Monday, April 6, 2015

RBS Visits Russia - Spring Break 2015

During our Spring Break this past March, a group of Rutgers MBA students visited Russia as part of their Doing Business in Russia course. William Pollak, Full-time Class of 2015, is here to share his experience...

Students in front of Saint Basil's Cathedral in Red Square in Moscow, Russia

27 Rutgers MBA students answered the call of Doing Business in Russia, an elective class that includes academic study of the Russian socioeconomic climate, as well as a 10-day trip to Moscow and St. Petersburg.  I was one of the 5 full-time RBS students who attended, along with 22 flex students and 3 faculty members.   Professors Jeff Robinson and Alex Settles, who teach Entrepreneurship, Corporate Social Responsibility, and International Business at Rutgers, designed the trip’s itinerary, which included city tours, cultural attractions, and visits to businesses and startup incubators in Russia’s two most prominent cities.  We flew in to Moscow on March 12th, and returned from St. Petersburg on March 22nd, 2015. 

We spent our first days becoming acquainted with the historical and cultural sights in Moscow.  We toured the Kremlin, Red Square, St. Basil’s Cathedral and other landmarks, ate in restaurants suitable for royalty such as Turandot and CafĂ© Pushkin, and saw a ballet at the Bolshoi Theatre.  Moscow is a magnificent city that also has a night life to rival or surpass that of any major city in the world.  A night with more than 3 hours sleep was a rare occurrence on this trip.

Of immediate note was the importance of reading and speaking Russian.  English is not widely spoken in this city, and nearly all of the signs are written in Cyrillic.  Basic commerce is possible through hand gestures and a smile, though Muscovite retailers are less motivated than their American counterparts to engage with customers, particularly foreigners. 

After a few days of sightseeing, we visited the Higher School of Economics and listened to speakers from the Russian business world articulate their experiences doing business in Russia.  We also toured Startup October, an incubator connecting financiers with startup entrepreneurs, and learned about Moscow’s growing entrepreneurial culture.   Finally, we visited an industrial park which housed Oriflame, a Swedish cosmetics firm, as well as other tenants.  The industrial park generated its own power as opposed to connecting to the local power grid, which can be a prohibitively difficult task in Russia.  I was sad that Oriflame did not offer Swedish meatballs in their cafeteria.

An overnight train brought us to St. Petersburg on the 19th.  St. Petersburg is the same latitude as Alaska, and has few sunny days throughout the year, though we were lucky enough to enjoy unseasonably warm weather.    We heard from consulate and state department officials who provided insider knowledge into how to protect our data and identity, as well as the secret, non-touristy spots to visit in St.  Petersburg.  We also spoke at length with business leaders such as the CEO of Subway in Russia, and a software developer for Oracle.  At night, we saw the Jenufa opera at the fabulous Mariinsky theatre.  I’m glad I packed my tuxedo.

Our last day in Russia did not disappoint.  We took a tour of the Hermitage, a palace converted into one of the largest museums of art in the world.  We saw original artwork by all of the masters, and took hundreds of pictures of paintings and sculptures.  No amount of time seems sufficient to soak in all of the art at the Hermitage.  For lunch, we followed the state department employee’s advice and found a secret Indian restaurant in the heart of St. Petersburg modeled after a prohibition-era speakeasy.  The entrance was located behind a secret passage in a bookstore, and inside they served cocktails made up of their own special blends of alcohol.  This was the best meal I ate in Russia, even though Beef Stroganoff was not involved. 

It is truly hard to capture in words how rewarding this trip was.  We explored two of the greatest cities in one of the largest and most misunderstood nations in the world.   We also experienced Russian academic and business culture, and learned about the similarities and differences which make Russia an intriguing but challenging place to do business.  I hope to go back again soon.

Visiting the Oriflame Distribution Center in Moscow

Enjoying the sights in St. Petersburg

Attending the Hamlet Ballet at the Bolshoi Theater in Moscow

William at the World War II Museum in Moscow

William Pollak is finishing up his 2nd year in the full-time RBS MBA program. He is a fellow of the Rutgers Center for Supply Chain Management and former treasurer of the Student Government Association. After graduation, he will begin his career in Inventory Control Strategy with Dell in Austin, Texas. 

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

New U.S. News & World Report Ranking

We are very excited to announce that the Rutgers Business School Full-Time MBA Program broke into the Top 50 Best Business Schools in America! U.S. News & World Report released their rankings today and Rutgers moved from #60 to #48. In addition, the Flex (Part-Time) Program also ranked #48 and the Supply Chain Management Program ranked #11. Learn more about the ranking methodology here.  Go RBS!

