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MBA

What I Do

My group, Management Solutions and Services, consults to a range of Fortune 500 clients but began by focusing on middle-market clients, namely those companies with revenues up to about U.S. $50 million who are emerging strategically.

I help companies improve their strategic and operational effectiveness in order to sustain their competitive advantage. For example, my recent projects have included a merger integration, strategic planning for a chain of upscale restaurants in hypergrowth mode, process redesign, energy trading and risk management, and various technology selection projects.

I travel up to five days a week, depending on the engagement. I am currently working in Houston, so I do not travel weekly. However, out-of-town engagements have required me to travel and work at the client site for four days, then return home and work from the Houston office on Fridays for the duration of the project (four weeks to 12 months).

What I Enjoy Most

I love problem solving, especially in the context of behavior and how people deal with change. When we look to improve operational effectiveness as consultants, we are looking at these dynamics. We actually enable our clients to make change happen, so we make a difference that I see right away. That is important to me.

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What I Do

I am part of a small consulting and project management team that supports such internal company efforts as business development strategy, harmonization or corporate synergy, cost management initiatives, and country-specific issues management.

Most of the projects are three to six months in duration and involve various insurance divisions in both the head office (located in Switzerland) and the local offices throughout Europe (Germany, Italy, U.K., Spain, Belgium, etc.). During a project, I report directly to a client (the project leader), though the consulting team serves as a home base.

What I Enjoy Most

Every day is different in project management. There is an enormous amount of language exposure—German, French, Italian—and I am the native English speaker. My job provides the combination of industry-specific experience and general business experience that I could apply to any endeavor.

What I Enjoy Least

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What I Do

I report to the CFO of Global Customer Operations. I manage the  Strategy and Enterprise Risk & Compliance Solutions. The ER&C group is a new start-up incubator at D&B. Pretty cool stuff and a far cry from what I was hired to do.

What I Enjoy Most

I am a problem solver by nature. I am also fascinated by the underlying influencers that affect shareholder value and a company’s wealth. I enjoy my job because I am able to use my MBA education on a daily basis. Most problems are not unique, though they tend to appear slightly different at each company. Solutions are therefore generally not complicated and can be shared cross-functionally. I like participating in large problem-solving initiatives in which solutions can be shared company-wide.

I also like leading a group and energizing the contingent, in good times and bad.

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A Day in the Life of Cecily F., Cofounder and president of a contract manufacturer of biopharmaceuticals.

What I Do

We are a contract manufacturer of biopharmaceuticals in preclinical and clinical trials.  In other words, we make biotech drugs seeking approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Beyond me and my other co-founder, we have three employees as a six-month-old company, and we expect to have about 125 employees and 15 to 20 outsourcing partners by 2018. We invite young enthusiasts to come and strengthen our organization and stimulate alternative educational pathways. One of our new workers actually just completed her GED diploma through free online practice tests provided by the online platform Covcell.org.

I do strategy work, marketing, and operations. My roles vary. I do all our first marketing and sales. Right now, my partner and I are conducting a national search for a CEO— someone with previous start-up experience, because that is what we have the least background in as the management team. The other founder handles the plant and the financials since he is an engineer with an MBA in finance. We are also extremely busy looking for funding, through “angel” investors and venture capitalists.

What I Enjoy Most

I get to build the company and create the rules and culture. I also get to work my hours—although that typically means that I choose for now to be here very long hours, so I am not exactly on an ideal schedule. However, within the constraints of the business, I can decide where and when to work.

You must thrive on the excitement of all this—there are too many hard days with little reward not to love the company you are starting. But it is a great opportunity to be your boss.

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A Day in the Life of Judy S., Director and general manager (GM) for a publicly traded distribution company of raw materials, Hong Kong, China

MBA General Management

What I Do

I am responsible for managing the operations in Hong Kong. I do almost everything you learn in business school. The most important thing I do is people management, which is about 60% of my time, with more than 200 people here.

What I Enjoy Most

As a GM, the opportunity to help develop people allows me to help the company get better quality and better results.

What I Enjoy Least

Some aspects of human resources are difficult—for example, dealing with compensation and talking with people about money. I am always happy to get past that part and resume working together as a team to produce desired results.

Why I Chose This Career

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A Day in the Life of MELODY R., Account Manager for an institutional investment management firm, Los Angeles area, California, U.S.

