Welcome Incoming SBS Graduate Students!

Welcome incoming SBS Graduate students!  Get ready for years full of excitement, challenges, and an influx of knowledge; I know it’s been an amazing experience for me so far.

My name is Gregory Mirliss and I am a part-time MBA student. I work as a Deputy Project Manager and Coordinating Team Leader with AECOM in the Bridge and Tunnel Inspection Department. As a bridge and tunnel engineer, I serve as a quality control manager of our nation’s infrastructure. I graduated from Wentworth Institute of Technology with a Bachelor in Civil Engineering. In 2014, I decided to pursue my MBA studies to build a solid business foundation, strengthen management and leadership skills and expand my network. Sounds familiar? I am sure we are all here for similar reasons.

I chose Suffolk University for 4 reasons:

  1. Location. It’s right in the downtown of Boston. How much more convenient can it get?
  2. It has a great reputation and the MBA program is well-respected in the US.
  3. A strong local alumni network
  4. Smaller class size that allows you to interact with your professors

Being a part-time MBA student is not easy, let me tell you that working full time and taking 2-3 classes every semester is a challenge, but I love and enjoy every aspect of it. I try to get involved in the Suffolk community as much as I can. This year, I am serving as the president of the Suffolk University Graduate Business Association, also known as SUGBA. We host many events to connect students with alumni, well-known professionals, and to grow as a class. Some of the most notable events include: Lunch with a Leader, International Night and Student-Alumni Networking Night. I’ve honestly met so many students from different nationalities in class and through SUGBA, which has truly enhanced my MBA experience.

If I could give you one piece of advice, it would be to get involved. Obviously, excel in your classes, but get out of your comfort zone as much as you can. Talk one-on-one with professors, build meaningful relationships with students, connect with fellow alumni and most importantly join an organization and do something that you love! Another opportunity I urge you to take is the Travel Seminar course. I had the pleasure to travel to San Francisco and it was an unbelievable experience. You not only get to explore Silicon Valley and interact with amazing companies, but you also get to connect with your classmates in a different setting and most importantly learn about yourself. I would not change my experience for the world!

Please feel free to come talk to me during the orientation reception and I can tell you more about my experiences! Again, welcome SBS Graduate students, I am looking forward to getting to know you and hopefully, you will consider joining SUGBA!

Greg Mirliss, MBA ’18


My First-Year Journey @ Suffolk

My long-term dream is to pursue an MBA and climb the corporate ladder. I found myself one step closer to that dream when I first started at Suffolk. In only one year, I have learned so much and my mindset has completely changed. The first course in the program, SBS 700- Effective Career Planning, really helped me learn more about myself. The course evaluation, self-evaluation, and the peer evaluation together prompt me to think of ways to improve my weaknesses and utilize my strengths. I have found this very helpful to grow professionally and personally.

My main objective of my MBA is to gain global experiences and study in a cohort comprised of students from over 30 countries that gives me a sense of achievement in the class itself. Each class is unique, offering different personalities, experiences, backgrounds, and challenges. All have the same objective i.e. to teach us business acumen in order to grow our network. All you need to live a successful and healthy life is a good support system and network.

When I arrived in Boston as an international student, I had my support system, but no network. The school networking events organized by the student organizations such as NAWMBA, ALPFA, and SUGBA helped build my network. After spending some time with the student organizations, I realized this university has a lot to give if you have the capability to think distinctly. This past spring I organized the event, “Business View from the Top.” I was overwhelmed by the support of my professors, Deans, and classmates.

At times, this MBA journey has challenged me. It can be intense and requires strong time management skills. It can be difficult the juggle the many different aspects of the MBA experience including coursework, fellowship, job search, and networking. This year definitely has not been easy. I’ve never wanted to give up and I’ve never questioned my decision to pursue my MBA. My advice to all the incoming students is to stay focused and attend networking events. Believe me, you will discover a lot about yourself and your ambitions. Your life will change for the better on the basis of the experiences you have and the people you meet.

supriya.jpg -Supriya Saraswat, MBA ’18


Surviving the Dual Degree

“Sometimes the hurdles aren’t really hurdles at all. They’re welcome challenges, tests.”
– Paul Walker

My name is Prsni Sookraj, and I am a full-time JD/MBA student. I started in the fall semester of 2015, and am expected to graduate in 2018 (fingers crossed). I have completed my 1L, and will have completed my MBA by fall 2017. I was born in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa but I grew up in Cape Town and Vanderbijlpark. Prior to moving to the United States, I was a BS student, studying computer engineering at North-West University on the Vaal Triangle Campus in South Africa. My family and I moved to the United States in January 2012 and I had to restart my studies. I prevailed and completed a BS in Management with a Finance concentration at Bay State College in December 2014 so I know a bit about pushing yourself and overcoming obstacles. I will also be on the E-Board of SUGBA for the 2017-2018 academic year so please never hesitate to contact me (psookraj@suffolk.edu).