Saturday, March 7, 2015

2nd Annual RBS Night Out with the NJ Devils

The Prudential Center, where the New Jersey Devils play, is just a 15 minute walk or 5 minute light rail ride from 1 Washington Park. Last night, the MBA Student Government Association (SGA) secured tickets to see the NJ Devils play against the Columbus Blue Jackets. Over 30 Rutgers MBA students took over Section 1 of the arena. Despite allowing two relatively early goals, the Devils played a strong last period and came close to tying the game. The game finished in a 2 – 3 loss, but everyone still enjoyed the night. Thank you Riley Miller for organizing such a fun event!

Monday, March 2, 2015

Rutgers Business School Welcomes The Management Consulting Club

Executive Board Members of the Management Consulting Club

This semester two students from the Class of 2016 formed a new club at Rutgers Business School: The Management Consulting Club. The founding Co-Presidents, Rupa Banerjee and Pam Soffer, recently took the time to answer some questions about the new club.

What is the vision behind the Management Consulting Club? 
The Vision of MCC is to enhance the MBA experience of students by helping them understand, appreciate and solve real business problems. The MCC will bring several avenues to expose students to the world of consulting, thereby giving an opportunity to evaluate consulting against their sense of fit.

What motivated you guys to start the club? 
Firms all around the world are looking for problem solvers. We wanted to help students become better problem solvers by bringing to them several avenues to work on time bound business situations that have strong financial implications.  This would prepare students for case interviews and case competitions and would give them significant competitive advantage over other graduate students.

How has the process been starting a new club at Rutgers Business School? 
The process of starting MCC has been great. We've had a lot of support from faculty and are excited about upcoming events. 

What kind of events do you have planned for the semester? 
In February we held a Kickoff Meeting where we shared our ideas about the club with students and faculty. We also got feedback from many students and club members about what they want to get from MCC. On March 25th we are holding a joint event with the Pharmaceutical Management Club on case preparation. Gartner Consulting will visit RBS on April 9th to speak about consulting sectors and popular language. Finally, the Rutgers Deloitte Recruiter, Joe Slota, will hold a session on the “Dos and Don’ts of Case Interviews” sometime this spring.
We hope you all will be able to join us for the events this semester!

Rupa Banerjee has 6+ years of experience in business process outsourcing and capital market consulting. She was a tech recommended, campus recruit at Wipro technologies. She started her career as an IT consultant and made her way to business consulting working for two of the world’s largest securities banks, Bank Of New York Mellon and State Street Corporation, helping them create/re-orient business process models to structure problem solving for faster delivery.

Pam Soffer has 8+ years in project management, and most recently worked with two companies as an internal consultant to spearhead their PMOs to align projects with business goals, develop competitive price structures and create strategic with market needs and company resources. She currently is a consultant with the Project Management Institute to assist schools with offering PMP courses. 

Friday, November 14, 2014

Internship Experience with a Non-Profit Organization

When I was given a chance to compose my own words about my internship experience, the first thought which came across my mind is how I can add value to future Rutgers MBA graduates via this write-up. I was sure that writing about my experience with a non-profit association would really make them to take notice. This summer, I was lucky enough to work with American Academy of Physician Assistants (AAPA) headquarters located in the Washington D.C metro area. This internship was the most satisfying experience I have had thus far. I got my internship through the Simplicity OCM and I am still continuing as a co-op with AAPA.

