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Get Career Ready: Measure

By Angela Guido

June 26, 2016

What’s the first thing you did when you started studying for the SAT or the ACT? You took a diagnostic test. How about when you thought about losing weight or gaining muscle? You stepped on the scale. All journeys begin somewhere, and progress and change are only real if they can be measured.

To achieve great things you need to know both where you are, and where you are going. The next step is to measure – your progress and your impact. You already measure your grades, but look at your clubs, activities, and work experience. Consider where you are now and your longer term goals. Then decide what to measure. Some examples:

  • Are you in charge of a club? Track number of new members, improvement in attendance at meetings, or other metric of engagement
  • Involved with volunteering activities? Track number of dollars raised, number of new volunteer signups, improved outcomes for the charitable cause (e.g. number of homes built, number of students served, etc.)
  • Volunteering as a TA or an RA? Track improvement in student grades, decrease in dropout rates,  and increase in positive feedback

Measure the areas that matter to you so you can understand your own growth and show clear impact on your resume.

Our career tips are brought to you by Angela Guido. For more timeless wisdom and bright ideas for your career, check out her website, Career Protocol.

Subscribe to Forté Driving Forces and get weekly tips on career prep activities, taking the GMAT and cool on-the-job profiles.

 

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Driving Forces: Crashing the Tech Startup Party

June 26, 2016

Lauren Thompson Miller ’14 always knew she wanted to start a business like her engineering father and grandfathers. As a Rice MBA she took a class that would change the course of her life. Technology Entrepreneurship Management — usually 30 percent women — teamed Miller with classmate Tim Aramil ’14, and they were tasked with developing a business plan for a series of anti-corrosion coatings and lubricants invented by Dr. James Tour, a renowned Rice chemistry professor with 100+ patents to his name and who was named as R&D Magazine’s “Scientist of the Year” in 2013.

They found that special technology they were looking for to start a new chemical company and worked with other team members to develop a business and commercialization plan for A-76.  After winning a business plan competition at Rice, the team went on to compete in business plan competitions around the world. At the Rice Business Plan Competition, the largest and richest graduate-level competition in the world, A-76 Technologies won second place and almost $600,000 in total prizes, even more than the grand prize winner.

Today she is co-founder and CEO of A-76 Technologies, a preservation coatings and lubricants manufacturing company. In addition to stringent third-party testing along the way, Miller tested A-76 herself on some rebar in her garage, and is confident it’s the best product on the market. “We out-perform everything,” she says. Though it’s useful in agriculture, aerospace, transportation, defense, marine, and the oil and gas industries, Miller focused her initial marketing on oil and gas, which meant traipsing out to the rigs in the field and talking to “the guy on the ground who is going to be the one to use it.”

But she’s always hung out with boys, both in school when she was fencing on the men’s team in college and out at her family ranch having fun driving a tractor. She thinks the experience has made her better able to communicate even though potential clients are frequently surprised to see her. The company has been named one of the “Tech Start-Ups to Watch” by the Houston Chronicle in 2015 and was a finalist for the 2014 Goradia Innovation Prize from the Houston Technology Center. They have expanded into retail, and their products can be purchased for the home on Amazon.

“My family has been hugely influential on my career,” Miller says.  “To begin with, I am from a family of entrepreneurs on both sides of my family, so everyone has been very supportive of me venturing out on my own. My father is an excellent businessman (he took over his father’s company when it was failing, turned it around, sold it, and is now a C-level executive at a Fortune 500 company) and has been one of our advisors. He has first-hand experience with the difficulties that surround a startup. My mother has also been a big influence as a woman who is a go-getter and has always pushed herself.  She has an MBA as well and was the driving force behind me deciding to attend business school.”

Recently, Miller was featured on Forbes’ 2015 30 under 30 list for Energy and in 2014 was named an entrepreneur to watch by Houston Business Journal. She has worked with energy investments and start-ups for SURGE Accelerator and Silicon Valley Bank. She has worked in sales and manufacturing process consulting.  Prior to attending Rice, she managed multi-million dollar programs in the Middle East, Africa and Asia. She holds a B.A. in international relations from The College of William and Mary, and an MBA from Rice University’s Jones Graduate School of Business.

Content courtesy of Rice University (Jesse H. Jones Graduate School of Business).

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Get Career Ready: Network

By Angela Guido

June 19, 2016

You will probably get your first “real job” through some form of campus recruitment or using your school’s resources to find an opportunity. Likewise, if you decide to go to business school, you’ll likely get your next job the same way. But what about the job after that? Some day you will want to do something new, but you won’t have the nurturing support system of a university and a group of job hunting peers. Where will you find a job then? The internet isn’t the answer. The answer is your network.

Your network is simply the web of connections among all the people you know, and it is the most valuable source of information and opportunity you will have in your life. So cultivate it. Here’s how:

  • Meet people
  • Ensure you have a way to contact them (LinkedIn, Facebook, email, etc.)
  • Keep in touch on a somewhat regular basis (once a year is enough for people very senior to you)
  • Connect them to each other when appropriate
  • Then seek their counsel when you are ready for a new opportunity

Throughout college and your early career, you will meet hundreds of people. If you cultivate those relationships, you will multiply your opportunities throughout your career.

Our career tips are brought to you by Angela Guido. For more timeless wisdom and bright ideas for your career, check out her website, Career Protocol.

