Networking: The Four letter word

By: Dominik Altheimer

My first reaction to everyone telling me how important networking is, was getting upset. I saw this as unfair and as a symptom of the inefficiency of the job-market. I thought the best person for the job should actually also get the job. Over the course of the following weeks however, I gained three important insights into networking:

1. Reaching out to people you have not met before is an essential business skill. This is especially true for the American business culture. By building and maintaining relationships with professionals, you prove that you have this skill. This is just the first hurdle you have to take to make it into a management position. You can also see it as the first step of your application for an internship or a job.

2. You think you are the best fit for the position? Think twice. Your own evaluation of your fit for the job might be biased and reliant on limited information. Most likely you don’t know how it is exactly working for this company or being on this particular position you just applied for. Reach out to people and talk to them. Be prepared, show interest and learn more about this particular industry or position. Start getting smart.

3. Hiring people is expensive and associated with risk. Managers reduce this risk significantly when they get to know you before hiring. Think about the time HR and the manager spend on the process. Think about the time you need to learn your ropes when you are new on the job. Think also about the bonuses and salaries new hires get. By talking to you, managers add one more step to the hiring process and get to know you better. This way they are more likely to pick the right person for the job.

Personally, I met a guy who works for my dream employer at a charity event organized by UC Davis’ Graduate School of Management. I showed him how excited I was about this company. We talked about my background and finally exchanged our contact information. Two months later, he reached out to me and asked whether I was still interested in an internship for this company. I was, so he referred me to the HR department. This is how it started and how I eventually got my internship with Tesla.

Finally, it is up to you. Do you want to be one resume out of 200 others piled up on one huge stack of paper? Or do you want to be the guy who got referred and whose resume gets far more attention from the important people? The only thing you have to do is to get out of your comfort zone and start networking. You should start now!


Orientation… kind of

Greenspan, Robin 913544828

By: Robin Greenspan

Orientation. The word evokes many images. A couple of tours. A free hat or bag. A couple pamphlets. Those ‘hi, my names is…’ stickers that never stay on your shirt. Maybe even a cup of coffee or two.  Get those images out of your head.  They are based upon assumptions. And, as future MBA’ers, you will be doing plenty of assuming. Just not now.

Perhaps it’s the terminology that’s confusing.  Orientation isn’t quite the right word.  Perhaps a different word would better paint the picture. Some terms suggested by my classmates were boot camp, indoctrination, and immersion training.  Don’t be scared, just don’t assume you know what’s coming. Except for the coffee, that will be there. And name tags (nice ones too). Regardless of what you want to call it, this is going to be a unique opportunity for you and your classmates to get a first rate education.  Not an education on statistics, marketing, or finance (there will be time for that later) but in the so called soft skills.  If you haven’t heard this term, google it. Many of these soft skills, communication, networking, interviewing, will help you get a job.  Some of them, grit, team building, feedback skills, will make you better at the job you get.  But know this, they are all valuable skills.

Some of you may already have extensive experience at using these soft skills. And you may think that three weeks on these skills may be excessive.  If this is the case, I ask you to consider a couple things.  It can never hurt to improve these skills. Practicing them at this level, with a group of your peers, all whom have significant skills and motivation of their own, can only make you better. Second; the most valuable part of business school is the network, the students. And, helping your classmates get better helps strengthen that network. Thus making your education more valuable.  It’s also a great opportunity for you to bond with your cohort.

You will also have the opportunity to meet, and present in front of, several multinational companies right away.  Which is all but unheard of. So come ready to work.

Thus endeth the orientation sermon.

I hope this will help you have the the proper mind set coming in to orientation.  Oh, and if you can help it, don’t make the mistake I did of agreeing to work at your old job during orientation.  Don’t assume the workload during orientation is lighter than it is when classes start. than when you start classes.  It isn’t.  Just different.

Karen Mesrobian: an informational interview

1)  Why are you getting an MBA?  Did you know which area you wanted to pursue prior to entering the program?

I spent 2 years after undergrad working for my family’s agricultural company launching a new product line. I basically worked as a one person startup company establishing the legal entity, the marketing and branding (naming the product, creating the graphic design of the label, etc), and doing sales. I realized that my liberal arts background wasn’t sufficient for the hard skills I needed to be in business beyond my ‘guess and check’ method of trying things to see what worked, and abandoning those that didn’t.
I knew I wanted to be in a higher management level position, and I wanted corporate experience that provided more structure to learning the ropes then working for myself. I wasn’t sure exactly how that would manifest though…I didn’t have a specific industry or even a role/function in mind. I called it ‘marketing’ but really was looking at more brand/product management. And I had an interest in tech but its such a broad industry, especially if your background isn’t in it, I wasn’t sure if making that switch was feasible (spoiler alert: it ended up working out for me).
2)  Did you specialize in Marketing, and if so, what feedback do you have about that particular focus at UC Davis?
The GSM doesn’t require you to declare a concentration or area of focus. We have mandatory core courses that everyone must take as a foundation, and the rest of your units are elective courses that you choose. I’ve taken several elective courses in marketing, but I’ve diversified my classes to take some harder skills (data mining, and SQL), strategy classes, entrepreneurship classes, cost management classes etc.
My advice is to get a rage of skills beyond one function. Marketing is heavily dependent on pricing (econ), placement (strategy), analytics (statistics/forecasting) etc. Taking a range of classes outside of strictly marketing emphasis is a good way to diversify your skill sets for roles you may take on later down the road.
3)  Why did you choose UC Davis?
I wanted to stay in CA and the strong agriculture focus of the broader UC Davis campus was a big draw for me. I prefer smaller programs with tight-knit classes where you actually know your professors. You trade off a more well established name recognition for the program, and maybe a broader alumni network to leverage post graduation, but the program itself is more customized to my individual goals and I have a better and more personal support group in my classmates and career development to help me.
4)  In your opinion, what is the strongest part of the program?
Highly individualized program/course offerings, diverse cohort (especially in career backgrounds/experiences), personalized attention from career development, tight-knit community, close lifelong friends in my classmates, not locked in to a standard career path…
5)  The weakest?
As a smaller program we don’t have the name power that a larger b-school would hold (i.e. we’re not a Marshall or Haas), but we are a much more unique group of people that is admitted and don’t necessarily want/need the well laid out path that established programs lock you in to.
6)  If you were applying now, would you still choose UC Davis?  Why or why not?
The GSM helped me reach every goal I wanted to get out of an MBA program- I switched not only industry but function as well, neither of which I had any prior experience in. They helped me connect with Microsoft to get my internship which led to a full time offer before I even started my 2nd year (and I increased my pay grade significantly which doesn’t hurt either haha). It’s possible that other programs may have been better fits for one area or another of my overall b-school experience, but I can’t really evaluate and compare schools without having gone through the program. Every school will have its thorns, it’s just a matter of finding the best “fit” for the school culture/vibe that you work best with.
7)  Do you live in Davis, and if so, what are your impressions of the area?
I moved to Davis and live in an apartment complex on the edge of campus. The downtown area is really nice and has a very “college town” type feel. Lots of coffee shops, restaurants, greenbelts (I run so I look for nice paths/scenery). The most Davis-y thing is the number of bikes/biker riders in town…we’re kind of famous for it. The town itself is small though and slightly isolated (very close to Sacramento and a really reasonable drive to SF). I like smaller town living so it’s a good match for me.
8)  Anything else I should know but haven’t thought to ask?
Internships play a HUGE role in every MBA program, at any school. My main advice to any prospective student is to do your research on the career development team/program resources for any school you’re looking at.

Board Fellowship Program


By Ana Carolina Pinaya

In the last few months I have been amazed by how Business School is so much more than taking business-related classes.

