Tag Archives: Master of Business Administration

How to Manage an MBA Life

You are a professional working 5 days a week. You are also a parent. There are family and friends who need your time as well. Plus, working out, cooking, cleaning, laundry, grocery-shopping….you name it! How can you manage to add being an MBA student to the list? Here are some tips for you.

Four Tips on How to Successfully Manage an MBA Life

  • When at work, focus on work to be able to accomplish as much as possible WHILE there, so you don’t take work home
  • When in your car commuting back and forth, make calls to family members and friends to share your life and news
  • When at home, focus on your children and spouse for some period of time undividedly
  • When the children are in bed, schedule time to study every evening and focus your mind then on your school fully

By shifting your mind from one area to another and by focusing your attention on only one are AT A TIME will help you give your best to each of your roles and will prevent you from getting exhausted, which is exactly how you will feel if you decide to do EVERYTHING at once.

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Personable Approach

Time and time again I am getting pleasantly surprised with the personable approach PMBA faculty demonstrates toward the students. For those of you who may still think that in a big school such as GA State University, J. Mack Robinson College of Business you will get lost and will be treated like just another “one of them”, I am going to share this story that just happened to me personally. The story is a great example of how PMBA students are treated and what kind of help is available to them.

As I mentioned multiple times, I am not a “numbers-person”. Numbers=Problems to me 🙂 So, this semester we’re having to take a “number-class” – Corporate Finance. For this class we had to take several quizzes  on-line, do some problems at home etc. Unfortunately, because of how much time I personally need to even understand the concepts behind these numbers, I was unable to start on time. Well, in addition to that, my husband and I moved to a new place in Savannah, which took so much time, energy and effort: for about two weeks day and night we were working to get furniture, put it together, organize everything etc, so we all can start school (we have two kids at school, and each of us is at school, too). So, that put me way behind…. When I asked my professor Fendler to allow me to take all quizzes after the deadline, he kept them open for me for a few extra-days. I started working on the problems, and some of them I just couldn’t figure out how to think about to solve them. Even though it was a weekend, when I e-mailed the detailed solution for a problem to showcase my way of thinking about a problem and ask my professor what was wrong with the way I thought and how to properly think, he replied right away. He explained to me exactly how to think of a problem to solve it, and I ended up getting 100 out of 100 points on a quiz!

This is just one little example of how you will be treated if you join our PMBA-family. How did this make me feel, you may wonder? It made me feel cared for and supported, it gave me confidence that my professor has my best interest in mind and is there to help, and it also provided encouragement: when I felt like giving up after several tries, I couldn’t because I knew that my professor waits for me to succeed.


On Saturday  we’ll have a midterm for Negotiation, so I look forward to sharing about it with you. Stay tuned!

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Networking Events This Semester

Remember, during the last Open House LaTonya mentioned that we like to party here at GA State’s PMBA? I saw you, guys, laughed, but she actually wasn’t kidding. We do really like to party, and the coolest thing is that it is all complimentary as long as you ARE a PMBA student, everything is organized for you, so all you need to do is to just show up and have a good time 🙂 That is PMBA Mixer I am talking about – see the pictures from last year below. It was fun, people were meeting in the relaxing settings, food was delicious, and I actually made a few great friends.

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So, PMBA mixer will take place in Atlanta in October. I look forward to attending the event and meeting new people. It’s always exciting!

The other awesome event, where I plan to network with like-minded people, is the Annual Distinguished Alumni Award in October. As a recipient of Alumni Association scholarship I was invited to join the celebration! This will be my first time, so I am excited to see what it is going to be like 🙂 I’ll make sure there are some cute pictures to share with you, guys 🙂

Also, in October seven of the PMBA students get to attend Corporate IP (Intellectual Property) Institute free of charge! I am lucky to be one of them. That will take place closer to the end of October, and I will sure update you on all the fun stuff and will also summarize what I’ve learned for you. See the details in the brochure below.

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Mentorship for PMBA Students

As mentioned earlier, PMBA provides students with career-coaching. Not only in general for all students, but also for a specific number of pre-selected candidates there is a very special program called Executive Career Coaching, which is  organized my Career Management Center.

Only 45 students, I believe, can be accepted, based on their resume and the submitted essay.

Last Fall, I enrolled and was accepted. The value of it is that you are being matched with an executive to coach you based on your career-goals and interests. I was matched with a great person – a consultant and a business-owner. This coach was supposed to work with me for 45 min on my professional goals. We spent a little more than that, and I got a great deal of very useful advice as well as business-strategies to apply immediately.

A few months later, I reached out to this coach on LinkedIn and asked to be mentored. Since then, we became friends, have regular coaching sessions, where we mutually benefit one another with the essential for business information. My bottom-line has grown, I expanded my network, found more opportunities for my consulting-business etc.

