Thursday, March 23, 2017

Why I Chose the MSBA Program & How It Is Helping Me in My Career Path

Have you ever wondered what the MSBA program is all about? Are you a prospective MSBA candidate?

If you are a current senior or recent college graduate wondering if the MSBA program is right for you or how it can help enhance your undergraduate degree, keep reading! Current MSBA student Margaux Arieta answers some questions prospective students might be wondering and sheds light on how the program helped prepare her for her career path.

Q: Why did you choose the MSBA Program?
I chose the MSBA program because I felt that it would be a great place to grow into the businessperson I want to be. I was confident that I would be be adding value to my Bachelor’s Degree, rather than disregarding the subject I spent 4 years studying. I really feel the MSBA program has been very complimentary to my Psychology degree!

Q: What company will you be working for, and what will your title be?
I am going to be a Management Analyst at REI Systems, which is a private Government technology solutions provider located in Virginia. They are ranked 7th among large businesses on the Washington Post’s 150 Top Workplaces of 2016 in the D.C. metro area.

Q: How did you get interested in this type of work?
I consider myself to be an analytical person. I like thinking about things in terms of numbers and finding solutions to problems based on numbers. I was drawn to roles where I would be able to use those quantifying analytical skills along with strategic analytical skills developed from classes such as Managing the Enterprise. My role as a Management Analyst will require both of these skill sets.

Q: How did the CUA MSBA program help prepare you for this career path?
The CUA MSBA program takes a dual approach to Business Analysis that really prepared me for the role of a Management Analyst. We take classes such as Quantitative Analysis and Data Analytics that are all about numbers and data, but we also take courses such as Managing the Enterprise and Technology and Operations that take a strategic approach to business analysis. The combination of being able to understand what the numbers mean while also being able to strategize and tell a story about the numbers is the perfect combination.

Q: What from the program stands out specifically that you think helped prepare you for a career in this field?
Specifically, the case methods used in Managing the Enterprise and Quantitative Analysis really prepared me for a career in Management Analysis. The case method is used to analyze specific management problems and the class discussion really helps to simulate how to go about analyzing tough management situations.

Q: Can you recall a favorite memory from the program?
The New York Trip was one of the best parts of the program for me. I loved being able to bond with all my classmates outside of the classroom and really get to know them all as more than just other students. We also got to spend a lot of time with Prof. McHie and Ms. Kelly in a more relaxed environment!

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Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Vlog: MSBA Etiquette Dinner

You may remember our recap post about the MSBA Etiquette Dinner. Now's your chance to take an inside look and see what the night was like!

MSBA students have access to opportunities like this and many more. Our unique program and small cohort size enable us to provide the students with one-of-a-kind resources and unique experiences.

It's easy to apply - just click here! Or for more information about the program, email Bill Conlon, MSBA Graduate recruiter.
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Wednesday, February 8, 2017

The Super Bowl: Where the Stars Come Out to Play

The Super Bowl: Where the Stars Come Out to Play

by Stewart McHie

On Comet, on Cupid, on Donner and Blitzen! On Brady and Edelman, Ryan! Jones! – stop kevtshing! Sure they were great and provided (if you stayed past Lady Gaga) an exciting finish to the game. But let's get serious. The real stars were between the action, not between the sidelines.

Let's talk Super Bowl commercials.

The reason the game itself actually exists (my #alternativefact).

All in all? A pretty underwhelming crop of ads this year. We missed Doritos, but still talked about them as much as if they’d actually had a commercial. And you know you already bought a bag (or three) the week before anyway, so it's not like they missed a sales opportunity.

One thing that was evident among the ho-hum was the all-star cast of big names who appeared in the commercials this year.

Whether you like the players or their politics, there is no denying they cashed in BIG. The winning New England Patriots earned $107,000 for their three hours of work (well, about a dozen minutes of actual game time), but the pop-culture stars that came out to play earned a whole lot more. Do you think McCarthy went down with the tree for a paltry hundred grand?

Most ad meters rated the eco-friendly Melissa McCarty ad the most entertaining. Production values were high and it was a pretty expensive commercial, even before McCarthy's fee. Who among us believes she really drives a, uhm - what was she advertising? Oh yea, a Kia. Uh huh, that's what she drives. Puts her money where her mouth is to be sure.

Peter Fonda and Easy Rider (google it, millennials), Timberlake, Walken, Beiber, Newton, Bradshaw (in skivvies! Always a treat.), Lady G herself - you could have mistakenly thought you were at the Golden Globes.

Other than that, the tone of Super Bowl LI commercials was pretty safe and unremarkable. Maybe fear of a presidential tweet affected the climate, "Worst commercial ever, we have to start winning at commercials". There were numerous references to the very current issue of immigration, some real, some imagined. Was Budweiser's story of German immigrant Adolphus Busch aimed at the issue, or was it a good American success story which is in keeping with the brand and theme of this Belgian-owned (oops) company? Considering production started last May, probably the latter.

