleagues in the audience cheering us along. If that’s not teamwork, I don’t know what is.

P.S. If you’d like more information on the Annual Kogod Case competition please visit: http://www.american.edu/kogod/news/20110214_ksb_case_competition.cfm.  Look out for a video on the page too-Team M.A.R.K. was filmed during case competition process!

Tee it up again

FORE.

I remember my eleventh birthday when I got the 5-club set of junior golf clubs from my parents. Apparently Rawlings makes more than just baseballs (who knew?). The clubs looked like they were made from the same metal used in highway guard rails and they came in a sickly looking nylon golf bag. I couldn’t have been happier and I treated those clubs as though they belonged in Tiger’s bag (before all the “ladies” loved him). Going out to play that first round, my dad was constantly telling me to stop getting frustrated. “It’s your first time!” he said. “We’ll go practice and try again.” I like to look at Kogod as my next round.

Actual Size: My first set of clubs. Puh-thetic.

I’ve come to Kogod with a new sense of focus and determination to get more than just  a master’s degree. My experiences throughout school and work have made me want to strive for a better future. I’ve shanked a couple decisions, duffed others, and whiffed on a few. But all those decisions have honed my sights on something bigger for myself. Kogod’s the fairway and while I’m here, I’m going to bomb one right down the middle.

It took me a long time to realize that you don’t really lose in golf, you just don’t always do as well as you wanted to. The point is that you can always come back and give it another go as long as you’re willing to try again. I’ve found Kogod to be a great place to get creative and pull a few trick shots out of my arsenal and I look forward to the improvement it will make on my future and my career.

Nursing Home Orderly: Good news, everybody, we’re extending arts and crafts time by four hours today.
Elderly Woman: My fingers hurt.
Nursing Home Orderly: What’s that?
Elderly Woman: My fingers hurt.
Nursing Home Orderly: Oh, well, now your back’s gonna hurt, ’cause you just pulled landscaping duty. Anybody else’s fingers hurt?… I didn’t think so.”

Happy Gilmore – THE greatest golf movie of all time.

Work of art or labor of love?

Graduate students spend a significant amount of time looking at lecture slides. We stare at slides during class, at home when studying for exams and  maybe even sometimes in the occasional school-focused dream. At this point, I know you’re all thinking,  “Where do lectures slides come from?”

Dedicated professors create PowerPoint presentations as a backdrop to their lectures. The slides, as well as the lectures themselves, instruct their students on the key take-aways.  Often times, a professor’s personality comes right through the projector. At Kogod, we have several examples of  this personification  but the one really rises to the top: Professor H. Kent Baker.

A future value grows more quickly with increased compounding

Baker leaves no stone unturned when developing his course slides. There’s animation, a consistent theme and, above all, straight forward dissemination of knowledge. And just when you think you’re about to fall asleep during a lecture about the time value of money, fanfare begins to play softly in the background and Professor Baker has once again gained waning your attention.

Some attentive students might call his slides a work of art, others a labor of love but the important thing is that there really is something for everyone (that is trying the learn the keys to successful financial management).

So, Professor Baker and fellow slide artists,  rest assured that the first- year MBAs at Kogod appreciate your hard work.  (And of course, class participation points never hurt anyone)

Kogod Women in Business: Red Dress Fundraiser for American Heart Association

The 2010 Board of Kogod Women in Business: Jamie Steinberg, Oge Ezeokoli, Suzie Jang, Meredith Rodgers, Kristen Owen, Amanda Cardinale, Alexis Fabrikant

This month I am turning over my blogging to share the work of my colleagues from Kogod Women in Business. This month on February 4th, KWIB hosted a benefit for the American Heart Association with a Red Dress cocktail party. It was an incredible night, and hugely inspiring.

 

RED DRESS BENEFIT PROVES A GREAT SUCCESS

By: Liuba Sivokhina and Suzie Jang

2/12/2011

The Red Dress Benefit, a charitable event co-organized by the American Heart Association and the Kogod Women in Business (KWIB), drew a large crowd last Friday, February 4th. Attended by Kogod MBA students and friends, Red Dress was by far one of the most successful and well-attended events KWIB hosted in recent months.

It’s not just the good cause – raising funds for women’s heart health – that made Red Dress Benefit special. Red dress attire, light hors d’oeuvres, and soft jazz music playing in the background all created a lively and relaxed atmosphere, making it a perfect DC socialite event.

The Red Dress Benefit took place at the Marriott Courtyard at Dupont Circle. The centrally-located venue was kindly donated by Marc Duber, an AU alumnus and Managing Director of Consortium Capital.

Event Speakers

The event included notable speakers –Patty MacEwan, Vice President of corporate relations for the American Heart Association and China Terrell, 33-year-old corporate attorney and a heart disease survivor.

