From the monthly archives:

January 2012

What a great evening!

Really enjoyed the night with my wife. Great cause, great entertainment, great networking, great organization!

The event was held at the House of Sweden, on the Potomac waterfront in Georgetown. There were celebratory speeches, acknowledgement of this year’s recipient of Distinguished Alumni Award, hors d’oeuvre, open bar (take a note, if you ever have to attend an event at this venue – no red wine is permitted, apparently for the sake of the floors),  and performances by current students and alumna.
I was really surprised and pleased by the quality of the band  that comprised GWSB MBA students. The guys were really amazing. My personal favorite was their rendition of the Beatles songs, though they had more in their repertoire, including American classics.

This reception reminded me about another event I attended with my wife in my first year of part-time program – MBA Gala. No contest here – Business Gives Back night was hands down a much more rewarding experience.

Other than enjoying the music and dancing, I was glad to catch up with a bunch of people I met before in my elective classes, as well as meet quite a few new faces – mostly the first-year full-time Global MBAs.

I even met the guy who almost dismantled me from the dubious position of being the oldest student in full-time and part-time MBA programs at GWSB ;-). He is still a couple of years younger than me. But he nevertheless beat me in one regard – he started full-time program, not part-time, at the age just over 40. Kudos!

To learn more about the event, read this more official report on the evening, and my original post about it.

If there were one thing I personally could do differently – I should have skipped the after party at the nearby bar ;-) .

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Written by Brian Fitzgerald, VP of Digital Strategy at O’Rourke Hospitality

In late 2007, early 2008 I started to prepare to go back to school and get my MBA in the Washington DC area. I researched the various schools, weighed my pros and cons and took the GMAT. When all was said and done I was deciding between the part-time program at Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business and The George Washington University School of Business. I ultimately chose George Washington partly because, at the time, it was less credit hours (and therefore less expensive) but more importantly I felt that it was more flexible and less rigid than the cohort approach at Maryland. In September of 2008 I began my journey.

When I started at GWU I was working for a small Internet marketing agency in Chevy Chase, MD. The two owners of the company both had their MBAs and so I had some assumptions about the value they might place on an individual that also had an MBA, but prior to my beginning there was never any discussion or direct evidence that it would lead to more responsibilities, salary, etc. In February of 2010, about 18 months into the MBA program, I got a promotion at work to take on additional responsibilities. I’d like to say this promotion was related to my MBA studies, but it wasn’t, it was because I proactively asked for the additional responsibilities, hounded the owners about it and they somewhat begrudgingly gave it to me. Yes, it was a strange situation but I was happy to have more responsibilities.

Right around this same time our small company had been acquired by a much larger, publically traded company. Soon the two owners were out and a new President from the parent company was in charge of the day-to-day operations. For about a year I had the opportunity to work closely with the new President and he was very open to hearing about my work experiences and MBA studies. I could tell that he liked that I was taking the initiative to go to school part-time and I could tell that he saw value in an MBA.

After that first year with the new President he promoted me to be part of the 6 member executive team, taking on a larger department of people and responsible for helping creating the strategy for the company. This promotion happened right around May of 2011, right when I was finishing my MBA program. I have since left that company in DC and moved back to my hometown of Boston where I’m working for a small marketing agency called O’Rourke Hospitality Marketing. My job is working directly with the two owners to grow a new business unit from the ground up.

All in all I completed my part-time MBA in under three years, secured a 3.7 GPA, all while working 50+ hours a week. As I look back on it those were actually some pretty miserable years. I say that partially joking, but partially serious. I was very stressed, relatively unhealthy and didn’t have time for many of the things I would typically enjoy. However, I’m glad that I did it and think that I proved a lot to myself in the process.

For what it’s worth, because I know sometimes people ask about the ROI of investing in an MBA, between when I started the MBA in September of 2008 and now (January 2012) my base salary has increased 58%. I really couldn’t say if that is average or above/below average, but I’m very happy with it.

Going into my decision to get my MBA I never really had expectations for the short-term, it was always more of a long-term strategy for later on in my career. I knew that it was something that I would probably need later to progress but something that I needed to do before my wife and I started to have a family. However, in retrospect I think it did help me get promoted at my job in DC and I think it positioned me very well for the job and responsibilities that I have now.

