Monday, February 27, 2012

Good Guys Finish First?

Tarak Shah, RBS '12, shows us that getting exactly what you want out of an RBS MBA is 100% possible. Is it easy? No. Can MBA's learn something from him? Yes. The affable Tarak tells us what it took to get obtain a summer internship and full time offer from a Fortune 50 Company.

Quick Facts

  • Born & raised in Chicago
  • Undergrad: Northwestern (Engineering & Economics)
  • Masters: UPenn (Bio-Tech)
  • Work Experience: Automation Engineer at Merck, Scientist at Abbott Labs
  • MBA: Rutgers Business School ‘12
  • Selected to join the ECLDP (Experienced Commercial Leadership Development Program) at Johnson&Johnson

Why an MBA?

I really enjoyed the scientific track and enjoyed the work, but felt I could do more and make more of an impact in the commercial side of pharmaceuticals, and I saw that getting an MBA was necessary to cross over into the commercial side. Rutgers was a great fit because of its reputation in the industry, its placement record, and its location in the backyard of the industry.

Why J&J & ECLDP?

It was my target company, and my wife works there, and Johnson & Johnson believes in family values. It’s a global leader, with products, solutions, and devices that solve healthcare needs around the world. It has a wide range of career development opportunities and resources, and I saw that first hand with my wife: she’s gained diverse experiences in such a short time. The ECLDP is designed for MBAs to be placed within J&J’s operating company, Janssen, towards becoming future leaders there. It’s rotational across different business areas, and provides two 1-year rotations in these areas, followed by a return to Janssen Therapeutics in an in-line marketing (brand management) position.

What were some of the key highlights of your internship?

There were so many highlights that ranged from having a 1-on-1 with Janssen’s CFO to meeting HIV patients. From a personal perspective, my final presentation was a key highlight. I practiced so much for my presentation, and knew it was going to be a defining moment for my career. I had a lot of anxiety leading up to it, but after those 10 minutes were over, it felt great! I gave it my all this past summer (and then some), and this presentation and my project were well received. I am proud of that moment.

Can you describe the interview process? How was it (the interview) structured? Did it focus on behavioral questions?

The process is INTENSE. There is so much involved and so much you have to do. The second round was a multi day event with interviews, speakers, and networking, all a test to see if you were a good fit. You can’t let your guard down the entire time, you have to connect, be engaged, be likeable, and you’ve got to demonstrate to the J&J team that you are a future leader for their organization. The last day was for interviews, and my first interview of the day was with the President of Janssen. I was also interviewing for the Ortho Clinical Diagnostics CLDP internship at the same time, so I interviewed for two positions at once. Normal candidates have 3 interviews, and I had 5, all in one day! The interviews were mostly behavioral and there was a case study-workshop that was tied to an ethical issue.

Within your concentration, what class best prepared you for your summer position?

Brand management provided useful knowledge for the internship. Even though my project was in digital media, it brought in brand management elements: how to build brand association and portfolio recognition, engage with your stakeholders, and resonate with customers.

Outside of coursework, what prepared you for your summer position?

I did a lot of independent research, and it took a lot of personal initiative to reach out to those at J&J, and within that, those who were RBS alumni. I met with as many of them as I could and asked them how I could maximize my experience.

What was your attitude throughout the process?

Companies are envisioning future product managers – they want to see you embody elements that they want to see. You need to execute from Day 1. You need to do your job, but also perform at the other elements of the internship (networking, extra projects, etc). In a large company like J&J, there is so much going on, and you need to be involved and show that you can manage your time effectively and perform.

Checklist for to successfully obtain an MBA Internship

  • Know the company & understand their business
  • Know their products very well
  • Know yourself; know how to leverage your strengths & weaknesses
  • Get in touch as early as possible with people at the companies you want to work for
  • Practice elevator pitch
  • Practice behavioral questions, as most MBA interviews are of this nature; take the initiative to find web examples and practice answering them

How to NOT be invited back for a full time offer

  • Be arrogant
  • Arrive unprepared and aren’t ready to learn
  • Not open to criticism/feedback
  • Piss off your manager!
  • Do not remain professional throughout the entire summer
  • Assume you’ll get a full time offer (the internship is a 10 week interview not a guarantee)

Sunday, February 19, 2012

A Day in the Life of a Full-Time 2nd Semester MBA at RBS

By Adam Shatzkamer

6:30 Wake up, shower, and dress.

