Category Archives: Study abroad

Hooray for new-found confidence

Mount Villarrica was just one of the beautiful things I saw in Chile.

To call it an “ah-ha” moment would be too cliché. It was more like an intuitive moment of confidence that I remember all too well from when I was finishing up my undergraduate studies. That feeling that I have made the correct decisions.

Actually, I’ve had a series of intuitive moments since the spring semester started at TCU. I wasn’t searching for confidence or any kind of sign of an academic breakthrough. It just kind of happened one day in Operations Management class or during a team meeting for my Frito Lay consulting project. Finally, I KNOW I can do this MBA thing.

See, last semester I wasn’t sure. I was trying really hard to keep up, both figuratively and literally. I was trying to learn team dynamics and a new schedule. I was trying to wrap my brain around new concepts and acronyms, and rekindle old math skills. My mind was still halfway in burned-out journalist mode and halfway in grad school mode. I couldn’t quite shake my past career experiences. I used them as a crutch often times.

Not anymore. After a “cleansing” winter break chock full of traveling – to California for Christmas and then Chile for a wonderful TCU study abroad trip – I entered the new semester with a new-found ease and clarity. It doesn’t matter if I’m 10 years older than most of my classmates; it doesn’t matter that I came from a non-business background. The first-semester lineup of core classes at TCU was tough, but each class gave me, and I assume most of my classmates, a wonderful foundation to build from.

Now, as the spring semester cruises along I’m retaining more information and connecting the “dots” of business topics and theories. My classes seem easier, or maybe I’m just better prepared. Most important, I’m confident my first-year courses and consulting project work will help me compete in the wide world of summer internship madness and later when I’m looking for a full-time job.

Speaking of consulting, I was lucky to land a spot on the Frito Lay team for the TCU Neeley & Associates program. Each spring for the past five years, first-year students have had the chance to work in teams of four on projects that have the potential to make a real difference for companies in the Fort Worth and Dallas areas. My team is tasked with developing a plan to help Frito Lay’s Munchies filled cracker brand grow in the next two or three years. This marketing/sales project is definitely helping me sharpened my Excel skills and is giving me valuable exposure to a major consumer goods company.

I’m aiming my internship search squarely at consumer goods companies – with a few exceptions. I have applied for marketing internships at Land O’Lakes, ConAgra, Hanes, and Fisher-Price. I’m more likely to get interviews for local companies Sabre, American Airlines, 7-Eleven and Warren Douglas. At least I hope so. I have also applied for media- or PR-based internships at CNN and Coca-Cola, in hopes that my journalism background might land me at least an interview. Only time will tell.

— Michele Machado

Reminiscing

Life in the new term is a slow trek back into the swing of things. This is a function of the flexibility in coursework that begins in the second term, but the introduction of elective paths makes one miss some of the constant camaraderie of the cohort. That said, I haven’t quite gotten over the jetlag that comes with returning to school again after the winter holiday break, but I have filled a bit of my time creating spoofs about my time past.

I don’t want to overload this entry with video plugs, but I have immensely enjoyed my first term at TCU and so follow a few amateur videos that highlight some of the silliness that is able to grow between colleagues here. Don’t take these too seriously, but then again, every lie has a little bit of truth.

IP (Integrated Project)

Mock Interview Experience

Chile (Video Postcard)

-hugs-

annie nguyen

Ringing in the New Year: Chilean Style

So the study abroad opportunities available at TCU are expansive, as one can see from Lacey’s other post via India. We really do cover the globe and I myself am enjoying the celebration of the new year in Chile. My first time in South America and I’m experiencing many a firsts here.

Starting with the actual new year up in the rotating sky bar in Santiago, we had a delectable full course meal and night view. We are currently enjoying the sights of Pucon, where we experienced some proper horseback riding (my first time) on a private ranch, also with delectable meats. Following that, there appears to have been the shockwaves of a small earthquake here. If by small, you mean 7.1. Thankfully, there was little damage and the epicenter was 2 hours away from us, so our physical experience of it was minor and as tourists, exciting. Today with some free time, I enjoyed my first proper zipline course and others participated in various activities of white-water body sledding, kayaking, exploring volcanic caves, and so on.

Still, it’s not all fun and games, we do have actually business here and I look forward to the actual look at local and national businesses in the area. Tourism has had a major push in the area of thermal baths and we’ll be looking at the industry and experience Parque Thermal Menetue and how it has developed in just a few hours. Being from Japan, I’ll probably have my biases, but we shall see. Hope everyone is enjoying the new year and perhaps making reasonably doable resolutions. Or quickly breaking them. Stay awesome.

-hugs-
annie nguyen

Classmates Become Family

Namaste!

