Monday, December 13, 2010

Semester-End Reflections

Can you believe it? Less than a week until finals, then case competition, finalizing plans for a student-alumni event and WINTER BREAK! Last time I wrote, I had just begun my first year as an MBA student at Washington University in St. Louis, and now I’m almost a quarter of the way through the program! I don’t have much to say about finals except it’s always nice to know I’m in good company. I do want to tell you about the case competition that I am thrilled to participate in, along with a new and exciting student-alumni endeavor I have started.

Wash U invites several companies from around the area to submit real problems they are experiencing and then selects a couple cases that we, in our assigned groups of four, review and present our recommendations. These cases form a type of capstone for our core studies, requiring us to pull our understanding of finance, accounting, marketing, operations, etc. In particular, though, we must rely on our critical thinking capabilities, which we have enhanced throughout the semester in our analysis of numerous cases. More and more employers are requiring their associates to enhance their critical thinking skills before promoting to managerial roles. At Wash U, we have the opportunity to show select local employers our abilities, and, in return, we have the opportunity to win various prizes plus the ultimate reward of implementing our recommendation if selected.

Once the chaos of finals and the case competition subsides, I must push forward on an event geared towards all MBA students and alumni. I noticed that Wash U alumni events are organized by faculty and quite formal in nature. I found an opportunity to create a small group of students to plan and organize informal social gatherings for students and alumni without all the networking expectations of the formal events. Networking is definitely a large piece of a successful career, but there should always be some fun mixed in there, too. Our first event is scheduled for late-January, and our small group has lots of planning to do before then!

As the semester draws to a close, I find myself yearning for a nice, relaxing break but simultaneously eager to participate in the case competition and to finalize the details of the alumni social event.

Kelly Bien
Forte Fellow Class of 2012
Olin Business School at Washington University in St. Louis

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