Full Circle

This Saturday is our two last finals. As we will be taking a 4-hour test for Strategy Analysis, our professor Dr. Bogner will be doing Orientation for new PMBA students at Buckhead campus… What does it mean? It means we’ve come a full circle: from beginning to end. Frankly speaking, there’s still a lot I could share with you, but this is my last blog (there will be one more later in August when I receive the images from our PMBA graduation at Magiano’s on the 31st of this month). I wanted to use this last opportunity to share with you how I feel about the PMBA at Robinson.

Where I Started:

  • Being from Russia, I was concerned that my English would not be good enough, but I had no problem performing at my best while on the program, so you shall never hesitate if English is not your native language.
  • Being new to the country, I thought maybe I won’t adjust and won’t handle graduate studies well enough, yet it was actually not impossible to get through the program, and I was able to even maintain GPA of 3.72
  • Being a busy business owner and a wife with two stepsons, I was afraid there would be no time for me to keep us with homework and classes as well as frequent team interactions and meetings; however, it was very manageable I’d say.
  • Being from a different culture, I was puzzled about the new systems and processes, yet PMBA administrative staff did a great job making us feel taken care of, and today I can honestly say that it is a premium program for a reason – it provides high-end, premium service to make the PMBA experience a very pleasant one for you.

Where I’m Finishing:

  • I’ve learned many great concepts, frameworks, tools, and mindsets that helped me in my own business and now are applied on my new job as a Marketing Manager
  • I’ve developed essential critical thinking habits to stay open-minded and available to new opportunities whenever those come (so that I can actually recognize them and take advantage of them)
  • I’ve met so many amazing people and expanded my LinkedIn network by 2,066 people while being a PMBA student; these connections are priceless, and many of them would have never been possible had it not been for the PMBA
  • I’ve gained a strong competitive advantage which will always help me stand out among other professionals as long as I’m able to communicate the value of my credentials and knowledge.
  • I’ve obtained a very unique approach to problem-solving that assists me in my daily personal and professional life, and most of all I have perfected my negotiation skills that have already been utilized in a variety of situations to my benefit.

I loved it and I truly believe that no matter how busy you are, you should just go for it! PMBA is your instant ticket to success!



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More of the “behind the scenes” for you

More of the “behind the scenes” for you today. This time I’ll share my poster presentation for Organizational Behavior. It was about any book I like. I chose Google’s Search Inside Yourself. Below id the summary I created as well as the exact posts I glue to my board. Also, I had little cards as giveaways to those who asked many questions. It was fun!


Poster Presentation Anna Stevens

Anna Stevens




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Professors Who Care

When you think about graduate school you realize that it’s a big commitment. You want to be confident you can do it. You want to know that you have support to count upon. Such support is provided to us as PMBA students by our amazing professors, one of which is Dr. Bogner. When we didn’t meet his expectations on the first test this semester, he offered to dedicate a great amount of time to get together with everyone who seeks to improve his / her grade, one-on-one, and help understand the concepts of Strategy Analysis. I attended such a session last week and must admit it was very helpful. Last Saturday, during breaks, Dr. Bogner dedicated even more of his time to explaining the complicated concepts to us in detail. Many students gathered around him, listened, and took shots of his notes to use for the preparation for the final exam, which is next week. I wanted to share with you some of my shots, so that you can get the feel of the friendly, student-oriented learning environment created for us on PMBA at GA State. Enjoy!

Dr. Bogner GSU

Dr. Bogner GSU

Dr. Bogner GSU

Dr. Bogner GSU

Poster Presentation Today

Today for our Organizational Behavior class we had to produce and deliver poster presentations about the book that is of interest to each of us and is also relevant to OB. I must admit it was a little challenging to me as never before did I have to do something like this. But luckily on Wed this week I forgot my parking ticket when went to the campus. Looking for someone to borrow the ticket from, I arrived to a class that just happen to deliver the same type of presentation that evening to my professor. Having observed what it was about I had no problem creating one. In fact, see me presenting below. I chose Search Inside Yourself by Google’s engineer “Meng”. I had the actual book on the iPad-2 as an e-book. Also, I had little cards with quotes from the book and I gave those away to people who asked most questions. Below are the behind-the-scenes pictures I took to share with you. Hope this helps you understand what kinds of projects we do while on PMBA at Robinson.

anna stevens












Anna Stevens


What We Do At The End

As promised, I’m sharing with you what we do in the last few weeks we have left on the PMBA program. You may wonder what it is that we do in class. Well, for our Organizational Behavior class we have to now write a research paper. I just submitted my part to the team for editing. I thought you may be interested to find out what the research was about just so you can see what you will do once join the PMBA at GA State. So, here it is, as raw as the research paper can be in its first day 🙂

Organizational citizenship behavior as an Unavoidable Necessity for Increasing Effectiveness in Organizations.

For the purpose of this research we explored the relationship between organizational citizenship behavior and employees’ effectiveness. We have looked into real-life examples of companies where OCB is evidently demonstrated and we established a relationship between the OCB and the effectiveness of those organizations. We then drew a conclusion in regard to how OCB affects effectiveness of an organization.

According to Navabakhsh et al (2009) employee’ level of commitment is likely to be determined by the job itself, employee’s personality, and the organization’s structure and characteristics.

The organizational citizenship behavior concept calls for a paradigm shift in today’s competitive business world and requires managers and leaders to perceive an organization as a separate country, in which they are further challenged to consider the establishment  of organizational citizenship as the greatest goal of their management.

The new paradigm of organizational citizenship behavior requests leaders and managers to promote the perspective and feeling of organization-related interests in its employees. Such a feeling is equal to civic virtue (the cultivation of habits of personal living that are claimed to be important for the success of the community – Wikipedia) and shall lie in the foundation of an organization’s entire culture.

The validity of this idea is demonstrated in a case study called “Human Resources at Hewlett-Packard (A)” by Michael Beer and Gregory C. Rogers published by Harvard Business School in 1995. The culture built by HP to encourage and promote organizational citizenship behavior in its employees was named “The HP Way”. Dave Packard’s initial idea of how to “simply get everybody agree on what… objectives were…[and] turn everybody loose [to] move along in a common direction” eventually became the foundation of the company’s success in the area of organizational citizenship behavior.

From the case we can see that The HP Way was in the words of employees “…about feeling responsibility to express your opinion” – the civic virtue concept we identified above. The employee continues to describe his feeling of organization-related interests: “[Working at HP is] about contributing as an individual while at the same time working in a team. As a result, there is an important value of trust and freedom at HP that employees need to work successfully as an individual and a team member. This inherent feeling within HP makes it a very special place to work.”

This particular case study reveals how organizational citizenship behavior promoted by the company via The HP Way increased effectiveness in the following ways:

Employees with OCB contributed to growth of productivity of other employees:

  • By helping their colleagues they caused the higher productivity of those
  • Such a behaviors determined organization’s effectiveness by bettering individual employees’ or / and  teams’  performance over time

Employees with OCB contributed to  the increase in administrative productivity:

  • Since HP employees had civic virtue (see the employee’s quotation above), the managers utilized their opinions, suggestions, and recommendations for the improvement of organizational effectiveness
  • HP employees avoided causing problems for others in the organization considering themselves a part of a big team, which prevented a potential crisis occurrence

Employees with OCB helped free the resources of the company for further production:

  • By helping their counterpart HP employees provided for more opportunities for the managers to perform the essential managerial, big-picture activities critical for company’s overall success
  • By demonstrating OCB HP employees required less supervision and control and established trust for themselves in the eyes of the management, thus allowing for more responsibility being delegated to them. Doing so these employees provided for more time the management could invest to build the organization
  • The employees who possess essential experience and demonstrate OCB were able to train new personnel and lead to the reduction of organization’s costs and resources required for training

Employees with OCB allowed for a better coordination between team members and group activities:

  • Fattahi & Azami (2008) explain that the civic virtue along with voluntary presence and active collaboration in the working environment is effective on the coordination between team members’ activities and the increase in the efficiency and effectiveness of the organization
  • By promoting complaisance with The HP Way HP employees with OCB encouraged their team mates and other organizational groups to prevent the probability of occurring time-consuming problems

“The HP Way” culture is a great example of how one company can get the benefits of embedded organizational citizenship behavior through higher effectiveness of its individual employees and teams.

Sohrabizadeh et al (2010) believe that employees tend to believe in their organization based on the valuation of the organization for them based on the perceptive of welfare, comfort, and security. This belief has been defined as organizational support perception. That is the perception of an individual employee that his or her collaboration within the organization is important to the success of that  organization as well as his or her own welfare, comfort, and security. Thus, high level of organizational support perception allows for a commitment to be made by employees, which leads to collaborative behavior and organizational citizenship behavior.

