Intersecting Minds: Education, Business and Technology at the North Carolina State Jenkins Graduate School of Management

Internship Search

October 27, 2008
Leave a Comment

As a part of the MBA program, we are “strongly encouraged” to find summer internships. I believe it’s that way at most business school programs around the country. The school wants us to use the summer as an opportunity to build experience as well as our network for pursuing our first job after graduation. Not a bad idea, really.

Our MBA 500 course has made the internship one of the focal points of the class. We are required to attend company informational sessions, put together a job search strategy and plan, and practice our interviewing and networking skills. So far, I’ve attended five company info. sessions: BB&T, IBM, LabCorp, Deloitte and Duke Energy. I’ve also narrowed down the industries and companies I’d be interested in pursuing.

At this point, I’m pretty set on working in the IT, Software or Social Media industries. My top companies are, in no particular order: Facebook, Google, Intel, IBM, Microsoft and Red Hat. Unfortunately, we’re in a down economy and probably will be for some time, which may put a damper on the search and make it more difficult, but it’s something else I’ll be monitoring and posting about over the coming months.


Posted in Internship

The Art of Communication: Listening

October 21, 2008
Leave a Comment

As part of our MBA 500 class (Managerial and Career Effectiveness), we’ve been taking part in a communications seminar designed to improve our speaking and presentation skills. While we’ve picked up many important nuggets of advice in order to improve our skills, one piece in particular stuck out to me.

“Listen with your eyes.”

Think about that for a second.

“Listen with your eyes.” In other words, put your complete, undivided attention on the speaker.

This isn’t just sound advice for business, but for ALL types of communication. During the conversations we have on a daily basis, how often do we take the time to pause, and look directly at the person we’re listening to? How many times do we keep our eyes on whatever was in front of us: the computer screen, the newspaper, the television, when someone tries to get our attention?

As we continue through our program, I’m going to make a conscious effort to continue improving my listening skills because this will ultimately make me a better manager and a better person.

Fun Networking Event Last Night

October 18, 2008
Leave a Comment

Last night, our NAWMBA (National Association of Women’s MBA’s) chapter hosted a charity fundraiser/networking event in downtown Raleigh. About 30 people gathered at the Elinvar House to raise money for Dress for Success, a non-profit that aids low-income women in the job search process. There was a beautiful spread of food and drink, and the guest speaker encouraged those in attendance to get involved in the non-profit community around Raleigh.

Attending an event like this is great for a couple reasons. First, we had an opportunity to meet classmates who are in the part-time program who we might not have had a chance to meet otherwise. Second, we’re contributing to a great cause. These are the opportunities that take place outside of the classroom that add value to the graduate school experience. You never know when you’ll meet someone or a group of people that will end up having an impact on your life. At the same time, you get the chance to feel good about giving back to the community. All in all, a good night.

Posted in Networking

Choosing My Concentration(s)

October 15, 2008
Leave a Comment

In my last post I provided a link to the overview of the different concentrations NCSU’s program offers. Instead of reviewing each of the concentrations, which you can do at the website, I’d rather take the time to offer a rationale for my two choices: Supply Chain Management and Marketing.

I knew from the moment I came into the program that I wanted to double concentrate in order to expose myself to both sides of an organization: production and commercial. Concentrating in SCM and Marketing will give me that experience.

The Supply Chain Management program at NC State is consistently recognized as one of the top SCM/logistics programs in the country. Additionally, managers with Supply Chain experience are in high demand in today’s business environment, particularly in the energy and biopharma sectors. But I also want to overlay knowledge of the production side with knowledge of the commercial side, hence the choice to add the Marketing concentration.

When I graduate, I’d like to begin my career in one of two directions. First, I could see myself in Product Management, which requires direct interaction with supply and commercial departments in an organization. I could also see myself in Corporate Business Development, which requires a fundamental grasp of innovation techniques, production capabilities and market positioning that comprise an organization’s overall strategy.

Back in the Saddle

October 14, 2008
Leave a Comment

Here we are, back in the groove of classwork after a nice, five day Fall Break. I thought I’d provide a quick update on the Management of Technology course I mentioned in my last note. The class will be taught by Steve Markham, a person with deep experience in the field of technology management. Here is the course website.

The bulk of the class will revolve around a deep research dive into the upstream operations of a major oil company (i.e. BP, Exxon, Shell, etc.). Each team will investigate aspects of the upstream supply chain: exploration, reservoir management, deep sea drilling and shipping activities, to name a few. Once we have this knowledge in hand, we’ll put together a strategic recommendation for the company’s investment in and use of technology going forward. The project is designed to give us an idea about the concepts and strategy involved in managing technology with energy serving as an introduction from which we can apply what we learn to other industries.

I’m excited about this class and the project because I have an interest in the energy industry, and I’m also keen on the intersection of technology and strategy. It sounds this class will give us a nice dose of both.

On an unrelated note, we registered for next semester’s classes today. I’ll have more on that in the future, but for now, I’ve decided to do a double concentration in Supply Chain and Marketing. In my next post, I’ll elaborate a bit on the different Concentrations NC State offers. If you’re interested now, clink here to do some research on your own.

New Class Tomorrow

October 13, 2008
Leave a Comment

And with that, our Fall Break is over. Tomorrow we begin a new class, MBA 550 – Management of Technology and Innovation. Unlike our other classes, we’re not entirely sure what to expect from this course. The second year students have been quite nice in telling us first years what to expect from certain Professors and certain classes. But we’ll have a new teacher, Professor Markham, for 550. Couple that with the title of the course (what, exactly, does it mean to manage Technology and Innovation…), and none of us are quite sure what to expect.

Some of you might be thinking, “Why are you starting a new class halfway through the semester?”

In order to fit in all of the required coursework, the University splits two courses into half-semester long sections. So during the fall semester we had MBA 530 – Managing the Global Hi-Tech Workforce over the first 8 weeks, followed by MBA 550 over the final 8 weeks. During the spring semester, we’ll go through the same experience. Needless to say, this keeps us on our toes.

Posted in Classes

A Great Time to be in School

October 10, 2008
Leave a Comment

Apologies for the long delay between posts. The first round of midterms are done, and now I’m enjoying our Fall Break! At NC State we get a 4-day vacation in early October, and after four exams and a major project, it’s nice to get a small breather to recharge the batteries.

Unfortunately, it looks like the world markets won’t get to experience any such break this morning. Experts fear another massive sell-off this morning, and the DOW could drop below 8,000 today for the first time since the beginning of the decade. A lot of people are freaking out right now, and probably rightfully so. We’re headed for a major recession if not an all-out recession.

“It’s a good time to be in school.” I’ve heard that statement from a number of people, family and friends alike. It’s taking my friends longer to find jobs, and everyone is worried about the future. How bad will unemployment get?

Of course it’s a great time to be in school, not only because we’re avoiding a a terrible job market, but also because we’re putting ourselves in a much stronger position to find a job when we graduate. Even during the Great Depression’s peak, 76% of people had jobs. Having that MBA and proving that you add real value to a company will be even more important as the economy turns toward down times.

Posted in General
Tags: ,