Dual degree students are in a class of their own. Not only have we decided to pursue graduate school, but we want more. I’ve always prided myself on being a dual degree student because I always believed it showed that I want more; I want to be more, I strive to be more, and I’m not scared of more. Is it bravery or stupidity that allowed us to make this decision? I honestly can say, it is a bit of both and that is why we are in a class of our own. In crafting this blog post, I wanted to ensure that incoming dual degree students received the advice that I would have benefited from. I hope this helps you maintain your sanity during this experience, but also provides you with some helpful advice and tips.

1. Breathe!
It will feel overwhelming, and it will take some time to adjust to graduate school. It is nothing like undergraduate, you are in for a shock in so many different aspects, but this is all temporary, so breath. We have been there, and it is a challenge, but you made the first big step, so trust me, you can get through this just fine.

2. Accept all.
There is no need to feel superior or inferior to anyone. Regardless of what department you are in, you may suddenly feel average. You may have been the best of the best at work, or in your undergraduate, and you will suddenly question your own competence because someone else “went to a better school” and/or “seems to understand things better.” Even students who are not dual degree students are all at the top of their game, and that is how we all got into graduate school. It is going to be okay, and yes, you will feel average, but that is not a bad thing, especially if the “average” is everyone who is at the top of the game too.

3. It is okay to feel lost.
As a dual degree student, speaking from personal experience, you may not fit in 100% in any department, and that is okay. I never fit in 100% in the law school because I would find myself dragging in business concepts that seemed irrelevant to the class, and I would do the exact same thing in the business school. I always remember what Dean Behnam said during the first dual degree lunch I ever attended, “You should never feel as though you are only a part of one world, but instead you should feel as though you are a citizen of both worlds.” This helped me to feel less lost at times. It may seem as though your peers have it all figured out while you may not, and that is okay. Dual degree students don’t always know what career path they will pursue, but we know there are more opportunities accessible to us. We are the “Jack of all trades,” and we will have some mastery so “master of none,” need not apply.

4. Dead men tell no tales!
Get in touch, and keep in touch with Upperclassmen who are dual degree students.
I cannot stress the benefits of this enough. Upperclassmen are a treasure trove! They will have advice, outlines, horror stories, professor recommendations, textbooks, and, occasionally, a cold beverage ready to help you through the course. Upperclassmen have been in your position, and have survived to tell the tale! Even if for no other reason, get in touch with upper classmen because chances are they will be in the field before you so expanding your network never hurts.

5. Do what works for you.
Every professor, department, and orientation leader will tell you how to approach the upcoming year. They will tell you how to study, manage time, which classes need to be taken ASAP, and which don’t. Just because they are following this approach does not mean you have to. Find what works best for you, and stick to it. For me, with regards to studying, repetition works best so if I write out something two or three times, it sticks. It’s okay to use a study and time management method that works for you, so long as you pass! Never, I repeat, NEVER, feel the need to rush through this! It is not a race or a competition, we are all winning.

6. Do it all!
There are a plethora of opportunities within the schools; make use of them. Get involved, join clubs, committees, and be an active member of Suffolk University. There are travel seminars, which I would highly recommend, and many professional development workshop and events that will present future opportunities. You never know where your next opportunity will come from. Make the most of your time at Suffolk, and it will be unlike any other.

7. Enjoy it.
Enjoy your studies; find a work-life balance, eat well, sleep enough, and have fun. This is a stressful time, but why let it overwhelm and consume you? This experience will change you, regardless of where you are in your life, and that is a good thing so enjoy it. Take it all in, and make some life-long friends along the way.

8. Do not be afraid
Things happen that we cannot always control, but there is a network of people here to support you. Do not be afraid to take risks. If you decide that the program isn’t for you or you prefer something else, do it!

Dual degree students may be a little insane, but that is one of our many strengths. All things considered, I commend you for making this decision, and I hope you have a wonderful experience here.

“Accept the challenges so that you can feel the exhilaration of victory.”
– George S. Patton

-Prsni Sookraj, JD/MBA ’18

North Campus End of Year Celebration

NC picture for blog

On Thursday, May 18th, students, alumni, faculty & staff of Suffolk’s North Campus gathered to celebrate another successful semester. Guests at the event enjoyed the beautiful 90° weather on the deck of Salvatore’s restaurant.

Gerard Casal, Associate Director of the North Campus and Assistant Dean, Heather Hewitt acknowledged the hard work of the recent graduates and thanked the two North Campus student committees for their assistance over the last year. The North Campus Ambassadors are a student group that works alongside Gerard in planning academic, professional development and social events for the students. The members of this group, similar to SUGBA of the Boston campus, are Jason Morin, Usaila O’Brien, Kristyn Rotchford, George Vega and Julie Woodsum. The second student committee of the North Campus is the Advisory Board. These students explore new marketing and recruitment avenues to help spread the word about the North Campus. