Internship Spotlight – Rebecca Teichmann

Fiscalini photoWhen she committed to the Eberhardt MBA program in 2012 Rebecca Teichmann could not have predicted that her internship experience would be spent in Modesto, CA on a dairy farm with 3500 cattle!  To say the least, it was a bit unexpected, but she believes it was worth every (stinking) minute.  The opportunity was created by Brian Fiscalini, fourth-generation General Manager of the Fiscalini family farm, and recent graduate from the Eberhardt MBA program, class of 2012. Brian recognized the opportunity to capture new ideas and talent through an MBA intern from the program.  Rebecca’s assignments were focused around the needs of Fiscalini Cheese Company, the family’s artisanal cheese brand.  More than once Rebecca jokingly said “they could pay me in cheese.”

Working in a family business environment wasn’t entirely new to Rebecca.  In two past experiences prior to pursuing her MBA, she worked in the same company with her brother, Matthew Teichmann ESB ’03: one an internet marketing company and the other Matt’s own consumer products gourmet food company, San Franola Granola.  The summer internship with Fiscalini Cheese Company helped Rebecca crystallize her post-MBA career goals in the area of marketing of consumer goods.  It also reinforced her desire to return to the East Bay where she plans to launch her post-MBA career.

As the MBA Marketing Intern for the cheese company Rebecca initially spent some time getting familiar with the products and the production processes, dedicating a day in the cheese plant with the master cheese makers learning about the process from start to finish.  As most of the cheeses produced by Fiscalini Cheese Company are aged products, “finished” is a relative state.  However, she was able to participate in the observation and analysis of new product line extensions into soft (fresh) cheese options, including mozzarellas and spreads, that the company has been producing with the use of new equipment while optimizing shelf life and determining the optimal packaging in terms of quality to maximize sales.  And, to Rebecca’s delight, there were numerous opportunities to taste test the product throughout the summer.

In addition to learning about the business from the inside, Rebecca was able to gain valuable insights about industry competitors which helped in her understanding of the market segment and enhanced her ability to give sound marketing recommendations in the delivery of her projects.  The primary deliverables that Rebecca was asked to produce through the internship included contributions to logo redesign, a major overhaul of the website, and a refresh of both internal and external marketing collateral key to the company’s sales efforts.

Visiting local competitor Hilmar Cheese with Brian Fiscalini allowed Rebecca to benchmark the Fiscalini product packaging and presentation to a similar local producer.  Assisting the Sales & Marketing Manager, Linda Rodriguez, with the company’s participation at Tony’s Fine Foods vendor trade show exposed Rebecca to a broader selection of consumer food products within the industry.  She discovered that while the various brands are competing for shelf space, consumer interest, and loyalty, there are also valuable insights to be gained by networking within the consumer products industry.

Another key takeaway from the experience for Rebecca is a bit more universal to any situation, but particularly true in any smaller organization.  Because the nature of this particular business is one that operates on a very lean scale, Rebecca realized quickly that projects and assignments weren’t always going to be laid out waiting for her.  Instead of waiting for direction or guidance Rebecca tried to anticipate future needs of the Sales & Marketing Manager and proactively address opportunities, for example, to update and enhance the internal sales tools with up to date pricing sheets or re-organize the cheese store, where customers “off the street” might just show up and purchase a piece or even a few pounds of product straight off the shelf.

While she thoroughly enjoyed 10 weeks on the farm and many of the advantages of working in a small company environment, particularly seeing the immediate tangible impact of her contributions, Rebecca is actively pursuing opportunities with consumer products companies in the East Bay and San Francisco.  She hopes to combine her pre-MBA experiences and undergraduate degree in Latin American Studies from Gonzaga University with her MBA and summer internship at Fiscalini Cheese Co. into to a marketing role with a larger company with multiple product lines that target a wider range of consumer segments.