7:00 Head out the door while grabbing a protein bar for breakfast. My commute gives me time to eat as well as to review my notes for today’s class discussions on articles and case studies that have been assigned for reading.

8:00 I arrive at school and check the second floor lounge to see who’s around. Popping into the second and fifth floor MBA lounges is a daily activity to catch up with friends, do some studying, meet with a project team, or eat a meal. After saying hi to some classmates I walk into my Organizational Behavior (OB) classroom and chat with my project team for our class consulting project.  We discuss developing a strategy for data collection from our client firm.

8:30 Class begins. Today we are discussing decision-making processes in organizations. OB is a core requirement that is taken alongside our Cohort that we had all of our classes with during first semester; it’s nice to be back in a classroom with Cohort A after we became such a cohesive group last semester. OB class is usually very interactive with lots of discussion and sharing of personal experiences. Learning about decision-making has been enlightening for me as I’ve been able to identify and evaluate the processes I use, as well as those used by people that I have worked with in the past. This information will also be useful when identifying the decision-making processes used by our consulting project client.

9:45-10:00 Class break! Time to run to the restroom or the 1 Washington Park Bistro downstairs to grab a coffee or bottle of water. While the Bistro sells Starbucks coffee, many of my classmates go for the free coffee provided by the Office of MBA Student Services. Sometimes Miriam and Mary Ann in Student Services also have cookies!

11:20 As morning class comes to a close, I approach our professor to see if she can help arrange speakers for a management consulting event sponsored by the Rutgers Association of Marketing & Strategy (RAMS) of which I am Co-President. As a student concentrating in both Marketing and Supply Chain Management (at least for now, I’m trying to figure out how to take more electives in Management and Business Strategy , another area that I’m extremely interested in) I’m  always looking for opportunities to hold events related to these functions. After the professor and I set up a meeting to discuss details, I head to the MBA Office of Career Management to reserve a room for my phone interview tomorrow for a summer internship opportunity.

12:00 Back to the Bistro to grab something for lunch. The bistro makes great pizzas and sandwiches to order, has a salad bar and soup station with a lot of variety, and a grill that serves burgers, gyros, and other specialties. The popular “street food” station features a rotating menu of ethnic favorites from Italian to Indian to Thai and everything in between. The Bistro also has a grab and go section with sandwiches, sushi, yogurt, hummus, desserts, and other goodies. Today is going to be a pizza day for me. As I wait for my pizza to be made I speak with a professor from last semester about the use of integer programming, a mathematical optimization method, to make decisions in the public sector such as locating firehouses and scheduling first responders. In a small school like RBS you’ll find lots of opportunities for one on one time with preeminent scholars in their field. The close relationships with faculty and staff help facilitate finding internship and employment opportunities. Professors tend to be more than happy to open their vast rolodexes, or in this day and age, LinkedIn profiles, in order to facilitate connections to help students.

12:15 Pizza in hand, I head up to one of the study rooms that my case presentation group for Supply Chain Management Strategies class has booked. We all eat and catch up on each other’s lives and internship hunts as we develop an outline and assign responsibilities for our team analysis of a business case involving issues related to inventories and ordering processes for pasta at Barilla.

1:00 It’s time for Strategic Management, one of my favorite classes. The professor is newer arrival at RBS and also teaches in NYU Stern’s Executive MBA program. He also used to teach in the traditional MBA programs at both Stern and Dartmouth’s Tuck Business School. Beyond academia, he has years of experience as a consultant and many successful exits as both an entrepreneur and a venture capitalist. Every class is filled with insightful discussion and impactful lectures. A big buzz is building about this class and I suspect that it will quickly become one of the most popular at RBS.

2:30-2:40 The Strategic Management professor likes to play music during class break and it’s funny to see everyone’s head’s bopping along to the beat while we catch up on emails and talk about our schedules for the rest of the week.

3:50 Class ends and I have 10 minutes to check my email and print some articles and cases before heading to a Lunar New Year Celebration sponsored by the International Students Organization (ISO). The ISO has put together a great party with food, games, and giveaways. I spend some time laughing with classmates about how this year, the year of the dragon, is supposed to be a bad year to look for a job for those like me who were born in the year of the dog. This is not something an MBA wants to hear! Afterwards I chat with one of the ISO board members about helping them to find a speaker who has successfully converted an F-1 student visa into an H-1 foreign worker visa.  We also talk about our excitement for next week’s speaker session co-sponsored by the Lerner Pharmaceutical Management Center and the Pharmaceutical Management Club featuring a Vice President from Celgene who will speak about market access issues in today’s pharmaceutical industry.