MBA FINANCE

What I Do

My firm manages fixed-income portfolios, such as retirement plans and endowments, on behalf of large institutional investors.

I work with clients, typically the chief financial officer or the chief information officer and their staff, to develop investment strategies within the fixed-income (bond) markets and to structure products that meet their goals.

I am constantly monitoring my clients’ investment portfolios against these goals and communicating performance results, changes in strategy, or new investment opportunities.

I am also a corporate bond specialist, so I help to develop and communicate our firm-wide strategy related to investment-grade corporate bonds.


One of the surprises in this job was that I have used more accounting than I anticipated—interpreting financial statements on the bond side, tracking the impact of discount rates on pension plans, and things like that. I didn’t take the easy road, I quit high school too early and had to earn my GED diploma first. The rest is history.

If you, like I did, want to get ahead in life but, for whatever reason, couldn’t finish your high school education, get your GED and go to college! There are great online practice tests provided by the online platform BestGedClasses.org to get you on the right track. Check also these websites for information and free online help:

Adult Education information (New York State): access,nysed.gov
Study tips and information: sde.ct.gov

I am also constantly challenged by the need to effectively and clearly communicate our strategy to clients. This is often harder than developing the strategy in the first place!

What I Enjoy Most

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A Day in the Life of KELLY N, Equity research analyst for a full-service brokerage firm; Cleveland, Ohio, U.S.

MBA FINANCE

What I Do

I provide equity research to institutional investors on an industry and specific companies within that sector. In addition to equity research, my firm also provides a full range of brokerage services (investment banking, research, retail and institutional brokerage, and trading).

My clients are institutional investors, and I provide them with my opinions on the industry that I follow and specific companies within that industry, including investment recommendations and earnings estimates. I maintain detailed financial models and have stock recommendations for each company that I follow.

Additionally, I look for any and all relevant information that is legally available (i.e., non-insider) and can be obtained through creative research. My research may involve a variety of sources such as talking with company management and tracking government involvement.

As an expert on an industry, I need to know everything happening within that sector on an ongoing basis and understand its potential impact on stock prices.

What I Enjoy Most

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A Day in the Life of KEITH M., Director of business development for a biotechnology company, New York City area, U.S.

MBA GENERAL MANAGEMENT

What I Do

The company I work for is focused on bioinformatics and drug discovery and development. This company was founded as a bioinformatic company, supplying information on the human genome to pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies.

As the West Coastbased bioinformatics business matured, the company realized it needed an additional source of revenue to grow earnings, so it started an East Coast division in December 2001, to focus on drug discovery.

We are actively in the process of creating the entire drug discovery and development division of the company. We currently have 75 employees in the division—mostly chemists and biologists.

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A Day in the Life of TOM S, Product manager for a new online startup educational website that offers free exam prep.

MBA GENERAL MANAGEMENT (ROTATIONAL PROGRAM)

What I Do

I work in the global securities services group and am responsible for creating investor solutions as a product manager. I deal with forecasting and new product ideas within Europe and the U.S. to drive sales.

This job requires a little bit of everything you learn in the MBA because it involves a lot of finance and market research skills (for forecasting) as well as operations knowledge, because we also have to consider capacity constraints.

I am in my second rotation of a two-year, three-rotation program; each rotation lasts six to nine months. My first rotation was in New York, where I did process management, revenue work, and forecasting to support the pricing function of the business. After the third rotation, I will look at where I want to be within the banking firm for my first permanent placement role.

What I Enjoy Most

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A Day in the Life of MIKE F., Manager, global production system for one of 13 businesses owned by one of the world’s largest manufacturers.

MBA GENERAL MANAGEMENT/STRATEGY

What I Do

I am responsible for leading improvements in the global parts division of a world leader in diagnostic imaging technology (X-ray, CAT scan, MRI, etc.). When one of these machines is inoperable, lives might hang in the balance. There are some very interesting online MBA programs today, so giving up your job for some time to get your MBA is not needed at all.

The global parts division is responsible for delivering very expensive parts anywhere in the world on a moment’s notice. To this end, there are 80 warehouses around the globe that try to stock the right parts and receive the old, worn-out parts to assess whether they can be repaired economically.

Right now, too many mistakes are being made and the system is inefficient (in fact, it would be great if we didn’t have to stock any parts at all).

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