That’s A Lot of Handshakes…

My first exposure to the actual CSUF MBA program (that was not just some flyer or school-sponsored information session) came two weeks ago, when I attended the 2011 Mihaylo College of Business and Economics Welcome Seminar.  The seminar is a required element for MBA and other graduate business students and takes place during one weekend on Friday and Saturday.  The weekend is so important in fact, that if you miss any part of the weekend you have to attend again the following year.  I was actually quite excited going into the event, and was hoping the weekend would show what I could look forward to from the program.

All the graduate business students (which include MBAs, Accounting, Information Systems, and Taxation students) were welcomed on each day by various Mihaylo College of Business and Economics administrators and professors.  Dean Anil Puri welcomed us all on Friday morning, and the rest of each day’s introductions were conducted by Van Muse, the MBA Director.  He actually provided facts and statistics about the incoming Mihaylo graduate class, which I personally had some trouble tracking down when researching the program.  Our class is the largest in the school’s history, with over 42% of the students coming from outside the United States, the class average GMAT score is 577, and the average student age is 26 years old.  The introductions also included information about the program’s Value Proposition, the key elements and characteristics the program intends to emphasize and instill in its students.  These include hard work, dedication, street-smarts (meaning that students understand how to apply the principles they learn in the classroom in business situations), an integrated real-world curriculum, and access to the largest and most diverse alumni network in Southern California.

All this information was helpful, but I wanted more details about organizations I could participate in and ways in which I could enrich my MBA experience.  The staff talked about numerous opportunities available to students, which included the ACG Cup (a business valuation competition), SBI National Case Study Competition (which CSUF has won awards in 18 of the last 19 years), international study trips, guest speakers, 15 Centers of Excellence, and various other business clubs on campus.  The Centers of Excellence sound especially appealing to me – they offer volunteer and paid opportunities in areas as diverse as entrepreneurship, small business consulting, leadership, the entertainment industry, and insurance studies.  I am particularly intrigued by the Economics Education center and am currently in communication with its Director, Dr. Radha Bhattacharya, about potential volunteer opportunities.  I feel economics is a topic that needs to be covered in middle schools and high schools, and if done properly would go a long way towards education citizens about our current economic climate.  If students were given the tools and knowledge to understand how and why economies function, they might one day help solve economics crises like those we currently face.  I know that the more effort and enthusiasm I put into the MBA program the more I will get out of it, so I am making it my priority to ensure I participate in as many activities and organizations as I possibly can.

The bulk of the weekend was spent attending 8 seminars presented by Mihaylo staff and guest speakers that covered a variety of topics.  Some covered areas relevant to future coursework, such as an introduction to the Capstone course and tips on how to succeed when doing a case study.  Others provided information about how to find success in the MBA program or the importance of networking.  The rest of the sessions consisted of topics ranging from discussions about leadership to my personal favorite, a discussion about the importance of creativity in business.  That seminar was presented by an artist from San Francisco who is a colleague of Dean Puri.  The presenter’s discussion started with the origins of language and eventually maneuvered its way to our modern understanding of how the brain works (left-brain vs. right-brain thinkers) and how as a society we can sometimes tend to think of people as being one type of thinker or another.  But the argument was made that too many logical, analytical people are working in business, drowning out those that tend to be more creative thinkers.  The logical and analytic approach to business can be seen in businesses that continuously try to improve processes and squeeze out ever-diminishing margins.  The argument was made however, that creativity and innovation were the principles that made American business successful in the past, and that is needed again if we are to continue to find success in business.  I found that seminar to be especially eye-opening, mainly due to the different perspective the speaker took on business and the importance of merging logical and creative thinking into businesses.  He recommended a book by Daniel Pink, “A Whole New Mind,” which covers many of the topics we discussed, and I’ve added this book to me personal reading list!

All in all, I found the Welcome Seminar weekend to be a great event!  There were a couple of items I would have preferred we did not do, like speed networking (it’s too hard to remember the names of people you meet when you only get 60 seconds to talk with them) and the discussion on the Capstone course (which just got students too concerned about how the course would be graded, even though most of us will not be taking it for at least another three semesters).  I believe the networking I did with my future classmates was the most beneficial part of the weekend.  I met four fantastic classmates that I spent a great deal of the weekend with; we are already planning on getting together for pizza and several of us have courses together.  I also now see lots of other people I met that weekend in my classes – that helps things feel less overwhelming and it’s nice to have familiar people to partner with during discussions and projects in those classes.  I’m really excited for the MBA program, and need to make sure that I continue meeting new people and working to get the most I can out of this opportunity.  No one else can make this experience worthwhile for me – that is my responsibility and I can’t wait to see what new people I met and experiences I have during my first semester!


3 Responses to “That’s A Lot of Handshakes…”

  1. 1 Johnny Boa September 11, 2011 at 9:45 pm

    I had a great time reading your blog! I am in the same situation as you were in and I recently applied for CSUF MBA for Spring 2012. I have a 3.5 GPA in the last 60 units but my GMAT is low at 490. I am praying that I will get accepted. Would you be willing to share your GMAT score, and GPA in your last 60 units? I want to know what chances I may have. I cannot wait for 2 months to hear a decision. By the way, how long did it take for you to hear a decision? Your input will be valuable to me and good luck on your MBA studies.

    • 2 orangecountymba September 12, 2011 at 7:28 am

      I’d be more than happy to provide you with that information. I had about a 3.6 GPA for my last 60 units of undergrad, and I scored a 600 on GMAT (I only took it once). The Mihaylo MBA program administrators mentioned to the students at Welcome Weekend that the average GMAT score of our current class was around 577. Keep in mind though, that score is an average of a lot of scores higher and lower than 577, and the GMAT is not the only component of the application process. Your GPA is pretty high, so I would in my humble opinion I would imagine that should help your application. As far as how long I waited to hear back from the school, I heard back 1 month after I applied. Someone at the school acutally called me to let me know I had been accepted, but I do not believe that was how a lot of classmates were notified. I submitted my application in January of 2011 with the first round of applications. I think I heard back so quickly because I was in the early application round – classmates I have spoken with told me they applied in later rounds and were not told they had been accepted until May or June. Congratulations on applying to the CSUF MBA program, and please let me know if you have any other questions. I’d be more than happy to help out however I can!

      • 3 Johnny Boa September 13, 2011 at 8:04 pm

        Thank you for your amazing help and insight! Wow!… your GPA & GMAT look impressive! No wonder someone from the school called you, personally. 🙂 I will continue to read your MBA blog and become inspired. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you for giving me some sense of hope. I will update you on any good news. 🙂 Congratulations on being accepted and all the best in your endeavours!

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