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I just bought two tickets for me and my wife to the 2-nd Annual Business Gives Back event that will take place this coming Saturday. If you are in the GWSB community and somehow missed multiple prompts and invitations to this event in the busyness of your days, you still have a chance to register and buy tickets online till tomorrow. Here are just a few highlights of this event from the invitation flyer and other promotional materials:

  • In line with the George Washington School of Business pillars: “Act Responsibly, Lead Passionately, Think Globally,” Business Gives Back is a student-led initiative celebrating a commitment to responsible business and social change.
  • Three student-led initiatives will be selected by a student panel to compete for the funds raised at the event. The initiatives showcased must be nascent nonprofits or community service groups founded or led by current GWSB students that, as a reflection of the GWSB pillars, make a positive impact within the D.C. and global communities.
  • An evening of music and fellowship recognizing community initiatives led by George Washington University School of Business students and alumni.
  • The evening will feature musical performances by current GWSB graduate students. Cocktails and refreshments will be served.
  • Remarks by Dean Guthrie and Dean Riddle

I hope to take a few pictures and have a brief report on the event afterwards. For me, in addition to supporting a good cause, it will be another opportunity to network with my fellow MBA, and undergrad students, as I acknowledged before the lack of such opportunities for part-time MBA students due to busy schedules.

See you there!

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This post is just a brief introduction to the article I am preparing for publishing tomorrow. I am planning to have stories from the GWSB MBA alumni published on this site. Basically, I am interested to hear from them about:

  • why they decided to pursue MBA in the first place, why part-time, why GWSB
  • their overall experience with the part-time MBA program at George Washington University School of Business
  • what value they were able to extract from the program (if any)
  • how/whether the program helped them in their post-MBA career, or other goals they had set for themselves
  • whether the program met their expectations
  • whether they got the expected ROI for their MBA degree
  • any positive highlights
  • any grievances they might have
  • any advice they could give to current and prospective MBA students

These are just general guidelines I will request them to consider in order to help them formulate their posts, not a rigid format. So far I reached out to one of my classmates, Brian Fitzgerald, with whom I had one class together – Consultative Processes – in Fall 2010 term. We also worked with him on a group project in that class. Brian has graciously agreed to write about his experience and tomorrow you will have a chance to read the first guest post on this blog. Hopefully, I will be able to invite more of my classmates to participate in this new project at my blog, and Brian’s post will be the first in the series of alumni stories. I am actually also going to ask some of the students from the full-time MBA, called Global MBA at GWSB, and see if any of them would be interested to share their stories. I hope these stories will be interesting not only for me, but for all readers of my blog who are considering the MBA degree in general, and part-time MBA option in particular, whether it is in GWU School of Business or any other Business School.

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Final MBA Term First Day of Classes

January 23, 2012

Today was my first day of classes in the final term of part-time MBA program at George Washington University School of Business. I had two classes piggy-backed from 4.30 PM to 9.40 PM. I don’t have classes for the rest of the week in the first Spring Module, so it seems like a reasonable workload. […]

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La Isla Cancun – Zara Undressed!

January 21, 2012

Last summer we had a family vacation in Riviera Maya, Mexico. We stayed at a resort some 50 miles south of Cancun proper. I even had a brief post Cancun Vacation with some pictures back in summer. During that vacation we had one day trip to Cancun and among other things we stopped by at […]

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Spring Term – Final Push to MBA Degree

January 18, 2012

This is the beginning of the final term in my quest for the MBA degree. And it is arguably going to be the most intense in terms of the study load. Up until now throughout my part-time MBA program at George Washington University School of Business I have had 7.5 credits in each of my […]

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MBA Winter Break Accomplishments

January 16, 2012

While the winter break in business schools around the world brought about a significant dip in traffic to my blog since mid-December, for me personally it was a very productive period in my MBA blogging. I mostly kept my promise to keep up with regular updates to this site and in the process I was […]

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MBA Bubble to Burst?

January 11, 2012

The subtitle for this post could probably be How to manage your risks if MBA bubble to burst? There is no question in my mind that the MBA degree and MBA education have been going through the significant changes in the last decade or so. The question I actually have is, are those changes just […]

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Conflict Management and Negotiations Resources

January 9, 2012

This class – Conflict Management and Negotiations, probably got the most of coverage of all my MBA classes in this blog. There were two reasons for this: first, it was a highly engaging and even entertaining class, which was of great interest to me personally; second, I kept a self-reflection journal which I had been […]

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Negotiation – More on Importance of Preparation

January 7, 2012

I have already reflected on the Ridgecrest School Dispute Negotiation Simulation in my blog earlier. There were also couple of posts on the importance of preparation for negotiation: Negotiation Preparation – Do the Numbers and  Cover Your Butt – Prepare Your BATNA. This is the last post with my thoughts on the importance of preparation […]

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Humor and Workplace Productivity

January 4, 2012

At the beginning of the Conflict Management and Negotiations classes last Fall MBA term at GWSB professor often had a short musical intermission with some comments, or a humorous YouTube video to set the positive tone for the lecture. At one point there was a brief comment about the humor and its effect on increasing […]

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Labor Disputes – Unionized Dis-Unity

January 2, 2012

One of the assignments in my Conflict Management and Negotiations class was to prepare for discussion of the documentary Final Offer.  You can watch it online, if interested. A very suspenseful documentary about the labor negotiations between the Canadian section of the United Auto Workers (UAW) and GM in 1984. Even though the immediate objectives […]

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