Our One-Year Anniversary!


It has officially been one year (plus a little) since we started “Masters of What?” Does everyone remember our first post? It seems like just yesterday, but at the same time a lot has happened since then. Here’s a recap of our exciting year:

Nicole:

So much has changed for me in the last year. Soon after we started the blog a year ago, I spent six weeks in Michigan for the Grunig PRIME Fellowship. In the past year, I also completed my thesis, officially earned my master’s, started another fellowship and made the biggest decision of my life–choosing a doctoral program. A year ago I really didn’t know what I was going to do after my MA. A Ph.D. was always a goal, but I definitely didn’t know where or when. Now here I am with only a month left in San Diego, preparing to move to Lubbock, TX to attend Texas Tech. It’s definitely been an exciting year and who knows what the next three years in Texas will hold. One thing I do know, is that my life is going to be very busy as I begin to teach my own classes, take my first doctoral-level classes and do lots and lots of research. Because of the new direction my life is taking, I won’t be contributing to “Masters of What?” on a regular basis moving forward. Blake will keep things up and I hope to write a post every now and then!

Blake:

This year flew by. I feel like I don’t even know what to say happened! Right after starting the blog and finishing grad school I celebrated with a great group of girls with a silly Vegas trip. Upon returning, I was working at a non-profit that aids small businesses and hoping to make some changes there – however, as is typical with anything that is government funded change came pretty slow – along with a cutting of my hours. Luckily for me, right around the same time an agency that I had previously interned at was looking for social media intern. After a few months of rushing between two part-time jobs I was offered my super sweet dream job. Since then I’ve been trying to wrap my head around Nicole leaving, I mean we’ve been besties for 20+ years and have been hanging out in the same city for 6 years now. One thing I do know is that without her regular blogging support Masters of What will probably continue on much more sporadically than it previously has…but don’t worry, I’ll still be around 🙂

Now, to ease our sorrows, we’ll leave you with a slideshow of some of the things we’ve done over the past year:

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Not Writing a Thesis


So, last week in my blog post I talked about the decision to go back to get my MBA, in this post I’m going to write about how I FINISHED the process!

In my MBA program at SDSU we had the option of writing a thesis or partaking in a business consulting project coupled with an exam. Affectionately known as BA795, I chose to participate in the business consulting capstone project. My decision was partially based on:

  1. Unless you plan on going into academia, a thesis is seen as somewhat worthless to many in the business community.
  2. Hiring managers like to see “results,” a project was more likely to give me that over a theoretical research paper.
  3. I like to give my opinions (one reason a blog is a fantastic option for me) – I like it even better when people listen!
  4. I one day would love to pursue a career as a marketing consultant and this was a nice mini-start.

For BA795 all participants were given a list of participating companies and the help they needed. The companies and projects ranged from huge hotel corporations needing a diversified marketing strategy to start-ups needing to know if their idea would pan out in the marketplace.  Each member of the upcoming graduating class ranked which project they would like to participate in, we were then assigned a group and a company to consult with.

So, here lies the crux of the situation. As groups were announced we all sat around like elementary school kids getting picked for dodge ball, “Will I getting picked for the ‘cool’ project?” “Will my group be a bunch of slackers?”

Typical

It’s the risk you take when you opt in for a group project rather than a solo thesis!

I ended up being assigned to a client that needed help with developing a branding/rebranding analysis along with three other MBA candidates. I knew one of the girls, Kari, personally and as much as I hate to admit this to her I knew she would make a fantastic group member 😉 (I have to keep up the teasing relationship we developed – Kari is actually one of the most dedicated and hardworking people I have had the pleasure of working with).  I had not had the pleasure of working with Adam and Melissa in my MBA career but I am SOOOOO glad they were my other group members! The four of us never had any issues with each other and everyone produced spectacular work ON TIME!

Once we jumped through some hoops and touchy issues with our two assigned advisers (who I still refuse to accept we needed) we were on a roll. Unlike other groups that had issues with difficult clients, our client was FANTASTIC! We met with a representative for our client’s organization who was understanding, compassionate of our time restrictions, incredibly accessible to any questions that arose, and warned us up front that even if our suggestions were not acted upon they were appreciated – dare I say it, they were the perfect client we’ll probably never see again in our consulting careers.

On the client side, I believe most of the companies came out of the experience with applicable real-world direction and information they could use to enhance their business – at a great cost! I reached out to our client representative to see why they considered coming to SDSU MBA’s for help: “I went with the SDSU MBA student consultant group not only because I was familiar with the program as a past participant, but also because I would get a fresh perspective and analysis based on techniques and applications the group had learned during their time in the MBA program. I’ve found the group’s final product to be a great road map and guideline to what the tribal development can be.”

Basically, our group was able to help our client with a fresh perspective and apply the education we had received. Along with our 200+ page report (that cost about $100,000,000,000 to print at Kinkos) we left this experience with applied knowledge and a group bond that we still have (even if these guys blew me off for happy hour this week 😉 ).