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CBU MBA graduate class of 2010. Also known as Erin Wiles.

Alumni Advice – Erin M. Wiles

Erin M. Wiles (Class of ’10)
Self-Employed Marketing Professional

Dear MBA Students:

It has been two years and as an MBA student at CBU I have completed dozens of group and individual class projects, been witness to the strategic invention of the “Grizzle Stick,” written one too many IRACs, took an embarrassingly easy (yet still baffling) marketing math test, and completed a kick-ace marketing capstone project.  Most of all, I have had a wild ride at CBU, with the usual ups and downs, mastering business theories and learning valuable life lessons.  Now that graduation has come and gone, it is time to share my own advice to the existing students and any future students that may get the pleasure of creating and launching a Vodite.

1) Get through CMBA 602, 603, & 604 (Econ, Acct, and Finance)

In my own MBA experience, I have learned that you can do anything for 8 weeks, including sit through one of the three quantitative classes offered by CBU.  These three classes are dreaded by the average student but are essential in equipping us as Masters-level professionals with the knowledge to be effective and well educated leaders in whatever company or industry we work for.  If you are not a fan, just do your best to get through these three classes as quickly as possible.  I guarantee that after these classes, it is smooth sailing until graduation day!

2) Find a Mentor

I was lucky enough in my MBA tenure to be apart of a robust mentorship program sponsored by CBU.  In this program I was paired with a CBU MBA alumni in the Memphis area who I was able to network with, get invaluable real-world perspective, and connect with on a personal level.  This program is not as well publicized as it should be, so I urge each existing MBA students to contact the Director of Alumni Affairs (alumni@cbu.edu) or reach out to other mentorship programs in Memphis such as Nexus to make contact with a prospective mentor.  It will enhance your MBA experience 100 times.

3) Go to post-class events

The biggest and best selling point for CBU is its small community and cohort modeled classes.  Being in a cohort, students establish deep and trusting relationships with their classmates that will continue past graduation.  Many of these relationships are solidified in the classroom, but can be enhanced outside the classroom. If given the opportunity (class gets out early or a group is getting together to celebrate completion of class or project), take the time to relax and go out with your cohort-mates.  I know many times I was tempted to just go strait home to my family after class, but ended up creating some really good memories just by hanging out at the local pub or barbecue shop.

4) Connect outside the classroom

Ok, yes.  I am the founder of Buc MBA and am biased when I recommend that every student participate in any of the Buc MBA social networking arms, but I can’t help but reiterate how exceptional each of the CBU MBA students are.  We should all make a real effort as students to get to know each other better.  I personally have made some wonderful connections with existing students through Buc MBA that I would have never made just by mingling with my cohort.  We are a student body of 150+ and growing.  Why would any student limit their interactions with just the 20 or so students of their cohort?  Take the time to friend us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, or join the discussion through our Linkedin group. Trust me, we are a fantastic group!

5) Make something happen

One of the strengths my group defined for CBU in our CMBA 608 Capstone project was that the MBA program had the agility and ability to change based upon student needs.  Since the MBA program is young and still has a kink or two to work out, I encourage each of the students to step up to the plate.  If there is something you would like changed in the program, help instigate change (and not through just complaining, through real idea submission and plan implementation).  I noticed a year ago that the MBA program didn’t have any presence in social media or have a way for students to connect outside the classroom, so Buc MBA was created.  I approached the MBA director with an idea, got his buy in, and the rest is history.  There a concentration you want that CBU doesn’t currently offer?  Get a group of students together who want the concentration and approach the program director.  He is open to changes as long as the students want them and can define the need.  By making things happen in the MBA program, you not only add more value to your educational experience, you make it better for future students of the program.

Finally, I wish the best of luck to all the existing MBA students and recent MBA graduates of 2010.  I look forward to seeing what each and every one of you can do for the city, community, heck, even the world!

Erin Wiles
Self-Employed Marketing Professional
MBA Concentration: Project Management
Graduated May 2010


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