The validity of this idea is demonstrated in a case study called “Zappos.com: Developing a Supply Chain to Deliver WOW!” by Michael Marks, Hau Lee, and David W. Hoyt published by Stanford Graduate School of Business. Zappos’ culture of “delivering happiness” allows for OCB in employees who evidently see themselves as the company’s most important asset which its success is based on, thus they consider their own collaborative behaviors critical for Zappos’ vitality as well as their own welfare, comfort, and security. This organizational support perception leads the entire company to experience higher effectiveness and allows for the following outcomes:

  • J.D. Power Customer Service Champion Award, 2011
  • Unique, valuable, and inimitable competitive advantage
  • Brand loyalty by the customers
  • Viral word-of-mouth marketing with high-credibility referrals
  • Loyalty by employees and access to high-potential talent
  • Sustainability of the company in today’s global, rapidly-changing, highly-competitive business world

In this study of organizational citizenship behavior we are particularly interested in identifying the relationship between the OCB demonstrated by employees in sales organizations and those companies’ effectiveness in the area of sales. Performance has always been the major focus of industrial sales research. Typically, performance has tended to be expressed in terms of well-defined outcomes that are presumed to be an offshoot of the behaviors exhibited by salespeople within the context of their role, that is their in-role behaviors. Today, a wealth of research is dedicated to the investigation of salesperson behaviors beyond their typical in-role activities, that is their extra-role behaviors, or OCBs

The above described relationship between organizational citizenship behavior of employees and sales effectiveness of the organization is evident in a case study called “ZARA: Fast Fashion” by Pankaj Ghemawat and Jose Luis Nueno published by Harvard Business School in 2003. By establishing the corporate culture of entrepreneurial spirit, ZARA was able to embed the sense of ownership in its employees, particularly store managers, whose role was critical to the timely and comprehensive information exchange downstream the company’s chain, which led to instant feedback to designers, suppliers, and other critical members of ZARA’s successful business system. By promoting organizational citizenship behavior ZARA was able to experience the following benefits of high effectiveness:

  • Just-in-time production processes that are highly-efficient
  • High-quality product that market already desires and expects
  • Loyal customers and lasting brand equity
  • Unique, valuable, and inimitable competitive advantage
  • Sustainability of the company in today’s global, rapidly-changing, highly-competitive business world

The research literature presents the position of many that if a salesperson exhibits high OCB manifested by extra-role behaviors inside the firm via civic virtue and helping behavior, such OCB would also influence the relationship with customers. There has now been a direct link established between a salesperson’s OCB and his or her customer orientation. Since customer-oriented selling by definition implies a focus on the salesperson satisfying customer’s needs, it is clear that the long-term relationship with valued clients can be enhanced by promoting OCB within an organizational culture. ZARA case study is a strong example of how a company can become successful by establishing and promoting OCB in its people, particularly sales people who deal face-to-face with the end customer.


Organizational citizenship behavior directly affects the effectiveness of individual employees, teams, and organizations overall. OCB presents employees’ contributions that are altruistic in nature and when aggregated over time and persons may enhance the performance of individuals and teams in an organization by lubricating the social machinery and constructing the psychological fabric of the organization, reducing friction, and /or increasing efficiency.

Employees’ aim to demonstrate helping behaviors at work, assist co-workers in becoming more effective,  spread positive emotions and a can-do attitude at workplace lead to the increase in the overall effectiveness of the entire organization.

Organizational citizenship behavior has been recognized as one of the main success factors of effective sales due to the sales employees’ direct interaction with the end customer. OCB leads to a better customer service experience and helps create brand loyalty and sustainable success for the company.

Thus, on the basis of our discoveries about the relationship between employee’s OCB and organizational effectiveness, we confidently conclude that employees’ organizational citizenship behavior is positively associated with organizational effectiveness.

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PMBA perks

PMBA (Professional MBA) at J. Mack Robinson College of Business is a premium program, which means we as students are well taken care of. Our perks include free food, snacks, drinks, iPad-2s, etc. I thought, since we only have 3 weeks [7 blog posts] left, why don’t I use this opportunity to invite you to look behind the scenes and see our lunch, for instance. This blog is the only place where you can take a close look at our daily life, so let me share with you! Here are some shots of our lunch from last Saturday. We had 4 different salads and 4 different pastas. Of course, fruits are always there for us: apples, peaches, oranges, and bananas. I hope you get the idea of what can be available to you once you join the program. I’ll share more, so come back on Wed!

DSCN9526 DSCN9527 DSCN9528 DSCN9529 DSCN9530 DSCN9531 DSCN9532

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LinkedIn Job Application: Resume and CV for Success

As promised, in this third blog post in the series of how I got my perfect job on LinkedIn right away, I will share with you my LinkedIn job application: Resume and CV.




Job Posting Screen Shot

Screen Shot 2013-06-29 at 3.12.26 PM


Cover Letter Screen Shot



Resume of Anna Stevens, JD, MBA

Screen Shot 2013-07-03 at 10.13.26 PM

The statistics indicate that on average a job seeker spends about 45-60 SECONDS reading a job description before sending his / her resume. I can tell you frankly that 45-60 minutes was what I spent per a job application, which included attentive reading of the description for 2-3 times, checking of the company’s website, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, tailoring of my cover letter,  sending over, and tweeting about it. One example of such a tweet to a potential employer is below. He responded that the position was filled, but by that time I already had a contract myself. One of my job interviews was scheduled right after they saw my tweet.

Hope I was able to help you. Good luck!






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How to Stand Out on LinkedIn [You Have 225+ Million Competitors There Today]

In my previous post I promised to share some details about how I found a job on LinkedIn right away. Let’s talk about how to actually stand out on LinkedIn when you have 225+ million competitors there today. So, I already showed you my profile stats. Here’s more about my LinkedIn – the so-called secrets of success:

  • My LinkedIn profile URL is my actual name [see the screenshot below]
  • I have 2034 connections 95% of which are in the Atlanta area,
  • I belong to 52 relevant to my interests groups and I’m active there,
  • I update my status regularly with interesting articles, blogs I write, and other information about what I do,
  • I have a professionally-done profile picture with a friendly smile on it,
  • I have a comprehensive summary as a plain text and in bullet points for those who don’t have time to read through,
  • I have projects I accomplished and courses / certifications I completed listed under an appropriate category,
  • My tagline is very specific and targeted and speaks out for me,
  • I’ve been endorsed for my skills as well as recommended nearly 40 times by people,
  • and finally I have ACCOMPLISHMENTS area for each of my positions.

My profile’s strength is rates as “ALL STARS ”

Anna Stevens' LinkedIn

Anna Stevens' LinkedIn

How to Stand Out on LinkedIn

Anna Stevens

How to Stand Out on LinkedIn

The secret is this: you don’t build your LinkedIn profile in a day. It takes time and the trust of people. But if you stay consistent and do what it takes, keep your profile professional, relevant, fresh, and unique, you will stand out in the 225+ million members LinkedIn community.

On Wed next week I will show you my Accomplishments-Based Resume and the EXACT cover letter I submitted, after which I got a call from a decision maker in 15 min. Stay tuned!

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Can One Find a Perfect Job on LinkedIn?

Can One Find a Perfect Job on LinkedIn? I asked this question on Facebook last week, and the answer I received was a “NOOOOOOOO” I have to tell you this: last week I applied for a Marketing Manager on LinkedIn on Monday, had 2 interviews that week with a perfect company & 1 with not a so perfect one, and I signed a contract that Friday afternoon. I’m starting on July 1st. Salary, bonus, benefits… Thanks to LinkedIn!

How did I do it? I’ll tell you exactly how, but on Saturday. One thing I want to say: social media rocks. Every time I’d apply for a job (I applied for 30 that Monday, 8 applications were opened, and two interviews scheduled within 24 hours), I’d find that company on Twitter and tweet. Screenshots of those tweets, my LinkedIn job application, and my Resume, as well as other cool details are coming, so stay tuned and check back on Saturday at 8 am.

I want to leave you with the most important tip for a LinkedIn success – GROW YOUR NETWORK! Be active! Stay engaged!

Here’s my LinkedIn data from today: 6 people viewed my profile just today and 36 people searched for either me or someone like me with me appearing in search, which is exactly what you want and you can only achieve it by being active.

What are your LinkedIn stats? What can you do to improve those?

Anna Stevens' LinkedIn

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Ledership Conversations

Leadership is one of the topics we’ve learned a lot about during the two years here, on PMBA at GA State University. This semester we’re taking Organizational Behavior course, and for the class we had to group with our teams and prepare a topic of our interested and then facilitate a conversation. Several teams talked about how successful leaders lead.

Just a few key takeaways are the following.

Leaders are:

  • authentic
  • self-aware
  • inspired
  • visionary
  • caring
  • doers
  • fair
  • strategic
  • innovative
  • understanding of people’s differences

Also, leaders do:

  • help others grow
  • develop leaders and not followers
  • lead by example
  • encourage accountability
  • promote change

More thoughts about this topic are coming. Feel free to share yours in the comment box.

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