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

The Home Stretch: Oodles of Work

April 8, 2010
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We have three weeks of classes left.

Wow. It’s kind of hard to believe those words, but there they are all the same. Here’s a brief look at the projects I have to complete before school is out:

– New Firm Finance, Stonewall Case presentation: This project is the capstone for the class (along with an in-class final exam). In the case, Stonewall Kitchen is an up-and-coming specialty food provider who wants to expand its retail operations. Our job is to determine an overall growth strategy and an accompanying financing strategy that makes sense for the organization.

– Planning and Control Systems: There’s a lot left to take care of for this class. I’ve bulleted a few of the items below –

  • Midterm #2: Coming up on Tuesday, April 13th
  • ITEC: A manufacturing simulation that integrates operations strategy, master production scheduling, materials requirements planning and capacity requirements planning in one go
  • Take-Home Final

– Investments: We have two more assignments left and a take-home final that no one is looking forward to. The midterm in this class was amongst the hardest I’ve taken at NC State. Since the midterm we’ve covered options (Black-Scholes, hedging and valuation) and will turn to hybrid securities next (convertible/callable bonds).

– Practicum: Last but definitely not least, our Practicum group has to put together our final presentation and recommendations as well as writing our research paper and our executive summary of the project. The SCRC presentation will happen on April 29th.

In the meantime, I’ve also picked up some consulting work that will take up about 15-20 hours/week on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Indeed, it seems like the end of the semester is near, but when I peruse my to-do list, the light at the end of the tunnel seems even further away.

But this is what we signed up for when we decided to come to business school, and if we didn’t enjoy it, we wouldn’t be here. It’s precisely this amount and type of work that is meant to prepare us for management in a corporate environment, and that’s exactly what we’re getting.


The Economic Situation

January 8, 2009
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Welcome back. After a 3-week break, we have returned to the classroom to being our Spring Semester. I’ll have many different topics to write about, but for now, all anyone can talk about is the economy coming into 2009. The outgoing class faces perhaps the most difficult job market we’ve faced in half a century.

While I was home, I sat down with a friend’s father who has been the CEO of two major companies. He told me: “Ryan, I’ve never seen a situation like this, where companies are just completely hunkering down, freezing benefits, freezing raises, not hiring, and just not making decisions. Everyone is simply trying to weather the storm.”

That pretty much sums up the situation we’re left in. Just this week, we received an announcement from our Career Resources office that the annual joint job fair between NCSU, UNC, Duke and Wake Forest had been cancelled due to a lack of companies registering for the fair. Obviously, this isn’t the kind of news MBA students who are seeking jobs and internships want to hear.

In addition to the rough news faced by current students, prospective students are also facing a tough environment. Almost every major business school in America and abroad has seen a spike in applications. People are wanting to seek refuge from the horrific job market by returning to graduate school, and they’re coming back in droves.

Needless to say, this will be a topic I’ll be following closely this year.

Choosing My Concentration(s)

October 15, 2008
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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.