With PMBA, you are just exposed to so many unique opportunities.

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So far I only shared with you about my classmates with a maximum of 3 children. What if you a professional, who works full time and is a parent of FOUR kids. Is it possible to actually add PMBA at Robinson College of Business to all of your other responsibilities? You, probably, think to yourself “Of course, it’s impossible! There are only 24 hours in a day!” Well, let’s ask our expert – Crystal Alfred, who is a mother of four, my youngest classmate at GA State and a full-time employee in addition to all that. When interviewed Crystal, I wanted her to share the secrets of successfully combining the three roles (no, four roles, actually, as she is a wife, too) and performing well. See the interview below.

Crystal Alfred and Family

AS: How are you finding it possible to be a mother of four, maintain a full-time job and be an MBA student? 

CA: Careful planning and scheduling. If I wasn’t at school on Saturdays, I would, probably, be at one of my kids’ game (now my husband gets to fill me in after school), and Thursday nights I would be in bed reading. I am a planner, and I waited to the point in my life were the school would fit right in. I have a flexible job that allows me to change my work-schedule to accommodate my school-schedule. Also, having a loving and supporting husband helps a lot. We make it work so that we can each fulfill our life-goals while not making the kids feel as if I were not around enough.

AS: What are the ages of your children?

CA: My oldest, Deja is 8; Tayshun (boy) is 6; Anaiyah (girl) is 5; the baby (boy) Tristan is 3.

AS: Do they help you with your daily responsibilities now when you’re at school? 

CA: They all always help with daily responsibilities:  from making their beds, sweeping and vacuuming to cleaning bathrooms – they do it all (all in moderation, of course).

AS: What is the most challenging part of combining and successfully balancing all areas of your life now? 

CA: The most challenging part is making sure that I spend enough time with my kids and still get my work and homework done on time.

AS: Do you find the PMBA interesting? Has it been rewarding? 

CA: I find the program very interesting. I love the cohort-method of learning as it helps create bonds throughout the program. The PMBA has been rewarding in that it has allowed me to kind of expand my mind in certain areas. 

AS: What are your suggestions to the young mothers and female professionals who are currently considering joining the PMBA?

CA: Just do it! Only you can hold yourself  back. Don’t allow yoursel to think that it cannot be done! Just put your mind into it, and everything will work out well. If you were to ask me “Crystal, do you have times when you want to give up?”, I would say “Yes”. In fact, we all do. But that is what will make the graduation so rewarding!

Wow! Very powerful and inspiring! Let’s thank Crystal for sharing her secrets of success with us, and I hope that you will take her advice and instead of holding yourself back you will “Just do it!”

I will share more stories from our students with you, so check back every Wed and Sat at 8 am for more posts!

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Executive MBA Alumni Club Speaker Series with Michele McMahon

Michele McMahon, Anna Stevens, GA State, GSU, PMBA, PMBA blog

With Michele in the middle

Social media is not only changing how we connect in our personal lives but also in our professional lives. Customers are just as likely to look for a company on Facebook as they are to visit a corporate website. New generations of technology are helping facilitate connecting to customers like never before.

Today we heard unique insights from two points of view about how to become a social enterprise. Michele McMahon, Principal Customer Success Manager for Salesforce.com, shared with us how Fortune Magazine’s #1 Most Innovative Company In the World uses technology in their business-to-business social media strategies to understand and listen to their customers, create customer social networks, and drive real-time, online employee collaboration.

Watch the video and see the pictures of the event!

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During the open house last month, one of the most burning questions I was asked was about scholarships for PMBA candidates.

Scholarships are available. In fact, if you look at the website, there are 15 pages, 20 scholarship descriptions on each of them. So, there are many opportunities for you. For example, GLOBAL EXPERIENCE SCHOLARSHIP – available for students planning on studying abroad with a minimum GPA 2.75. Another one is BANK OF AMERICA scholarship which  is awarded by The Robinson College of Business graduate admissions office.  This one is interesting, too: COCA-COLA GLOBAL AMBASSADOR scholarship aimed to provide study abroad scholarships to students enrolled in an undergraduate or graduate degree program at Georgia State University. I applied for Fredrick V. Sherwood and Daniel T. Sims scholarship which is aimed to provide scholarships to students who have demonstrated outstanding academic achievement. Students must have a 3.0 GPA or higher on a 4.0 scale or be an entering freshman who has been accepted to GSU with an overall high school GPA of 3.2 or higher on a 4.0 scale.

You see? There are many scholarship opportunities for you if you join our fabulous PMBA program!

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Who Are PMBA Candidates? Meet Lubna Memon.

