Harvard and Stanford MBAs Are Using This Brazilian Network To Land Jobs In Latin America...

Deep in the Latin America’s biggest economy, a network of MBAs from some of the US’s top schools is stirring. Founded by Patricia Volpi over a decade ago, the exclusive MBA Alumni Brasil community has grown to nearly 2,200 members, from 50 business schools including Harvard Business School and Stanford GSB. “The group has really taken off,” says the Indiana, Kelley School graduate. MBAAB helps graduates network and find MBA jobs through company visits, “happy hour” drinks doos, from São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, and Belo Horizonte to Miami, New York and London, and job postings from companies such as Bloomberg, Microsoft and Nestlé. “The exchange of job opportunities drove the group,” says Patricia, who has worked at Frost & Sullivan, Telefonica and GNext, a recruitment firm. But Brazil is mired by a political crisis and a faltering economy. Its president, Dilma Rousseff, has been suspended and its central bank forecasts GDP to contract 3.5% in 2016. “One of the challenges was finding jobs that met MBAs’ salary expectations,” Patricia says. Below, BB speaks to two members of the MBAAB network working in São Paulo. A Hub For Entrepreneurs With a large financial center, well-regarded universities, and local heroes such as Dafiti, the e-commerce business backed with $250 million of venture capital, the city has a growing start-up ecosystem. “São Paulo is the best region in Brazil for entrepreneurs,” says Ric Scheinkman. The local entrepreneur is managing director and founding partner of Harpia Capital, an advisory and investment firm. He plans to study for an MBA at University of Miami, and says the MBAAB network has introduced him to top-level executives and entrepreneurs in São Paulo. “It has some of the best and brightest of the Brazilian business community,”...

Am I Networking With The Wrong People?

I went to speak at B-school networking event. At this event, local business owners and executives mingled with MBA candidates. A young woman introduced herself to me. She was the student organizer for the event. “Great job putting this event together!” I said. “I had the idea to make the huge name badges that you see on everyone’s chests,” she said. My name badge was about six by eight inches in size. Everybody else’s name badge was enormous, too. “I was wondering about that,” I said. “Did you make the badges and the lettering huge so that people with impaired vision can read them easily?” “No,” she said. “I made them huge so that students can spot the business people across the room and see which ones are worth meeting. We are busy and we don’t have time to waste networking with the wrong people.” I think my heart stopped for a second. “How would the MBA candidates know which people are worth meeting, when all they can see from a distance is each person’s name badge?” I asked. “No one wants to meet some independent consultant who works for himself,” said Sarah, the sweet young event chair. “We want to meet the CEOs and CFOs of big companies — the powerful people, the impressive people!” “Aha,” I said. “Do you agree that that is the most effective networking strategy?” she asked me. “I don’t,” I said. “Power is a funny thing. What is power, to an MBA candidate who will graduate soon? Power is the ability to get a great job that deserves you. The local entrepreneur who works for himself or herself goes in and out of those large companies every day. “If you want a job...

Is An MBA Necessary For Success In Business?

The total cost of an MBA at Harvard is an estimated $102,000 a year. At that price, how much difference does an MBA make in the real world? “I’ve got a lot of young people who are qualified up to their eyeballs with MBAs and BAs, but not a shred of common sense” said Optiv’s Wendy Hoey. Ingram Micro’s Gina Masanuano said a lot of the degree’s worth depends on circumstances. “I think it depends on where they are in their career, and it depends on the area,” she said. “Past a certain level, I don’t even look at education anymore,” she added. Verizon’s Wendy Petty agreed and said she values experience over an impressive education. Red Hat’s Margaret-Ann Bolton said for those individuals who are looking to switch to business, an MBA will help the transition. “If they’re trying to make a change in their career, like if they’re on one path and they really want to do something that’s completely different,” she said. “What I found with an MBA that is so valuable is when you haven’t done your undergrad in business, and your education is in a different area, it is a huge benefit to learn if you’re going into marketing, or finance or sales,” said Extreme Networks’ Paige Powers. Read full story:...

6 questions to ask yourself before taking the MBA plunge...

Choosing whether to go to business school is a big decision. On one hand, an MBA could propel your career or business. But it comes with a hefty price tag in terms of time, tuition and lost wages. Students, alumni and university staff gave us the lowdown on how to make the big decision of whether to take the MBA plunge. Here are six questions to ask yourself to help you decide. 1. Why do I want to get an MBA? Don’t just get a degree to get a degree, professors and students said. Instead, think about what you want for yourself over the next five to 10 years. “I think it’s important for [prospective applicants] to think about their career goals in a more long-term perspective. Candidates for MBA programs may say, ‘I want to go because I want to start my own business.’ But you know, life changes. Three years from now, their plans and aspirations may change,” said Stefanos Zenios, Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business’s director of the Center for Entrepreneurial Studies. “They may decide that they want to work for a large organization or a high-growth company. So they should take a holistic view of their plans — of what is plan A and what is plan B, and how an MBA will help them achieve those goals,” Zenios said. 2. Can I improve my leadership skills? Getting an MBA is just as much a personal decision as it is a professional one. Kyle Jensen, an entrepreneur himself and the Yale School of Management associate dean and director of entrepreneurship, said one of the most important questions is about leadership. “Do I need to learn to be a better leader? If the answer is...

Glassdoor for MBAs and Startups

One of the big issues with employment review websites, such as Glassdoor, is that feedback is usually submitted only by those who had a really great, or really bad, experience at a company. And feedback is so general, it doesn’t offer an accurate snapshot for people with diverse backgrounds: A business school student fresh out of undergrad sees the same salary range as someone with an MBA, for example. Smaller companies and startups without many employees, aren’t as well represented as major corporations. University of Chicago Booth startup TransparenC is hoping to change that with curated career sites. They’re starting with a website tailored to MBA students, called TransparentMBA, but they anticipate expanding their platform to law, engineering, and tech among other niche job seekers not served by general career sites like Glassdoor and Linkedin. The idea first came to Mitch Kirby, a UChicago Booth student, last fall when attempting to look for jobs post-graduation. Glassdoor felt like “information overload” he said, and most of the aggregate information didn’t give him an idea of how his qualification–an MBA from a top-ranked business school–would translate to a position or compensation. So he decided to create a platform that gave more granular information on companies and careers for MBA students (he coded it himself), and see if his classmates were interested. They were: about 50 percent of Booth students quickly signed up, he said. Profiles for companies, jobs, and industries are built through feedback that users provide, which they’re required to submit when signing up for the platform. Users can see feedback such as expected compensation, satisfaction rates, and culture fit for an MBA at a given company and position. They can also compare the experiences at the industry level. Kirby...

10 Career decisions which make more sense than an MBA...

Five years ago, the society evaluated your “market value” solely based on your grades, college, and the number of degrees you owned. Thankfully, through the influence of digital age, these stereotypes are slowly finding their exit route. Today, your grades don’t matter as much as they used to and if you’re talented, you can find yourself an amazing job even with basic qualifications. Those looking to take their careers to the next level, often find themselves considering the pros and cons of taking up an MBA. For most of us, an MBA programme would either be to increase our business acumen or simply because we need that feather in our cap to show the world. Let’s run some quick numbers The cost of your MBA programme abroad would range anywhere between Rs 40 and 70 lakh, whereas an Indian MBA will cost somewhere between Rs 7.5 and 25 lakh. In India, if you happen to do an internship or a job that roughly pays around 25,000 per month, and your MBA fees happen to be Rs 15 lakh; you’ll still take five years to recover the money spent on your education. Not to mention the living expenses, and other miscellaneous costs. Add two more years, may be? In other words, MBA seems like a dicey choice. Of course, you will earn more in the future and definitely learn a lot but what are the stakes? With these points in mind, here are a few career choices that cost less than an MBA but will probably do more to advance your career: Start your own business. There’s no better feeling in this world than being your own boss. Starting your own business would not only boast your moral, but will...

How to get the most out of an MBA

For Katia Beauchamp, attending business school wasn’t just a “pivotal moment,” it was also where the Birchbox CEO found her co-founder. The pair met while attending the same Harvard Business School class and later launched beauty start-up Birchbox, which has raised $71.9 million in funding to date. Beauchamp describes her time at business school as “monumental.” Her best advice for current and upcoming students? “To really be there,” she said. “It’s a real opportunity to really question what you really want your life to be,” she said. While getting an MBA comes with a steep price tag (lost wages, tuition and housing costs to name a few), the degree can help students transition careers and move up the corporate ladder. So how should students maximize the investment? Come with an open mind It’s crucial for students to stay in their “stretch zone” rather than their comfort zone, said Maura Herson, MIT Sloan School of Management’s MBA program director. This can be a tough mental transition to make, especially for students who are used to being superstars at work and then arrive on campus surrounded by equally driven people. “If you come into it thinking you’re an expert, you’re not going to maximize your learning,” she said. Introduce yourself (on repeat…) “Equally if not more important than the knowledge you’re acquiring” is the network you’re building, Herson said. She cited the example of a student who had tea with someone new each day to get to know more people at Sloan. At the end of the day, what’s the marginal utility of one more problem set versus getting to know a couple more classmates, she added. Fight the FOMO “Everyone seems to be doing something cool or interesting so how...

