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”.
 

 
 
 
 
 

Thursday, September 25, 2014


Well, when you put it that way..

How reframing a problem can help avoid unethical decision making 
 
 

As I started frantically flipping through the pages of my first exam as an MBA student, I was taken aback by a question that included the results of a recent class poll.

The poll was given to us after reviewing a case of a fictional Pharmaceutical company. This imaginary company was manufacturing a drug, Vanatin, which in light of many years of research was found to be the cause of 30-40 unnecessary and preventable deaths each year. A few key factors that were important to consider in this case is that Vanatin was the most profitable drug in our pharma’s company, there were other drugs made by our competitors that treat the same symptoms but without the deathly side effects, and that the FDA will soon begin an attempt to ban the drug.

After some small group discussion, our class was asked to write down how we personally believe the company should move forward. We were given 5 options to choose from, which ranged from the most ethical of stopping production and removing Vanatin from the shelves, to the least ethical of fighting the FDA with lobbying power so that the company could continue production and sale of Vanatin.

With my overly optimistic attitude and minimal corporate experience, I am very aware of my naivety in the business world. However, the results of this poll truly astonished me.

As it turns out, the class was somewhat polarized on the issue.  Out of 42 students, 29 chose either the most ethical or the most unethical option. 19 students chose to stop production and pull Vanatin off the shelves, while 10 students, 24% of our entire class, chose to fight the FDA with lobbying power and continue production and sale of the profitable yet deadly drug. After first staring at the results on what I hoped was a typo, I tried to figure out why so many of my classmates chose the most unethical response.

Let it be known; I do not believe that 10 of my classmates are unethical. However, I do believe that with the combination of a competitive corporate culture and a lack of proximity to the victims, some individuals don't always take a moment to consider the morality of an issue that's presented to them. If we frame the Vanatin issue in a way that removes corporate culture and increases proximity of the victims, I’m fairly certain we would get different results (I would love to test this out by the way!).

For example, let’s imagine that my classmates and I decide to go to an RU football game in our home stadium. Now that Rutgers is in the Big 10, the game we attend is completely sold out, with over 52,000 people in the stands. During half time, one of my classmates wins a special lottery which gives him the option of either taking or not taking $1 billion dollars. The catch? If he takes the money, one person in the stadium will die.

I don’t think it’s presumptuous to assume that none of my classmates would take the money. There are obvious major differences between the Vanatin and Football cases, but when you strip them down you’ll find that the same ethical issue is at stake; financial or personal gain at the expense of human life.

I admit that I’ve never been in a real scenario where I’ve had to vote on a decision similar to the Vanatin case. But, this example surely taught me a lesson, and I hope that my fellow MBA students and I will always remember to consider the morality in our decision making as we embark on future business endeavors.

Danielle Chirico is a first year student in the Rutgers MBA Program. She has a strong interest in ethical leadership and looks forward to your comments and feedback. Danielle can be reached at DanielleChirico@gmail.com or on Twitter @DanielleChirico

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Meeting a Corporate Idealist: A Conversation with Christine Bader


Have you ever been curious about the steps you can take to promote responsible business? Yesterday, members of Rutgers Business School’s Net Impact and Women in Business clubs had the opportunity to explore this question through an eye-opening conversation with Christine Bader led by Sharon Lydon, Executive Director of MBA Programs. Christine discussed her recent book, Evolution of a Corporate Idealist: When Girl Meets Oil, which was inspired by her nearly decade long career in corporate responsibility at BP.

 

Taking from the title of her book, Christine explained her transformation as a corporate idealist. At the onset of her career at BP in 2000, a time when corporate responsibility was less ubiquitous, she was an optimistic proponent that business would change society for the better. While her zeal and belief in responsible business are still ever-present, Christine has adopted a more tempered stance, which we, as business students, can integrate in our own future careers.

 

Incremental advances towards universal standards for responsible business are more likely than dramatic leaps. The greatest tool to accomplish these small, yet significant victories is dialogue. Investigate all stakeholders’ needs. Consider the ways business can meet stakeholders’ needs. Find ways to motivate business to take action. And overall, start the conversation.