 One of the great things about RBS is our location near the business centers of NYC (only 20 minutes away by train!) and Philadelphia, as well as the proximity of the various manufacturing, distribution and logistics, R&D, and corporate facilities here in New Jersey. This is leveraged by our various centers, institutes, and clubs to bring a steady stream of executives, entrepreneurs, and financiers to present to MBAs and alumni both on campus and during site visits to firms.
5:00 I find a quiet corner in order to do a brief informational interview with a flex-time classmate who works at a Big 4 accounting firm. I asked her to spend some time with me so that I could learn more about her career, her firm, and potential opportunities for MBAs in the firm’s advisory/consulting service line. After the first semester full-time MBAs can take electives in the evening alongside the flex students who are already employed across the region. As you can imagine, these classmates become a great resource for us full-timers who are constantly searching for a job or internship!

5:30 I head home with cases and articles in hand to read on the train in order to prepare for tomorrow's classes. I chuckle to myself as I see that the wine store I pass on my way home has begun to carry bottles from Six Sigma Vineyards, I’ll have to tell my Lean Six Sigma professor about this on Tuesday. I have dinner with my fiancĂ©, some of the best quality time we get to spend together during the week. Business school can take up a lot of time and it’s important to make sure that you make an effort to spend time with friends and family. If you don’t have a good work-life balance, you might burn out! We order in and talk about our upcoming trip to visit family and get some alone time in Florida over my spring break before she heads home for the night.

7:30 I finish my write-up for tomorrow’s Marketing Strategy class, the assignment is to read two articles related to demographics and market segmentation. I write a page summarizing the articles and how they apply to my ideas concerning the use of consumer behavior data to optimize target segments in the retail sector.  Next I move on to the homework for Procurement Management and Global Sourcing class tomorrow. In this class, the professor assigns brief homeworks that prompt us to quickly analyze an issue relating to supplier risk management, contract negotiations, supplier selection, or sourcing strategy. I outline my report for my Reflected Best Self project for OB class where we are asked to solicit information on our strengths from people across our lives and assess how we can best leverage these strengths for success. Finally, I make sure that my bag is packed and ready for school tomorrow.

10:00 A quick Skype session with some classmates about forming a team for an upcoming marketing case competition and then I get ready for bed. Before going to sleep, I do my final prep for tomorrow’s interview. Although I feel very prepared to speak about how my skills are a good match for the position and why I want to work for the firm (I could go on for a very long time about how great I think they are and how impressed I am by their recent strategy), I want to check for any recent news and today’s performance in the stock market.

11:00 Time for bed so I can be rested and do it all again tomorrow!

While every day as an MBA is different, every day is also just about as busy as today was. I hope this gives a good overview of what a typical day looks like for a Rutgers MBA. I hope to get some of my classmates to write up similar posts about a typical day in their lives. While many experiences will be similar, there are definitely different opportunities for learning and networking throughout the day for those in different concentrations.

PS: A big congratulations to our classmates that won the NYSSA Regional CFA Challenge and rang the closing bell at NASDAQ yesterday!

Are you considering earning your MBA at RBS? Comment below and say hi!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

First Years Take Over!

So in the midst of classes, clubs, searching for internships, and attempting to make time for friends and family, the new 2012 executive board of the Rutgers MBA Association of Marketing & Strategy (RAMS) has taken over this Rutgers Business School MBA student blog, Through the Park. I thought I'd drop a note to say hi and informally introduce ourselves. You can expect posts from the RAMS board as well as guest posts from our classmates in the MBA class of 2013 (and perhaps the class of 2012 if they'd be so kind). We hope to give a little insight into what it's really like to be a student at RBS. With that I'll leave you with my favorite twitter hashtag #MBAsKnowHowToParty (more often applied to late night modeling sessions in excel than crazy nights at the bar) as well as a gem found today during data collection for my team's Organizational Behavior class consulting project: Don't Panic! And have a great evening...
-Adam Shatzkamer