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MBA Strategic Planning and Finance – Roslyn J. is senior financial and business processes auditor for one of the world’s leading producers of primary aluminum, fabricated aluminum, and alumina; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA

What I Do

I am responsible for leading and performing financial and business processes audits, information technology reviews, and repair-and-maintenance reviews at various business units—from manufacturing to specialization and outsourced functions—throughout the company in North America, including Canada and Mexico.

The company has a global presence in nearly 40 countries and is active in all major aspects of the industry—technology, mining, refining, smelting, fabricating, and recycling.

My role includes assessing overall business risks to the company, issuing comments, and making recommendations. I also cross-train on environmental, health, and safety audits. Facilities audited consist of groups with revenues from $5 million plus. I travel on a monthly basis on an average of 50 to 75 percent of the time (two- to three-week intervals). In addition, I lead and participate in process improvement teams within the internal audit group.

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A Day in the Life of Cathy P., the leader of sales and trading for a publicly traded, global financial services investment banking institution.

What I Do

I market equity derivatives to our private banking clients. I spend the majority of time speaking with clients about strategies and watching the markets to take advantage of movement. Contacts are brought to us through the private banking group, so we don’t do cold calling. We’re the product people.

What I Enjoy Most

I love the fast pace and staying on top of what’s going on in the financial markets. Regarding doing what I do at this specific firm, I like the comradery and nature of the trading environment within my firm. We go out together as a group and people help each other out at work. This is important because of the fast pace. A fair number of people in this firm have ended up going other places only to return here because we operate so well as a group.

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A Day in the Life of  Peter G., Equity research analyst for a global investment firm.

What I Do

I am an equities analyst for the firm’s Asia oil, gas, and petrochemicals sector research team. My coverage includes two Korean oil refiners and the entire oil, gas, and petrochemicals industry in the Kingdom of Thailand. Total market capitalization under my coverage amounts to about US$10 billion.

I spent my first year in the firm training in Hong Kong with the director who heads the Asia regional oil, gas, and petrochemicals sector team. After one year in Hong Kong, I broke off to assume coverage of my own list of companies for the same firm in Thailand. Thailand is a small market, but I have joined a great team in Bangkok, comprising staff from Thailand, the U.K., Canada, and Lebanon.

What I Enjoy Most

The job is never boring. I am challenged every day and no day is the same. Expectations are high, but the environment is very supportive. Great people work here. They are happy to share their expertise with you so you tend to learn very quickly.

What I Enjoy Least

About once a week, I need to make a presentation at 5:30 a.m. Thailand local time for a conference call in Korea. I have had to learn to be an early bird. When you work for a global organization, you have to adapt.

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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.

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.

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.

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!

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Many students ask themselves what to do after an MBA? Michelle M. who recently graduated MBA shares her story.

Behavior and change are themes that have always interested me and that I deal with constantly in consulting.  My father was a Ph.D. in industrial psychology, so you might say that I grew up with this as a natural interest. As an undergraduate, I got an internship with an organizational-development consulting firm. My career took off from there, and I have been in consulting both before and after the MBA.

With the MBA, I was able to expand on a career in consulting but at a broader and more strategic level, and with a more solid set of quantitative skills to support my decisions.

Desirable Traits to Be Successful in This Career

You must be effective under pressure and never more than in this weak economy—in a market in which we are lucky to have work, we promise the world, they have to deliver it. You must also deal well with ambiguity since the pace is fast and the facts always change or are incomplete.

Strong quantitative skills are a must. The MBA-level courses in finance, economics, research, and operations are good preparation and a good test, but they will be a substantial challenge.

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 the U.S. $50 million who are emerging strategically.

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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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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.

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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

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

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

What I Do

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

As the West Coast-based 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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