September 13, 2014
I’ve officially started the job hunt and it’s kind of surreal. On the one hand, it’s super exciting to see what is on the horizon come (hopefully) January after graduation in December. What job will I get? Where will I work? Where will I live? It’s exciting to be turning a page on life.
On the other hand, it’s bittersweet. I’m going to miss all my classmates and all the professors and members of the MBA administration. I’m even going to miss all the undergrads and the way they walk around like sedated chickens with their heads cut off.
Grad school, even with its stress, is still way easier than the real world. So I’m trying to take every moment and not wish away the rest of my time here.
I went to a National Society of Hispanic MBAs leadership conference in Dallas last Friday and it went really well. There were several sessions on all sorts of leadership development. Sponsors of the event sent recruiters, so it was a mini-job fair and it went really well. I also had a resume critique, which gave me some really good pointers on specific details in my resume.
Since Friday I’ve been revising my resume and hitting job boards to see what’s out there. It’s like taking another one credit class, I’m guessing, but it’s important to make the time to search and apply for jobs. I definitely learned my lesson with the late start to my internship search last Spring and would love to have a job nailed down by graduation. Wish me luck!
September 10, 2014
As I see my time in Waco coming to a close at a not-so-far-off date, I’ve decided to create a list of things I’ll miss. So without further ado, here is the first installment:
Traffic is awesome: You don’t have to schedule more than 15 minutes to get anywhere, even if it’s across town, because traffic is never too bad. (Not counting during and after football games.)
Cameron Park: I don’t go there nearly enough, but Cameron Park is a pretty cool place. I always forget I’m in Waco when I’m walking along the Brazos.
Proximity to Dallas and Austin: It’s nice only being an hour and a half away from Dallas to the north or Austin to the south. It makes traveling to either of those places super convenient since all my friends are in Austin and I have family in Dallas.
Baylor Football: The new stadium is awesome and the games are super exciting… even if you tend to leave a bunch of them by halftime since the score is already 73-0 and you’ve got a heckload of Econ homework to do for Monday. I’m really going to miss being in the student section for football games.
September 2, 2014
I’ve driven by McLane Stadium on I-35 a gazillion times. I could see it from a distance looking out the window of the BRIC, where I interned this summer. So I was surprised it had the effect it did when I was walking north from University Parks Drive yesterday, the Law School on my left and the pedestrian bridge leading to the stadium ahead of me. I looked up from furiously texting anyone and everyone I know for tailgate locations when I saw the stadium looming.
I don’t know if it’s because of the design or because of the placement of the stadium in relation to the path I was walking, but it looked like a docked space ship. It reminded me of the scene in the first of the two recent Star Trek movies when you first see the Starship Enterprise. You’ve seen it before, but suddenly it’s really way more impressive than what you are expecting.
And it got more and more impressive as I walked up and over the pedestrian bridge. I mean, it looked freaking cool. When I got inside and took up my spot on the student berm behind the south end zone, I was even more impressed. And I was pleasantly surprised to discover that although the berm was by no means empty, it wasn’t super ridiculously crowded. So the location was a really nice way to experience the game and take in the rest of the stadium.
The coolest view was looking back from the pedestrian bridge when leaving the stadium at night. (Disclaimer: I had to leave early in order to upload an economics assignment by the due date and time of last night at midnight. Let’s just say I didn’t manage my time well this weekend. I didn’t feel that guilty leaving, since the score was 31-0 and I had school work to do.)
So well done, Baylor University, RGIII, and Art Briles. The house you’ve built is most impressive.
August 15, 2014
During his Willow Creek Global Leadership Summit presentation Friday morning, author and business strategy expert Joseph Grenny outlined one of the most important myths most people believe when it comes to their friendships: ”You have to chose between telling the truth and keeping friends.”
Most people believe if they have those important conversations with others, hurt feelings will lead to estrangement. Just like in business circumstances, this myth creates tensions in relationships that ultimately lead to their deterioration. He identifies what he calls “moments of disproportionate influence” where the opportunity to have the crucial conversations that can resolve conflict arise.
Grenny’s talk was just one of several I was able to watch at Baylor’s Waco Hall this past Thursday and Friday through my internship at the LAUNCH Innovative Business Accelerator. The building served as one of hundreds of host sites that presented a live video feed of the Global Leadership Summit, which took place at Willow Creek in Chicago.
Avoiding these crucial conversations in order to avoid conflict, Grenny said, “is at the heart of most of our dysfunction and barriers to achieving our potential.” He went on to describe an effective leader as someone who identifies the two or three crucial conversations that most affect his or her team or organization.