Of course the classes are a cornerstone, discussions can be very insightful, solid technical skills are a requirement for any job and faculty is inspiring. But I found that being an MBA student is much more than attending and participating in classes. It is about networking and meeting new people and participating in events. It is about exploring the different opportunities to collaborate with both your school and the community.

One of the most exciting opportunities the GSM has provided me is the Board Fellowship Program. The objective of the program is to offer board-readiness training to participating MBA students (Fellows) and placement on the Board of Directors of partner non-profit organizations as non-voting (or adjunct) members.

As part of the program, I participated in a full-day professional training on the necessary skills one should possess or develop as a board member, and I had the privilege to be placed in the Board of Directors of Watermark. Watermark’s mission is to increase the representation of women in leadership positions by empowering its members to make their mark in their companies, careers and communities. It is a non-profit organization focused on giving women opportunities to network and develop skills to grow their careers through a series of events, workshops and webinars.

As a professional woman, and somebody that had been involved in internally promoting diversity in the companies I worked with, Watermark’s mission and work is very close to my heart. Since the beginning of the program, I had the opportunity to participate on the yearly Board Retreat, which gave me insight on how a strategy is developed in a NGO. It was also a very interesting experience to observe the dynamics of a 100% female board meeting and to interact with some of the most successful women in Silicon Valley. For the rest of the program, my commitment is to help Watermark executing their strategies for growth.

Experiences like these are the most valuable assets somebody can get out of business school, and I am grateful I am having the opportunity to be a part of the program and make a positive impact in the community.

My internship at State Street Global

Nice summer weather, a panoramic view of the bay through the big office windows, guiltiful ice cream time in the afternoon at Embarcadero, coffee run and morning walk with my colleagues, happy hours with GSM alumni who work in the city… My three-month internship at State Street Global Advisors in San Francisco leaves no regret to me in this summer.

Three months go quickly. Now I am in the second last week of my internship. Afterwards, I am going back to Davis and continue my second year of my MBA education. It is hard to say goodbye to my friends here, to the delicious food, to the nice weather, to the decent pay, to the view of the bay bridge and the ferry building. However, I have so many takeaways, and those takeaways, I am sure, are going to boost my second transformation at GSM.

State Street Global Advisors (SSGA) is the second largest asset management firm in the world. I work with its global marketing team, and directly report to the head of Global Channel Marketing, a marketing team responsible for segmentation. My boss is a successful marketer. She holds an MBA degree from GSM, and graduated several years ago. At SSGA, I have received tremendous help from my coworkers and my bosses. Unlike some other internship experiences I had before, at SSGA I feel that they invest their time and energy in my future career growth instead of milking my intelligence for a short term.

My internship opened my eyes to a new industry, financial services. Every day, I work in the same office with portfolio managers, financial product researchers, and economists. I listen to investment discussions between people from Boston, London and Hong Kong. I participate in meetings of product innovation with insurance companies. Interestingly enough, it is not a peaceful summer for this industry. Greece, China, all you can recall… For me, this summer has taught me to better understand the global economy.

To fulfill my responsibility as an intern, I interact with marketers with different expertise: branding, segmentation, direct marketing, web marketing, marketing technology, and advertising & creative. I have interviewed more than 30 colleagues to understand their roles, responsibilities and challenges. My interviewees include my peers, heads of marketing, vendors, and financial experts the marketing team supports, such as sales, Chief Investment Officer, and traders. Now, I have a much better grasp of how to work cross-functionally and with different marketing teams in a global organization.

An absolute high of my internship is the trip to SSGA’s global headquarters in Boston. I was amazed by the SSGA-owned skyscraper in downtown Boston; I was excited by the open communication between different floors in this building. I visited a trading floor, which has more than 1000 trading terminals working at the same time. I met senior people from the investment team. I sat next to product strategists. Additionally, lobster rolls and cocktails used to be on my every day dinner menu. I enjoyed the walk with my boss along the Charles River, where the MIT campus and Harvard campus locate.

And of course, I also work hard at my internship. I came in office at 7:00 AM to attend global video conference calls. I woke up at 4:30 AM to dial in an investment discussion. Once, I stayed late in the office in a Friday evening to finish a project report, rewarded by the view of the beautiful lights on the bay bridge. Finally, I want to show SSGA that as a GSMer, I can deliver the best quality of work.

My value has been recognized by the team. Multiple times, I was invited to give presentations to the team, to share my findings and recommendations. A lot more times, at one-on-one meetings, the other part appreciated what I brought to the table, my insights, my creative ideas, my empathy and enthusiasm. Through those conversations and feedback, I am much more mature and confident in a professional setting.

As a result, a manager who worked with me is making an effort to keep me as a contractor after my internship. Some other coworkers told me that “Please let me know if you are back to SSGA. I would like to work with you.” The result of my 360 assessment wasn’t surprising either. But they all sound less exciting than the compliment I received from a senior industrial leader who left SSGA during my internship. She said: “Please let me know if you need any help in the future. I would like to work for you.”

I thought an internship was only the opportunity to hone the business skills you learned from GSM. Now, I have realized, an internship is also an opportunity to visualize how GSM can prepare you to be a global leader.

If you are interested in hearing more stories about my internship, feel free to reach out to me at I will be happy to share my stories and cheer you up for your next mile stones.

Blogpost by Elizabeth Liu – Class of 2016

What A Year of Business School Can Do for You

One year down and one to go. With a year left, you would think that there is still an outrageous amount of material to learn before becoming a full-fledged MBA. You’d be right to think that, but here’s the kicker. If you also thought yourself a proficient student of business with vast potential and the ability to succeed in any industry of your choosing, you would be right again.

A year ago today, I was making a living making drugs. Don’t worry, they were FDA approved. I have a degree in biomedical engineering and all of my experience revolved around the sciences. I could purify one of the most expensive medicines in the world, but I had no idea how to assess a market, understand a financial statement, or even write an effective executive-level progress report. So what did I do? I went to business school and started exercising my new business skills right out of the gate.

My first exposure to the world of business was my part-time internship at Mytrus Inc. I had the opportunity to work with the Director, the CEO, and external partners involved in promoting new business opportunities. I had only just started business school, and I was already applying a great deal of what I was learning to real world business problems. As my first year drew to an end, I began searching for my next challenge. Mytrus operated in the clinical trials marketplace which is right up my biotech ally, but the real question was: “knowing what I know now, can I be just as successful in an unfamiliar industry?” The answer is yes!

This summer, I put my business abilities to the test when I joined the Keysight Technologies marketing team. It was Day 1 and I hit the ground running. I was able to learn an entirely new industry, size up our competitors, assess large amounts of data to help inform marketing strategy decisions, and so much more. The Keysight culture was one of the most welcoming cultures I’ve ever encountered, and that made networking within the company a great experience. All I had to do was introduce myself and ask for some one-on-one time. That was all it took for me to pick the brains high level decision makers, including the head of internal audit, R&D portfolio manager, and a plethora of other managers and VPs.

There is no denying that I still have a lot to learn, but a year of business school was all it took to transform me from an engineer into an exceptional business development and marketing intern. I hope this gives you a glimpse into what one year in business school can do for you. Imagine the doors that will open after the full two years.

Blogpost by Jose Macedo – Class of 2016

My experience at UC Davis Graduate School of Management

I was recently asked this question by a prospective student “how has your experience been so far at UC Davis Graduate School of Management (GSM)?”

