Graduation Announcements – Shutterfly is Awesome!

If you haven’t already ordered your Graduation Announcements, I highly recommend using Shutterfly!  Search coupon codes online to get additional discounts on your order.  Here is a preview of mine:

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The BIG Draw – Pleasanton Chalk Art Festival May 2013 – Experience

 

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In our Social Media class, we were tasked to utilize a Social Media Strategy to help promote a community event in Pleasanton, called “The Big Draw.”  My group and I decided our target audience would be families, children, our friends and the Pleasanton Community.  Our tagline was “Leaves can’t grow without water and sun, our community can’t grow without you and your family.”

I personally really believed in the theme we used for our campaign.  Our viral video concept was to expand upon the idea of a community whose strength comes from it’s roots and the growth of the tree coming from the nurturing by the water and sun.  This idea runs parallel to the growth of a community, which is perceived to grow with the people, family, and children contributing to it.  The Pleasanton Chalk Festival purpose was to do just that.  

Although I was unable to attend the actual festival on Saturday, May 11th, I was able to get a sense of the festival based on the updates made by my classmates on their respective blogs, online, and personal conversations I had with my teammates.  They expanded on how their experiences showcased the strength of the community that exists in Pleasanton: families enjoyed themselves, our cohort was able to bond and take a break from the classroom, artists collaborated and shared their art pieces, children had a fun time doing chalk art on the streets, and the festival raised funds to support Arts in the School Grant Program.   

My experience running a social media campaign on the festival was challenging but rewarding at the same time.  Just like the festival whose intent was to use art as a way to bring together families, our social media campaigns in our class groups also did the same. While creating the video, our group had to think creatively and outside of the box.  How could we get people excited and interested in going?  We had to think of a creative approach and decided the concept of our video would use chalk art in three parts: 1. Establish the roots of a tree 2. Begin the tree growth with the sun and rain 3. Showcase what happens when all the pieces come together = a fully grown tree.  

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Art can be utilized in so many ways.  Our team used art to create the viral video promoting the festival.  The children and adults enjoying the festival today took part in the creation of art on the sidewalk or appreciated the artists showcasing their live canvas’.  Art is continually a part of our lives and is a great way to connect people in every community.

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Practical Tips for the Future CSUEB Cohort – Class of 2014

To my former pre-MBA self & the future 2014 Cohort;

I would like to take this opportunity to share with you several practical tips which you can implement now, to contribute to your success as an MBA student.  I am focusing on my top tips to share with you today:

|Save up to buy a tablet|

Many of the books you will have access to in your MBA program is accessible by .PDF versions.  That said, you will find it beneficial to purchase a portable tablet such as an IPAD, Nexus Tablet, or a Kindle to read while you’re on the go.  Alternatively, you can read on your laptop but who wants to hold a heavy piece of technology over several hundred pages of reading?

|Learn how to use Google+|

There are many useful applications to work collaboratively on Google.  What was most useful to me was meeting in teams via Google+.  Since the cohort often lives throughout the Bay Area, it is often difficult to meet in person so video chatting is awesome.  Google+ hangouts also allow you to share your screen and work simultaneously on a word document.  This definitely helps with time management and increases efficiency in a group setting.

|Learn how to use Google Applications|

In almost every class, you will have to work in some type of group setting.  You are practicing project management skills and you didn’t even know it. Organizing your class assignments and due dates on Google Calendar will keep you on top of your readings and homework.  If you use Google Documents, you can access your work remotely on your phone or on any computer regardless of where you are located.  It’s awesome.

|Connect on LinkedIn|

Anytime you meet someone in a networking environment (from the San Ramon Cohort, going to a MBA Association event, etc.), take advantage of the connections you are making. One disadvantage of our program is that you are not around 2nd year MBA’s so ultimately, if you don’t network beyond the 30 person cohort, you are not taking advantage of the networking that thousands of other MBA’s consider when paying for an MBA program. Just do it, who knows you might meet your future business partner.