In the first session of the summit, Willow Creek’ pastor, Bill Hybels, also touched on the importance of these conversations. I’m paraphrasing here, because I wasn’t able to write fast enough to get it word-for-word, but it went a little something like this: “Conflict should be seen as an opportunity to strengthen a relationship and establish deeper levels of trust after you have resolved the issue.”
Grenny described a situation he encountered while working with an authoritarian CEO at a client company. The CEO wanted to dismiss certain parts of the plan that he and Grenny had worked on and Grenny had to decide whether to voice his objections or not. His advice for approaching these situations is to 1. Help them know you care about their problem in an effort to create “mutual purpose” and get them to relax in order to make them more likely to listen to what you have to say; and 2. Create mutual respect so they know you care about them and respect them.
August 2, 2014
This is the first of a two-part series where I check in with classmates to see how they are doing. In this first installment, I spoke with some healthcare MBA friends who are at the beginning of their administrative residencies, which is just a glorified name for an extended internship. I spoke with Hannah Reigel, who is in Oklahoma City, Stephen Chandler, in Detroit, and Michael Faulkenberry, who is in Dallas. All three will return to Baylor for their final semester in the Spring of 2015 before graduating next May.
Stephen has really enjoyed the breadth of information he has to tackle on a daily basis. “I get a combination of strategy, marketing, finance, and operations at the same time with some of the projects I’m working on,” he said. “I work on hospital-level projects as well as system-level stuff, too. So it’s been great…For me, [the residency] has been exactly what I wanted it to be.”
Hannah picked her residency because of all the access she was promised. It has not disappointed. “I can for the most part walk into any department or meeting and I am welcome,” she said. “I’ve been the most impressed by the fact that they know that I am there short-term as I have to return to Baylor, but I still have been involved in top-secret meetings.”
Michael has enjoyed being a part of getting to plan the opening of a new trauma tower of the hospital where he is based. “There was a tremendous amount of attention paid to the slightest of details, from design and equipment to accounting practices involved,” he said. “So far, I have been exposed to a myriad of issues facing the health care industry, and I have seen just how complex it truly is. I have been challenged by leaders who want my input on issues, and that has kept me focused and proactive each day.”
All three said their coworkers look just like this…
August 1, 2014
Accounting is one of those subjects I have a love/hate relationship with. On the one hand, I really enjoy reading about the basic concepts of accounting, since it’s so important and it is the language of business, as they say. On the other hand, I’d rather shoot myself in the thigh than have to deal with the nitty gritty of debits and credits for every stupid little transaction there is in the world.
That being said, I want to make sure that when I graduate with an MBA this December I at least have the basics of all the subjects we take down cold. In our accounting core classes we take every semester, for example, we tend to move on to the bigger stuff and it’s just assumed you have all the basics down.
But it can be hard to remember all fine details of the accounting equation if you’re not practicing frequently. So I’ve been working through The Accounting Game: Basic Accounting Fresh from the Lemonade Stand for the last couple of weeks just to freshen up a bit. (I have to thank my friend, John Sabala, who recommended the book and recently finished his e-MBA at a certain school down I-35) I wish to God I had had this book in the time leading up to IMS last year when I was trying to get a little bit of a head start before the accounting class we took then. It is heads and shoulders above Accounting for Dummies.
The book teaches you accounting step by step, using a little kid’s lemonade stand and how it develops as a business as an example. The way the book is written and the way the information is presented, it actually makes accounting fun. I really enjoy learning about financial statements and stuff with that basic example. It doesn’t dumb things down, it just really breaks everything into small steps, which makes it easy to understand. I’m taking detailed notes in a Word document so in the future I can just refer to that instead of having to go through the whole book again.
I totally recommend this for someone who is interested in accounting, someone who might be having a little trouble in an accounting course he or she is taking, or if you’d just like to dust off some of the rust.
July 21, 2014
I spent the weekend in Austin and it was nice to get away from Waco for a little bit. I got to see a lot of friends and eat a lot of good food, so it was a lot of fun. It has gotten me really thinking about how to focus my job search geographically, since graduation in December is just 5 months away.
I’ve pretty much decided that I’m going to go where ever the best job I can find is. The kicker is, I’m realizing how important family is to me and I don’t want to be far away from them. It’s bad enough I’m away from a lot of my relatives, most of whom live in the Northeast. If I get a job outside of Texas, say in California or the Pacific Northwest, I’ll be far away from everybody. My parents are in the middle of trying to sell my childhood home in upstate New York so they can settle full time in their house in McDade, just 30 miles east of Austin.
