The Wonderful Life in San Diego

San Diego’s quality of life is unbeatable. To me, it feels like we live where most people vacation. The year-round sunshine, 70 miles of coastline, amazing food, various exhibitions and outdoor activities are what San Diego is all about. Join me on a quick tour around some of the most well-known city features.

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MBA Students posing in front of the Hodad’s bus in Ocean Beach, CA

First stop – La Jolla Cove

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Beautiful La Jolla Cove

This stop is considered to be the most beautiful beach in San Diego, due to the fabulous stretch of wildlife preserve with crystal clear water. Whenever I visit it’s like an escape to a magical place. But honestly, in San Diego you may find much more than pristine coastline: riding a bike in Mission Beach, surfing in Pacific Beach, or gathering a group of friends for a bonfire on Ocean Beach, all of these are accessible within 20 minutes of campus!

Second stop – Balboa Park

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Entrance to Balboa Park’s Botanical Garden

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Amanda’s yoga in the park class

Balboa Park is one of my favorite spots in San Diego. With art galleries, botanical gardens, the famous San Diego Zoo, and more than a dozen museums, it provides an outstanding place for both friends and family. I usually like to do yoga in the park on a sunny Sunday morning. It is such a relaxing oasis of a big green park within the city. You can image how amazing the experience is: connecting with your inner thoughts and the earth, while listening to the sounds of nature!

Third stop – Ballast Point

San Diego is home to nearly 100 breweries and has been called “The Craft Beer Capital of America.” Ballast Point Brewery is among the most famous, and is just across the street of our campus. Ballast brews are a perfect balance of taste and aroma. It always such a great time to have a cold drink with your peers after studying hard for midterms or final exams.

Fourth stop – USD After Hours

Being a Torero means you have ample opportunities to join exciting activities on-campus. The school sometimes builds an amusement park on campus with various food vendors, or sets up a huge stage for an outdoor music festival. All these are free and open to all the faculty and students!

Fifth stop – Global and local case competitions

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MBA Students building their professional skills at a case competition

As an MBA candidate at USD, the program provides lots of opportunities for students to build our professional network with local and global expertise across various industries. It is a very valuable experience to join a case competition to enhance your knowledge and skills outside of the classroom.

Sixth stop – Downtown San Diego

In San Diego, you can enjoy the nightlife as you would in any other major city. Gaslamp Quarter is a playground for grown-ups. It’s easy to find chic bars, restaurants, live music venues, and lounges on nearly every corner.

Last stop – Carlsbad Flower Fields

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The Flower Fields located in Carlsbad, CA

If you have explored all the aforementioned options, there is even more natural beauty just a short drive away. You can take a road trip to Los Angeles, go skiing in Bear Park, or see the beautiful flower fields at Carlsbad all within two hours driving of San Diego.

Post submitted by Amanda (Hong) Gao, second-year MBA candidate in the Full-Time MBA Program.  Prior to USD Amanda worked as Sales and Marketing Manager for Hong Kong Airlines in Beijing, China.

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Exploring Nike HQ & Shanghai: MBA International Consulting Project Highlights

Did you know that the University of San Diego MBA program offers intersession courses all over the globe?
You can travel to Europe, Latin America, Africa and in my case Asia – where I chose Shanghai for the MBA international consulting practicum. During Intersession I wanted to get a few more MBA credits completed, so I left San Diego for 15 days to learn about the culture and business practices in China. The trip was filled with so many new experiences, I couldn’t wait to share them with all you future MBA students. Herewith a list of my top 10 Shanghai moments.

  1. Yu Gardens
    Yu GardensThe architecture of Yu Garden is the most impressive aspect; it was so ornate and elegant I couldn’t believe it was built during the Ming dynasty 400 years ago. The scenic layout and sculptures are breath-taking and the stark contrast in architecture of the modern Chinese buildings and garden, made me feel as though we traveled back in time.
  2. Jade Buddha Temple 

    Jade Buddha Temple.jpgSpeaking of China’s ancient architecture, another place you should visit is the Jade Buddha Temple. It sits right in between all the modern buildings of Shanghai. The moment I entered the temple, I felt like I entered a spacious spiritual place and the serenity within calmed my mind.

  3. HaiDiLao
    HaiDiLaoAny trip to Shanghai is not complete without visiting a Hot Pot restaurant with your group. We chose HaiDiLao which is famous for hotpot style food and provided outstanding service. When I say service, we found it unusual since manicure and pedicure services were offered while we waited for the hotpot. Can’t say I’ve ever seen that at a restaurant. The food itself is very delicious and this typical Chinese experience is not to be missed.
  4. Karaoke
    KaraokeNightlife in China is not complete unless you hit a Karaoke bar and let out the genius in you. The experience is one-of-a-kind and will expose you to the hidden musical talents among your group. Believe it or not, having a karaoke session will instantly bond you with fellow karaoke participants. In addition, you’ll either discover a top-class singer or that one person whose singing skills can be leveraged for future group outings.
  5. Nike Corporate Office
    Being on the MBA Consulting Practicum means business. So we toured the Nike corporate headquarters for our first meeting with the company to discuss our project scope. The journey by metro took us 30 minutes and the entire journey was worth it, as the Nike office is spacious and awe-inspiring. The office complex is huge and we saw people doing all kinds of sports apart from just working. While it may not be easy to gain access to the Nike campus unless you are a staff member or special visitor it’s a must visit place if you can.Nike
  6. Tian Zi Fang
    For those of you who love shopping and eating (who doesn’t?) Tian Zi Fang is a must visit place. It is named after a famous Chinese painter and has many shops where you can buy delicacies, souvenirs, trinkets and oddities to your heart’s content. There are many eateries too, where you can have a quick bite once you get tired of shopping. Tian Zi Fang is a super crowded place with narrow walkways, which gives a realistic sense of being in China.Tian Zi FangDoes the above picture make you hungry yet?
  7. Bund
    The bund is a waterfront walkway and scenic area with a view of the skyscrapers, considered emblematic of Shanghai. Enjoy a stroll along and take in the wide variety of architecture and grandeur of Shanghai’s millions of inhabitants.Bund.jpg
  8. Qi Bao
    Qi Bao is sometimes called the Chinese version of Venice, or the Floating City of Shanghai. The town has a 1,000 year history and is centered around Qibao temple. Entering the town takes you back in time and you can see the ancient architecture. Walking through the busy lanes gives a sense of walking through a tourist attraction and yet at the same time there are certain sections where you can experience total tranquility.Qi Bao
  9. Shanghai Tower
    Shanghai Tower is one of the highest towers in the world and the view from the top is absolutely thrilling. The elevators that you ride on the way up are pin-drop silent and ruthlessly fast. There are videos depicting the development of China over time, and it’s impressive to see how fast China was transformed. If you like virtual reality, there is a motion detection based racing game which you can play at the top floor. I call it: High Altitude Gaming.Shanghai Tower
  10. Gintei Teppenyaki
    After a busy day of exploring Shanghai, nothing beats an all you can eat restaurant. Gintei Teppenyaki is just the restaurant if you are looking for traditional Chinese with a modern twist. The ambiance is great and is a must visit place after a tiring and long day to relax and refuel.Gintei TeppenyakiShanghai was an unforgettable experience, and I’m thrilled that University of San Diego MBA provides ample opportunity for travel and discovery. In fact, MBA students often do multiple consulting practicums across the globe. Where would you choose to visit on your MBA International Consulting Practicum?

    Post submitted in March 2017 by Lokapati Patnaik Bhogela, first-year MBA candidate in the Full-Time MBA Program. Prior to USD, Lokapati worked as Technology Analyst for Infosys and System Engineer for Tata Consulting Services.

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Internship Hunting Tips for First Year MBA Students

MBA Student Amanda Gao interviews second-year MBA Robin Gustaffson on her eCommerce internship at PETCO from June to August, 2016. The internship has become a full-time job for Robin, where she currently works as an Assistant Program Manager in the eCommerce area. Here Robin shares a few thoughts on her internship and offers advice for MBA students.

  1. Could you tell us about your internship experience this semester such as your role, the tasks you performed or projects that you worked on? How did you benefit from this experience?  

I had an awesome internship experience! I ended up taking an internship role in the eCommerce department at Petco, which is headquartered out of San Diego. Petco’s internship program was amazing. I was assigned a real problem facing the eCommerce department of Petco and worked cross-functionally to provide recommendations to leadership. My biggest recommendation for students in internship programs is to take advantage of the experiences and guidance of current employees at the company where you intern. Although I was in the eCommerce department, I made sure to meet and learn about the roles of employees across Petco’s various departments. This gave me a unique look into some roles and positions that had always interested me. It also allowed me to consider my project from a variety of angles and perspectives. Asking questions and being willing to learn will go a long way.

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  1. How did you get your MBA summer internship? Do you have any suggestions for first-year MBA students on how to maximize their internship search?

I found the position that I ended up taking through USD’s internal job listing site. USD has many great tools for finding internships, including its network of students and alumni. Most of my peers found roles through networking and connections. As a first year student, you should not be afraid to reach out to second years and alumni. Although I ended up pursuing another option, one offers I received was through connecting with alumni.

The sooner you get started on your internship hunt, the sooner you will get a position and the sooner you can stop worrying about it! However, if you didn’t happen to apply to internships that were posted in the Fall cycle, don’t worry. There are plenty of internship options that open up in the Spring semester. It is definitely a stressful experience, so it’s important to relax. I didn’t hear from any companies for months and it was easy to start panicking. Unfortunately, that’s just the nature of the beast. By late April, I was still waiting to hear back on my applications and was beginning to think that I was not going to find a position.  Right as I was becoming desperate, I heard from three companies all in the same week. If you put the work in, it will pay off.

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3.How did USD’s MBA program help you with the process?

USD’s MBA program helps by providing real, relevant experiences that you can speak to throughout the application and interview process. By the time I received an interview opportunity, I had engaged in several consulting projects through the MBA program. These consulting projects were across a variety of industries and required unique problem solving.  The skills that I developed by working on these projects were the skills that I spoke to during my interviews and ultimately helped land me a job. In addition to the classwork, USD’s Career Services department was crucial throughout my internship hunt. The staff of Career Services,including James Sillcox, was my go-to when I had doubts, questions, or just needed an ear to listen.

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Post submitted by Amanda (Hong) Gao, a second-year MBA candidate in the Full-Time MBA Program: International Business track.  Prior to USD , Amanda worked as Sales and Marketing Manager for Hong Kong Airlines in Beijing, China

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USD MBA Study Abroad Experience

Time flies so fast that I cannot believe I am already a second year MBA candidate at USD. There are so many highlights of my MBA life in San Diego in just one year. But here, I want to share my experience studying abroad in Europe. As part of the MBA, I joined the practicums in January and during the summer. Both of the experiences were so amazing and eye-opening. I already miss the time my peers and I spent in Germany, Portugal and Spain. My initial purpose of applying to the program was to increase my international experiences and to work towards my career goal of starting up my own business. The study abroad program indeed catered to my needs and brought tremendous value to my academic as well as business development. Actually, I believe what I gained is much more than that. It is an excellent opportunity to learn more about my peers and explore more about myself.

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USD logo made on the beach during our orientation in Mexico

During the trip to Munich, we spent two weeks working on a project for BMW motorcycle. It aimed to develop a marketing strategy and expand its market share in China. This was the first time I had traveled to continental Europe. Germany is famous for its beer and bratwurst and of course the automotive industry. The opportunity to work for BWM is absolutely incredible. I was impressed by all the company visits and unique opportunities to speak directly with the senior management of BMW. Additionally, we worked closely with local students and constantly communicated with our professor about our findings. Our schedule was intense, but the entire trip was very well organized with a good combination of academic study and amusement. After two weeks in Munich, I am above all amazed by both the unique cultures of south Germany and the USD practicum abroad.

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After giving our final presentation for BMW motorcycle in Munich

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A typical working night at the hotel for the BMW project

Spain has always been a country I dreamed of visiting. I am ecstatic that I finally had a chance to explore this country and realize this dream.  Beyond experiencing Spain, I took the intensive Entrepreneurship class and finally overcame the challenge of my solo venture model design and pitch deck. It was not easy for an international student like me to complete the venture project by myself in just two weeks. It was quite a challenge, especially since we had very tight schedule in Lisbon and Madrid. The day and night working in the hotel lobby will be a memorable experience. With all the effort, I was successful on the final and learned many practical details from the class: how to seek funding from angel investors, how to evaluate an innovation in entrepreneurship, and what I should appropriately present in a professional pitch deck, etc. The experience was not only extremely valuable to build my knowledge and skill set in entrepreneurship theory and practice, but it also boosted my self-confidence.

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Great dinner in Lisbon “Time out Market” after class

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Google-Campus Madrid

Additionally, my favorite part of the experience was the visit to IE Business School in Madrid, Spain, where we met with the Area 31 site specifically designed for entrepreneurs at IE. The faculty showed us how the entrepreneurs work and how they connect to each other in the business environment. Currently, entrepreneurship drives economic change and innovation, while at the same time expanding opportunities and empowering citizen initiatives, particularly in emerging countries around world, such as China. Thus, it is critical to learn how our world’s youth faces the barriers added to the challenges regarding capacity, financing, and gaining market access. An important aspect of an MBA curriculum is to not only gain textbook knowledge, but to also gain practical knowledge and see how it connects with the real world. By discussing with faculty and students from various backgrounds, I got a bigger, more complete perspective on the world of business.

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Entrepreneurship Class in USD Madrid campus

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Last night in Madrid after closing dinner

Up to now, participating in the MBA program has helped me grow as a person, enhanced my vision, and filled my knowledge gap to be prepared as I pursue my career goals. I will definitely recommend all MBA candidates to take advantage of the opportunity to explore the world and yourself with your peers. This will be one of the most astonishingly wonderful experiences to enhance your MBA studies.

Post submitted by Amanda (Hong) Gao, a second-year MBA candidate in the Full-Time MBA Program: International Business track.  Prior to USD , Amanda worked as Sales and Marketing Manager for Hong Kong Airlines in Beijing, China

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From India to San Diego…

Robin Gustafson, a first year MBA student and Graduate Assistant for the MBA Admissions Office spoke with classmate Harsha Musthyala about her experience moving to San Diego from India and beginning her MBA at USD.  A transcript of their conversation is below:

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Robin Gustafson

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Harsha Musthyala

 Where are you from?

India. I have been all over India, so it is difficult to pick one specific location, but my family roots are in Hyderabad, a city known for its spicy food.

 

Is there anything that you thought would be an issue in moving to the USA but wasn’t?

Before visiting the United States I was under the impression that I would be treated differently for being an Indian, but that is just not true. I have made great friends and for the most part, I think people are really welcoming and warm. Of course, there are some exceptions, which is true in any situation.

Is there anything that you didn’t think would be an issue coming to the USA, but ended up being an issue?

I have not faced any serious or grave issues but something that I had problems getting used to was the teaching style in the US. For example, in the United States a portion of your grade is based on participation. For someone like me who is not used to asking a lot of questions in class it took some time to get comfortable around people and participate more.

What is the most annoying stereotype or question that you receive as someone coming from India?

“Is everyone poor in India?” It is actually funny because India was known as ‘the golden bird’ two centuries ago due to the wealth of the Indian kings. Even today, there are people of all kinds in India including the unfortunate poor in slums, the majority section known as the middle class, and the rich.

What was your biggest struggle throughout your transition?

I would describe it more as a learning experience rather than a struggle. Because I get to interact with people from different cultures, I always find it so interesting that something that is strange in one culture is so common in other cultures. For example, eating from each other’s plates is very common between family and friends in India but not so much in the US. I think learning about different cultures will take some time, not just for me, but for all of my classmates.

What was your favorite class at USD and why?

Definitely financial accounting! There are two major reasons for this. This was the first finance/accounting class that I have ever taken and it sparked my interest in finance. The second reason was the structured setup of the course and the amazing explanations by our professor, Dr. Barbara Lougee.

What is the best advice you received during the first semester?

Being an independent working woman in India is tough and I have been used to living as such for a long time. A friend in the US told me that sometimes I should let people help me and that was the best advice so far because it taught me to trust people and I have made great friends.

What is the most important lesson you’ve learned since starting school at USD?

I have learned that success here is defined by more than academic excellence and making valuable connections is very important.

 How have you felt about the holiday experience in the United States?

It is amazing! I really like how people get excited about holidays and make time for their families and friends; it reminds me of the festivals I celebrated back in India.

What is your favorite memory from the semester?

My favorite memory was Black Friday shopping after Thanksgiving. Shopping always wins!

What is something you miss from home?

I definitely miss my mom’s food!

What is something you would miss from the US or San Diego if you went home?

I think I would really miss the active lifestyle of San Diego.

Do you have any additional feelings or experiences you’d like to share?

As a person who always looks for purpose or meaning in anything in life, I think living in US is an experience that made me look at world with a new perspective. I have seen first-hand how cultures and background influence opinions, values and beliefs. So far, it has been a wonderful experience and I am excited to see what the work-culture here feels like.

 

 

 

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The University of San Diego’s MBA: providing the competitive edge, and much more.

Most perspective MBA students seem to have an inherent competitive spirit – a sort of drive that makes them want to be the best in every situation they encounter. While these types are definitely present in every class, and across all universities, I believe that the University of San Diego is unique in building MBA cohorts that focus on more than being “top of the class.” I started to see this unique difference as early as orientation week, when the faculty seemed more concerned with building strong relationships than with somehow categorizing and labeling individual accomplishments. The focus was more on the unique qualities that the cohort shared, than the ones that could have separated the class. From that point on, this trend seemed to carry through.

The first semester of classes are anything but easy. In fact, I would venture to say that no single individual can make it through an MBA program. Instead, teams become heavily reliant on each other to lighten the tremendous load that comes with graduate level Business classes. For me, this was absolutely critical, as most in my team had the previous classes or experience that my political science degree did not prepare me for. This type of support is not isolated to the individual teams, but permeates throughout our entire cohort. It has created a culture in which no one team is trying to outdo another, but instead each team recognizes that the success of the cohort matters more than any single project or assignment.

It would be inaccurate to say that the culture created at the USD School of Business is built solely on the backs of the current cohort. Each one of the faculty play a critical role in addressing the current and future needs of all the MBA students. Additionally, the professors are perhaps the most passionate people that I have met to date. The small class sizes allow them to provide individual attention to any student who needs help, and they are always more than willing to accommodate.

I had several options for business school, some of which were ranked higher than the University of San Diego. Since beginning the program, I have come to realize that rankings are not everything, and should not be the sole determinant in business school selection. In fact, I feel that the culture of a school should hold equal weight to the rankings. That is because the University of San Diego is helping each cohort build life-long relationships, while giving students the critical business tools that employers are looking for in graduate-level employees. For these reasons, I am absolutely thrilled to attend the University of San Diego, and know that doing so will position me for a successful career in whichever business function I eventually land on.       Nathan McCutcheon

-Submitted by Nathan McCutcheon, a first year
Full-Time MBA student in the General Management track and newly-elected president of the USD Graduate Business Student Association (GBSA). Prior to enrollment at USD Nathan was a medic for the US Army.  Nathan is also a proud father  to a three-month old baby boy.  Thanks to a supportive cohort and great learning team members he has survived sleepless nights of fatherhood while managing a full-time course load!

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The USD MBA experience… in pictures

When talking about a picturesque campus, you may imagine a picture like this:

USD day

But can you believe it’s even more beautiful in the evening?

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When  talking about MBA students, you can imagine a group of business elites in suits like this:orientation

Or giving presentations like this:
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But can you imagine that we also play hard and love each other like this?team buildingbday party                                                                                 (surprise birthday party for 3 classmates)

When talking about MBA life, you can imagine a busy schedule and endless reports due for class:
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But can you imagine how many great networking opportunities we attend where we meet some awesome people?
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Harbor Cruise

When talking about attending a career fair, you may imagine a crowded scene like this:1-Career Fair

But can you imagine that the MBA Career Development team will stand outside the whole time supporting you?

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(2 members of the MBA Career Services team pictured above – Emelina Belle and James Sillcox)

Life is a journey and getting an MBA is a beautiful adventure during this journey. I may not have chosen where I started my life’s journey, but I have chosen a special adventure at USD to make my future dreams come true.  Most importantly, I feel so lucky to have all the amazing friends who will walk on this beautiful adventure with me!

Post submitted by Grace (Xiaoyu) Pu, a first-year MBA student in the Full-Time MBA Program: General Management track.  Grace attended University of Western Ontario in Canada for her undergraduate studies and prior to USD worked as Assistant HR Director for the Railway Administration in Shenyang, China

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5 Things I Wish I’d Known Before Starting my MBA Program at USD

  1. Not Having a Background in Business isn’t Necessarily a Bad Thing

So you don’t have a background in business. You think debits and credits are types of bankcards. Your idea of inflation and deflation involves helium and latex. It’s OK.

Plenty of MBA students don’t have a Bachelor of Economics and it doesn’t make them any less capable. Sure it can be intimidating listening to your classmates list off lofty credentials while you cringe thinking of past bartending jobs, but remember that you’re here to learn.  MBA programs are designed to provide you with an overview of a variety of topics. The University of San Diego does a phenomenal job of making sure you are prepared for the course content.  With orientation workshops that include Excel, Statistics, and Finance, you will be provided with all of the background you need for the program. And chances are, whatever your past experiences, they will provide you with a unique way of looking at business.

  1. It Isn’t All Business

Remember why you chose grad school in San Diego and not Lincoln, Nebraska. Business school is important but so is maintaining your sanity. Don’t be afraid to have some fun while you’re here.  Luckily, San Diego has countless opportunities for adventure. Practice your Spanish and take a day trip to Mexico, learn to surf, check out the zoo, watch a Padres game, explore the countless hiking trails, play some beach volleyball, or engage in the hundreds of other exciting pastimes of the San Diegans. Life is about balance, and speaking of balance, try some aerial yoga while you’re here.

potato team

  1. You’re Smarter Than You Think

Although The University of San Diego provides you with the basics you need for classes, the program is rigorous.  Course concepts become increasingly complicated and they may seem daunting. Just remember, if you are smart enough to be accepted into the program, you’re smart enough to complete it. Not everyone will have the same aptitude in every class. If accounting challenges you, it isn’t the end of the world. You will have other classes in which you excel.  Don’t lose sight of your own talents and the value you bring to the program. You were selected for a reason.

  1. Networking: Just Do It

A huge component of the USD MBA program involves networking events. If you’re a normal person like myself, the idea of walking up to a stranger at a career fair and giving an elevator pitch terrifies you.  Don’t worry. It isn’t as bad as it sounds.  Your cohort will support you and have plenty of advice. Take notes from your classmates who are naturals at introductions and try to emulate their methods.  Walk in with a group of classmates to feel more confident and supported.  You will quickly find that networking is much easier than it sounds.

  1. Embrace and Learn from Your Cohort

The diversity of your cohort might seem overwhelming at first, but it is one of the most advantageous aspects of the USD program. Rarely will you have such an opportunity to collaborate with people from around the world in such an open environment. Take full advantage of any chance to interact with your classmates.  Ask questions, show interest, and learn as much as you can from these amazing individuals. The diversity of the answers and advice you receive will ensure that you leave the program with a cosmopolitan perspective.

Submitted by Robin Gustafson, a 1st year Full-Time MBA student in the International Business track.
Robin is from the beautiful state of Montana and prior to USD worked in development, marketing and communications.

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Grandiosity vs Efficiency: Finding that sweet spot

In May 2015, a group of MBA and MSGL students from the University of San Diego embarked on a 2 week study abroad program in Munich and Athens. The courses on offer were Legal and Social Environment of Business, Entrepreneurial Finance and Global Innovation Strategies. There were over 35 students in the program and I was fortunate to be one of them. It had been my lifelong dream to visit the 2 cities and to get that opportunity within my MBA program while earning up to 8 credits was definitely the icing on the cake.

class session in Munich

Pursuant to my concentration and interests, I opted to take the Legal and Social Environment class along with Global Innovation Strategies. Our facility in both Germany and Greece were with partner universities of USD. In Munich, we had the opportunity to hear from industry experts as part of our learning experience where they elaborated on innovation in the German economy as well as sectors to focus on for the next twenty years. We visited innovation centers as well as innovation incubators for startups that gave us valuable insights in to how startups are formed and run efficiently. My fellow students were very impressed with a few of the startup ideas that we were exposed to along with taking valuable insights from the guest lecturers. We also got adequate opportunities to explore Munich and thereabouts, with quite a few of us managing to visit Dachau, Salzburg and Neuschwanstein Castle. Our trip also consisted of a visit to the BMWmanufacturing facility that was thoroughly enjoyed by both faculty and students alike. Munich was a great experience for all of us and we definitely had a wonderful mix of academic strategies and practical implementation of those strategies.