Much ado about lumber.

The most talked about spot was 84 Lumber's story about the Mexican mother and daughter seeking a better life in America but confronting an insurmountable wall. Yet the story ended online, not with the wall, but rather a door in the wall, constructed, of course, with 84 lumber, and reminiscent of a Trump campaign quote about the metaphorical door to allow good and deserving people entry to the country. At least that is the story according to President and Owner Maggie Hardy Magerko, who voted for Trump.

Regardless of what you want to believe, you now know what 84 Lumber is and most of you had no clue before the Golden Globes - I mean the Super Bowl.

Movie trailers galore, befitting the Golden Globes, I mean SUPER BOWL, (oops, I did it again) and must-see TV for the gamers.

Note to advertisers; babies, puppies and Clydesdales are a lot cheaper than Timberlake, McCarthy and Bieber. Well, maybe not Clydesdales. I hope they earn more oats than the Beib.

Next year, can we please just have fun? Girls and boys “just want to have fun". I nominate Cyndi Lauper for the half time show. Hope she's not afraid of heights.

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Friday, February 3, 2017

Student Testimonial: Inside the Life of an MSBA Student

During my first semester in the MSBA program, the biggest challenge I faced was in Quantitative Methods. During my time as an undergraduate politics student, I ensured that I avoided math classes as much as possible. Throughout high school and college, I always struggled with math and decided to focus on my writing and analytical skills with a Politics degree. Entering the MSBA program, I was ready for a new challenge.

I distinctly remember my feelings on the first day of classes. I was nervous that I would struggle in Quant. I started wondering if I had made a mistake entering the program and wondered if I would even be able to pass the class. These fears were instantly quelled upon meeting our professor, Harvey Seegers.

Professor Seegers explained to us that in his experience teaching the class there are two types of students: “Quant Jocks” and “Poets”. As you could guess, I’m a “Poet.” At our first class meeting, I was struggling to keep up with the lecture. While most students were trying to grasp the concepts, I was struggling to even follow the mathematical nomenclature. I needed help if I was going to succeed.

I approached Professor Seegers and explained to him how I was feeling. He told me to come to his office on Tuesday. At his office, Professor Seegers broke down the lesson, answered questions, and exercised patience with my ignorance of the subject. This meeting became a weekly occurrence throughout the semester. The results speak for themself. I earned a B in the class, something that I never thought would be possible.

Quantitative Methods greatly challenged me and required that I work hard to succeed. Despite the challenge, the course material was fascinating and will be useful in any career someone might choose. I was able to overcome the great challenge of being a Poet in a math class. This success would not have been possible without the support of Professor Seegers and all of the MSBA Programs staff. I’m excited to take on the challenges of next semester with my new skills gained from Quantitative Methods and all our classes!

Post by Connor Clancy
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Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Mind Your Peas and Carrots: Annual MSBA Etiquette Dinner Recap

As is our tradition, we started off the Spring semester with our annual MSBA Etiquette Dinner, lead by Associate Director of CUA Career Services Kathryn Marshall.

The evening began with passed appetizers, drinks, and a demonstration of proper networking reception etiquette. Students learned some tricks of the trade such as how to balance a plate of appetizers while holding a drink. 

Students enjoyed passed appetizers and networking at the beginning of the evening.

Holding a plate of appetizers as well as a beverage can be tricky, unless you know the proper way to hold them.

Students were then guided through a delicious seven-course dinner by Kathryn, who directed the students on everything from which (of the 3 - yikes!) forks to use for which course, to what topics are taboo during a lunch or dinner interview. 

The amount of silverware pictured here was a bit daunting, but by the end of the evening, students knew exactly which utensils to use for which course, and what to do with them after they were finished eating.

Eating foods like pasta can be tricky, but students learned the proper way to eat without making a mess!

Lemon sorbet was served in between the salad and main entree to clear the palette. 
The Etiquette Dinner is such a valuable evening for students not only because they learn how to eat tricky foods such as spaghetti or cherry tomatoes and know which silverware to use for what course, but because they leave at the end of the evening knowing how to handle a business lunch or dinner, or an interview in a dining setting.

Kathryn Marshall explaining how to decide what to order during a lunch or dinner interview
Ending the evening with a champagne toast!

"Good manners never go out of style, so whether you are preparing for the job interview, cultivating client relationships, or developing your networking base as part of a dining experience; proper etiquette is essential."  - Kathryn Marshall, Associate Director of Career Services, The Catholic University of America. 