|Yes, You Need Business Cards|

Pretty self-explanatory, if someone doesn’t volunteer to create business cards for the cohort, YOU should volunteer to make them either for yourself or for everyone.  I didn’t take advantage of this in the beginning of the program and ended up creating them myself halfway through the year.  When you are connecting on LinkedIn, a physical business card is a nice complement when you meet someone new.

|Network with Your Professors|

They are not only there to teach, they are there to help you with your future. This is one lesson I wish I knew at the very beginning of the program. Many of them are accessible after the program, and if you seek their help, they are more willing to help a student they knew rather than the student they faintly remember.

|Join the ICBSC Competition Team|

Around early January, a team is put together to represent the CSUEB cohort at the annual competition in April. I was hesitant at first, due to the time commitment. However, I can say now it was one of the best decisions I made during the program. The competition challenged my ability to balance school, work and meeting the deadlines for the competition.  The best part, you get to apply everything you are learning in your classes into a simulation game that tracks your performance real-time.  If you don’t do this, challenge yourself in another project presented to you outside of the classroom.

|Show Integrity|

With how you represent yourself, how you work with others, and who you want to be remembered by.  No one wants to work with a negative person or someone known to throw people under the bus.  We are all adults and should treat each other how we would want to be treated.  No questions asked.

|Take a Speech Class|

Right when you start the program, you are expected to do group presentations in front of the entire class.  If you are uncomfortable speaking in front of others, I highly recommend you take a speech class at a local community college or sign up for Toastmasters in your city. I previously had a fear of public speaking, but found taking a speech class one year prior to the start of the program highly benefited my ability to feel more comfortable speaking in front of others in a clear and concise manner.  Address this fear before your start the program.  Your professors do not go over the mechanics of public speaking in this MBA program.

|Your MBA is Not a Means to an End|

            It is your opportunity to create a unique path for yourself to reach a dream or a goal. No matter how unimportant an assignment may seem or how difficult it is for you to go out of your way to do something for someone else, use your activation energy to push yourself outside of your comfort zone and make it a learning experience of something new.  Most importantly, don’t forget to have fun, make friends, and be true to yourself.

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49th Annual ICBSC Competition

International Strategic Business Strategy Competition

Anaheim, California – April 18-20, 2013

The Pioneer Intellectuals (Pi-Intel) represented CSU East Bay at the 49th Annual ICBSC competition, out of 60 universities from several cities in the United States, China, and the United Kingdom. Our team consisted of CEO Andrew Vargas, VP of Finance Amy Jiang, Controller Gaspar Sanchez, VP of Production Leigh Purry, VP of Sales Denise Thao Yang, and VP of Marketing myself.

The basis of the competition was to apply various business strategies in a simulated environment, where our team was able to run a full-fledged company and sell a product with various factors impacting our performance and decisions. This element of the competition began at the end of January and concluded at the competition.

The Anaheim portion of the competition was very intense. A total of eight decisions were made, every two hours. Additionally, the program administrators imply some type of external factor such as a labor strike or a severe weather event, which affects your production facilities and company operations.  It was up to us strategize how those factors would impact our decisions and for us to act accordingly to have a greater performance.

Once the simulated performance concluded there was an awards ceremony to award schools (and their faux companies) on the basis of “Best Stock Investments” for individuals and advisors, “Best Presentation Performance” and finally “Best Overall Performance.” We came home with 6 1st place individual prizes for Stock investments and all recognized in front of a group of 300 people, where no other group was recognized the same.  It was also an indicator of how well our company performed at the competition.  Finally, in our world we also won 1st place runner up in Overall performance.

To summarize my experience, the competition was very exciting and really tested our knowledge of our individual areas. We stayed up late at night to work on our documents, worked diligently to prepare for our 30 minute presentation in front of our board of directors, and bonded as a team to create a true group of close friends.

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