Fiscalini Logo_New

For more information about the Fiscalini Cheese Company and the wide variety of aged cheeses, fresh cheeses, and cheese spreads available, please visit the website fiscalinicheese.com

Internship Spotlight – Marianne Lewis

by Rebecca Teichmann

Marianne Lewis MBA Student

MBA student Marianne Lewis internship with Olive Grove Consulting

When it came to finding an internship, second-year MBA student Marianne Lewis proved her dedication and initiative by searching high and low for internship opportunities.  From utilizing Tiger Jobs, to searching her alumni job site with the University of Southern California, to InternMatch.com, Marianne looked for internship opportunities anywhere and everywhere, and she started early.  While many students procrastinate as long as they can, on everything from school work to the job search, Marianne began searching early in the process and ended up finding not just a summer internship, but a nine month position with the Olive Grove Consulting group.

Olive Grove Consulting is full service consulting firm that helps creative leaders increase their effectiveness, the organization’s mission is to be a “Champion of the Courageous.”  Clients include nonprofits, foundations, individual leaders, civic entities, corporations, and social enterprises.  The services of the firm are designed to meet the unique needs of each client.

During her nine month relationship with Olive Grove Consulting, Marianne had the opportunity to contribute to a wide variety of projects within the company.  From writing 12 case studies to building a social media marketing program, she was given the freedom to complete projects with minimal direction, which can be an enormously daunting task.  That said, Marianne seems to revel in the freedom and the challenges that come with working autonomously.  The process was very satisfying, even if it was not well defined with a clear path to completion.

When asked about her recommendations for students seeking internships, Marianne mentioned that working with a boutique consulting firm had its unique advantages.  With a small firm, there is the ability to experiment and learn through the process.  With a bigger firm, you are limited to completing the task in front of you, and you have less range of freedom.  She was able to build trust with her supervisors and co-workers, and in turn earned the trust and flexibility to tackle projects independently as a student, working remotely.

Marianne’s advice for students seeking internships is to do your research.  If the company is in the news, why are they in the news?  Don’t just look at the company website, actually look at what is being said about the company and why people are saying the things they are saying.  For a student seeking an internship, stick with the smaller firms as the broad experience can prove to be invaluable.

Olive Grove Consulting Logo

A Bigger Picture: The importance of seeing the large scale impact

By Jamieson Cox, MBA ’14

As part of our visit to Suzhou Wuzhong Economic Development Zone outside Shanghai (SWEDZ), we were treated to an amazing lunch by Shirley Yao, Deputy Director of the Administrative Committee of SWEDZ. Following the extravagant lunch the MBA’s had a unique visit to the planning exhibit of the Suzhou Wuzhong Economic Development Zone to explore a major project in the planning. Upon arrival, the class was guided through a step by step explanation of the area and a breakdown of the vision of the future in this zone. The walk through the museum-like display seemed to project a plan to be built on different planet, as the area is currently very bare.

My personal analysis of the planning is that unlike most industrial planning of sectional areas, this project was not just a neighborhood or a shopping center; it was an entire area that is planning on becoming one of the largest and most influential cities in all of China. After walking around the room, as the whole class snapped photos of the large room-size scaled model of the SWEDZ, we were then brought up to a small deck that overlooked the whole city model lit by thousands of LED lights.

For the next 15 minutes, the entire group was glued to the large projector screen that displayed a video showcasing the plans. I personally have never experienced a project planned of this size and scale. It’s interesting to think about something of this proportion and the people who make these kinds of decisions, as they will not just effect the now, but also people hundreds of years down the road. All aspects of the human life were accounted for in the planning; from the large parks and tourist areas, to the residential areas fueled by the massive, job producing production districts. Fellow MBA Chris Dawson stated that “It was amazing seeing the amount of detail that went into the planning. The specifics of the display and video were something I have never seen.”

When we look at a city like Manhattan, we see that in the US it takes nearly a hundred years to build, while this city plan is presented as one project to be completed in a much shorter amount of time. Cities in the US are planned as numerous small projects that are all approved through a hierarchy. The plan that was showcased to us, seemed to be one huge project and vision of the major city; something that is not done in the USA.

My quote upon exiting was, “consider my mind blown. I want to be a part of that!”

It tells me that we need to always think BIG PICTURE, and that we might be better served if all of the smaller projects were guided by a major vision and bigger picture. By doing things like this, you can save on efficiencies and prevent creating more issues in the future, and not having to compensate for a lack of planning further down the road.

Economic Development Zone Model

MBA students take in the Suzhou Wuzhong Economic Development Zone model.

Dr. Price and Deputy Director Shirley Yao

Dr. Price and Deputy Director Shirley Yao

Observing Flip Chips First Hand

By Megan Cabral, MBA ’13

On Thursday we had another successful and educational company visit. After a morning class session we all gathered on our bus to head out to Shanghai’s Xi Jiao economic and technological development zone.  In this zone we visited the STATS ChipPac Shanghai (SCC) manufacturing facility.  Once at the location we began with a lovely Chinese lunch and presentation about the work that is done at the SCC facilities, specifically this Shanghai location.

STATS ChipPac is the largest turnkey assembly service provider in China.  It is 793,000 square foot facility that emphasizes low cost, high quality and short cycle times.  It is a mega facility for turnkey backend solutions including wafer bumping, sorting, assembling and final testing.   STATS ChipPac has a broad portfolio of leaded, laminated, stacked die, memory card and Flip Chip assembly.  At the Shanghai location they work with companies such as QUALCOMM, Intel, AMD and SanDisk.

After learning the basics of what they do at their facilities we had the opportunity to see firsthand how operations worked inside a manufacturing floor. We were privileged to be able to examine the Flip Chip production line, which we were told is what they are most proud of. While viewing the processes we were educated on the details of manufacturing and machine work.  It was interesting to see such a different work area from what we are used to seeing in the US; it was very white, very clean and very quiet as the operators worked meticulously in their full white scrubs and gloves.

After our tour of the manufacturing line we sat with some of the management team and were able to ask questions about the operations process.  We learned about working conditions for operators; they work 4 twelve hour shifts and then have 3 days off and this is preferred because most commute.  Additionally, they are provided with 2 meals while working along with several breaks.  We also asked questions about the supply chain and different companies which they produce products for.  The companies that hire them provide them with the raw materials needed and fund the initial equipment cost.  Finished goods are shipped out via air and SCC has an AA rating with customs which enables them to streamline the process and reduce down time.

The overall experience at STATS ChipPac was very interesting especially because we do not have manufacturing plants that are so labor intensive in the United States any more.  It was also very enlightening because people tend to hold negative views on working conditions in developing countries; it was clear, once visiting this location, that the employees here are very well taken care of and actually enjoy their work.  It was also very educational to have a firsthand learning experience in the operations and manufacturing process that we MBA students have spent this past semester studying together in our Business Operations class.

Dr. Albert Huang and Mr. H.S. Tan discuss questions about flip chip manufacturing at STATSChipPAC after giving the group a tour of the manufacturing floor.

Dr. Albert Huang and Mr. H.S. Tan discuss questions about flip chip manufacturing at STATSChipPAC after giving the group a tour of the manufacturing floor.

H.S. Tan introduces the MBA students to the manufacturing process used at the Shanghai STATSChipPAC facility.

H.S. Tan introduces the MBA students to the manufacturing process used at the Shanghai STATSChipPAC facility.

MBA Students at Shanghai University “reserve” a desk

SFU Library

Students at Shanghai University “reserve” a desk to work at by leaving books and personal items on it. Christine Cao tries out one student’s study space.

Shanghai International Ferry Terminal

Anh Le, MBA ‘13

Early morning on Wednesday, May 15, the group gathered again for the new adventure. This time it was the Shanghai International Ferry Terminal, a 45 minute driving northeast from the heart of Shanghai. Guiding us this time was the CEO of the Ferry Terminal and also a professor at Shanghai Finance University which we visited afterward. Once again it was very nice to see a warm welcome for the UOP group of MBA students and faculty from the people here. Back to the ferry terminal, it was just finished last year with a current capacity of two cruise ships at a time, each can take up to more than 7,000 passengers and crew members. Last year right after its inception, the terminal had 60 cruises pass by with 48 of those started and ended here. Following that success from last year, the terminal’s CEO expected to have 120 cruises this year and the number would be double next year. With the site close to Shanghai Pudong International Airport, the terminal’s facility is relatively a mimic of the airport with many rounds of security, baggage claims, as well as China custom.

Our next visit led us to our Professors Phil Zhu’s and Wenjing Ouyang’s former university, Shanghai Finance University. Before reaching our destination, we had the chance to experience the cargo flow on one of Shanghai’s main freeway while listening to Professor Price’s explanation about how more efficient and cost-saving it would be for that cargo to be transported by trains. Around noon time, we arrived at Shanghai Finance University and started the campus tour at the school’s main library. Our first impression here was the intensive competition for study space even when it’s not the final weeks. Tables were filled with piles of books, papers, and even pillows and personal belongings to secure the space. What’s more? You have to book these tables even before the new semester starts.

After that, we headed to the university student activity center. One thing that some of us noticed was that most building’s designs were very simple and colorless. It made the environment, especially in the library, quite depressing. Their activity center, however, was the exception. It had a layout similar to that of most US colleges with some Chinese cultural decorations such as lanterns. One factor of the building that we found very appealing was the functional rooms offering different kinds of entertainment as well as treatments to help students reduce stress. Music therapy, massage chairs, video games are some examples. Also during our visit at the center, everyone had the chance to try out calligraphy art which really excited those who saw it the first time. After lunch, the group went to visit the school’s currency museum where we explored the history of China’s money from the time people still used coins with the shape of a knife until now. Final destination of the trip was the university’s fencing club where Professor Price had the chance to demonstrate his expert fencing stance.

Saying goodbye to Shanghai Finance University and our three very friendly student guides, we headed back to our hotel and stopped by one of the most famous temples of Shanghai, the Jade Buddha Temple. The temple is the home of one of the three largest jade Buddha statues in China with more than 6 feet tall and weighed roughly 2 tons. The statue was placed in a room decorated with many small golden Buddha statues, carved with names of the benefactors who made big donations for the temple. Also, only these people can come close and pray to the jade Buddha. Here we also learned many other interesting stories about the origin of Buddhism as well as other Chinese cultures. Leaving behind the antique temple, the long history of Buddhism, and the crowd of beggars outside the temple, we headed back to our hotel and get ready to explore more the Shanghai nightlife.

Ferry Terminal

MBA students received a tour through the International Ferry Terminal in Shanghai

Ferry Terminal

MBA students received a tour through the International Ferry Terminal in Shanghai

calligraphy

Katrina Fischer, MBA ’13, tries her hand at the Chinese art of calligraphy.

Yu Garden – A Respite in the Chaos

By Chris Dawson, MBA ’13

In Shanghai, so far, the amazing amount of people and vehicles has been exactly what one would expect in a city of 23 million people. Words like busy, crazy and chaotic come to mind. In the midst of this city, we found the Yu garden was surprisingly peaceful. It is in the middle of what was referred to by our tour guide as “A Chinatown in the middle of China.” We walked past many carts and shops filled with the exact things that I’ve seen in San Francisco’s Chinatown, but when we walked into the garden the chaos evaporated.

We learned that there are four elements required for any correctly made Chinese Feng Shui garden: water, rock, building, and plant. The Yu Garden met all of these requirements with grandeur. The water was filled with koi and with bridges that zig zag across the water; the bridges are built in this fashion to prevent spirits from crossing, since their belief is that spirits can only travel in straight lines. Rock in the garden symbolizes the mountains of China; the Yu Garden incorporates a piece of Jade that has been famous for centuries. This rock is a porous jade that has holes which are all connected. We learned that when water was is poured over the top of the rock it will flow into all of the holes, or if incense is burned at the base of the holes, it will rise to fill those same holes.

The architecture in the garden is traditional Chinese, but the detail was amazing. There are carved dragons on top of some of the walls in the garden; one interesting fact we learned was that the number of “fingers” a Chinese dragon has is a status symbol (only the Emperor is allowed to have a 5-fingered dragon).

All in all the garden was a great experience and I may have to find my way back to one as I spend more and more time in this huge city.

Yu Garden

Yu Garden

Yu Garden

Yu Garden

Visiting Flextronics in SWEDZ

By Sophie Hoang, MBA ’13

After a confusing Chinese/American breakfast at our hotel, Radisson Blu in Shanghai, we all gathered in the lobby at half past 8 in business attire. We soon found out that we were headed for the lower reaches of the Yangtze River and shores of Taihu Lake, about an hour and a half away from the now familiar Nanjing Road. After our tour guide, Sherry, pointed out parts of the skyline along the highway, the surroundings gradually turned more lush and green as we drove farther away. We finally saw life outside of Shanghai and it was like entering a different realm.