BMW 2.Munich

Athens was a great eye opener. We had all been aware of Greece’s financial crisis but to be, literally at ground zero, was a humbling experience. Our first exposure to the crisis came from the Dean of USD’s partner in Greece, ALBA, who gave us a very honest portrayal of the origins of the crisis and potential solutions. The solutions presented were very radical which mathensade us understand how deep-seated the crisis really is. Our Legal and Social Environment class delved further into this by comparing the economies of several countries within the EU with Greece that made us more knowledgeable about the situation at hand. Greece is also a hub for startup businesses and the government is actually promoting startups in order for people to become self-employed that would actually help in the high unemployment in the country. Athens also provided a very rich gastronomical experience with almost everyone raving about the quality of the food and wine. A ‘scentsations’ tour of Atheacropolisns was highly enjoyed by everyone where we had to use our five senses to take in the actual essence of Athens. A tour of the Acropolis was also organized by the study abroad coordinators which was a great experience for everyone. Greece was definitely an incredible experience for me personally as I could feel the history everywhere I went. After the culmination of the program, a few of the students went to visit some other islands of Greece for some days.

All in all, the study abroad in Europe organized by the Ahler’s Center was extremely educative as well as enjoyable. It was the perfect balance of touristy things along with learning valuable lessons from both the economies. A big thank you to Renata Berto for coordinating with such a large group of people so well and ensuring all of us that were there remained safe and had an absolute blast!

-Submitted by Swastik Mukherjee, a Full-Time MBA student in the International Business Track
Swastik’s MBA summer internship is with Tata Consultancy Services (Tampa, Florida office)

BMW Munich

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Shanghai Experience: International consulting project

ShanghaiAs a Full-Time MBA student in the International Business track we are required to do two international consulting practicums on two different continents during our tenure as  MBA graduate students.  This past January, I had the pleasure of joining a diverse group of MBA students from USD to work as a consulting team for a company in Shanghai City.  The company we were assigned to is iPai, an American auction company whose goal is to bring auction of daily items to the general Chinese public.  I primarily chose Shanghai City, the heart of financial and business operations in China, due to the lack of a language barrier and my understanding of the basics of Chinese culture.  I figured that by eliminating the stressors of inability to communicate and not understanding how the culture operates, I would be able to focus on the consulting project at hand.  Sound reasoning right?  Boy was I wrong. Ironically, the consulting project turned out to be the easy part of the whole practicum experience and the cultural navigation was the hard part.

While overall communication did not pose much of a problem, it was much harder for me to navigate the Chinese cultural scene due to great discrepancies in the varieties of regional Chinese culture.  For example, in Taiwanese culture calling a young female ‘miss’ (Xiǎojiě) or an elder female ‘Ah yi’ would be a sign of respect; however in Shanghai, I discovered that calling any female ‘Xiǎojiě’ would be the equivalent of implying they work in the red-light district and calling any elders ‘Ah yi’ would demote them to a cleaning lady or a female of low social class.  The social stakes were high, and I learned quickly for fear of offending any more people than I absolutely had to – replacing ‘miss’ with the unisex formal name to address a server and  ‘Ah yi’ with ‘older sister.’  These two phrases were just a couple of the multiple daily phrases that I had to constantly adjust to over the course of two weeks.

There were times I was envious of my colleagues for not being held to the same cultural expectations that I was, but that envy gave way when it was time to read the lunch menu!

It was definitely a different experience having to watch every word I said and how I said it, since the most innocent words could offend.  The whole experience humbled me and taught me that despite growing up in a Chinese environment and culture, there is still much for me to learn.

 -Submitted by Alice Shih, a 1st year Full-Time MBA student in the International Business track.  Prior to joining University of San Diego’s MBA Program Alice worked as Research Programs Coordinator for the School of International Relations and Pacific Studies at UCSD

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