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Full-time UST MBA Profile: Joelle Purvis-Allen Profile

img_purvis-allen-joelleAs an entrepreneur, a seasoned marketing professional and a mother, Joelle Purvis-Allen has her plate full as a first-year Full-time UST MBA student. Participating in the National Black MBA Competition as the lone first-year, she has jumped right in since the beginning of the program. In the thick of final projects, papers and final exam preparations, she took a break over lunch to share her background and aspirations.

Purvis-Allen was a marketing manager for Nolan Company—now part of WinWholesale Company—and helped changed the company’s focus from wholesale to retail, hosting trade shows and other events to increase consumer engagement and sales of higher end, luxury items. Her love of event planning began there, and eventually she started her own business, Allen Events, providing event services for weddings, corporations and group travel. It is through working an event for one of her clients that she learned about the Full-time UST MBA program and its Outreach Scholarships.

“I love events,” Purvis-Allen says with a smile. With leadership lessons learned from her professional mentors Ken King (former VP of marketing at Noland) and Mark Smith (VP and regional manager at Noland), she led a successful business and hopes to continue after she finishes her MBA. “I really want to break into the global events scene and reinvent the event planning business,” she adds, “and I thought getting an MBA at St. Thomas would help me to look at this business from multiple perspectives.”

Though she has a passion for the corporate event marketing and planning world, it is not her ultimate goal. She wants to start a nonprofit event planning organization that takes at-risk youth and teaches them the event planning business. She believes there is a lot that the event planning process can teach them and it can reinforce and incorporate what they learn at school—from simple math skills to problem solving skills to interpersonal skills. The nonprofit would provide the kids with event planning jobs and the profits would go to supporting their education, given they maintain certain academic standing. When asked about the reasons behind this plan, she stated simply—“I just combined my passion for service with my passion for event planning. I want to leave a legacy.”

EveningMBA, FTMBA, Newsroom

Evening MBA: I Feel Good About Pursuing This MBA

Not sure about what you’ve gotten yourself into with this MBA thing? You’re not alone. KJ Brooke is a veteran of the southern California hospitality business and is in her last year of an MBA program. People she talks to are often skeptical about her pursuit of an MBA, she says in an excellent essay for The Billfold, giving her looks “of bewilderment and awe, with a little bit of pity thrown in.”

But Brooke feels she’s made the right choice, which she defends with intelligence and wit in the article. Sure, she has little time for a social life, is buried with homework and puts up with resentment from her current co-workers; but when she’s done, she says, she’ll have a big bundle of new advantages, including increased self-confidence, comfort with numbers and  better earnings potential. And  if nothing else, she’s confident that she’ll never be caught flat-footed “by any ridiculous question thrown my way from a witty student or cocky boss.”

Read the full essay.

Centers, FTMBA, Newsroom, OCB Alumni

MBA alum, former Peace Corps volunteer to Uganda team up for business-related book drive for Burundi university

This article was written by Jackie Milbrandt, Research Associate at the Family Business Center.  It was originally published in the UST daily bulletin for students, staff and faculty.
Guillaume Ndayizigiye, an alum of the Full-time UST MBA program, sent an email wondering if we could help develop a Family Business Center at Great Lakes University in Burundi where he is working. Guillaume recently returned to his home country of Burundi, and those of you who had the pleasure of knowing Guillaume during his studies at St. Thomas can attest to his passion for working with small business owners in Burundi. 

As a co-worker, Guillaume and I had lively conversations about emerging market economies in East Africa. I had the pleasure of working with him as he conducted research on family businesses in Burundi. I was impressed by his dedication to developing business skills in family businesses in emerging markets.

Guillaume Ndayizigiye (center), a native of Burundi, conversed with Gerald (Gerry) Rauenhorst and his son, Mark (right), at the 20th anniversary celebration of the Family Business Center, held in September 2010. The center is located on the university's Minneapolis campus. Ndayizigiye, an alum of St. Thomas' MBA program, is helping to develop a Family Business Center at Great Lakes University in Burundi. / Photo by Mark Jensen, UST Photo Services.

Guillaume Ndayizigiye (center), a native of Burundi, conversed with Gerald (Gerry) Rauenhorst and his son, Mark (right), at the 20th anniversary celebration of the Family Business Center, held in September 2010. The center is located on the university's Minneapolis campus. Ndayizigiye, an alum of St. Thomas' MBA program, is helping to develop a Family Business Center at Great Lakes University in Burundi. / Photo by Mark Jensen, UST Photo Services.

As a former Peace Corps volunteer serving in Uganda, I conducted a similar project in the education sector by creating a resource library for teachers. No words can describe the gratitude and joy the community expressed when given access to learning and teaching resources. I can only image the same impact will be felt in Guillaume’s community.

Guillaume’s passion for teaching others and sharing his experiences are driving his current undertaking as an ambassador of the Family Business Center in Burundi. Guillaume has called upon his friends in the UST community to support his center through donated books. We are looking for books that pertain to entrepreneurship, family business, finance and organizational leadership.   

We ask that you take time to look through your book stacks and donate books that you think would be useful for this cause. We will collect donations in a book-drop cart located on the Minneapolis campus at Room 435, Schulze Hall, and at the Minneaolis campus Bookstore during buyback week. Books that faculty or staff would like to donate in St. Paul can be dropped off at the St. Paul campus Bookstore. Our collection will go through Tuesday, Dec. 20.

If you have questions, please contact me, Jackie Milbrandt, (651) 962-4188.

If you do not have books to donate there is still a need that you can fill! We will be collecting financial donations for the shipping costs. Any monetary donation will be given a charitable donation receipt to use for tax exemption. If you would like to make a financial donation, please make out a check to UST with the Family Business Book Drive written on the memo line. Mail or bring your donation to me at the Family Business Center, Room 435, Schulze Hall. 

Thank you in advance for your time and energy on this. We hope that our efforts will make a positive impact in providing the resources necessary to develop skills and knowledge around family business and economic growth in Burundi.

Career Services, Faculty, FTMBA, Media, Newsroom

The Art of the Hand-Written Thank You Note

Thank-You-Note2-150x150This article was written by Deb Basarich, Associate Director of Student Life for the Full-time UST MBA program.

When was the last time you purchased resume paper with a matching envelope and put it into a typewriter and started typing a resume?  Or how about the last time you wrote a thank-you note with a pen instead of a keyboard?  A recent article written by Prof. Laura French in the Star Tribune Lifestyle section provides a great perspective from current UST MBA student, Annelise Larson on how the thank-you note has evolved.

When I think back to when I was applying for jobs after my college graduation, I realize how times have changed.  I looked for jobs in the Sunday paper and perused pages and pages of job listings on the wall of a local employment agency; I used an electric typewriter, not a computer to write my resume; I hand-wrote a thank-you note after an interview because email didn’t exist yet; I called my parents on a rotary dial telephone that was tethered to the wall to share my excitement when I was offered my first job in higher ed.  I didn’t have the option to text my friends or update my Facebook status with the news.   Those things didn’t exist yet.  Oh, how times have changed!    

As I help my daughter with her 1st grade homework and look at how neatly and precisely she prints her upper and lower case letters, I think about what it will be like when she applies for her first job.  At 6 years old she already knows how to work the computer and is able to send text messages better than I can.  She has reached higher levels on Angry Birds that I’ll ever get.  She has that technology “chip” that I think this generation was born with, which actually helps me to be more tech savvy just so I can keep up with her!  But the one thing she does really well is craft hand-written notes to friends and family.  She takes her time, thinks about what she wants to say and carefully prints her letters using a #2 pencil.  And I know the impact that letter has on its recipient.  Just like Annelise says, hand-written notes end up on bulletin boards.  They’re special and memorable.  Just like the person who wrote it.  And that’s the person I’m going to remember when it comes time to hire my next employee.

Admissions, FTMBA, Newsroom

Could you be the first Opus Scholar?

The Full-time UST MBA program recently announced an exciting new scholarship initiative for fall 2012 applicants.  Twelve full-tuition scholarships will be awarded to top candidates, and several additional half-tuition scholarships will also be awarded. 

Candidates for the Opus Scholars program are asked to submit their applications by February 1.  Competitive applicants will have several years of professional work experience, strong academic potential (as evidenced by their undergraduate GPA and GMAT scores), demonstrated leadership abilities, and effective written and oral communication skills.  Finalists for the Opus Scholars program will be invited to campus in March for a full day of interviews and activities with faculty, students, and staff from the admissions, student life, and career services offices.

img350_ftmba-viewbookFall 2012 will mark the 10th entering class for the Full-time UST MBA, and it will undoubtedly be one of the best incoming classes we’ve enrolled.  If you’d like to be considered for the Opus Scholars program, please contact the Full-time UST MBA admissions team at ustmba@stthomas.edu or 651-962-8800. 

If you’d like to refer a friend, colleague, or relative you think would be a great candidate for Opus Scholars consideration, let us know here!

Admissions, FTMBA, Newsroom

Finding the Fit

We in admissions enjoy sifting through our applications, noting why each applicant has interest in an MBA, how they foresee themselves utilizing it, and what specifically brought them to apply to the University of St. Thomas.  To be honest, one of my favorite parts of my job is reading the essays submitted, where these reasons and explanations are addressed.  Each person’s path is unique and interesting, and seeing into this window of sorts is a privilege.  “How they’re coming at it” is what interests me most—once we know this, it’s an enjoyable journey with every applicant.    