Destination
Souzhou (pronounced Su-chow) is a major city located Southeast of the Jiangsu Province in Eastern China, adjacent to Shanghai. The Suzhou Wuzhong Economic Development Zone (SWEDZ) is located in the south of Suzhou as one of the first batches of provincial level economic development zones. SWEDZ is basically a new emerging industrial park invested in by companies such as Flextronics, Pfizer, Lafarge, Aeon, Mitsubishi and others.

Arrival
Sherry’s voice came onto the shuttle speakers as we woke up from our short slumber in front of the high-tech Flextronics office building.

MBA Students visiting Flextronics in SWEDZ

MBA Students visiting Flextronics in SWEDZ

It’s quality, speed and cost whether you’re in Shanghai or Guadalajara.” –Francois Barbier, President of Global Operations

Flextronics conference room

Flextronics conference room

As we walked inside the building, the director of the company, Shelly, greeted us with a warm welcome and guided us up the elevator to a conference room with a long dark wooden table in the center. Each of the seats had an information booklet, notepad, pencil and water bottle. I think all of us were pleasantly surprised at how professional the setting was. Another employee came prepared with a PowerPoint presentation of the company’s master plan and business objectives. The presentation was beautifully designed and looked so high tech and digital that felt a little intimidated by the intelligence and advancement.

Tour
After the presentation, we were ready to see the manufacturing factory of Flextronics, located across the street from the main office building. First, we entered another conference room to change into a static-free (and non-breathable) lab coats, several-sizes-too-big rubber sandals and a hideous hair net. We couldn’t help but laugh at ourselves and snap some photos of our Dr. Evil-esque outfit.

Flextronics protective gear

Flextronics protective gear

One of the project managers brought us to the first floor where the labs were located to test the products. From endurance testing to environment testing, the engineers would identify potential problems in the product and test them to ensure highest quality and durability. The simulation machines were unlike anything I had ever seen and quite overwhelming. Just operating the machine seemed difficult, let alone figuring out what the numbers and results meant.

We proceeded to the top floor where the assembly lines and direct labor were located. There were rows and rows of expensive, complicated-looking machines. Since it was lunchtime, there weren’t many workers on the floor, but the space could easily fit hundreds, if not thousands. Project managers coordinate groups of DL workers, who are each essential to the critical path. DL workers usually work 8 hour days with an hour break, 5-6 days a week. Overtime is common and bonuses are given based on performance. Employees live together in dorm-style building located across the street, which seems a good arrangement since employees come from all over China.

Curious as ever, I couldn’t stop asking questions about life outside the workplace:

What’s the average salary? What’s the turnover rate? How much does living cost? Do they like the living conditions? How often do employees visit their families? What do they do on the weekends?

Though the answer to these questions seemed vague yet reasonable and actually appealing, I couldn’t help but think whether it was buttered up or not? With that said, I look forward to visiting other manufacturing facilities to compare.

Takeaway
For me, I had many preconceptions regarding manufacturing in China. I was hoping that Flextronics could change my perceptions on “Made in China” products. And it did. The building was new, the equipment was overwhelmingly beyond my knowledge and assembly lines were organized, but not exactly used at full capacity since the company is in the process of moving operations. I gained tremendous respect for all of the employees, from top management to direct labor workers, and would love to see how the company prospers in the future. The trip was very worthwhile. I discovered so much about production and how this Fortune 500 Company operates on a large scale which affects not only other businesses, but also U.S. consumers.

The tour was followed by an elegant lunch at a nearby villa hotel, which is a whole different story full of pig ears and more (Not recommended for unadventurous food eaters!).

*For more information, visit Flextronics

MBA Heathcare Panel

On November 30th, the Eberhardt School of Business hosted a guest speaker panel representing various segments of the healthcare sector to discuss and answer questions about the industry as a whole. Panelists were from a variety of career backgrounds, and were all active participants with organizations that promote professional interest in healthcare administration.

