Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Meeting with Movers and Shakers

By Adam Shatzkamer

I had a pretty cool day today as I met with some of RBS' most prominent faculty members. In the morning I had the opportunity to meet with Professor Emilio DeLia, Executive Director of RBS' Network for Innovation Expertise Development (NIED) to discuss his work integrating innovation into all levels and activities at NIED's partner firms. Later on I met with the Supply Chain and Marketing Science Department's Executive in Residence, Roger Zetter. Mr. Zetter and I chatted about using business school as a launch pad to continually develop and improve oneself as they progress through their career. Often people will concentrate on development while in school and then neglect this important task after graduation. Ensuring continuous improvement through self-awareness is one way to help ensure success!

That's all I have for now I just wanted to drop a note before heading to bed so that I can be well rested to participate in the speaker panel for tomorrow's Toastmasters event focused on networking. Good night all!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

You don't have to wait for graduation for your MBA to lead you to success: RBS' Flex-Time program

By Chris Pegut

I am a first-year student in the Flex MBA program at the New Brunswick campus.  I am also the Vice President of the Student Government Association (SGA).  Although I may have only just started my education here at RBS, the program has already proven to be one of the most valuable decisions in my life.

Since earning my BA in 2003, I had been working in the pharmaceutical industry.  I’d realized that earning my MBA is the smart move for career advancement.   My interest in marketing and pharmaceutical management naturally led me here.  I knew by their reputation that RBS offers strong programs for both concentrations, and I have many colleagues in pharma who have graduated from the program and recommended it.

I started to look around for a new job in the summer before I went back to school.  Although I enjoyed my current position, I’d been there for over six years and it was time for a change.  Fast forward a few months and dozens and dozens of job applications later - no change.  My resume offers years of experience in the pharmaceutical industry and the positions I was applying for required everything from an applicant that I had to offer.  It’s discouraging to send so many resumes and never receive any feedback.  I was qualified, but never considered. 

The first week in October, once I was settling in to my new schedule of work and class, I sat down to revise my resume.  Just like before, I posted it online and started on some new applications.  But this time it was different.  Believe it or not, I actually received a response!  Someone, a real person, called me to set up an interview at Bristol-Myers Squibb.  She said she wanted to forward me my resume that HR had marked up with their notes so I knew what to concentrate on with the interviewer.  Out of a full two-paged resume, there were only five items highlighted.  Four were marketing-related, which applied to the position.  The fifth was highlighted and underlined, “Rutgers Business School, Master of Business Administration.  Class of 2014.”

After three consecutive weeks of interviews which culminated in a job offer, I began my new role as Senior Account Executive at Bristol-Myers Squibb in their Marketing Services Department.  I started in the middle of November, just a few weeks after updating my resume.

If you had told me last February that I’d be back in school, in a great new job, and VP of the RBS SGA in a year’s time, I would have thought you were crazy.  Starting my MBA at Rutgers has already exceeded my wildest expectations.  I am learning more every day, building a strong network of Professors and classmates, and doing my part in the SGA to give back to the program that has offered me a whole new world of possibilities.  If this is what two semesters looks like, I can’t wait to see where I find myself when I graduate in 2014.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Follow MBAs through China!

Our friend and classmate Caroline Goupil is currently flying somewhere between Newark Liberty International Airport and Beijing's Capital International Airport alongside other classmates, alumni, and some professors en route on one of this spring break's for-credit study trips entitled "Doing Business in China."

Taking full advantage of the WiFi on her now-United Airlines (legacy Continental was/is a great friend to RBS) flight, Caroline has started a blog to keep us all up-to-date as she takes in local culture, learns about business practices in China first-hand, visits with students and alumni of RBS' two International Executive MBA programs in China and sees the sights in Beijing and Shanghai.

Follow along with Caroline and the group on her blog "China Shakes the World."

Saturday, March 3, 2012


Today is about being different.

To start, I have two sacrilegious admissions. One: I read outside of classwork (note to Professor Shah: this is not an invitation to Shah-ttack me with more readings!) Two: I read a book written by a professor from another business school. Shock! Horror!

As a RAMS board member, I attend many other student groups' events, and the Toastmaster's Club held a lunch & learn this past week on interviewing tips. Club President (and RAMS VP) Marcus Silva invited second year MBA students Brandon Sachs and Michael Sarshad to speak about their internships and job interview experiences to us increasingly tense first years. The challenge? How to sell yourself. How to stand out from the crowd. How to isolate the elements from your profile that truly sing. How to be different.

Different, by Youngme Moon, an HBS professor who has written many case studies which MBA students are familiar, appealed to me instantly, and I think it resonates with RBS students, or any business school student for that matter. MBA students, like organizations or brands, compete vigorously to succeed, whether it's for advancement or market share. Professor Moon laments this vigorous competition, because rather than leading to true standouts, it leads to everyone competing on identical points, leading to shockingly similar results. For example, in the CPG industry, vigorous competition has resulted in this (image blatantly ripped from Moon's book):
And the problem with this? Vigorous competition morphs into to "best practices" which Moon claims leads to even more dilution. In the consumer products world, best practices result in mandatory offers of hyperbolic claims such as "Now with More!" or "New & Improved!" In the far right of the image above, does anything truly stand out? If you're a bottle designer, yes. If you're a random, regular consumer, no; nothing is different. It's a cluster of sameness. Next, look below:

Now, consider this in the context of you and your profile and background as it relates to your internship/job chase: if this chart represented you and measured your personal attributes, what would you do with that middle attribute that is clearly below average? "Smooth" it out and improve it? Moon paints two possible reactions:

This dramatically illustrates how a devotion to being different can lead to true standouts, and how "competing" leads to more sameness around the norm. Being different is difficult, because it means being courageous and lighting your strengths with rocket fuel, and leaving your weaknesses linger. But this is the crux of Moon's book: everyone is different, and it's vital to capitalize on your differences rather than attempt to "normalize" them and completely ignore what could be an important competitive edge. Being different is good. Being different gets you noticed. Being different gets you hired.

How are you different?

Video epilogue #1: Moon's book has a video describing in more depth the concepts of her book:

Video epilogue #2: Marcus Silva needs some more YouTube hits: