Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Rosespeak: Chicago GSB committed to financial aid

Rose(maria Martinelli, Associate Dean for Student Recruitment and Admissions at Chicago GSB)has been globetrotting quite a bit and actually has found the time to blog too - in her latest post here, she talks about the impact of the credit-crunch on the loan programs of top schools and the commitment/effort from the schools' side to address this issue.

As a current year student, I had a few anxious moments during summer when the IDAPP loan program was closed by the lender because of the credit crisis; but Priscilla Parker and her team at the Financial Aid office managed to arrange an alternative financing option and rolled it out even before we got back to school - so both the 1st year class and continuing students in the second year have been covered fully for the year to come.

Some recent posts in other blogs/ websites talk about the same issue:
  • The Clearadmit blog quotes the same post by Rose with comments from other top schools also and speaks about how different schools are working out ways to arrange aid for students.
  • This post by an current applicant refers to a recent CNN article and talks about the options available for US residents and the dependency of international students on school-endorsed programs.
I personally remain confident that if anyone can sort this issue out, it would be the best B-schools in the world - once the new loan program falls in place, current applicants (domestic and international) would not only avail of low interest rates but also ride what will hopefully be a resurgent economy, when they graduate 2 year from now!

Want to discuss this topic some more? Head on over to the Chicago GSB Discussion Forums

Monday, October 20, 2008

New courses for a new era!

Soaking the sun, riding the wind

With gas prices around the $100 mark and both Presidential candidates talking about the urgent need to reduce oil imports, the renewable energy industry has attracted inordinate attention of late. At Chicago GSB, we have introduced a new course “Innovation in Energy Markets and Opportunities in Renewable Energy”. Taught by Travis Bradford this quarter, the course will orient students to the dynamic opportunities that exist in the ongoing transformation of the global energy industry. As the course description says, “existing energy sources and the infrastructures that deliver them to users around the world are undergoing a period of rapid change. Limits to growth, rapidly fluctuating raw material prices, and the emergence of new technology options all contribute to heightened risk and opportunity in the energy sector. Using both theoretical and practical insights about the process by which energy technologies are developed, financed, and deployed, this course seeks to highlight the root drivers for change in the energy industry, the technologies that are emerging, and the factors that will determine success in their commercialization”.

The Art & Science of Innovation
With many a product category becoming commoditized, academics and executives both agree on the imperative for companies to innovate and differentiate themselves in a cluttered world. Building on her experience at Whirlpool, Nancy Tennant teaches “Building Innovation Strategy and Capability” at the GSB in Spring/ Winter 2009. Having visited the Whirlpool world HQ in Michigan, I can personally attest to the amazing culture of innovation that permeates the company; over the years, the company has consciously built processes, structures and delivery mechanisms with the objective of fostering innovation – a smart strategy that’s helped them build a ‘innovation pipeline’ of over $3 billion!

It's great to see how fast the GSB responds with changes in the curriculum design to align course inputs with market requirements - my favorite story is about how the "Real Estate" students group built up momentum and consensus that resulted in the introduction of a "Real Estate Markets" specialization sometime back. Vita Excolatur, indeed!

Want to discuss this topic some more? Head on over to the Chicago GSB Discussion Forums

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

The View from Chicago GSB- At BusinessWeek

Dean Snyder talks to BusinessWeek about the markets, the recruiting outlook and the start of yet another academic season at the GSB. Check out the vid below:

Want to discuss this topic some more? Head on over to the Chicago GSB Discussion Forums

Thursday, October 9, 2008

From Olympic sponsorships to Obamanomics...

Chicago GSB was in the news last week for some very interesting reasons:

Obamanomics: CBS carried news about Prof. Goolsbee’s work with the Obama team to formulate much needed economic prescriptions for the American economy. It talks about Goolsbee standing out from the ‘Chicago’ school of thought, which in my opinion, is an integral part of the ‘Chicago’ school of thought (questioning everything). Some of us who had chosen Goolsbee’s course “Economics and Policy in Media, Technology and Telecom” had the highest expectations from this course and most of them were fulfilled. Not only did the class help us understand why the telecom industry is shaped the way it is, but also made a strong case for the role of government policy in shaping the structure of an industry – quite fascinating and incredibly insightful. The prof’s dedication to teaching is legendary; his web-page has a photo of him in his wedding tux, in the classroom… as is obvious, he has an amazing sense of humor and this takes the edge off the heated debates that usually happen in class. Check out his obit for Milton Friedman in the NY times – very much Chicago, of course.
PS: The best part about this class is that Goolsbee allows auditors – so if you’re interested in his class and can make a meaningful contribution, you are allowed to get his permission and sit in class – without enrolling for the course! Some professors allow this if they see evidence that you can contribute (prior industry experience, future career interest etc) whereas others just allow you to join in the fun…isn’t that awesome?

WINning at the Olympics: Mark Konjevod, a GSB alum, never could get the odor out of his shirts after his marathon training runs. Instead of changing his detergent time and again, he set out to create a new product and ultimately ended up as the official detergent for the US Olympic team! You can check out his fascinating story at this WSJ link. This quarter, I have a course “Building the New Venture” by Waverly Deutsch – an amazing professor who teaches the everyday dynamics of entrepreneurship. Chicago GSB’s entrepreneurship faculty lineup is full of rock stars:
Steve Kaplan who focuses on private equity and entrepreneurial finance.
Scott Meadow who teaches “Commercializing Innovation”
James Schrager and Susan Hapak who teach “New Venture Strategy”

Along with Waverly Deutsch and the Polsky Centre, these professors offer a great start to would-be entrepreneurs, covering the entire spectrum of conceptual and operation skills required to kickstart a new venture… no surprises when they go for the highest points in the course bidding process!

Want to discuss this topic some more? Head on over to the Chicago GSB Discussion Forums

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Do you know what we did last summer?

Summer is an incredible time for most MBA students – at the GSB, full time MBA students use the summer to get hands-on work experience through internships at reputed companies, start-ups and non-profit organizations. Starting from mid-June to August, GSB grads stream out into the gritty, real world and attempt to apply what they have learnt in classrooms to real-time work environments.

The internships also help students experiment with new career options and try their hand at new functional areas and/ or new industries. This way, by end of summer, one forms a far clearer idea of what the industry/function to recruit for post-GSB. Quite a few firms also end up extending offers to their interns to come back and work full-time in their organizations.

Some examples of summer internships…

I did my summer internship in Europe at a large telecommunications firm on a segmentation strategy for their online business networking portal. It was incredible fun! The team was almost like a start-up… which of course meant that they needed everything yesterday! In the end, although it wasn’t exactly the “strategic planning” work that I originally wanted to do, many of my recommendations were implemented immediately and it was amazing to make an impact in just 2 months. More importantly, it was also an experience that gave me a great perspective of the organizational culture and the people at the company.

A friend of mine worked in London for a non-profit initiative that analyzed the causes of knife crime among juveniles in London, attempted to pin down causes and proposed solutions to the issue. This was, to say the least, thrilling and sometimes dangerous work – she had to travel to some not-so-safe neighborhoods and sometimes, meet with criminals… but she also adds that it was very fulfilling and the impact of such a project could actually mean more lives saved on the streets. What better application, I thought, of management skills could one imagine!

Another classmate landed an internship in Chile through the Polsky Centre. He helped an entre preneur decipher the legal environment in Chile and it's impact on the growth of the business. Not only was it an out-of-the world experience, but also a window into a different country, culture and language – this proud GSBer now knows a smattering of Spanish, can ‘almost’ change a flat tire even if stuck on the Andes, has frequented the best pubs and restaurants in Chile and most importantly, carries into his future a set of personal and business relationships forged over the last 2 months.

I hope this gives prospective students an idea of the work we do over the summer and the impact it has on the organization and on our career plans. With school starting off, we are all set to share our war stories with one another – if you’re at GSB Live, maybe you’ll hear a couple of them too!

Want to discuss this topic some more? Head on over to the Chicago GSB Discussion Forums

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

A New Year at Chicago GSB

With Fall quarter starting off, The Winter Garden has its familiar buzz of activity again! Most second year students strolled back into campus just a few days before classes kicked off; these veterans came back with many war-stories from summer internships, travels abroad and even weddings and new babies! Full-time recruiting is on and you can figure out the different ways in which different students handle it:Those with signed-off offers are chilling out and taking intense courses with ‘rock-star’ professors like Steve Kaplan and Scott Meadow; others have deep-dived into the recruiting pool, charging themselves up for networking and interviews… and then there are others with an offer from their internship trying hard to decide on whether to sign it off or not. But no matter what, the general feeling among second years is that it’s nice to be back!

GSB also welcomed the Class of 2010 to campus a few weeks ago. First year students come to campus about two weeks prior to the start of class for C.O.R.E. – a preparatory module that includes orientation and part of L.E.A.D. It’s always fun to see a group of energetic new faces meeting each other, starting classes, seeking career advice and in general, go through the GSB experience. They are getting used to both the intensity and fun of b-school and if you were to ask them how they felt, the answer would probably be "Great, but busy!" Amidst all this, we also have student groups trying to recruit new members for club activities, career services hosting career panels where second year students and alumni share their perspective on potential career paths and of course the omnipresent homework/ groupwork and class assignments. In Fall, there never is really a dull moment at the GSB!

There’s also the buzz throughout campus about the recent events on Wall Street. These are interesting times in finance and economics, both strongholds areas of Chicago GSB and it is not uncommon to find quite a few articles by our professors in major publications like the WSJ and NY Times. Prof. Goolsbee’s position as Obama’s economic advisor also adds an element of drama to those following the election trail at GSB. This is also the time of the year when the famous economic truth: TANFL(There Ain’t No Free Lunch) is regularly proven wrong – there are tons of events like LnLs(Lunch N Learns), Brown Bag lunches, the Distinguished Speaker Series where business and though leaders present their perspective eon diverse issues ranging from health policy to politics to emerging markets… food for thought, literally!

An interesting start to what promises to be an interesting year… watch this space – there’s lots more to come!

Want to discuss this topic some more? Head on over to the Chicago GSB Discussion Forums