MBA Healthcare Panel

Pictured: Eric Escoto, Nora Powers, Susan Egbert, and Jonathan Felton

The first panelist, Nora Powers, is Regional Director of Provider Contracting at Anthem Blue Cross. With a background in microbiology, Nora stated that her ability to “speak the lingo” of seasoned medical professionals has immensely helped her career in the past and present. The second panelist, Eric Escoto, is a former Eberhardt MBA grad who currently is employed as a pharmaceutical sales representative by Merck. Having a technical background in research through his undergraduate and masters degrees in biochemistry and chemistry, he stated that the selection of his career path was one with dual intentions:  one being a personal, vested interest in the field, and the other being his passion for entrepreneurship.  The third panelist, Susan Egbert, is Director of Health Strategies at VSP Vision Care. Unlike the others, Susan actually started her career in Business-IT and through her 20 years of experience in customer, employee and business relations, she earned her position of senior level manager. The fourth and final panelist was Jonathan Felton, Assistant Administrator and Vice President of Clinical Services at Sutter Memorial Hospital in Modesto. Interestingly, Jonathan pursued his education and then a career in healthcare administration after 10 years of working in the real estate mortgage industry.

After a brief, but in-depth, presentation of the panelists’ backgrounds, the first of a series of very engaging questions was asked.  Panelist insights shared in response to two of these questions are as follows:

How are changing climates in medical and health regulation affecting your industries?

Eric Escoto (Merck):  In addition to new regulation enforced that would tax pharmaceutical companies $2.8 billion, new policies such as the Sunshine Act would make clientele more apprehensive to engage in business with sales representatives. Given the reduced monetary resources available, companies can be expected to spend less on research for new products and promote operations that generate the most ROI to ensure short term sustainability.

Jonathan Felton (Sutter Memorial):  Hospitals are required, by nature, to be financially sustainable and affordable to the needs of their direct patients. However, given that the economy has taken such a large toll on consumers, most individuals now do not regularly come in for check-ups that would otherwise prevent serious lack of health awareness. Instead, patients refuse medical attention until their condition has become significantly worsened, causing a strain on medical practitioners.  Jonathan noted that his hospital recently had to undergo an unfortunate series of staff cuts, laying off nearly 165 employees which ultimately adds more pressure on administrators and existing personnel.

Susan Egbert (VSP Vision Care):  The circumstantial financial position of businesses affected by the economy has stimulated a lot of interest to her natural field, IT. Companies are looking more towards data collection and analysis to improve efficiency through the company as a whole. Also, with the regulation changes that affected large insurance providers, VSP Vision Care, being a stand-alone provider, did not receive any possible benefits from Healthcare reform.

Nora Powers (Anthem Blue Cross):  Insurance companies were hit the hardest with the healthcare reforms and regulations. Even when dealing with companies “renting out” their insurance coverage for their employees and hospitals dealing with patients that have “bad coverage”, insurance companies are always the ones affected in the end, given their largely connected role in everything. Harsh economic environmental factors have caused a lot of pressure on medical professionals as well as healthcare administrators to still provide adequate products and services to their customers while having to be more efficient to save money. Laying off 100 hospital employees means that the remaining employees are also affected with more hours and rotating schedules to spread out coverage in the facility. In the end, the most important needs of people must be attended to, there are just less people around to do it.

How have these negative factors affected the hiring needs of your specific companies and the industry as a whole?

Eric Escoto (Merck):  Individuals who possess strong networking skills will have an easier time finding work as opposed to undergoing the conventional job application process. He called upon his personal experiences as a college student and having the opportunity to meet and eventually be mentored by seasoned professionals that he aspired to be like later on in his career.

Studying Supply Chain in China

The excitement has been building, and could be felt in the classroom this morning. Why? Because in two days the Eberhardt MBA students, accompanied by Dr. Will Price and Dr. Albert Huang, depart for China. This year’s course will visit

Dr. Price prepares to take MBA students to China.

Dr. Price prepares to take MBA students to China.

Shanghai, Shenzhen and Hong Kong. Dr. Price has been preparing students for upcoming visits to Shanghai International Ferry Terminal, SCC and Flextonics, among others. We’re sure there will be a discussion or two about queuing too.

Students are looking forward to business visits, learning about Chinese culture and sightseeing. At the moment everyone is concentrating on what to pack (and NOT pack), making sure documents are in order and checking to see just how much baggage can they take with them.

During the trip students will be blogging about their visits and activities, so be sure to check back frequently!

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