 

Link to Christine’s Website: http://christinebader.com/


 

 



Monday, January 6, 2014

SPECIAL STUDENT FEATURE: Julie Godfrey and Cal Petrey, RBS '14

Julie Godfrey
Marketing
VP Alumni Relations, Rutgers Women in Business

Cal Petrey
Supply Chain Management
RBS Social Chair

What makes this student feature so special?  Oh, just the fact that Julie and Cal are married.  And from the south. And super stars.  Prospective and current students alike can learn from this fabulous twosome, who are both MBA Candidates in the full-time program.  See what they had to say about their journey from Nashville to Newark...




Where were you before you came to RBS? Why are you here now?
We had been working in Knoxville, TN for a few years Cal was working for US Bank and Julie was working for Lancôme. Cal had completed his bachelor's in Organizational Psychology and Julie Completed her MFA in Fine Art. We felt like we had maxed out our growth. The exciting thing about being 2 Full-time MBA's in the same program is that we have to not only plan for the team but also plan for our individual contributions. We applied to a number of business schools but Rutgers offered all of the things we wanted for our future. The New York area was one of the only places where we could both have a successful career in our respective fields. 

Where do you see yourself in 15 years? Why?
One reason we get along so well is that we have similar long-term goals. Our future as we see it will be in corporate for a few years and then onto startups and long-term equity building. We want to get the experience and training in the corporate world but we are very creative and have a passion for disruptive technology. In the long-run we will be happiest as entrepreneurs.

What is your favorite thing about being an RBS student? Why?
We aren't worried. The job placement is great, the cost is great! With 2 MBAS in one house we have to think about those things. We love the location because we can really use Newark to its full potential! We can get to New York, Philly, Boston, or the shore whenever we want. The small class size is nice because it allows most of the class to have a leadership role of some type. We all work as a class team, sure, there is competition, but really, the entire class is cheering for you to get a good internship or a job.

What did you think business school was going to be like? What is it actually like? 
We were surprised about the openness of the professors to accommodate your schedule for looking for jobs. Also, the attentiveness of the RBS Staff. They actually get involved in your well-being. Student Services and the OCM office care about your challenges and your goals,

Who is your favorite professor and why?
Cal: Don Klock Procurement because he is truly an expert in his field and he brings real world experience to the Classroom
Julie: Aggregate Economics with Farrokh Langdana bar none. Coming out of a Fine Art background economics Seemed like a complete mystery but Langdana Made macro fun...yes... fun. Even though I am a marketing concentration, this is a "must take" class.

What is the best advice you can give candidates looking to apply to RBS?
Apply to the right program: Part time is for people who are happy with their current career trajectory, Full time is for career switchers and people who want the boost to the next level. They have different requirements in terms of commitments and different pay-offs. Be sure to think carefully about your choice and understand, from admissions, which one will be best for you.
Go to RBS recruiting events and open houses.
Make sure what the school focuses what you want to do career- wize in terms of industry and concentrations.
Be ready to hit the ground running if you get in. It will be a whirlwind from day 1 of orientation.
Know that you might end up a completely different place than when you began.

Classes are important, but your career is the priority.


Tuesday, December 3, 2013

STUDENT FEATURE: Jaina Wald, RBS '14

Jaina Wald

Marketing & Strategy

Co-President, RAMS
VP, Membership, Toastmasters
Tech Chair, SGA


Jaina is a second-year, full-time Marketing and Strategy student.  If you know her, you know that Jaina smiles in the face of wild, 900 pound felines. If you don't know her, you wonder why she smiles in the face of wild, 900 pound felines.  Nonetheless, here is an interview with a future brand manager at Campbell's Soup. 



What’s your deal? Where were you before you came to RBS? Why are you here now?

Let’s see…I’m originally from Gainesville, Florida (Go Gators!), did my undergrad at Washington University in St. Louis, and moved to New York in 2005 to work in publishing. After learning that every English major in America wants to work in publishing (not to mention the low pay and long hours), took a job at a boutique Venture Capital and Consulting firm instead. I thought I’d be there for a year, but stayed for six, doing marketing, communications, sales, consulting and HR, and working with some of the coolest technology startups on the plant. I loved the people, but it was a small company and I knew that I would have to leave eventually. Given how much I had learned about Marketing and Business, I started to think about business school and began sending out applications. Instead of sitting around and waiting to hear back, my husband and I decided to quit our jobs and travel the world for six months. We spent three months in SE Asia, two months in Africa and one month in South America, and arrived back in the states a week before I started at Rutgers. One of my funniest memories of the trip was doing my Rutgers admissions interview on the trip via Skype. I was in Vietnam at the time, staying in a hostel, without anything to wear for an interview. Luckily, SE Asia is renowned for custom-made clothing, so found a guy in an alley who promised me he could make me “a suit in a day,” and despite the all-around sketchiness, he had a suit jacket and shirt ready for me an hour before the call. I did the interview that night in an internet café wearing my new suit jacket, shirt, ripped jean shorts and sandals :)




Where do you see yourself in 15 years?

