April 16, 2018

Dear Lauren: Advice to Incoming Students

Lauren Nelson is a candidate in Weatherhead's MBA program.

My advice to incoming Weatherhead students? Set your post-graduation goals early, and seek opportunities outside the classroom to differentiate yourself from day 1 of b-school. Here are a few ways I did that and what I learned along the way. 

Before coming to CWRU I knew that I wanted to become a business designer. For those who aren’t familiar with that term – it means solving complex “hairy” problems using a human-centered approach, combining customer empathy, business strategy and design thinking. Often it starts with ethnographic research and problem definition, followed by an iterative series of prototypes and experiments tested and co-created with actual users in the field, and finally a human centered solution is solidified. I knew it to be my vocation. Knowing that made it easy to find opportunities to grow in this respect. Some of my classmates knew what industry they wanted to work in, for example: one peer wanted to work in something Organizational Behavior related, another wanted Investment Banking, and yet another wanted to work in advanced marketing analytics. While you may not know every detail about what you want to do, at least have a type of work or industry in mind so that you can more easily evaluate all of the many opportunities that are going to come your way, and choose to get involved in what will give you great stories and skills that you can discuss in your interviews. 

I spent most of first semester of year one looking forward to the MBA core Design class that I knew would come in the Spring for my cohort. A lot of my free time was spent pursuing creative interests on my own, but there weren’t many opportunities to engage in design-related project work or events outside of class. So, shortly after the first days of Design class I, and another student, approached our Design professor, Professor Yoo, to ask for more opportunities. We didn’t let the dearth of opportunities stop us, we made our own! We got a design challenge from our professor to work on as an extracurricular project, which gave us both some great talking points that helped us both get our business design-focused internships in the summer. 

Shortly after the meeting I mentioned above, we made plans to start our own Weatherhead Design Club. This year that club has come to fruition and it’s one of the things I’m most proud of from my time at Weatherhead. We’ve come up with some repeatable templates for events that engage students with outside speakers, skill-building, and ongoing project work for those who desire it. I’m not telling everyone to start a club, but at least get involved in one and make it your own. If I could change something, I would probably have gotten more involved in event planning for different clubs in my first year. Just because you’re not a club leader your first year, doesn’t mean you can’t plan! In fact, club leaders would probably be grateful for someone to step up and help with event coordination, especially when they’re often working, going to school and leading a club. 

You can also flex your leadership muscles with GBSA and deepen your content knowledge by becoming a TA. These are things you should start setting up for during the beginning of the first year – want to TA for a specific professor? Do extra great work for them and attend office hours whenever possible! Want to represent your classmates in GBSA? Apply for a class representative role, and find innovative ways to collect student voices so that you can do your role meaningfully. For me, being the VP of Academic Affairs in GBSA was a great way to get an understanding of the inner-workings of higher ed institutions, and to advocate for my peers. TAing for the first year’s Design class was incredibly valuable and gave me the opportunity to use skills from my past life in teaching in a new context that I am more passionate about. 

Don’t underestimate the power of extracurriculars to get you to the next level and help you meet your goals. The experiences I described above helped me land a job in my vocation and you can too! It’s the things outside of class that strengthen our network and form the connections that will last far into the future. So go get involved!

A photo from our first Design Club event back in the fall.
Excited for next year’s leaders to repeat this event, and make it even bigger and better!

April 6, 2018

Meet the 2018-2019 GBSA

The following blog post is brought to you by Gursewak Singh, 1st year MBA student and Graduate Assistant for Weatherhead's Office of Student Experience (STEX). STEX is here to assist students with finding opportunities for experiences outside of the classroom that will complement the holistic learning environment of Weatherhead. Learn more.

Hello Students,
Please take some time to learn the names and faces of your fellow students who will be representing you next year on the Graduate Business Student Association (GBSA). GBSA plays an important role in our continued growth and success as a school. Not only do these students organize great events, such as the Weatherheadless Ball, Casino Night and Multicultural Festivals, they also facilitate the active community of student leaders who brought you a host of wonderful club events this year.

Moreover, GBSA provides a link between the students and the faculty and administration at the school. They create a collaborative, working relationship that helps shape programming and day-to-day life here in Peter B. Lewis and beyond. 

These individuals will be reaching out to you between now and the start of next year to get a better understanding of your needs as a student body. I also encourage you to reach out to them with your suggestions and ideas.

Graduate Business Student Association (2018-2019)

President: Chris Blanchard, MBA Candidate
Prior to coming to Weatherhead for his MBA, Chris worked as a member of the Houston Electrical  League board of directors where he learned to effectively resolve challenges and lead discussions with working professionals in many different roles. Chris also has 5 years of technical field sales experience on a global scale.

Vice President: Harsh Ranjan, MBA Candidate 

Harsh is a first year MBA student. Prior to Weatherhead, Harsh led multiple design teams as a head architect, and recently created and led a joint venture between an American and Indian design firm  focusing on idea creation and portfolio diversification.

VP Academic: Adriana Benavides Trevino, MBA Candidate

Adriana is also a current first year MBA student. During her tenure as Lead Math Teacher at Montessori High School Cleveland, Adriana worked collaboratively with students in planning future curriculum items.

VP Marketing: Lauren Tancer, MBA Candidate

Before coming to Weatherhead, Lauren worked as President of Miami University Student Foundation where she developed rich experience in Event Planning, Marketing and honoring university traditions such as Miami University Homecoming, Family Weekend, Greek Week, Senior Week and a variety of other events throughout the year.

VP Finance: Suyash Gayawal, MSFI Candidate
Suyash is a current Master of Finance Student. Suyash has several years of industry experience in design, development, and supply chain management at a pre-revenue company (Echogen Power Systems) as well as a fortune 500 company (Cummins Inc.).

VP Operations: Shu Liu, MSFI Candidate
Prior to Weatherhead, Shu developed her leadership experience as an academic leader of the Model United Nation organization at her undergraduate institution. Shu also enjoys working with Youth Volunteer organizations.

VP Social and Cultural: Kuiran (T.K) Song, MSFI Candidate
Kurian is a current Master of Finance student. His experiences as an active member of the CWRU undergraduate community and as the president of the student council in high school have given him the skills necessary to build strong connections between student voices and university staffs.

Program Representatives

MSFI: Bohao Bi 
Bohao will be the Master in Finance rep in GBSA. He has experience working as Vice President of Liaison International Elite Program, MetLife Hong Kong Branch and as a leader in his undergraduate Student Union.

MBA: Nathan Sundheimer
Nate will be an additional representative of the MBA program in GBSA. During his undergrad in Neurobiology, he held a number of leadership positions including President of the College of Wooster Neuroscience Club and President of College of Wooster Club Soccer Global.  

ORSC: Jiaxin Hong
Jiaxin Hong, first year MS-ORSC student, has a background in Communication and Transport Engineering. He was the Financial Department Head of Student Union, Shanghai Maritime University and Recreation & Sports Secretary, and a member of the SMU Class Committee.

MACC: Bei Wang
Bei Wang will serve as the MACC program rep in GBSA. Bei has a background in International Business and was an active member of her student council in undergrad.