MacEwan introduced the American Heart Association and stressed the importance of heart disease awareness among young women in her speech. China, a passionate and charismatic speaker, shared a personal story of struggle and then triumph over cardiovascular disease. China’s struggle showed that heart disease can affect anyone regardless of age and gender. She also stressed that cardiovascular disease affects women differently from men and that it’s imperative young women stay informed and get regular medical check-ups to stay “heart healthy”.

Door Prizes

Attendees enjoyed some great door prizes provided by the Washington RedSkins, Mary Kay Cosmetics, Frosting A Cupcakery, and The Tasting Room, Maryland’s premier wine bar and restaurant. One of the special prizes included a cap autographed by DeAngelo Hall, a celebrity cornerback for the Washington RedSkins.

The Event is Likely to Become an Annual Tradition

Given the success of the Red Dress Benefit, KWIB hopes to host more of these events. “We are hoping to make it an annual event”, says Kristen Owen, a first-year MBA student and Vice President of Finance at KWIB in an interview. “Next year we’ll definitely work on scale”, says Owen. “To really make it the size for years to come…” According to Owen, next year KWIB will work with a consortium of universities in Washington DC to make it happen.


A bittersweet delight

10 straight hours in a breakout room dissecting a case for Professor Clark’s Organizational Behaviour class, receiving a 2 day crash course on Mangerial Econ before the final exam, hours long commute on the metro and the ride-on buses, numerous packs of cigarettes, uncountable coffee cups, and sporadic indulgence during Happy Hours….

It must be equally challenging for most of the to-be-business tycoons or entrepreneurs around Kogod to manage a routine like mine where homework takes over life and balance and when  your team mates unknowingly become your second family. Nevertheless, I am constantly impressed and inspired by my fellow Kogod students and how their passion to learn and their vigor to succeed never fade away.  The very reason why I choose aspiration, expectation, hope, and zeal as the 4 words  to describe the ambience I sense at Kogod every single time I enter the building. My first semester here has helped me realize the little steps of my ambitious big dreams. My first semester here has exponentially multiplied my social network giving me access to various resources I could have never imagined otherwise.  My experience as a first year student at Kogod has truly been highly rewarding so far despite the the endless HWs,  not having enough time to party, and missing out on Superbowl, Australian Open finals, and Grammy Awards tonight.  In a nutshell, gradschool experience is a bittersweet delight.

My name is Sudipa, a first year full-time MSA student, originally hailing from Nepal, but coming to Kogod via Singapore, Canada, Tennessee and New York. I am as unconventional as  my travel history and I capitalize on that as a business student :). Learn more about me on my next post. Ciao!

Hands on!

If I had to choose a couple words to define our MBA program, I would definitely go for TEAM-BASED and APPLIED. As opposed to most undergraduate programs where the main focus is to generate a knowledge base through theories and technical concepts, the MBA is purely based on real life projects and cases.

It’s not easy. Reality is complex and requires you to put in your best soft-skills. Time management, prioritization, team coordination, communication, integrative vision, and decision-making in situations where not a whole lot of information is available become key! And this is exactly what the MBA is giving me. You would be surprised to see what a few tests are given compared to hands-on projects. I’m actually glad this is the case because I feel I’ve had enough of theoretical education and was eager to engage into something much more applied. 

Groups of students working on projects

Right now I’m working on four different projects, one for each class I’m taking. For my entrepreneurship course, my group and I are creating a business plan for a new venture that one of my teammates wants to pursue. She has even bought the name and domain for the business already, and expects to open it up soon after the business plan is ready. Pretty cool, eh? It will be exciting to see the business operating and feel I was part of its planning.

For our market research class, we are studying Fast Gourmet, a Uruguayan restaurant that opened up in DC only four months ago and whose owners are eager to get consumers’ insights on what they are doing good/bad, and how they can improve. We are carrying out interviews and focus groups, analyzing secondary data, and will follow-up with surveys. It’s great to feel that your work could help someone’s business; feels like you are somewhat giving back to your community.

For our negotiations course we’re interviewing a very successful lawyer in the DC area to learn from his everyday negotiation strategies and techniques. This is helping us get a better understanding of what tends to work or fail in different situations, as well as allowing us to get insights and advice from a skilled negotiator. Finally, we are studying home furnishings retailer Williams-Sonoma for our global supply chain management, aiming to identify the benefits and limitations that would arouse in its supply chain if it were to expand into Brazil.

So yeah, I feel like a more complete professional now. The MBA has trained me on real life situations experienced by real life companies. I’m ready to perform.

Click here to learn about graduate open house events and information sessions coming up.