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MBA

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

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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MBA GENERAL MANAGEMENT/STRATEGY-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.

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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MBA Marketing-A Day in the Life of Cristina B., Product Manager for a global pharmaceutical company; Syracuse, New York. US

What I Do

As a product manager, I am responsible for marketing and developing the affiliate marketing strategy for a new product/compound we are launching within my country. My work on the marketing plan begins with field trips to interview doctors and get to know the market.

I conduct primary marketing information that goes beyond the statistics. I also develop the local market research plans, PR programs, and promotional materials. I conduct competitor analysis and brand-equity studies, and I perform competitive analysis.

What I Enjoy Most

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A Day in the Life of Amy R., Management support consultant, human resource operations, for a diversified electronics company; outside Denver, Colorado, U.S.

MBA Human Resource Management

What I Do

I work in a department known as Management Support within the Americas Human Resources (HR) Operations Group, as a consultant to the managers.

My role is to coach managers on performance issues with regard to their employees, lead internal misconduct investigations, investigate discrimination complaints, and resolve other related issues involving conduct between management and employees.

Although my focus is primarily on the conduct of managers, both managers and their employees are my clients, in a sense. If someone is reported to have done something they shouldn’t have, I’m going to be the person dealing with finding out what happened and creating the best resolution from the company’s viewpoint.

What I Enjoy Most

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