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Driving Forces: Makings of a Career

Margot Anich, University of Rochester, Simon 2015 MBA, knew her degree would build on the skills she used as a pharmaceutical sales representative so that she could branch into health care management. She found that Simon’s smaller size and intimate setting allowed her to make meaningful connections with her classmates, faculty, and staff. As an intern with athenahealth, she worked on a revenue cycle management project and gave a company-wide presentation at its completion. “Being able to practice presenting multiple times in front of multiple different audiences—professors, faculty, and people in the community—really made me feel much more comfortable in that setting…I felt prepared to be able to present to a couple thousand people at the end of the internship,” she said. Margot was offered a full-time position, and is now leadership development rotation manager at athenahealth.

Content courtesy of University of Rochester (Simon Business School).

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Get Career Ready: Collaborate

By Angela Guido

June 12, 2016

Hopefully, per last week’s tip, you’ve started thinking about leadership. And this might have brought to mind an important fact about human nature: we all have free will. This means that, even if you’re “in charge,” you ultimately can’t make anyone do anything. Power isn’t the same thing as force.

So some might argue that real power lies in your ability to collaborate and that leadership is just one form of collaboration. No matter what definition you choose, collaboration is here to stay. It’s how things happen in the world. While it’s important to do individual work throughout your career to learn and contribute, you should also seek opportunities to experience true collaboration and teamwork.

Some ideas:

  • Take a class where part of the grade is a group project
  • Consider trying out a team sport for a term
  • Initiate an activity that is too big for you to do alone (think large scale event or design competition)
  • Try out a business case competition

Play with the ideas of leadership, collaboration, and teamwork and see which approaches you most enjoy. Then keep building your “soft skill set” – communication, influence, motivation, and cooperation.

Subscribe to Forté Driving Forces and get weekly tips on career prep activities, taking the GMAT and cool on-the-job profiles.

Our career tips are brought to you by Angela Guido. For more timeless wisdom and bright ideas for your career, check out her website, Career Protocol.

 

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Driving Forces: Major League Eater Goes Corporate

June 12, 2016

Canadian and recent Broad MBA graduate Meredith Boxberger just might be the most interesting person in the world. She played collegiate-level softball on scholarship. She started and ran her own franchise restaurant after completing her undergraduate degree.  And she can eat more than any Canadian, as she is currently the number-one-ranked competitive eater in Canada and 23rd-ranked competitive eater in Major League Eating.

Born in Michigan but raised in Barrie, Ontario, Boxberger has a passion for food and the food industry.  After graduating from Wayne State University with a bachelor’s in business, she opened, owned and operated a Little Caesars franchise in Newmarket, Ontario.

Boxberger left the business to pursue her MBA degree at Broad, but she says he is really proud of what she was able to do with her pizza chain, particularly in regards to giving back to the community.

“We were able set up a program with the local shelter where we donated over a hundred pizzas a week to the less fortunate,” Boxberger said.

Her decision to pursue an MBA was so that she could get a deeper understanding of the industry she had been working in.

“The marketing aspects of the business were what I excelled at and what I found particularly intriguing and I realized that I wanted to learn more about marketing and pursue a career focused in this area. I had obtained a good amount of practical knowledge and experience from my five years of owning and operating the business, but I wanted to give myself a more solid foundation in marketing before I went on to pursue a career in this field,” she said.

Boxberger said she chose the Broad MBA because of the high quality of the program and return on investment Broad’s degree offered.  “I was impressed with the down-to-earth students that took their time to show me around and answer my questions, the personal interactions that I saw between students and professors, and the collaborative spirit of the program,” Boxberger said.

She found that the collaborative team environment provided opportunities to teach and learn using each person’s unique experience and strengths.

“I built a network of friends that I’ll have for the rest of my life and close relationships with professors whom I can still lean on for advice. My time at Broad energized me to pursue my career but through the people I met and the relationships I formed, I came out with an appreciation for what’s important along that journey,” she said.

Currently Boxberger is an associate brand manager with Mars Chocolate North America, a position she acquired because of an internship she completed while in the Broad MBA program. Her work focuses on the variety bag business, finding opportunities for growth and supporting the seasonal team in their work.

Mars doesn’t have to worry too much about Boxberger eating all of the M&Ms, though. Her current focus is on hot dogs. Her record is 26 Nathan’s Famous hot dogs and buns in 10 minutes. That being said, she has been spotted in pizza-eating contests and is known for her pancake prowess.


Content courtesy of Michigan State University (Broad College of Business).

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Wise Words: Hillary Clinton

“Every moment wasted looking back, keeps us from moving forward.” - Hillary Clinton

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Get Career Ready: Lead

By Angela Guido

June 5, 2016

Leadership is one of those words like “happiness,” or “art.” It has as many different meanings and interpretations as there are people on the planet, and ultimately, the only one that matters is yours. What values do you admire in a leader? What kind of leader are you? Are you someone who sets the vision and empowers others to implement? Are you a hands-on manager, developing a team? Are you more comfortable leading from behind, or do you want to be in charge? The only way you will ever find out is if you try.

Consider these opportunities to start building your leadership profile today:

  • Run for a leadership position in a club you care about
  • Volunteer to lead a team project, volunteer excursion, or other coordinated activity
  • Start something new – a club, a lunch and learn series, a speaker event, or a conference

Then watch what you do. See what parts of leadership you love. See where you could do a better job. And then do better the next time.

Our career tips are brought to you by Angela Guido. For more timeless wisdom and bright ideas for your career, check out her website, Career Protocol.

Subscribe to Forté Driving Forces and get weekly tips on career prep activities, taking the GMAT and cool on-the-job profiles.

 

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