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What Employers Think of Your Online MBA Degree...

When Michael Urtiaga goes on job interviews, he regularly gets asked the question, “How were you able to balance an MBA education at Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business with your previous full-time job near Cincinnati?” The answer: The 36-year-old, who’s now in between jobs, pursued his MBA online through the Kelley Direct program – not by traveling to the school on the weekends, as some interviewers initially assume given that he lives about a two-hour drive away from the campus. Urtiaga says interviewers generally seem accepting of his online degree given the strong reputation of the school. Still, he sometimes needs to answer questions about the pros and cons of online learning and the real-world benefits the online program offers. “Oftentimes, you can see their faces change as you go through the conversation,” says Urtiaga, who completed his MBA last year and is now pursuing an online master’s in strategic management as part of a dual degree program at Kelley. There’s still a bit of a stigma, he says, but people usually come around when they hear some of the format’s virtues. Recruiters say most employers accept job candidates’ online MBAs from respected schools, especially now that the quality of an online MBA education at many institutions is equivalent to one on a physical campus. But in some cases, experts say, there’s still the need to educate companies about the legitimacy of many online programs. A significant portion of employers won’t even ask about the format in which the degree was earned, says Adam J. Samples, regional president of Atrium Staffing in New Jersey. Others will only dig deeper if they have a specific reason to – as in Urtiaga’s case, where they see he worked while pursuing...

Admitted MBA’s Guide To Quitting Your Job...

Future B-schoolers: you’re a leader-in-training now; make sure to act like it. As the day you received your MBA acceptance letter recedes into memory, the actual work and logistics of preparing for school will replace the joy and relief of realizing you got into one (or more) of your target schools. Getting a graduate business degree entails a great deal of personal and professional change, some of it before you even arrive on campus. Most likely, you will be moving to a new place and leaving behind much of your pre-MBA life – including your employer. There are some relevant considerations for admitted MBAs wondering when to quit their job, along with several broader issues of timeline and prep work for business school. As for what to say to your boss, when to provide your notice, and how to behave at work as you prepare to leave, these are personal decisions that are highly dependent upon your particular circumstances (in general, though, the answers are: be nice to your boss, give two to four weeks notice, and behave like an adult). Breaking up is hard to do Like ending a relationship with your significant other, quitting your job can be awkward, intense, and in some cases even acrimonious. Unlike ending a relationship with your significant other, quitting your job doesn’t have to be unpleasant or involve any hurt feelings, though. Our friends at the Forte Foundation have a great post that covers some of the basic best practices for breaking the news to your manager, and there are plenty of good reasons to handle the process of leaving your job as delicately as possible. One of the biggest reasons is purely pragmatic: your recruiting prospects in business school and...

Is an MBA really worth it? Billionaire Tilman Fertitta has your answer...

If you’re debating whether or not to get a Master of Business Administration, billionaire Tilman Fertitta has some advice for you. “Let me just say this, God gave me a gift of understanding business, but if God didn’t give you that gift and you want to be an entrepreneur and you want to be a business person, go get your MBA,” said Fertitta, CEO of Fertitta Entertainment, which owns Landry’s and the Golden Nugget casinos. Going back to school can be a difficult decision. Getting an MBA can come with a steep price tag. Tuition at top schools can reach north of $60,000 per year in addition to lost wages while away from the workforce. But what if you have an undergraduate degree in business? “[I] don’t even care if you major in business and finance, you just don’t get a grasp of the problems and the experience unless you get your master’s,” he said about undergraduate school. “And that’s just from dealing with people over the years that were young, that had an MBA or didn’t have an MBA that I could personally communicate with.” It’s all about knowing your strengths and weakness , he said. The self-made business titan definitely knows what he’s good at, and what he’s bad at. “I know that I can’t play a musical instrument. I know that I can’t change an oil filter on a car. But you can bring me any kind of business issue or problem, and I will detect it and tell you what the problem is and the solution within a few minutes,” he said. So is business school worth it? If you know you have a knack for business, Fertitta said, “Don’t worry about it.” tilm”I’m for...