As a student Ambassador for UC Davis, I have been asked this question many times. So I thought of writing about it. Well, one of the things that you need to remember about a quarter system is that time just flies. I was warned about it when I enrolled into the program but only just realized its pace when I am in the middle of the third quarter. My experience so far has been absolutely remarkable and some of the things that have contributed to this are:

My fellow GSM students: Even before I applied to the MBA program, I had the opportunity to interact with students and alumni from UC Davis GSM. It was through these interactions that I learnt about the sense of community and the collaborative culture that exists at GSM. However, experiencing it was something else…it is like being a part of the family where everyone is keen to help you succeed in your goals. Peers at the GSM have been generous with their time and support. I have been on late night Skype calls trying to understand difficult topics before an exam, practicing for interviews over lunch breaks as well as spent countless hours in discussion about the question on every MBAs mind … what’s next? It has been a privilege to be able to both accept and offer support within such a close community.

 World-class faculty:  The Graduate School of Management’s faculty quality is ranked No. 15 globally as per The Economist, 2014 ranking of Full-time MBAs. The professors are not only experts in their field but they are also committed to helping us excel in our career paths. They are always available to provide extra help with understanding difficult topics and encourage in-class interactions to make it a great learning experience for all of us.   My experience of interacting with them and learning from them has been amazing.

 Clubs and activities: The campus is always abuzz with activities, events and workshops. There are student club led activities such as monthly barbeques, peer workshops and celebrations as well as networking mixers, career fairs, speaker series and other professional workshops. There are numerous opportunities available to the students at GSM for personal and professional development.

 Career Development team: The career development team at GSM is committed to helping the students land their dream jobs and internships. Chris Ditto and Elizabeth Moon are always there to encourage students, offer advice and address any issues that we may have regarding our career paths. They helped us prepare and rehearse our elevator pitches, write resume and cover letters, tackle case interviews and build and improve our LinkedIn profiles. And all these things happened even before we started school…yes you heard it right… before school started! The career management team also held workshops for international students on communication and networking in the United States.  Being an international student, these were particularly helpful to me.

At GSM, a small class size implies that everyone knows everyone, and every single person at the school is there to help us become all that we can be.  Because that is what business school is, an opportunity to find and develop the best version of you. I feel privileged to be a part of this culture at the UC Davis Graduate School of Management.

Blogpost by Ruchi Bali – Class of 2016

Statistics for Life

One of the most common questions I get about the GSM from prospective students is ‘What are the Professors like?’ My first response is that I don’t have a clue since I don’t go to class. (Just kidding guys, Stay In School Kids!) The real answer I actually give to those unable to escape my very long tirade, including those of you reading here, involve a certain Math Professor here at the GSM. Meet Professor Chih-Ling Tsai.

Prof Tsai

Professor Tsai teaches the much esteemed Statistics 203B, or Stats 2/Stats Too!/Stats Dos for short. This is an elective available to students during the winter quarter and is a continuation of building skills learned on statistical modelling. Professor Tsai himself is a very energetic old gentleman who emphasizes that he is not here to teach statistics and is instead here to teach you about life. If you think that that makes absolutely no sense, you are most certainly in the same boat as I was in the beginning of the quarter. But that’s before I got to know the guy. Professor Tsai enjoys practicing Tai Chi in the mornings and will often teach his students when they are stressed out. He’s always happy to meet with students in his office and to lend out his vast library of books across all sorts of intellectual genres. And during class times, there is always a story to be shared about how statistics can relate to life whether personally or professionally.

My own experience was an interesting one. First of all, I was out of the country over break and missed the first class. I also showed up to class 5 minutes late for the second one. Dr. Tsai did not approve. He enthusiastically explained that my slacking ways would not pay off in life and that I must put effort into every aspect of school and work. Fast forward to the first group homework and below is an actual picture of me:


Needless to say, I started off on the wrong foot. However, by going to class (on time) and seeing the Professor’s enthusiasm, I decided to put the effort in for the course. I went to office hours almost every week and rallied my teammates to collaborate on the homework assignments. I was able to manage my time and put my best foot forward. I ended up with an A- in the class which I had never thought I would achieve considering how awful I am at math. This just goes to show that passionate teachers inspire students to be passionate about the subject.

