Tag: pmba



Last weekend was PMBA GO! As a newly-minted member of PMBA 44, I discovered I had a lot to learn.

I work in Olin’s Marketing & Communications Department, behind-the-scenes of Olin’s social media presence and the blog and website. Luckily, I work for a university that is very supportive of staff continuing their education. Even luckier, I work at one of the top-ranked business schools in the country.

Enrolling in the Professional MBA program was intimidating, but thrilling. Having conquered GO! Weekend, I have a better idea of what I hope to get out of the program, and where I am now.

My framing and conceptualization of problems is narrow

This was a surprising discovery for me, but I suppose that was the point of reading hours’ worth of case studies. The benefit of participating in class discussion about cases is that you become aware of holes in your logic. Some of the potential solutions (or issues) my peers were raising simply did not occur to me, and vice versa.

As a cohort we spent a lot of time learning about problem formulation and its importance in critical thinking. The more we improve at problem formulation—arguably the most important step in critical thinking, since a great solution to the wrong problem is still the wrong solution—the better we become at taking a step back and looking at the situation from a new perspective.

  

It’s okay that I don’t have a background rooted in finance and statistics

My educational background is in journalism, and the bulk of my business experience is in marketing. To say that I was a little hesitant about diving into an MBA program with some of the region’s up-and-coming business leaders is an understatement. But I also knew that Olin has positioned itself as a safe environment for industry- and career-changers.

I have a lot to learn when it comes to quantitative decision making, statistics, and accounting…or operational management, strategic management, and economics. Really, I just have a lot to learn. There is a steep learning curve for me, but it seems much more manageable than I feared it would be. Plus, I bring other skills to the table that can be as valuable in pitching someone on an idea or getting buy-in. Prof. Tarek Ghani said the cohort, like any other MBA group, could be split into categories of “poets” and “quants.” I am very much in the “poets” category.

Yes, GO! Weekend is pretty intense

Don’t let the pics of team building fool you! GO! Weekend is a lot of work. The main component of the PMBA program that can make the workload seem so daunting is the fact that nearly all of the students are employed full-time. We weren’t gently eased into case studies and writing recommendations—we were told to drink from the fire hose immediately. I never imagined myself spending the amount of time I spent calculating, analyzing, and writing a 300 word recommendation. It’s difficult, but the challenge is also exciting.

Teams are organized for diversity—and it is very beneficial

I’m on a core team of four, and we come from different backgrounds: chemical engineering, operations, finance, and marketing. The diversity of experiences and thought has already been helpful to broaden my thinking toward certain cases and the way I approach them. The PMBA program does this intentionally, because everyone can learn from how things are done in other industries, and differing skillsets complement each other. But the entire class has a richness of perspectives and ideas to share, which really augments lectures and class discussion.

I’m looking forward—with excitement but also a little anxiety—to the coming months. I feel like I’ve already experienced an evolution in my thinking (although I certainly have a ways to go), and it has been three days! Where will I be at the end of these three years?




Too busy to take evening Professional MBA classes during the week? Now, there’s another option: the new Saturday PMBA program. “The Saturday format is the perfect fit for professionals whose travel schedule or location prohibits attending the evening program during the week,” says Joe Fox, associate dean and director of Graduate Programs at Olin Business School. “Saturday classes offer new options and flexibility for all PMBAs to earn the degree in less time.”

A FEW FEATURES OF THE NEW PROGRAM:

  • Classes will be held in Knight Hall and Bauer Hall from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. with a working lunch on campus. Students will complete core courses in four consecutive semesters. Upon completion of the core, Saturday students will have access to elective classes offered in the evening PMBA program.
  • Saturday program candidates could potentially complete the program in as little as two years by taking a combination of evening and weekend classes.
  • Saturday classes will begin in January 2016; applications are available on Olin’s website.

For more information, contact Andrew Toussaint, associate director of graduate admissions, at toussaint@wustl.edu.




Dear PMBA 40,

Well, the time has come. You’re starting your journey towards an MBA, which is the end of a journey itself. You’re past thinking about getting an MBA, studying for the GMAT, applying to schools, and stressing over whether or not you’ll get in. Congratulations! But it’s just the beginning…

As a PMBA’er who has a year under his belt, I thought I would impart some tidbits I’ve picked up along the way:

  • Get to know your fellow classmates – They mention this all over Olin, and they’re right, but you’re doing yourself a disservice if you graduate and don’t know every person in your PMBA class. These are the future businessmen and women who might be your client, boss, co-worker, or connection for that job you’ve always wanted. Olin graduates are going places and it’s in your best interest to hop on that bandwagon. Here are two easy ways to do that:
  • Go to After Dark – At least for the first six months. I understand that it’s easy to go home and crash after a full day of work and three hours of class but the informal setting is a catalyst for building friendships that will keep you sane during grad school. Yay for new friends!
  • Start a WhatsApp/GroupMe Convo – This will help your class stay connected throughout the grind. You’ll use it to discuss homework, make plans, study for tests, and overall relieve stress. Trust me, there’s a comfort knowing that 65 other people can relate to your situation. You’re also in for a humorous Saturday morning read when you wake up to 150+ notifications from your new friends going out the night before.
  • Know Your Strengths – For most of your core classes, you will be working in groups, which you’ll dread love. Figuring out what each person is good at at the beginning of group work will make the whole process of working together run smoothly. I’m not a numbers person but I can write, hence why I was the resident editor who provided colorful commentary whenever we were doing statistics homework.
  • Don’t Sweat the Small Things – It’s easy to get bogged down in the details, whether that’s the one question on your group homework that you couldn’t crack, or the case that you just didn’t understand (I’m looking at you, Finance). Take a deep breath and know that it’s not going to make or break you or your grade. You’re already juggling a lot – the additional stress isn’t worth it.

There are other class-related tips that I’d be more than happy to impart but those are better suited over a beer at After Dark. I’ll see you there.

Image: Lecture Hall, Kai Schreiber, Flickr Creative Commons


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