Monday, November 9, 2009

A Whole New (Business) World

The past few weeks have been very busy for students in the Schools of Business! We’ve had numerous speakers and companies on campus that have provided our community with some really exciting perspectives of today’s business climate.

As an MA candidate, I am biased towards the outside world, in that I have yet to leave the comfortable cocoon of university life. Until recently, I wasn’t really focusing on the business community. 

The variety of speakers, spanning from industry panels, to corporate representatives, to presentations on leadership, to influential individuals within a specific field, has opened my eyes to the wider business community. They have forced me to step outside my comfort zone to consider the environment of the world I am attempting to enter in a few short months. I’m beginning to think outside of the box.

Andrew Robertson , CEO of BBDO Worldwide, was on campus recently and discussed BBDO’s work structure and value system. He also consented to a small roundtable discussion of which I was able to be a part. Very exciting! While his speech focused on BBDO, the roundtable was based upon questions we asked: about him, his career, his perspective, etc. He is such a strong personality, and it was an incredible opportunity to have him in such a small setting and to pick his brain about the current marketing community. 

We discussed how he decided upon Marketing (a story including an Engineering major and making friends at a local pub) as well as his opinions on the current Marketing world – such as his dislike of “buzz words” and his passion for the creativity involved in ads.

I also had the opportunity to attend a company session with PepsiCo where they unveiled a new internship program with Wake Forest’s business schools. To have such a well-known company working with our programs is a really neat chance to learn about and develop within the business community outside of the university.

Also, within the MA program the teams work with outside sponsors on various consulting projects and our first deadline is looming this week. My team will present for ISP, a local sales agency responsible for collegiate multimedia rights management. ISP also has strong ties to Wake in that its founder, Ben Sutton, worked with the university’s Athletic Department for years and is a well known Demon Deacon! The Action Learning Project, as its called, is a series of four smaller consulting projects ranging from talent management to data analysis to a larger project at the end of the year. We’re learning to deal with the pressure of a project deadline as well as multiple project deadlines within our classes. It’s been quite a couple of few weeks!

On another note, I’ve been enjoying the cultural opportunities at Wake, having had the chance to see Sonnets for an Old Century this weekend – a wonderful play by José Rivera (right) , put on by Wake Forest University’s Theatre Department.

So life is balancing out, and I’m learning to focus on life outside of the university as I’m planning on joining it in a few short months. … Oh, my.
~ Jen Ratliff

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