Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The Value of an MBA?

This week is putting our MBA skills to test. Can we provide the business strategy Tutti Dynamics needs to develop and market an innovative product concept? Is it possible to do all this work within four days? More importantly – though – last night’s events at two cocktail parties full of New Orleans power elites put our hard won networking abilities to the test. Had all those late nights in Lincoln Park bars finally paid off?

Booth – and this may just embarrass our school – has an orientation program called ‘mocktail’ for first year students. Second years pretend to be corporate recruiters while first years pretend to be eager job hunters. In a contrived cocktail party/networking, second years teach first years the subtle fineries of networking etiquette: (1) how to enter conversations - always introduce yourself (2) how to exit conversations - “I need a refill” is acceptable while “you are so boring that you make me want to poke myself in the eye” is not (3) how to ask for business cards – say ‘please’ instead of grabbing the person’s purse, riffling through it, in order to find their ‘digits.’

The challenge: Could we apply these networking principals in an actual setting? Would we choke under the pressure of meeting the president of the Hornets? Could we converse with people who actually have important jobs –not just other MBAS who talk about the prestigious positions they will have? Do we have the ability to convert that pleasant chat into an actual connection?

I could go into the details of these conversations, but that wouldn’t be in true Chicago style, so I’ll let the numbers tell you the value of our MBA.

· Chicago Booth Representatives at Networking Events: 8

· Important People at Events: 41

· Business Cards received: 97

· LinkedIN Invitations Already Accepted: 12

· LinkedIN Invitations Pending: 32

· Potential Job Leads: 3

· # of invitations to “get in touch with me later:” 24

· Follow-up emails sent to new contacts: 31

· Percent of Conversations Converted into Business Card Exchange: 82%

· NPV Value of Contacts: $92,350

· Enjoying benetes and iced coffee with your 15 new best New Orleans friends: Priceless

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