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MGEM Student Corner

MGEM - Kelly Dillon

Kelly Dillon is Alumni of the Master in Global Entrepreneurial Management (MGEM). Kelly was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area and lived in Portland, Oregon while completing her undergraduate degree in Marketing and Management from the University of Portland. She is currently working as an Executive Assistant at Hummer Winblad Venture Partners. Kelly also enjoys traveling, reading, yoga, and oil painting.

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August 2012

MGEM Cohort 2, Class 2011 Leaps back into “Real Life” Last August, Cohort 2 was preparing to graduate from the MGEM program: wrapping up final Business Plan presentations, studying day and night for the Finance Final Exam, and preparing for life after MGEM. While many found jobs right away, other continued the job interview process until they found the right position to lead them on their career path. No matter how long it took, after endless resume writing and interviews, we realized how well prepared we all were for our next career step.

Ashley Guerra, Cohort 2, is a Business Analyst for a cloud technology consultancy group. She consults companies looking to improve the business process using tools like or other CRM systems. After personally walking in her resume she went through an interview process that required her to analyze a business case and deliver a technical solution to a room of Directors and Senior Consultants; all of whom knew she had zero CRM experience. Luckily, these Directors weren’t looking for a technology expert, but someone who could confidently sell a solution and articulate how the solution was constructed. Ashley nailed the interview, using the skills she practiced and perfected in MGEM. Writing her business plan thesis, daily in-class discussions, and visiting companies in a variety of business industries allowed Ashley to hone her skills in diagnosing business issues. Moreover she learned to ask the driving question, “What is the real value of this product/ solution”. Ashley now has clients in a variety of industries: software, insurance, fashion, publication, aviation, semiconductors and security. She is tasked with not only understanding their business issues but also knowing clients on a human level. More specifically, she needs to know how to effectively communicate with each individual stakeholder, insuring that the client feels that his or her needs are being met. MGEM allowed her to grow through cross-cultural project groups, often placing her in situations where teammates had different strengths and perspectives. Ultimately, she learned to manage the teams’ individual strengths to execute and complete projects, a skill that she continues to use daily in her current position.

Jennifer Gayden, Cohort 2, is an Assistant Community Manager for a Real Estate Company. In less than a year she was promoted and continues to excel using the skills she developed during MGEM. Managing a diverse client base, Jen has to know how to appeal to different cultural backgrounds. One trick she learned in Taipei is handing her business card to a client with two hands as a sign of respect. During MGEM, she learned to adjust her communication style to better fit the needs of the team members she was working with, which she now uses while working with clients. Her company has an entrepreneurial spirit and likes when employees take initiative. She is empowered to make decisions and is able to treat the company like it’s her own.

As Cohort 2 leaps back into “real life” we look back on our Master’s experience: those late nights of editing papers, coaching each other through presentations and living and working with individuals from all over the world. With these tools we have succeeded in our own personal next –steps; pursuing careers we love and are well prepared for. The change the MGEM provides its students is both humbling and enduring; we no longer expect that others think the same way we do and there is no longer a “right” answer or a “right” way to approach a problem. As MGEM alumni, we are equipped to deliver a winning business pitch, recreate the “Zappos Wow Factor” wherever we work, and have the confidence to travel to new places and forge new partnerships around the globe; keeping the entrepreneurial spirit alive.

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