As I write this, I am sitting in a hotel room in New Delhi, India while one of my classmates sleeps soundly. It is 11:30 p.m. and in the rooms on either side of me and down the hall are more classmates. Somewhere in Chile there is a group of TCU MBA students planning what they will do this evening or where they will have dinner. Another group of Neeley MBAs are likely just wrapping up lunch in the Dominican Republic. One of my classmates is on his honeymoon, another classmate is enjoying his first Christmas with a new baby, another is celebrating a recent engagement, and many are spending time with family they unintentionally neglected this semester. For three weeks we are spread out all over the world, but we remain close. We are already family. 

In August, as I arrived for the first day of pre-semester workshops, I never expected the next five months to go as they did. I was swapping a job for class, but other than that, nothing would change. I lived in DFW already. I had friends here. My family isn’t too far away — just a quick drive to Austin. 

The day before START workshop, my mother called me from the hospital. She was ill, but thought it was nothing. A few weeks later and still in the hospital, there were no answers. I continued to attend classes and had my mother moved to a hospital in Dallas where I could travel daily to stay with her. And so it was for months. Class, drive, hospital, drive, class, drive, hospital, drive… I found time to shower between classes and my classmates helped me stay on top of homework and reading.  

While my family was hurting and my friends were working, my Neeley MBA classmates and faculty supported me. One by one, I came to rely on them for help with the square root rule when I was zoned out during supply chain; for a recap of which fashion case study went with which class when I couldn’t keep them straight; for someone to laugh with for a few minutes before I got in the car to drive back to Dallas.  

I studied finance and signed off on blood cultures. I read cases while my mom was having brain surgery. I explained the 9x rule to the doctor who was telling me about the new MRI they were considering. I chatted with my mom about Taryn Swan while we watched Nickelodeon. I pored through statistical analysis on my mother’s symptoms. While I was doing my best to devote more time than I had to school and my mother, my mom just kept fighting… and she just kept getting worse. 

My mother passed away on October 28th.  The Neeley family — people I had only known a short time — kept me looking forward. Peggy, the Director of Graduate Admissions for the Neeley School, rushed to meet me at the hospital. Classmates surrounded me with love at my house. I had become so close to these people in such a short time.  

TCU’s Neeley MBA marketing materials tell us, “It’s more than business. It’s personal.” We’ve all heard it from schools and employers before. But, at TCU, they mean it.  I could not have asked to be surrounded by better people. I could never say enough to thank them for loving me. 

Now it is 11:57 p.m. in New Delhi. Tomorrow morning at 6:15 a.m. we depart for the Taj Mahal, a monument built out of love and mourning. I think of my TCU family with love and I thank them for helping me mourn. Visiting the Taj Mahal with just a few of my TCU family seems the perfect end to an imperfect year and a perfect tribute to a more than perfect mom. 

“Should the guilty seek asylum here, 

Like one pardoned, he becomes free from sin.

Should a sinner make his way to this mansion, 

All his past sins are to be washed away.

The sight of this mansion creates sorrowing sighs; 

And the sun and the moon shed tears from their eyes.

In this world this edifice has been made; 

To display thereby the creator’s glory.”

     -Emperor Shah Jahan

— Lacey Hammons

Delhi taxi ride … an adventure at every turn

It’s best to close your eyes if it’s your first time in a taxi… in India.  

I arrived in Delhi around 11:45 this morning. Many flights today had been canceled due to poor weather conditions, but it is difficult to divert a flight from London that has already been in the air for 8 hours. As I made my way from the terminal to customs I began to wonder what India would actually be like beyond the confines of an international airport. India really starts to hit you the moment you walk through customs. Hundreds of families and friends are waiting on their loved ones. Wading through them to make my way to the prepaid taxis was intense for a girl used to the wide open expanses of Texas.  

I paid 350 Rupees and hopped in a black taxi.  It looked very similar to the one I took yesterday from Paddington Station to London Heathrow, so logically, it should be safe. No?

The lines intended to separate the road into four lanes heading toward Delhi city center were more of a suggestion. As taxis, motorbikes, bicycles, handcarts, horses, tuk-tuks, and people on foot created an ever-changing landscape of anywhere between five and seven lanes, I realized I was in for the ride of my life.  

I didn’t want to miss any of the sites as we drove. The air smelled thick and the taxi seemed to be going in circles. Manu, the taxi driver, wanted me to feel at home, so the drive was accompanied by a soundtrack of the Vengaboys … strange.

The hotel was 8 miles from the airport. Two hours and a stop by a travel information shop, I finally arrived at the hotel. Did we nearly run over a cyclist?  Yes.  

Truthfully, keep your eyes open. I saw the President’s Estate, a military base, a variety of businesses, a few markets, some startling images, and a new kind of beauty.  

More to come — happy holidays from India!

Lacey Hammons