During the open house last month, I was asked by many prospective students: “Whom will I be sitting in classroom with?” Of course, I understand this concern: if you invest thousands of dollars in your education, you want to make sure your classmates are mature, with experience, can share their knowledge with you and that they are interesting people in general. You want the two years on the PMBA program to be as challenging for you as possible, so that you can grow personally and professionally as much as possible. For this very reason, I am starting a series of articles Who Are PMBA Candidates? in which I will share with you about interesting people I have a great pleasure to sit in classroom with.

Let me introduce to you Lubna Memon – a PMBA student from Mumbai, India, who came to the US several years ago to pursue a Master of Science in Information Systems. I personally think Lubna possesses strong leadership skills, in addition to which she is amazingly smart and friendly. She also likes to play ping-pong which I do, too. But the most interesting thing about Lubna is her passion – technology.

When Lubna was only 12 years old, she started expressing some interest in her dad’s computer. Can you imagine a girl who learned technical details from computer manuals?!  “Since that time, information technology has become an unforeseen passion in me,” Lubna  says. “I like to be a part of an innovative environment and I believe that IT is one field that provides innovative solutions and products almost every day.”

When Lubna was just one year before graduating from the J. Mack Robinson College of Business with a Master of Science in Information Systems degree, she was named one of six Bergeron scholars for Women in Technology Leadership which is awarded every year to six ladies of undergraduate or graduate level who have continuously proved leadership in technology. You can learn more about that story here.

Lubna received $7500 to support her leadership potential. At the time, she worked as a graduate research assistant and did not have a full-time job. She used the scholarship to advance her skills and obtain knowledge needed to land the job of her dream. Lubna invested the money into three certification programs:

  1. Project Management Professional,
  2. Lean Six Sigma at GSU,
  3. Careers in Action with Women in Technology.

After getting certified, Lubna was able to start her career with Ernst & Young and is now advancing her education with the PMBA program at GA State.

I hope you enjoyed meeting Lubna. Check back with this series of articles and you will find more interesting stories about very unique people from my PMBA class.

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What is the interview like?

In my previous post I told you about what a great experience it was for those who are looking into an MBA at GA State to have the opportunity to attend an Open House, meet current students, the Dean, the Assistant Dean, the faculty members, ask questions and kinda look through the window into our MBA at GSU home.

I openly exchanged my contact information which prospect students, and some of them started calling me and asking me questions about the interview process. I thought you may benefit from hearing the answers. Let me share with you.

Interview for PMBA is a pleasant conversation

How many people will interview me if invited? I was interviewed by one person – LaTonya O’Neal. I wasn’t worried because I was prepared and it turned out to be a great evening and a nice, very pleasant conversation with an interesting, friendly person. I do suggest, however, that whether you’re being interviewed by one or five hundred people, just be yourself. For that, you absolutely  have to know who you are and what you stand for. What are your values, goals, your mission?

Do I need to know who J. Mack Robinson is? I’d suggest that you, sure, be prepared to answer simple questions like this. Learn everything about GA State, PMBA, other MBA programs and know WHY you see the PMBA as the most attractive program for yourself.

Will I be asked about my Resume? It’s very likely, so be prepared. You may be asked any typical job interview questions, so that’s the easiest part. Just ask yourself and answer questions like Why did you choose to …? Where do you see yourself in five years? What are your strengths and weaknesses? etc

What are your strengths and weaknesses? Do you know yourself well enough? Nobody is asking you to criticize yourself. However, it is interesting to see what leads you to the grad school, what areas of your professional and personal profile you’re working on. If you’d never asked yourself this question with an open mind, you may not be ready to respond in a constructive, professional way. Try it!

What are some other questions I may be asked? You can never guess, so my advice is know yourself, know your field, know your own story and be ready to tell it in an interesting way, make sure to use professional language and avoid, you know, this terrible phrases, you know, we usually, you know, try to say here and there, you know, when we’re worried, you know. 🙂

One thing for sure – nobody is there to put you down, but everybody there is to help you get accepted. Read some great magazines like Success Magazine, Wall Street Journal and others to pick up some great ideas and be able to articulate them well.

Hope it helps. Good luck!

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Open House was a success!

On Thursday, February 23rd, GA State hosted an Open House for its MBA programs at Grand Hyatt in Buckhead. It was a real success! Over 500 professionals from all different walks of life came to learn more about each GA State MBA program. They had an opportunity to ask current students any questions and find out all the details about enrollment, acceptance, and students’ daily life. They also got to meet our Dean Huss and Assistant Dean Toby McChesney.

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It was a high-end place, delicious food, interesting people and lots of fun!

I was there to support my PMBA program and hope that sharing my experience at Robinson made a difference for many candidates.

Regret that you didn’t make it? No worries! Next Open House is Thursday, May 17, 2012 from 6-8 p.m. Hope to see you there!

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