Oh college!

23 Jul

Only in college…

Happy Friday Mad Graders!


I am on LinkedIn…now what?

22 Jul

Many people are on LinkedIn, around 35 million to be exact but I would venture to say that only a small percentage of those people are using the website to it’s full potential. LinkedIn can work for you in numerous ways, but like anything, the more you put into it, the more you get out of it.

LinkedIn is becoming a great place to find jobs and connect with others for various projects, networking events and potential partnerships. I have been trying to get better about utilizing LinkedIn and here are, in my opinion the top 5 must do’s on the site.

1. Fill out your profile 100%. This includes, a picture, summary of work and all relevant work from your past positions or at school. Any clubs you were in, awards you received etc. Do not skimp on your profile as this is your public online resume

2. Add everyone! This is not facebook, if you meet someone at a networking event or worked with them in the past it is okay to connect with them. Even if there is someone you want to meet, write them a quick note asking them to connect, it won’t hurt.

3. Use LinkedIn as a job board. This is by far one of the smartest strategies for online job searching. Through LinkedIn you can search for jobs and often connect directly with the hiring manager. If not, you can see who you are connected to that might have a connection to the hiring company and request a referral!

4. Get recommended! If you have ever helped anyone with some significant work or volunteered for them – request a recommendation.  This will add some serious credential to your profile and move you up in the rankings for scoring that next job.

5. Join groups. By joining groups that are in your field of interest you can stay up-to-date on all upcoming events and connect with others that are in the same industry.

LinkedIn is an online paradise for networking so take advantage and let it work for you!

Move over Match.com, Moms are taking charge!

15 Jul

Sometimes it seems like the pressures of being a young adult are endless. We have to find the perfect job with little experience, pay our bills on en entry level salary, and oh yes… find that perfect life companion! If you are like me, it’s hard to be single in your early twenties. Starting off in your career, you want to put in as many hours at work as possible, to prove yourself and get ahead. This leaves you little time outside of work to hang out with your friends, and pursue hobbies like volunteering, music, working out.. let alone dating! The easiest way to meet guys or gals is at bars. But what happens when you reach 25 (like muah) and start getting over the bar scene? Sure , happy hour is fun with coworkers, but the 3 vodka sodas and dancing until 2am is suddenly not as exciting and easy to recover from as your college days.

Well finally someone came up with a solution. I found this site via my favorite blog A cup of Jo, today and laughed incredibly hard. Every one of my single friends is like me- sure we’d like to find that special someone, but our Moms (and aunts and sisters etc) REALLY want us to find someone. This site Fabover50 started a site, Date my single Kid, where moms can put up their single kids and browse others to set them up. I signed my mom up (sorry mom!) so I could browse the list of poor, lonesome single kids.

I think my favorite part of this site is the descriptions the moms write about their eligible kids. It’s like- “She’s smart, loves God, working out, puppies, rainbows, saving children from burning buildings, paying her bills on time, practicing her instrument, driving the speed limit, drinking ONLY occasionally and cleaning the house!” I mean no mom sees faults in their kids right? I mean screw finding us dates, these moms need to start writing our cover letters for employers!

I can’t wait to see if anyone finds a match on this.. or find out if the kids (and I’m talking big kids in their 20’s to 30’s here), even know their parents put this up. And does it come with a dowry? I can see the headlines now- “My darling daughter Tessa, for only 20 cows!”

I’ll leave you with my favorite “He lives in my apartment. get him out of here!”

Take a Moment…

7 Jul

looking at the sky, originally uploaded by *cinzia*.

I saw the movie “The Last Station” over the weekend, and it was absolutely beautiful. It got me obsessed with everything Tolstoy and I’ve spent the days since looking up quotes by him, stories and voraciously reading Anna Karenina, so I can move on to War and Peace.

I love this quote by him:

In the name of God, stop a moment, cease your work, look around you.

How many days do you spend staring at your computer, papers, and phones without stopping to notice all the wonderful things going on around you? This is an excellent reminder to take a break, look up from our work and admire the colors, scents, textures, people, nature everywhere. It’s easy to get wrapped up and focused on your work, but life’s too short to not take a break once in awhile and “get distracted.”

An Electric Idea

7 Jul

A friend of mine Stephan always had the entrepreneurial spirit bursting inside him. Despite his degree from UCLA, his MS from Stanford and a very high paying job, he was always calculating some exciting projects on the side.  His current endeavor,  Scroller Bikes is something he cooked up with a close friend of his. Below he gave us an insightful look at how he found a need and took a risk.

Shortly after graduating from Stanford, I returned back to to L.A. from San Francisco. One of my close friends from my UCLA years, told me about electric bikes he had seen during his travels through China. After doing some research and checking on legalities, we realized that electric bikes would be ideal for the congested southern California’s beach communities. We also thought they would be perfect for the overcrowded LA campuses such as UCLA or Santa Monica College.

My friend Robin always had a passion for motorcycles and had been riding since he was a  kid, and I over the years had developed an interest in green technology, so both of us had a natural interest in the bikes.

As both of us were just starting our professional careers and had intentions to getting into the business world, it seemed to be an interesting and fun project and an opportunity to create something that could actually make a difference. Our goal was to create the best looking and most user-friendly electric bike that would satisfy the needs of many user groups. (students, LA tourists, surfers, short distance commuters)

We started our business out of our garage in Hermosa Beach. We started working on our website, pictures, promotional material, did mechanical work and repairs. Things were not easy initially and we had many quality and communication issues with our Asian manufacturers. However, we were able to make it through the difficulties, probably because we were passionate about a product we had created and believed in. This was different from work you would perform at a regular job just to satisfied the management’s need.

Despite all the problems and issues we had, it was encouraging to see the customer’s positive feedback after their purchase. Now, after having sold a couple of shipments of Scrollers we are getting ready for a trip to China to work on an upgrade to make the bike even better than before. We are about to take another risk and make a bigger investment into this project.

Both of us will be starting our MBA studies in Los Angeles this coming fall.  We are not sure exactly how we will be able to continue this start up parallel to the school load, but for now we are just approaching the next challenge and are excited to see what the future will bring.

A little about the Scroller bike itself:

The Scroller is fully electric and does not produce any emission. It can be recharged at a regular power outlet and lasts for about 20-25 miles per charge. The Scroller is really easy to use (not much harder than a regular bicycle). It does not require a license, registration or insurance to operate, since it is classified as a motorized bicycle.

Check out the website of Scroller Electric Bikes to find more information, videos and pictures of the bike.

Thanks Stephan for your inspiration!

Get Inspired: Shatterbox

6 Jul
We were recently introduced to Megan and Amanda who just launched the new site Shatterbox. With the tag line Make Your Mark, the mission of the project is to show students and post-grads that happy careers can happen by illuminating inspiring stories of young professionals with fascinating careers. Through video they have found a beautiful way to share the stories of young people who are  living their dreams and sharing how them made them a reality.
Below is a link to one of the videos Ashley and I found most compelling, the young guys from FEED Granola discuss how they had a vision and brought it to life. After watching a few of these videos I feel very empowered and excited to spend more time working on my growing ideas and what I am truly passionate about.

What makes you happy? If you could do only one thing for the rest of your life, what would that be? Ask yourself these questions and starting brainstorming how you can create a career out of what makes you most satisfied in life.

Two Cent Tuesdays

29 Jun

Back again for Two Cent Tuesdays and today we have a fairly common question from a recent graduate.

Mad Grad,

I’m just graduated, moved home and I am starting to look for a job. I’ve been hearing a lot about the dismal job market though. Should I be concerned? Help!



Trust us when we say you are not alone in this question. Although the tumultuous economy over the past few years has lead to numerous layoffs and businesses closing their doors, things are finally starting to look up. It is often thought that during a decline in the economy people are more apt to introduce new ideas and entrepreneurship has a chance to thrive. I think we have seen many examples of that recently, especially with the help of technology and social media. With that being said hundreds of new companies have sprung up over the past year because people were willing to take a chance when they had nothing left to lose.

From what I have seen lately there are a lot of jobs out there. On top of that, many of the openings seem to be for fresh out of college motivated and anxious young people. As you mentioned you are starting to look and looking is only half the battle. You could search job postings online for months, instead try to be strategic. Even if you can narrow down the type of work you want to do your search will be much easier.

Target specific companies that are appealing to you and even if they aren’t hiring request an informational interview so you can get a foot in the door and an idea of what it would be like to work there.

The number one thing to do right now is network! I cannot express that enough. Reach out to everyone you know send them your resume for feedback or to pass along. Ask questions to friends, parents anyone who has crossed your path and see if they can help you land a job. Be bold,  courageous and above all don’t be afraid to ask for help! (Seeing as how you emailed us, you are already past that stage!) Good luck and let us know if we can offer any more advice!


The Mad Grad

Two-Word Poem

24 Jun

I came across this great site SoulPancake created by Rainn Wilson, one of the funniest men alive (Dwight Shrute anyone?).

“Soulpancake is a place to speak your mind, unload your questions, and figure out what it means to be human”

…I’m in!

I was browsing around on the site tonight and found this thought-provoking post, “What’s your two-word poem?” After a lot of “soul-pancake” searching, I came up with mine: SPEAK UP. I think this is the greatest thing I’ve learned in my 25 years of living. In order to have successful careers, friendships, relationships, marriages, you need to speak up and say what you are feeling. Too often, we forget that unlike the sorting hat in Harry Potter, people don’t always know what we are thinking.

What’s yours?

Reality Check…

24 Jun

“Be careful how you interpret the world:  It is like that.”  ~Erich Heller

Lessons from Alice

21 Jun

Annie Leibovitz in Vogue

I saw the new Alice in Wonderland Move last weekend. This quote was by far my favorite part of the entire story. Leave it to Alice, (or err lewis carroll) to put things in perspective:

The Mad Hatter: Have I gone mad?
[Alice checks Hatter’s temperature]
Alice Kingsley: I’m afraid so. You’re entirely bonkers. But I’ll tell you a secret. All the best people are.

So true Alice. So true…