Happy Veteran’s Day!

Happy Veteran's Day

Veteran’s Day is a day to remember and acknowledge all the Veterans out there… but it shouldn’t only be for one day that we do this.  I really like the Greenlight a Vet campaign that is out there to help promote showing support for Veterans YEAR ROUND rather than just one day.  If you haven’t heard of the campaign, here is a quick overview of it:

America’s veterans are some of our nation’s bravest, hardest-working men and women. However, it’s hard to show them the appreciation they deserve when, back home and out of uniform, they’re more camouflaged than ever. Greenlight A Vet is a campaign to establish visible national support for our veterans by changing one light to green.

Let’s remember all Veterans this Veteran’s Day and remember to appreciate them all year long!

My Grandpa in Life Magazine when he was serving overseas.

My Grandpa in Life Magazine when he was serving overseas.

Want to learn more about Veteran’s Day or how you can help?  Here are a few places you can go to find out more:

How are you showing your support for Veteran’s??

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Building a website for class

As many of you know, I’m currently enrolled at Boston University in the Master’s of Science in International Marketing Management program (yep, say that three times fast…) Anyways, I am currently enrolled in AD737- Innovative Marketing Techniques. This is my 10th class on my way through the program, so on the home stretchWord Cloud "Web Marketing"I’m really looking forward to this class! I know that finding innovative marketing techniques that have good ROI and bring companies and to the next level to get noticed by consumers and stand out throughout all the “noise” out there is key.  This is the type of class that really has BU stand out from other MBA and Master’s programs to me and really helped make my choice on where to go. I feel that it’s really important because it is addressing the needs and challenges of working in a highly digital, technical and fast-paced world of today that is really the norm for companies.

During this class, my teammate and I, will be building out a website to understand and implement the concepts learned in class such as web development, HTML/CSS coding, SEO, Social Media, Analytics, Google Adwords and more. We are at the end of week one and have chosen a company, found a domain name and had it registered/hosted and now for week 2 we are starting to build out our preliminary pages.

Our company is called DVDonate and is a non-profit/charity that aims to collect DVDs from donors and find appropriate recipients for those movies. Specifically, we are thinking of targeting people who purchase Blu-Ray/DVD/Ultraviolet Digital Copy packages when they purchase a movie (a more and more common form of packaging for movies) and asking them to donate the DVD disc while keeping the packaging and Blu-Ray components for themselves. The charity would also be matching the donations with interested groups who could make use of the DVDs. Examples could include Armed Forces organizations, VFW, hospitals, libraries, or other charities such as Toys for Tots.

Feel free to check out the building of our site at: www.dvdonate.com. Still a work in progress for sure, but looking forward to how it will continue to change over the course of the next 6 weeks 🙂

Any feedback, advice, recommendations and more on the site are always welcome as well!

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Happy Halloween

Ok, so if any of you actually follow my blog, although I have been lacking as of late, you know that I LOVE halloween.  It’s my favorite holiday and fall is my favorite season. It’s really not just one thing that I like but it all: the smell of the fall leaves, the colors as the trees change, the fact that there is a TON of pumpkin-flavored EVERYTHING, haunted houses and scary movies.

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This year, we tried Statesville Haunted Prison.  I hadn’t been there for like 12 years or so (since I was in high school) and since it has gotten such great reviews the past 10 years we thought it would be great to go.  I have to say that for the price I was quite disappointed!  It was about $35/ticket and a pretty far drive from us as well.  The makeup and costumes were great, the decorations and rooms were cool but overall it lacked the scare factor that we were looking for in a haunted house.  It is probably a really good haunted house for people who scare REALLY easy or for kids that are just getting into haunted houses.  There were no pitch dark rooms and no one really jumped out at you. Plus there were A LOT of areas where you had to wait in a line. I understand that it was like that in order to help keep the groups separated but I think we waited in about 7-8 lines throughout the time we were there. That’s no fun.  Not the worst haunted house experience I’ve had but, I wouldn’t recommend this based on price and overall experience. I give it a rating of only one skull

As we are always looking for new haunted houses to visit, let me know what haunted houses in Illinois do you like or dislike?

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Abandoned?? Possibly…

So, it appears as though I have abandoned my blog… 😦 I guess the way I looked at it was that if I didn’t have a direction for it to really go in and I have been SUPER busy then why bother? I tend to only really go back to it once a year for now and when I get here realize almost no one comes here and my posts really have a “theme” to them.  Now that I’m starting up a new class in grad school (yep, only 3 classes left) called Innovative Marketing Techniques that focuses around how to reach people digitally (blogs, Google Adwords, SEO and more) I thought I would jump on and post again. Hopefully over the course of this class I’ll learn new techniques on how to build a better blog strategy, enhance my blog, drive traffic and more and start to implement those changes.

Until then, here are some fun things that I have been up to the last year+ since my last blog…There’s been so much more but I would need DAYS to list it all out.  I look forward to getting back into blogging and maybe figuring out a direction for this to go 🙂

2015 Kim with the Stanley Cup

Saw Lord Stanley after the Chicago Blackhawks won their 3rd Stanley Cup in 6 years

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Spent some time visiting my grandparents! Love my family!

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Celebrated my mom’s 60th bday!

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Watched the Cubs make it to the Playoffs…sadly not to make it to the World Series but it was a fun run!

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Went to Washington DC for New Years, visited the monuments and watched the Winter Classic hockey game

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Got to make it to BU for 2 classes and meet some of the great friends I’ve made throughout the program so far!

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Met the BU mascot Rhett! So fun!

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Got to enjoy the huge helmets in Chicago in support of the NFL draft.

Got to cross another item off my bucket list… to see the Orcas in the wild. What an awesome experience!

Got to cross another item off my bucket list… to see the Orcas in the wild. What an awesome experience!

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Choosing a Grad School

As I noted in my last post, I recently got accepted and started my first class for my graduate degree.  This wasn’t something that just happened for me.  I have been researching grad schools and degrees for the past 2 years before I finally made the decision on which school I wanted to attend.

While having dinner with a friend last week and talking to her about my experience, she mentioned that it might be a good idea to post about it. There are so many things that you have to consider when you make the decision that you’re ready to go back to school and not everyone knows what those things are.

So here are some of the things that I researched and learned along the way.  I sure hope that this helps someone else as they start their journey into grad school.

What degree do you want to get?  As a marketing professional, the standard graduate degree that most people get is an MBA (Masters of Business Administration).  There are no doubt MANY benefits to getting an MBA.  Here are 8 good reasons by AllBusinessSchools to get your MBA:

  • You can advance your career
  • You’ll earn more
  • You could get paid training from your employer
  • You can use your education to start your own business
  • You’ll develop your business savvy
  • You can become a leader in an emerging field
  • You could gain networking resources
  • You’ll enjoy greater job security

These are all great reasons, or at least I thought they were, so I began my search.  But when I started to research schools and MBA programs, I found that there isn’t just one kind of MBA.  Here are just a few different kinds of MBAs you can get – and a place where you can get them:

  • iMBA– Immersion MBA (allows those with less real-world experience to become immersed in a virtual-reality clone of a real company with real products, customers, competitors, opportunities and failures.)
  • LMBA– Leadership MBA (a general management business degree, typically serving a student population with more work experience.)
  • One-Year MBA- (programs that allow you to do a very intense one year program- available at many colleges nationwide)
  • Executive MBA– (Most often available to executives at companies and most often happen as night or weekend classes. Available at many colleges but I linked to one to give you an idea of the type of program.)

Do you want to specialize in anything? Another thing to consider with your MBA and the college or university that you choose to attend is what specializations exist for your program. In looking at the marketing realm (where I knew I wanted to focus) here are a few I found- to give you an idea of the many options out there:

  • Internet marketing
  • Communications
  • International Management
  • Leadership
  • Marketing Analytics
  • Consumer behavior
  • etc

Is an MBA right for you? To throw another curve ball your way, you have to consider whether or not getting an MBA is right for you… I know, I just listed 8 reasons why it’s great to get your MBA.  However, according to many sources- like Forbes– the rise of specialized Master of Science degrees is on the rise.  And may be a more affordable option or the option that allows you to specialize how you want to.

How do you want to get your degree?  Let’s be honest, this is the 21st century.  It’s not like the world was in 1980 so you don’t have to go to classes everyday with a notebook and a pencil. There are so many other ways that you can get your degree.

  • In the Classroom: You can do it the traditional way and go to classes. But then you have to decide when you want to go.  At night? On the weekends?  Full-time during the day?  There are so many options.
  • Online:  Yep, you can do your entire program online.  Then you have to decide if you want to do a program that you go at your own pace or a more structured online program.
  • Combination: There are programs that allow you to choose which classes you want to take in the classroom and ones that you want to take online.

Is the school accredited? SO many things to consider already.  But what degree you get and how you get it isn’t all that you should look for.  You also should look at whether or not the schools you are looking at are accredited or not. According to FindMBA, there are 3 main types of accreditations that you should look for:

  • AACSB –  This is an accreditation to business schools offering graduate and undergraduate business programs given by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of BusinessAn AACSB accreditation in business represents a positive evaluation of a “school’s mission, operations, faculty qualifications and contributions, programs, and other critical areas.” Schools are reevaluated every five years.
  • AMBA– This is given by The London-based Association of MBAs and it judges the quality of a business school’s strategy, mission, faculty, students, curriculum, and assessment. By AMBA standards, for example, students admitted onto an accredited program must have at least three years of work experience. Three quarters of a business school’s faculty must have a Masters or Doctoral degree in a relevant discipline.
  • EQUIS– Given by the European Quality Improvement System, it evaluates a business school’s governance, strategy, programs, students, faculty, research and development, executive education, contribution to the community, resources and administration, internationalization, and corporate connections.

How much does your program cost? Although the cost of an MBA degree can vary, the average tuition for a two-year MBA program exceeds $60,000. If you attend one of the top business schools in the U.S., you can expect to pay as much as $100,000 or more in tuition and fees. [information source]

In the end, it’s really a decision that only you can make for yourself.  I, as the OCD person that I am, made an excel sheet that I kept and added in information that I gathered on schools that I was interested in.  Some of the key information that I gathered were as follows:

  • School Name
  • Types of degrees and specializations available
  • Classroom or Online
  • Total estimated cost for the program
  • Accreditations
  • Estimated time to completion
  • Reviews I could find from current students, faculty and graduates

So what did I end up choosing?

BU logoAfter all was said and done, I found that the best program for me was the Masters of Science in International Marketing Management at Boston University’s Metropolitan College. I just started the program this week and I couldn’t be happier with my decision.

 

It took me awhile to get to where I am, but I do believe that everything happens for a reason.  I am exactly where I belong in the program that I was meant to be in.

Here’s to the next 2 years till graduation 🙂

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New Year, New & Exciting Things

WOW, I can’t believe that it’s been almost a year since my last blog post… makes me feel as though I have abandoned my blog 😦 That’s not the case at all.  It’s just that life is sometimes really busy and there isn’t enough time in the day to keep up with a blog.  Which, if you are a known blogger, you know that it is a full-time gig to maintain a blog that is relevant and people come back to often to read.  I am not one of those bloggers… but I would like to consider myself a blogger at least.

So what’s been going on since my last post…. hmmmm… I’ll try to keep this short.  Since my last post in June, the company that I worked for merged and moved to another state (I did NOT move with the company), I found a new job (:)), I’ve done a ton of fun and awesome things in the city I love (Chicago) and other cities (even internationally) and I got into grad school (a dream of mine).  Phew, that was a lot in a short space.