Blogpost by Li Meng (Class of 2016)



My Experience at GSM – International Study Trip

During spring break, I went to Switzerland as part of my International Study Trip class. In a size of 35 people, this group started from Zurich, Basel, crossed the country’s capital city Bern, and then ended up at the International organizational hub, Geneva.

During the five-day week, we visited companies and organizations like Novartis, International Red Cross, CERN, the United Nations, Zurich University, etc. At Swiss Re, an insurance company, we understood Switzerland’s competency as a financial center. At Novartis, a Fortune 500 public company, we saw how much effort they had made to attract and retain talents. At MudiPharma, a private pharmaceutical company, this group was inspired by the Greek CEO and his leadership philosophy. On non-profitable side, we gained a deeper understanding on humanity at International Red Cross. We learned the cutting-edge particle research at CERN. From the political perspective, diplomats at US Embassy provided their view of this world, and the mayor of Nyon, a small local city, shared their social service practice.

Switzerland has been a window through which I see the difference between the Europe and the US. Accordingly, business marketing practices in Europe should be different from in the US. As a memo for my international marketing practice in CPG (Consumer Package Goods) industry, below is my summary of my observations on the European market.

1) Customer profile

Language is the first element that contribute to the diversity on this continent. Namely, German, French, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish, and many more. In Switzerland alone, four official languages are mixed with many different regional dialects.

Psychographically, consumers in Europe are highly educated. They work hard but also value family life. People in regions like Switzerland, Germany, Northern Italy and UK work like an engine, leading the prosperity of the European economy. These individuals are independent and confident. They form their opinions and make choices through their own study and research. People in the US and China are more likely to be influenced by words-of-mouth and pop culture. This assumption in difference may lead to a quantitative study on the effectiveness of social media marketing campaign in the Europe. Presumably, the fabulous ROI (Return-On-Investment) of a social media campaign in the US is hard to be duplicated in the Europe.

Europe is not an integrated market, even though the formation of EU (European Union) creates congruencies. It is just as diverse as the US if not more. European countries’ histories are intertwined all together. This has developed the similarity of the customers’ profiles of different countries. However, representing different parties in those historical events, different European countries are also dissimilar to each other. For example, Italian consumers are more likely to be price sensitive than Swiss. French consumers are more likely to be attracted to a prestige brand and style whereas German consumers are probably more interested in accuracy and functionality. The dissimilarity challenges the effectiveness of a uniformed marketing communication package on this continent.

2) Positioning

Each customer segment in Europe is not extraordinarily large in size. This makes it hard for companies in Europe to have a cost benefit through commercialization. However, individual customers there are valuable because their LTV (Life Time Value) is high. The high-level income determines their consumption. Their relatively high brand loyalty is the other contributor. Fewer bounces between different brands allows companies to reduce the advertising expenditure while maintaining a stable customer base and top-line sales.

Given the customer’s characteristics in the European market, differentiation becomes the key to serve each niche segment. While companies in the US and emerging markets can be a cost leader by leveraging the economy of scale, a business in Europe should strategize to serve a well-defined customer cluster with a highly differentiated product. The target customers’ profile and their needs should be clear. The product should solve the specific problem and be superior to other substitutes.

In marketing practice, branding is a subject worth focusing on. Themes such as quality, legacy, prestige, fashion, luxury, should be the messages to the target customers to create value that resonates with them.

A potential challenge for branding is localization. Countries like Switzerland do not have many resources. Their commercial goods mainly depend on import. On the other hand, the small population makes Switzerland a small market in which a cost-leadership company can hardly survive. Swiss residents know how difficult to run a local business, so they strongly support local businesses. As a result, this put an international company in Switzerland at risk if the company simply attempt the same strategy with the global market without a localized image. A brand actively interacting with the local community is likely to be more reputable than those burning money on advertising.

3) External Environment

Besides the customers, the regulatory and political situation also have shaped the landscape of this market. The EU plays a significant role in terms of integrating the market. However, it is a controversial organization. Many countries are still not participating and do not even plan to participate in the future, especially, Switzerland. Additionally, many questions remain. How will the EU system work in the future, how much impact will it have and to what extent will it pull Europe together are questionable?

