Motivational Monday: Halftime Pep Talk


First of all, you’ve accomplished a lot over the past five weeks, so congratulations are in order. You don’t need to be told that it’s been a difficult five weeks, but you’ve made it through, and you have every right to be proud of your accomplishments thus far. So, without further ado, enjoy the following celebratory meme:

Great Gatsby -  Congratulations

Now back to business. The third module of SBI presents its own set of challenges, no less daunting than the first two. Those of you being exposed to Economics for the first time will have to learn a new discipline over a brief period of time. You’ll have to keep up the aggressive study habits you’ve developed during your first month of SBI.

Competitive Effectiveness will present a similar challenge, but it will also tax your ability to work as a member of a team. You’ll have to hold up your end of a heavy workload, and you’ll have to trust your teammates to do the same. In solving the case problem, you’ll have to think creatively and apply what you learn in class. When conflicts and disagreements arise, and arise they will, you and your teammates will have to figure out a solution together. In short, you still have a lot of work ahead of you.

If you and your team do this work well, however, you’ll accomplish something to be proud of. You’ll put together a presentation that will wow your classmates, your professors, your clients, and yourselves. More importantly, you’ll leave SBI with the confidence that comes from stepping outside of your comfort zone and achieving something difficult, and that’s the kind of confidence that lasts. So enjoy your half day off, but be ready to hit the ground running tomorrow. After all, you’re only halfway through.

Weekend Warriors: Homebodies Edition


With the FMR final fast approaching, a day out on the town likely isn’t a part of your weekend plans. That doesn’t mean that you can’t take a study break. Here are our thoughts on some movies that you can take in without leaving your dorm room or apartment; all of the following are currently available on Netflix. Secondary research was conducted on


Devil (2010, PG-13, 80 Minutes)

A group of strangers are stranded in an elevator, and they soon find themselves in mortal peril; as it turns out, their predicament is the handiwork of none other than the devil itself. A solid, suspenseful, horror film that makes the most of a limited setting, Devil is one of  M. Knight Shyamalan’s better films (he is credited as the film’s story writer, but John Erick Dowdle directed). If nothing else, take a few minutes to watch one of the more memorable opening sequences of the past few years, a vertigo-inducing shot of the Philadelphia skyline flipped upside-down. Recommended. Contains violence and some gore.

The Emperor’s New Groove (2000, G, 78 Minutes)

Everything’s groovy for the spoiled, hard-hearted Emperor Kuzco (David Spade), until a botched assassination plot concocted by his devious adviser Yzma (Eartha Kitt) and her less than devious henchman Kronk (Patrick Warburton) turns him into a llama.  Kuzco proceeds to team up with kindly peasant Pacha (John Goodman), and sets out to regain his human form. First and foremost a kid’s cartoon, this film will be a trip down memory lane for those who enjoyed this movie as children, but its witty, ludicrous sense of humor should appeal to first-time viewers as well. Recommended.

The Usual Suspects (1995, R, 106 Minutes)

A drug heist has gone wrong, and dozens are dead. Verbal Kint (Kevin Spacey), a small-time crook and the only surviving member of the crew responsible, recounts what happened to the police in exchange for immunity. A well-written whodunit that, unfortunately, loses much of its punch if you’ve already been told the answer. Contains violence, gore, and strong language.

World War Z (2013, PG-13, 116 Minutes)

Millions of zombies try to turn UN special investigator Gerry Lane (Brad Pitt) into yet another zombie, who does his best not to get zombified. Rinse, lather, repeat. The movie starts off strong with a genuinely scary zombie attack (set in Philadelphia, no less), but soon gets repetitive. The plot is too silly to be taken seriously, yet not quite silly enough to be enjoyed ironically. Contains violence and gore.

Zoolander (2001, PG-13, 89 Minutes)

Superstar model Derek Zoolander (Ben Stiller) has hit a rough patch; his signature look has gone stale, a newer, hipper model is stealing his thunder, and his roommates have just died after a gasoline stop gone horribly wrong. To add to Derek’s worries, a corrupt fashion mogul (Will Ferrell) is trying to brainwash him into assassinating the Prime Minister of Malaysia. Can Zoolander team up with rival model Hansel (Owen Wilson) to save the day, and can he revive his career in the process? Fairly typical of the absurdist brand of humor one expects from Stiller, Ferrell and company, Zoolander will appeal to fans of the genre. Contains drug use, strong language, and sexual situations.

Fast Five With Ashley Van Havel


Ashley Van Havel is a member of the Villanova class of 2016 from Reno, Nevada. She is pursuing a triple major in Mathematics, Education, and Honors with minors in Business and Japanese.

Ashley Van Havel - pic4

What’s your favorite SBI study hangout?

The little lounge currently under construction.  With it temporarily inaccessible, I tend to hang out in the Exchange or the library.

Do you have any SBI Study Tips or Tricks? 

It’s not as hard as a lot of people say, you just have to stop and work through everything.

What’s a fun fact about yourself? 

When I was a kid, I wanted to become a street performer. Obviously, I don’t want to anymore, but I can still do fire breathing and fire poi, balloon animals, face painting, and other random circus tricks.

What are your career plans? 

I plan to be a high school mathematics teacher, or form a business in educational resources.

Why did you decide to take SBI? 

I believe that business knowledge is vital for any career in our modern, capitalistic society. Even if I pursue a career in education, a background in business could be a useful tool for school administration. 

Words of Advice: The Networking Reception


The networking reception often has a way of making people nervous; there’s something forced (and dare we say awkward?) about the whole situation. If you find yourself dreading this afternoon’s reception, take heart; plenty of people have done this before, and those people have great advice to offer you. Here are some tips from SBI alumni on how to survive, and even thrive, in the artificially constructed environment known as the networking reception.

networking reception

“Do your research before the reception. If you know who is going to be there, you can impress them with your knowledge of their company. It will go a long way to having your resume seriously reviewed.” – Nathan Swain, Chemical Engineering Major, SBI 2012

“Step out of your comfort zone to make your connections. Even if you don’t think you have anything in common with a potential employer or even if you don’t think you might be interested in a certain industry, don’t hesitate to strike a conversation with these knowledgeable professionals.” – Nick Holden, History Major, SBI 2013

“Don’t be timid/afraid to talk to the professionals. They want to be there and want to help you out.” – Joe Lenz, Economics Major, SBI 2013

“If you’re searching for something to say, just ask the industry professionals about their particular field or position. Their responses will help to break the ice and give you a better idea of how their position relates to your own career aspirations.” – Greg Dahl, Political Science Major, SBI 2013

“The first question you ask a new business contact is important, but follow-up questions can be even more important. It shows you are listening and genuinely interested in what (s)he is saying.” – Janine PerriEnglish, History, Honors Triple Major, SBI 2012

“Take advantage of finding out more information about the different companies that attend the reception. Make sure to follow up with an email or phone call to show interest in the company and any job/internship opportunities.” – Ashley Reed, Mathematics Major, SBI 2013

“This is one of the best things about SBI. Compared to any career fair during the school year, there are fewer people trying to talk to and connect to all the professionals at the reception. This allows you to make better connections with them. Take advantage of it.” – Ginny Lee, Civil Engineering Major, SBI 2013.



Motivational Monday 6/23/2014


When comedian Jim Carrey recently gave the commencement address at the Maharishi University of Management, he urged his audience not to be afraid to “ask the universe” for a career that they find interesting and enriching, not just a job that will pay the bills and keep food on the table. A portion of Carrey’s speech from youtube is available here.

Carrey’s speech is compelling, genuine, and, for a speaker of Carrey’s profession, surprisingly serious. Go to the comments section on Youtube, however, and you’ll find a considerable amount of backlash against the speech.

A good part of this criticism revolves around the assertion that pursuing one’s passion as a career is a luxury reserved for the relative few.These critics have a valid point. Anybody who has the opportunity to expand their horizons through higher education, or even has the ability to attain more than the most basic necessities of human survival, should consider themselves to be very fortunate; even today, most people aren’t that lucky. If you are blessed with the chance to build a career doing something that you love, be thankful and try to make the world a better place in the process.

The other common complaint about Carrey’s speech is that “asking the universe” is nothing more than wishful thinking. Clearly, wanting something to happen won’t make it so, but working towards it can. When it comes to asking the universe for something, actions speak far, far louder than words or positive thinking. Pursuing any significant goal requires significant time and effort, and there is no guarantee of success. Carrey’s point is that one should direct one’s time and effort towards something he or she finds fulfilling, even if it entails a greater degree of risk; “You can fail at what you don’t want,” Carrey said, “So you might as well take a chance at doing what you love.”  Put another way, life doesn’t offer any guarantees, but the chance to do something you’re passionate about is something precious. Don’t waste it.

Weekend Warriors: June 21-22


Happy Friday, and congratulations on completing the second FMR exam! If you were planning on staying in and watching the World Cup, consider a change in plans; this Saturday offers a watch party in the heart of Philadelphia. Here are some suggestions on how to make the most of your weekend from  

Ben Franklin Parkway

If you didn’t make it out to last weekend’s recommended events, or if they only whetted your appetite for Philadelphia street fairs, make your way to Eakins Oval, 2609 Benjamin Franklin Parkway, for It’s A Small World At the Oval on Saturday the 21st. The day starts at 9:00 AM with a free, two-hour yoga class. A World Cup Watch Party will be held for both of the afternoon’s games; Argentina and Iran face off starting at 12:00, and the Germany-Ghana game kicks off at 3:00. The day’s final event runs from 8:30 PM to 11:00 PM with an outdoor screening of The Italian Job. A BMW mini rally will also be held. Food trucks, music, cornhole toss, and giant chess and checkers boards will be available throughout the day. Admission is free.

Looking for some intellectual stimulation that doesn’t involve spreadsheets? Those with an interest in the story behind stories, or those who were fascinated by Where the Wild Things Are as children, might get a kick out of Sendak in the Sixties, an exhibition running at the Rosenbach Museum and Library through November 2nd. Maurice Sendak’s work as an author and illustrator, which left an indelible mark on children’s literature, was heavily influenced by the political and social turbulence of the 1960’s.The Rosenbach exhibition tells this story through  Sendak’s letters, illustrations, and personal reflections. Admission is $5 for students, so bring your wildcard.