Here are some images of some of the awesome stuff I’ve done this past year:  It was definitely a great year and this year is shaping up to be just as good or better!

Saw Mt Rainer

Saw Mt Rainer

Watched the Blackhawks win the Stanley Cup

Watched the Blackhawks win the Stanley Cup in June 2013

Saw Dave Matthews Band at the Gorge music venue in Washington

Saw Dave Matthews Band at the Gorge music venue in Washington

Got to meet my first nephew after having 4 nieces :)

Got to meet my first nephew after having 4 nieces 🙂

An all-inclusive relaxing trip to Punta Cana

An all-inclusive relaxing trip to Punta Cana

Opening Day at Wrigley Field to watch the Cubs play

Opening Day at Wrigley Field to watch the Cubs play

Swam with the dolphins

Swam with the dolphins

Got into grad school!!

Got into grad school!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It was definitely a great year and this year is shaping up to be just as good or better!

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Are you a Tetris manager?

With today’s business world evolving and companies demanding their teams to do more and exceed over last year all with smaller teams and less resources, it becomes more and more important to have good leadership in place.  If you are reading this, you are either a manager looking for a new and better way to manager your team, or someone aspiring to be a manager who wants to run their team better than your current manager is doing…cause if things were going so great, you probably wouldn’t be looking for new ways to manage (or be managed).

I like to look at managing a team like playing a game of Tetris.  There are multiple needs and goals of a team and the people on the team help to fill in the space and meet those goals.  If a manager can’t manage a team well, it’s like letting all of the Tetris pieces stacking up along the middle or leaving big gaps that in essence leaves the team in a spot where they haven’t met the majority of the goals and are out of time.  It all looks like a hot mess and leaves others within the organization wondering why the team can’t be managed with some strategy.

Let’s first look at how many managers are currently managing their teams:  A manager for a team of 7 people might structure their team like this. Each person has probably been looked at and assigned a role “a piece” that they will live up to.  Here’s an example of how it might be done:

team structureTetris structure

Here is what the manager might think of the pieces and how they are currently able to work on the team to meet the goals and strategy of the projects.

CaptureWhen this is what a manager structures their team like this, it pigeon holes individual people into a roles – that although they are good at what they are assigned and trained on (and can execute it well) – it does not allow them to grow and become a more versatile piece.  And it doesn’t just impact them and their future career; think about the future of the team.  If they are a specialist now, what happens when the assistant manager leaves?  Is that person able to easily going to move into that next role? Nope. They don’t have the experience yet- and by no fault of their own. They have done a always done a great job at everything that was asked of them, but they haven’t been asked to step out of their comfort zone to work on growing and developing into a more versatile piece.

Here’s a new way to start thinking of a team and the members that make up that team. Instead of looking at an employee for the “shape” they currently are based on experience and “branding” them into a role based on that, think of everyone as the 4 blocks that make up a piece. Every Tetris piece is made up of 4 equal size squares that are placed strategically in an order to form each shape in Tetris. A manager, with training and time, can have their team members flexible enough to move those blocks around in any order to be adaptive to the needs of the team and organization. But the key to that happening is a manager finding time to train and develop their team to make them as successful as they can be. Without that key word of TIME, all is lost and an employee will either continue being successful in the role you have branded them as (and do that until they realize that another company will hire them and develop them into what they CAN be and not only what they are) or they will realize that right away and leave to go find a company that will develop them. Because ALL good employees -no matter what department or area of expertise- is looking for new challenges and ways to grow… Or else they wouldn’t really be considered good after all.

 I hope as a manager, you are already taking this approach with your team.  If you aren’t already managing a team this way, hopefully you will try this and see how it works. Spending time with your team and developing them is the most important thing that a manager can do.  Make sure you see each team member as a flexible piece that can be shaped and developed into a well-rounded and versatile member of the team.

Happy managing!

Posted in Helpful Tips, Inspirational, Jobs, Life, Workplace | 1 Comment