Q: Where did the name “MBArk” come from?
A: It’s “embark” without the “e.” We know that MBAs are on a journey, from work to business school and back, and as you “embark” we want to help you out.
Q: Who is eligible to participate in the MBArk Program?
A: Anyone currently enrolled in a graduate program, with special preference given to those in MBA or joint MBA programs.
Q: If I have already participated once, can I apply again?
A: Yes, but priority is given to first-timers. However, we do like to have a few alumni/ae who have attended MBArk as a first-year come back and help out in their second year.
Q: What is the deadline to apply?
A: Our 2017 Expo East program will take place September 14-16. The priority application deadline is August 21, 2017, and the waitlist deadline is September 4, 2017.
Q: What is the waitlist? Do I still stand a chance of getting into the program?
A: Yes! The waitlist consists of two parts. First, many b-school students won’t even have returned to campus until after the initial MBArk deadline of 8/21, and hence wouldn’t have a chance to apply. So for them we established a second application period, ending on 9/4. Second, there are many qualified applicants for whom we just don’t have a slot. But if some people who have been accepted end up having to decline, that opens up additional slots. For Expo East we will probably end up taking 5-10 people from the waitlist.
Q: What is the program schedule like?
A: This is typically a fairly free-flowing program, that leaves you lots of time to wander the show floor, meet with companies that interest you, take advantage of educational programming, and socialize. In the past, the Expo East schedule has typically included:
DAY 1 (Thursday)
- dinner orientation meeting
- feature presentation
DAY 2 (Friday)
- CEO Breakfast
- informal small group meetings on the show floor with key companies
- end of day: recap meeting and planning session for day 2
- group dinner
DAY 3 (Saturday)
- feature presentation
- meetings with MBA alumni
- meeting with New Hope Network
- additional meetings on the show floor with key companies
- recap meeting
The Expo West schedule is a bit different, and also includes the Natural Talent Career Fair.
Q: Should I bring my resume?
A: Yes, but keep it in your back pocket. This is a trade show, and for the most part companies are not expecting to meet with job applicants. However, we will make special arrangements with several companies.
Q: Can I really expect to find a job out of this?
A: Absolutely – several MBArk alumni have, both summer internships and full-time positions. It isn’t easy, because you are still in school and companies of this size typically don’t plan months ahead for their hiring needs. But the natural foods community is one of personal connections and networking above all else, so it is fairly common for conversations at the show that lead to bigger opportunities if you are good at follow-up and follow-through.
Q: How should I dress?
A: Business casual, with the most comfortable shoes you have – you will be doing a lot of walking.
Q: How much does it cost?
A: Participation is free – but you may incur transportation and lodging costs. The cost of the show pass ($895-995) has been waived by New Hope, the organizers of the show; but you still have to get to and from the show and take care of some meals. Note that in several cases, the business schools or b-school clubs have provided funding for transportation and lodging. Check with you school about the availability of such funding.
Q: What about lodging?
A: In the past, MBArk participants were responsible for booking their own hotels. But rooms can be very hard to come by once you are within two months of the event. We should have a block of rooms reserved, available on a first-come, first-served basis. Subsidies may be available, but participants will likely be responsible for these charges. We recommend doubling-up with other MBArk participants in order to conserve room space and reduce the costs.
Q: Will I need to rent a car?
A: It depends on where you fly in. For Expo West, the closest airport is Orange County/John Wayne (SNA), and there is free shuttle service available from there to the Convention Center area. If you fly into LAX or ONT, you will certainly need a car. Once you are in the area, you probably won’t need a car. Most of the hotels are within walking distance of the Anaheim Convention Center, as are plenty of restaurants and attractions (like Disneyland). For Expo East, you can fly into BWI, National or Dulles, but in all of those cases will likely need a car or Uber/Lyft to get you there.
Q: Are there MBArk programs besides Expo West and Expo East?
A: We are working on it!