The Set-up 
The disadvantage of most non-profit associations is that they don’t have enough funds to hire all the employees they need; resulting in heavy workload for the small number of available employees. This is where eager and intelligent interns come in play. I want to also point it out there that most non-profit are willing to pay a decent amount for their interns; because they recognize the talent we bring in. Moreover, when we are given a chance to make a positive contribution to the society by working for a non-profit entity, the amount of gratification which we get when we succeed will be enormous.
Roles and Responsibilities
There are not many people who work on strengthening supply chain and business processes in non-profit organizations. This allows for more hands-on opportunities for interns. I started my role by interviewing staff about business processes, reviewing contracts and also assessing on going procurements. I had the opportunity to attend FDA hearings on Capitol Hill, present to members in board meetings, organize and present to whole staff, speak with corporate donors and collaborate on numerous vendor projects.
Relevance and Social Connections
Non-profits usually have a team of board members who are involved in everyday activities. Hence, they have better relations with the staff. I was invited to a three day long board meeting which proved to be a great way for me to expand my network and make important connections. I also got the opportunity to learn how whole year of work is put in to have a successful annual conference.
The vital characteristic of interning with a non-profit healthcare association is the rewarding feeling of truly making a difference. This helped me to contribute and experience the magic that motivates the staff.  I had the opportunity to help coordinate smooth transition of ERP and I learnt the processes of logistics arrangements which are done behind the scenes. Also, I had the chance to work directly with CEO and especially felt honored when I was asked to be a part of her meetings with outside consultants. In short, AAPA gave me my first break in healthcare industry, non-profit world and supply chain management.
The Way Forward for Freshers
Many freshers are not aware of the benefits of interning with a nonprofit association and how much they appreciate your work for them. In return, you can also expand your skill set and develop critical relations with other professionals. So if you looking for a fast learning environment during your internship, consider any one of big non-profit organizations to gain valuable experience in learning how to survive among vagueness and how to add value to the society via your work. I hope I was able to clear some of the doubts through this small write-up.
Wish you all the best!


Monday, October 20, 2014

How to Make the Most of Your Summer Internship
By: Chris Lettini
Home Depot’s new slogan “Let’s Do This” is how you should approach your summer internship.  I came into my summer internship within global procurement at Pfizer with a positive, can-do, roll-up-my sleeves attitude.  This attitude went a long way in completing my projects on time, but most importantly, fitting in with those around me.  Most of your summer internship opportunities are meant to see if you’re a fit for the company and that the company is a fit for you.  You can best figure this out by immersing yourself completely in the company culture.  Pfizer did a great job of making sure we were completely immersed by having team-building activities, an MBA case competition, a volunteer day, as well as MBA networking events and brown bag sessions.  However, if your company does not offer formal events, you should make sure to learn the culture to the best of your ability. 


I’m not going to tell you to work hard on your projects and show a strong work ethic, that should be a given for any MBA’er.  What I want to impart on you are the “other skills” that will help you get recognized during your summer.  You need to separate yourself from other colleagues as your internship is really a three month job interview.   There are many ways to do so and Dean Vera gave some great advice prior to my summer.  Listening to his advice was a great way to not only make sure I enjoyed my summer experience but also received a full-time job offer upon internship completion.

Connect with those both in your business unit and outside.  The best way to learn about the company and different roles is through informational interviews with colleagues.  I put this very high on my internship responsibilities list, alongside my projects, and spent about 20% of my summer internship speaking with colleagues and learning the company culture and strategy.  I found that not only did they enjoy the discussions, but it enabled connections that helped me complete my summer assignments.  If you mention what you are working on, oftentimes colleagues will connect you to someone who has either completed a similar project or can lead you in the right direction.  Plus, if you come across as smart and driven, recommendations will spread through word of mouth should your name come up for an opportunity.  Plus, when it comes time for your end of summer presentation, you don’t want those in the audience to be meeting you for the first time and say “Who is this person?  I’ve never met them.  They never took the time to get to know me.”  You want them to be your allies and the only way they can possibly be is if you have taken time to get to know them. 
I cannot emphasize enough how much connecting with other colleagues will benefit your summer.  Also, be sure to write friendly follow-up emails after your conversation thanking your colleague for their time.  Your colleagues are very busy and go out of their way to sit down with you, don’t abuse this privilege.  If you think the conversation went well, it also wouldn’t hurt to connect with them on Linkedin.  This helps your colleague put a face with a name and they can also view what you’ve accomplished throughout your career. 
You should also make sure to connect with RBS alums within your company for the same reasons stated above.  They can be great allies and help both on questions regarding your project and facilitating connections within the company.   Remember, they’ve been there and also had help along the way and you’ll be surprised how much they want to help.    
Connecting with people and being a friendly colleague goes a long way.  You must genuinely want to meet people and learn about their career and the company.  If you are not genuine, it will show, and perhaps that company or industry isn’t the right fit for you.  Your connections must also be a two way street.  If there is something that interests you and you think it could help your colleague, share it with them.  Making your colleagues life easier goes a long way toward making a meaningful connection.  
The next piece of advice I’d like to give regarding immersing yourself in the culture is to volunteer or organize events, join a sports team or intercompany clubs.  Get out and meet people.  Most companies offer many extra-curricular activities.  Meeting colleagues of all levels and connecting outside of work is another good way to see if there is a fit, plus potentially help you connect with colleagues who may have similar interests.  I volunteered for everything during my internship.  I had previously worked on a recreation committee at my past company.  When it came time to plan a summer picnic for my group at Pfizer, I jumped at the chance.  Not only do I like event planning, but it made me visible to people throughout the company who I may not have otherwise connected with.  Being visible and taking a leadership role is important during your brief internship.  These are qualities that many companies desire.  
You won’t be given direction through every step of your summer projects since your managers are very busy, so you must make the most of your time with them.  Do your due diligence if you have a question for them.  Research thoroughly and ask questions of others at your level, before you go back and ask for help.  Take initiative and lead your project from start to finish with minimal handholding.   This will go a long way to show that you are a self-starter.  No one wants to hold your hand throughout your internship.  Take ownership.  This is a very important trait within the Pfizer culture and part of what led me to work there. 
One of the best pieces of career advice I was given this past summer was from a VP in Procurement.  He said throughout my career to be “positive, polite, persistent, and productive.”  Doing so will result in a fulfilling, successful career.  I agree with this attitude wholeheartedly.  You cannot just have one or two of these characteristics, you must seek all four.  Being positive and polite will only go so far and you need to remember that this is an extensive job interview and you need to produce.   Be persistent without being annoying and you will be productive.    
My final piece of advice is to pay it forward.  I was given so much great advice from the RBS Class of 2014 during my internship search and I sincerely appreciate it.  I wanted to write this blog to begin paying it forward and help members of the Class of 2016 secure your dream job.  If I can be of any additional help along the way, please contact me.    
Good luck and make sure to listen to the Office of Career Management, they know what they’re doing! 


