Monday, September 29, 2008

Reclaiming your quant skills

I had a comment that is lost somewhere in the archives about what to do about proving that you have good quant skills. The simple answer is that's what the GMAT is for. However, maybe standardized tests aren't your thing. The comment asked about MBA Math. That can be a useful review (or basic first instruction on certain topics) but I think a more genuine way of showing reclaimed quant skills is through taking a statistics or accounting class through a local college. Doing well in a statistics class, for example, will show that you can do well in something that has more applicability to business school and the real world than data sufficiency questions.
The GMAT is important, but if that's a weakness, go back to the real world and see if that will add positively to your application.
Good luck!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Work for a company that does something.

These were the words of advice from our guest speaker Charles Morris, author of Trillion Dollar Meltdown: Easy Money, High Rollers, and the Great Credit Crash in my financial crises class earlier this week. After a talk on the symptoms, signs and root causes of the current crisis one of the questions posed to Mr. Morris was - we are MBAs looking at the current economic turmoil - what job advice do you have?
His advice - work for a company that does something, that makes something real. Too many MBAs head to Wall Street or consulting firms without taking stock of what they are really contributing and what skills they are gaining. He told us to take the time to learn how a business ticks, functions, how to manage real people and real problems with a level of involvement that many on Wall Street just do not understand.
It was a sobering conversation despite that fact that Mr. Morris had us laughing at many points during his talk.

Today in the same class we had MBIA CEO Jay Brown speak to us about his company's experience through the current crisis. Again we received a fair amount of excellent advice from this speaker. One of my favorites: Lots of people will be working twice as hard as you because they want your job. They will also all tell you they like you. Get your assistant to figure out which ones really do like you!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Psychology 101

I realized that my blog still thinks I'm in England. Perhaps I didn't change it because that is actually where I WANT to be right now.
In other more class related news, my Consumer Behavior course is an interesting class in basic psychology. My professor is constantly trying to convince us that marketers do not have enough data to manipulate consumers. I'm not entirely buying it, but I know what to say to get a decent grade. Our main deliverable for this class is a video ethnography project. To start on this project we had to go through a video training session (this is the ON button... here is the VOLUME... etc) and then learn how to use iMovie on a mac. HAHA! Take that business school tech support for mocking my mac. While my classmates spend hours in the windowless editing room in the library I will be editing from the comfort of my own apartment.
Score 1 for Georgetown McDonough School mac users! Our victories are infrequent, I'll take what I can get.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Yea who shall volunteer shall reap the rewards

The Graduate Women in Business Club had our mentor/ mentee wine tasting event yesterday evening. Two of my best friends were running the event so I got there a little early to help set up, then took charge of the clean-up with one of the only male members of GWIB. Thus, I was able to capitalize on the leftovers and scored 1.5 bottles of Pinot Noir.

I'm getting married in May and am trying this new diet called "too busy to eat." I'm teaching a GMAT class 3 days a week and taking one of my classes in the evening as well. Given this schedule I don't have much time for cooking. I solved the problem this week by making a Tex-Mex casserole Sunday night which I am slowly working through. I also have enough carrots and tomatoes floating around my refrigerator to satisfy a family of rapidly reproducing rabbits.

In employment news, many of the Georgetown MBAs are busy preparing for the large career fairs that will be in DC this year. BOTH Black MBA (NBMBAAAA? Can't remember the acronym!) and Reaching Out (The Gay Conference) are in DC. It's a fantastic opportunity for the DC area schools to make an early impression with employers. I went to the Hispanic conference in Houston last year which wasn't a really valuable experience for me. As previously discussed in this blog, I had some amazing barbeque but spending $300 for a plane ticket just for bbq is not a wise investment. Even last year I acknowledged I was likely England-bound and asked employers about international recruiting. None, including McKinsey, were very helpful. So I am starting over, going to a job fair in London and continuing my informational interviews. Luckily my marriage comes with immigration benefits so that will make things a bit smoother. I need to turn my resume into a CV (currently in progress) and send in my paperwork in May, but then I will have my very own EEA family permit- unrestricted work authorization and all. Woo hoo!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008


This time last year if you had told me I could do a simple valuation of a merger, finding my own discount rate and actually know what "market risk premium" and "beta" referred to, I would not have believed you. So I HAVE learned something so far. Time for bed.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Back to school

Hello loyal readers. I know you have all been waiting anxiously in the wings for my "back to school" post! (Or not...)

I'm slowly adjusting to life back in DC and at Georgetown. After a summer at a non-profit and bumming around DC (hospitable borderline southerners) and in England (generally friendly to tourists) it was a little shock to be back in the world of professors who think they are God's gift to the business world. Some of my classmates came back humbled from lack of offers and others came back entirely confused as to what direction their career is now headed. And then there are the members of the proud group who have offers and are luxuriously shopping around! I am a little jealous of the security, but am secure in my decision to pick geography (England) over a specialized career focus.

The main reason for my absence from the blogging world has mainly to do with the two events I was running the first two weeks of school. One of the other student government VPs had a fantastic idea which we planned for and implemented the Friday of the first week of school. We had about 200 1st year attendees and 30+ second year speakers. The next week I ran part of a careers days, again for 200+ attendees in conjunction with the Career Management office. This one I ran solo and needed a sizable nap on Friday after it was all over.

Academics are another story. I'm sort of treading water this module. I supposedly have a foundation from last year but goodness, finance was literally six months ago. I barely remember WACC. I'm sure I'll muddle through. My general management course path is proceeding nicely and I think I will have a solid foundation for either consulting or non-profit management.

However, returning to school reminded me of how happy I was working this summer. It is immensely difficult to be here, away from my boyfriend and knowing that I COULD be starting a job right now, had I chosen to go to Cambridge. However, I would also be about $60,000 more in debt. Bleh.

Well back to work. I have an M&A case due Wednesday that I am still quite confused about. And somehow between all this my mother wants me to give a crap about what photographer we have at my wedding reception. I'll try!