Meanwhile, over the last seven years I’ve grown super close to my cousin and his family, who live in Southlake, which is in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.
So unless the coolest job in the coolest city presents itself somewhere else, I’m aiming to settle down in DFW or Austin. I’ve ruled out anything that’s not in a warm weather state, since I’ve spent a good chunk of my life shoveling snow, thank you very much.
I feel like I’m a senior in college all over again, feeling a little overwhelmed by all the possibilities that are just around the corner at graduation.
July 15, 2014
One of the tasks the other interns and I have had to work on over the past two weeks was to develop a scorecard to be used to evaluate the businesses we’ve been working with this summer. Part of the purpose of the scorecard is to be able to assess which of the current clients would be appropriate for continuing on into the incubator LAUNCH is looking to begin this fall.
One of the criteria we established for measurement is “Business model is scaled to opportunity.” So this is a measure of how the business plan has been structured to either take advantage of the full market available to the company and it’s product or service, or whether it’s structured to just be grown slowly over time to allow for the business owner to conveniently grow it while maintaining his or her other responsibilities in life. So if you’re making a new kind of widget, are you setting yourself up to be able to sell to all the companies that could benefit from your widget? Or are you structuring the plan so you can make enough widgets in your spare time, after work and on weekends, and gradually, over time, maybe, move up and service the whole market?
Our discussion of this criteria has really opened my eyes. Part of what an accelerator like LAUNCH is there to do is to help entrepreneurs and inventors see the big picture and to lay out the opportunities for growth. One of the questions we asked one of our current clients was: “What would it take to address the scale of the need, not just the scale of the need of the business to survive as a company?”
So in that particular case, the answer was to possibly hire a salesperson or two, and possibly seek outside investment. The difference, in terms of potential customers, was between a few hundred versus 7,000. The particular product in question would benefit pediatric, neuromuscular, and geriatric physical therapy patients. A large motivation for the inventor is to be able to help as many people as he can with his device. With that in mind, scaling the business model to its greatest potential is aimed more at actual patient benefits rather than an explicit profit motive.
July 7, 2014
When I first heard about Kodak filing for bankruptcy, I skimmed over the headline without clicking the link to read the full story. I just assumed the company had missed out on the digital photography opportunity, and that was the end of the story.
But I found out the other day that the company actually invented digital photography, but management ordered the projects scrapped in order to continue the focus on film.
“This tells you, it’s all about management,” Casey Leaman, one of the LAUNCH accelerator coaches told us interns.
I’ve since done some digging and found out the following, which is pretty darned interesting:
Kodak invented the first digital camera in 1975 and patented numerous digital technologies. Afraid that digital would cannibalize their film photography business, they never pushed those products after bringing their first digital camera to market in 1995. Those patents are estimated to be worth $2 billion today.
In 2005, Kodak created the first WiFi camera that allowed you to share photos without having to first connect to a computer. Unfortunately, people weren’t ready for that technology, yet, and the camera didn’t sell. Kodak killed the line.
As anyone who has read Theodore Levitt’s “Marketing Myopia” will tell you, Kodak failed to realize that it wasn’t in the film photography business, it was in the photography business. It didn’t adapt to the changing innovation in its industry, which it had actually invented.
July 2, 2014
So I’ve got six months to get a job. This realization hit me a couple of weeks ago, and was quickly repressed. But that time will fly by and if the internship search taught me anything, it’s that waiting until the last minute to begin a serious search is not the way to do it. I need to start hitting up my network like now.
In the spring career and professional development class, we read a book called “The Power of WHO,” by Bob Beaudine. The gist of the book is that you already know everyone you need to know to progress with your career. The biggest challenge is the “what” of the equation. Your friends and family are there to help you, just like you are there to help them. Asking for help is not insincere. That single bit of knowledge was a major world view shift for me, since I always shied away from asking for help because I felt like I would be using people by doing so.
I learned how awesome my network is as the people in my life are doing some pretty awesome things and have some pretty awesome connections, not to mention great advice. And I also learned people you care about will bend over backwards to help you. It sounds simple, but that lesson will probably be one of the greatest things I’ll take away from my time at Baylor.
That being said, I need to start bothering my friends, because I’ve got a busy Fall semester ahead of me and need to start setting the job search ground work early.
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