As always, we would like to thank CUA Career Services and especially Kathryn Marshall, for organizing one of our favorite events. We would also like to thank Aramark Cardinal Catering for the delicious food and impeccable service.

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Tuesday, January 3, 2017

The MSBA: Making Business Approachable for Non-Business Majors

 Maria Notarianni
 MSBA candidate

I recently graduated from Catholic University with a degree in Media and Communication Studies. While the degree suggests a concentration in the media, it would be an injustice to the major to say that it encapsulates only the media. The biggest lessons I learned from the Media and Communication Studies Department are:
  • To understand someone, you must understand their ideologies.
  • Syntactic and paradigmatic choices say as much as the thought itself.

The Master of Science and Business Analysis program is so wonderful because they naturally complement your undergraduate degree with practical business skills. The program closely works with students to help us understand our own interests and realize them in our careers. The program also does an exceptional job making business approachable for those with non-business degrees. They firmly believe that everyone has an aptitude to learn the curriculum, and that by helping each other, we will all benefit. The program has taught me a lot, but two of the most important lessons are:
  • Teamwork is the cornerstone to success.
  • Skills can always be learned, but the right attitude is required immediately.

While the curriculum differs, the two programs work together well. My team and I have recently started our field team study project, and I believe that there are a few skills my programs have taught me. The key to our success will be having:
  • Good communication
  •  Empathy 
  • An open mind

What these skills amount to is an understanding of my teammates—both those I am working with and for. By taking the time to understand each other, we will all be able to highlight both our own strengths and each others. Just as important, we will be able to understand precisely what our mission is by understanding our client and her values. The field team study introduces new experiences for my teammates and I, but our backgrounds have given us the skills to confidently work on and create value for our project.

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Wednesday, December 21, 2016

What I've Learned After a Semester

I’m willing to bet that I am one of few cradle Catholics without the typical, classic stories of ‘old Sister Margaret teaching math’ or ‘my school uniform.’ For a variety of good reasons, my parents chose to send me to public school, so I had never stepped foot in a Catholic school until beginning the MSBA program this year at The Catholic University of America. After just one semester in the MSBA program at CUA, I’ve realized how much I love going to a Catholic school. In fact, the biggest lesson that I’ve learned so far is the value of a truly Catholic education. 

From kindergarten to college, I totaled 17 years in public school, followed quickly by serving in the US Army for four years Needless to say, the past 21 years have not always been the most encouraging settings for practicing or developing my Catholic faith. When I arrived at CUA, I knew I was finally at home when I saw that Mass was part of the orientation schedule. As I walked out of Mass with my classmates on the second day of orientation, it was clear I had made the right choice to attend this program. However, the integration of the Catholic faith didn’t end with orientation. As an MSBA cohort we had another special experience later in the semester when one of our professors arranged for Mass to be said prior to our cohort’s participation in a Thanksgiving service project. It was really moving to attend mass with 15 classmates - one classmate serving as lector, and a professor as the Eucharistic Minister. These opportunities have reinforced, for me that the integration of faith into everyday business practice is what makes an MSBA graduate distinguishable from the rest of the “MBA” pack – that we are aiming to serve a higher purpose through our vocation to business. 

When I made the decision to leave the Army I researched a plethora of MBA and master’s programs and I quickly made the realization that I could study business anywhere. Nearly every university, community college, and online school offers some sort of MBA that gives you a “leg up.” What attracted me to CUA was that the Busch School of Business had a different offering.
At CUA, business students learn how to integrate faith and business in all that they do. It’s refreshing to learn from our professors that morality and virtue shouldn’t be checked at the door on the way into the workplace – businesses actually wind up being more successful when virtue has a prominent place in an organization.  In all MSBA classes, business ethics is baked into the discussion and lessons. Whether we’re reviewing marketing plans in light of Catholic Social Teaching or the moral responsibility of companies to shareholders, I can share my faith while studying business.

To give an idea of how faith is incorporated into our business education, I’ll share the most exciting class of the entire semester, in my opinion. In our course, “Managing the Enterprise” we devoted an entire class period to evaluating Pope Francis’ management techniques. The spirited discussion covered the bevy of tough decisions facing Pope Francis from reforming the Vatican Bank and Curia, leadership lessons from the priest abuse scandal, and even how to increase vocations to the Priesthood. Catholic and non-Catholic students alike were highly engaged with well-researched opinions for over two and a half hours.

The MSBA program is full of practical lessons - from understanding balance sheets to interpreting Monte Carlo simulations - but I’m thankful to be learning business at a distinctly Catholic school. The Catholic University of America is America’s only pontifical university, so in essence, I’m studying at the Pope’s Business school in America. This has been an incredibly enlightening and enjoyable experience, and I can finally tell stories of my time as a Catholic school student, just without a plaid uniform.

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