Let’s put the EU aside. As independent political entities, European countries are not equally attractive to investors.

Among the best investment destinations, Switzerland stands out. Its low corporate tax rate makes it an optimal location for business headquarters. The easy access to its reputed banking industry is another appeal. In addition, its neutrality and independency create the stability to allow businesses to operate in peace. While CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) has become a hot topic, Switzerland promotes the opportunities better than any other areas in the world for businesses to go beyond the scope of profitability. NGOs (Non-Government Organizations) in Switzerland create an atmosphere for businesses or even individuals to think big and perform well while doing good.

To a great extent, all these elements help to offset the disadvantage of the high labor cost in this county.

To summarize, Europe is an attractive and unique market. Marketing in Europe is a complex business practice. As a marketer, you may want to ponder: How strong the brand image is locally? Who are your collaborators? Will they help you to better understand the local market? To what extent can you be adaptive to integrate into the local community? All this must be done before you make a move into this market.

Blogpost by Elizabeth Liu – Class of 2016


So You’ve Been Accepted…Now What?:

First and foremost, congratulations are in order. You’ve been granted the opportunity to earn a degree only 2% of the population holds. Perhaps more interesting is the fact that many of you will also be getting your first summer vacation in years.

Taking time off between working and starting business school is a great way to reintegrate yourself to the student mindset. The prospect of having 4 classes with one lecture a week may make b-school seem like an extended vacation. While the daily grind of a 9-5 or an insane 80-hour work week may be on hold for the next two years, don’t let your new schedule fool you. While deceptively bare on the calendar, your days WILL fill up fast. Group meetings for assignments, the internship hunt, networking events, involvement in clubs, and general life will take over. Soon you’ll be wondering where all that free time you thought you would have went. So before you get bogged down in the nitty-gritty of school life, take some time to get a jump-start (or refresher if it’s been awhile) over the summer.

I know I said summer was for that vacation you’ve been putting off for years, and it is. Take trips, catch up with old friends, spend time with your family, and refresh yourself from being burned out by work. These are the most important things you can do to get your mind fresh for the next chapter. However, there are a few side tasks that are easier to get under your belt before you start school. Below is some advice I wish I had before coming back as student2.0.

  1. Get acquainted with excel! Being comfortable working with hundreds of rows of data will save you hours down the road. This includes everything from the basic shortcuts (like highlighting up to the last cell of data without the entire column), to slightly more advanced equation rules (like when to use ($) in formulas).
  2. Get your LinkedIn page up to speed. Before you get to school update your profile to include your candidacy. This will help you find alumni connections, set up informational interviews, and start the internship hunt. Getting your internship locked in as soon as possible will save you untold amounts of stress. Do not wait to start reaching out and creating those relationships.
  3. Refresh your statistics acumen. You don’t need to take a whole summer course, but do make a conscious effort to re-learn what a p-value is from your freshman year of college (or maybe high school for some of you). The basics of statistics will pop up in a variety of classes, from marketing to operations, and you won’t want to spend hours on Google trying to re-learn it just to finish your homework.
  4. Devote time just for thinking. You already wrote your application essay that most likely asked your future goals. And you most likely danced around and threw in a bunch of jargon-of-the-day verbiage to sound like you had it figured out. We all know you don’t. And that’s ok; the good news is you’re in! Now you have some time to actually sit down and figure out what that roadmap is to your dream job. Don’t just identify what company you want to work for and go back to sitting by the pool. Really figure out what types of tasks motivate you, what roles you enjoy being in, what skills you have that cover multiple positions and across industries. This may sound like fluff, but the basis of these conversations with yourself will come up in the job search, networking, and, most importantly, interviews. So sit down and come up with some actual answers…and the great news is you can do this at the pool.

Blog by Karen Mesrobian – Class of 2016