Man oh man. Running my own company? Doing triathlons professionally? So many options…Most likely, I’ll be in a senior marketing and communications role at a large firm. I just accepted a position as an Associate Brand Manager at Campbell’s Soup in August 2014, so that’s the first stop. In an ideal world, I’d also like to be living and working internationally – maybe South America or Australia? Though I might have to convince my husband first…

What is your favorite thing about being an RBS student?

The camaraderie in our class is insane. When I looked at other business schools, I was amazed and turned off by how competitive and cutthroat the students were. At Rutgers, students work together– it’s not about cutting each other down to get ahead. People are genuine and care about helping each other (and the school). That’s what business schools should be like.

What did you think business school was going to be like? What is it actually like?

I thought it was going to be really serious, stressful, and boring. It’s not. It’s awesome. It’s undergrad, minus living across the hall from everyone. Plus, there’s this sense of appreciation for being in school, because most of us worked for a few years beforehand and we know that we’ll be back in the “working world” in a short time.

What do you do for fun?

Travel, Travel and more Travel. I’ve lived on four continents, visited 37 countries, and have toyed with the idea of joining the Peace Corps more times than I can count. I love sports, play soccer, and do races/triathlons. Plus, I’m a bit of an adrenaline junkie – skydiving, bungee jumping, swimming with sharks – you name it, I’ve done it. When I’m not running around, I’m hanging out with my husband and preparing for my first baby, due in January 2014!

Who is your favorite professor and why?

I love me some Susan Mach (business communications) – she’s super nice, cares about her students and really knows her stuff. Plus, with all the quantitative classes first semester, I loved having the chance to write again. I’m also enjoying Executive Leadership with Patti Ippoliti and Multicultural Markets with Jerome Williams. Both are discussion-based, interesting, and have taught me more about real-world issues I’ll be encountering post-business school than my traditional core classes.


How did you land your summer internship? How was it?

I got my internship with Campbell’s Soup by attending the NSHMBA career fair during my first year at Rutgers. I didn’t apply to Campbell’s ahead of time, but stopped by the booth, and just clicked with all the recruiters. I was interviewed on the spot, and again the following day, and found out a week later that I had the internship. The experience was incredible. I lucked out with an amazing team and loved spending the summer with students from all over the country. Plus, Campbell’s gives its interns incredible exposure to senior leaders, and real, business-driving internship projects so it felt like my contributions were making a difference. And, it never hurts working for a food company – we had constant samples of Milano cookies, Goldfish, Pace Salsa, V8, and the best part -- Free Soup Fridays! 

What would you do differently if you could repeat your first semester all over again?

I wouldn’t change a thing. I dropped Finance and it was the best decision I could have made – it allowed me to concentrate on the other classes I was taking (accounting and economics mostly) and just get used to being in school again. I took Finance second semester when things were calmer and I was settled in to the routine, and was much happier for it. Actually, one thing I would do differently – bring my lunch more...no matter how long I’m here, I will never understand why it takes so long to get food in the café.



Monday, November 25, 2013

DIWALI PARTY 2013

Last Thursday, the third floor of the business school at 1 Washington Park was magically transformed into the best Diwali party this side of Newark has ever seen.  Thanks to the coordination of second-year, Richa Poras and the International Student Organization, students, staff and faculty enjoyed a fabulous Indian fashion show, skits, dances, and a delicious spread of Indian food.

 My personal highlight was the "RBS Student in India" skit starring first-years Sunil Ayyagari and Shane Gustafon, with Prasannadevi Mara as "the Air India hostess," and Shailesh Pagareas as "the pani puri vendor."  Let's just say...."Dinesh Vera," Indian Director of Career Management, makes our own Dean Vera seem like a dream (which he already was for some :)).

Enjoy the photos!