Monday, October 6, 2014

Manasa Parakala - Novartis Summer Internship

“Good things come to those who wait but better things come to those who are patient”.
When I chose Supply Chain Management as my primary specialization, I had to decide on my career path for the next 2 years, 5 years and 10 years. This goal needed to be very clear in my mind, my elevator speech and during my interviews. A good amalgam of improving skill set, perseverance to fare better each time, and passion for science and technology, brought me an offer from a Biopharmaceutical company.
In one word, Novartis found me. I received an offer within 24 hours of solving a case and after surviving an earnest scrutiny by a panel of three interviewers. The role was to be an integral and active part of the Brand Team. It was immensely excited to work for the General Medicines unit of Novartis on a product named TOBI Podhaler. Even more gratifying was the role that gave me opportunities to contribute in a small but significant way to the betterment of lives affected by Cystic Fibrosis. Soon I began learning more about Marketing as well, to gain the best out of my three month summer internship.

The Brand Director, Michael and Associate Director, Katherine trusted me with a lot of responsibility. During my time, I directly worked on five different projects and with 12 different agency partners. My background in science and technology and experience in research helped me identify the scientific and technical nuances vital to improve internal processes. I supported the Brand Team by framing strategies to increase ROI through spend and budget analysis and inventory management, managing and reducing risk by working with Legal, Regulatory and Compliance on crucial projects, and achieving consistency in Brand promotion by designing and promoting educational materials for physicians and patient use. The Team wanted “new eyes” to obtain a fresh perspective on the ongoing work and were glad to have recruited me.

So, what worked? Inherent curiosity to learn more, critical thinking abilities, achieving goals within specified deadlines and posing structured questions at the right time . This is the positive feedback that I received at the end of my final presentation at the cross-functional team meeting. I opine that these qualities also helped me to easily build my network with various teams, units and agency partners working for Novartis.
Amidst all the work, I did find time to enjoy Lunch & Learns organized by the company for all the summer interns. It was vital for each one of us to learn about drug development, drug product naming and also network well with senior professionals. The visit to Novartis’ Manufacturing site was educative too. We interacted with scientific, technical and management functions at the site. I have had the pleasure of knowing some talented individuals from different universities at these events. Together we enjoyed on and off campus meals, coffees, and short walks on the green vast Novartis space.
Overall, my Summer Internship at Novartis has been an enriching experience. Without an iota of doubt, I can say that this experience will help in the furtherance of my career. My ultimate goal is to work in Strategic Sourcing for a Biopharmaceutical company or to work as a Strategic Consultant for a Consulting firm. This semester, I am more confident and will strive further to make this goal achievable.
“The tallest oak in the forest was once just a little nut that held its ground”.