A recent article from Bloomberg Businessweek spoke to finding the right school and the importance of “fit” to an MBA program.  We at the University of St. Thomas could not agree more when it comes to fit and finding a niche in a school.  Many times culture of the program isn’t necessarily given much weight by an applicant when initially applying.  It deserves weight and consideration.  As the article points out, finding a culture that one feels passionate about is key.  Rod Garcia, senior director of admissions at MIT Sloan School of Management noted it this way: “One’s happiness and how well the school’s offerings match an applicant’s needs should take precedence.”     Continue Reading

Admissions, EveningMBA, FTMBA, Newsroom

QS World MBA Tour visits Minneapolis on Friday

For more than a decade, the QS World MBA Tour has organized MBA fairs in major cities on every inhabited continent in the world.  While New York, London, Shanghai, and Buenos Aires have long been part of the tour, this is the first year that the World MBA Tour has come to Minneapolis.

On Friday, October 28, prospective MBA students are invited to meet with top MBA programs from around the world at the Hyatt Regency on Nicollet Mall.  Representatives from the Full-time UST MBA and Evening UST MBA programs will be available to answer your questions, and all participants will have the opportunity to attend panels and information sessions about the MBA application process.

Click here to learn more about the event and register online.  We hope to see you at the fair on Friday night!

QS World MBA Tour


Career Services, EveningMBA, FTMBA, Newsroom, OCB Alumni

Internships and networking go hand-in-hand

The Financial Times recently reported on the results of a Graduate Management Admissions Council (GMAC) survey, which showed that MBA graduates who completed an internship during their studies were significantly more likely to find a job than their classmates who did not have an internship.  The study also noted that in some industries, such as consulting, about 70 percent of interns were hired on for full-time positions after graduation.

The Graduate Business Career Services team at UST assists current MBA students and alumni with job and internship searches.  The team not only provides one-on-one career coaching but also organizes a variety of workshops and networking events that help you make professional connections.  These connections can be critical as you search for your next internship or full-time position. 

Ready to start focusing on your career search?  Come to tonight’s career skills session, which helps you understand how to explain the significance of your UST MBA experience to employers.  Put your networking skills to use tomorrow morning at the Master’s Connection, part of a regular series of breakfast networking events sponsored by Graduate Business Career Services.

Students and alumni looking for internships or jobs should remember to check Career Link on a regular basis, as postings are updated daily.  Log in to ensure that your profile and resume are up-to-date so that you’ll be ready to apply for new opportunities!

Career Services, FTMBA, Media, Newsroom, OCB Commentary

“What I wish I’d known”–advice from MBA grads

As they say, hindsight is always 20/20. So as our MBA students prepare to start classes just three short weeks from now, I thought that they (and anyone else considering pursuing an MBA in the future) could benefit from some words of wisdom from those who have completed their degree.

Business Week recently asked its social media fans, “What advice do you wish you’d been given when you were first starting your MBA program?” Three of the replies I found most insightful were:

“Don’t do what others think you should do, or what everyone else is doing. Decide what you want and hustle to get it.”

“Realize that a MBA provides you with a great, technical foundation to build success upon, but not THE key to success. Be prepared to learn just as much, if not more, after graduation and upon beginning your career.”

“Advice for starting out: Smile, be nice, be open – you never know who will be your next business partner, mentor, or best friend!”

Other responses ran the gamut from warning students to be prepared for math-heavy core courses, to encouraging students to figure out their career goals before arriving on campus. You can read many more of the Facebook and Twitter responses to Business Week’s question here.

Admissions, FTMBA, Newsroom, OCB Commentary, social media

The $37,000 haiku tweet

Application tweet
Showed his creativity
Earned a scholarship

There are many parts to an MBA application, but one of the most time-consuming is writing the essay.  At UST (as at many universities), we suggest word limits for each essay—in most cases 500 or 750 words.  But the Tippie School at the University of Iowa recently held a contest that limited applicants to 140 characters—one Twitter message.

The winner of the Tippie School’s contest was selected based on the creativity he showed in combining one of the world’s oldest forms of poetry (the haiku) with a new form of social media.  I summarized the Business Week story in a haiku of my own at the top of this blog post for those readers who don’t have time to read the entire article.

What do you think about tweeting your graduate school application essays?  As an admissions director, I have always said there is value in keeping essays short and sweet, but this takes it to a whole new level.  While the UST MBA doesn’t have immediate plans to institute a Twitter-based application process, I’ll leave you with an example of what a good UST Twitter haiku might look like.  Feel free to contribute your own in the comments section!

Ethical leaders
Who are globally minded
Choose our MBA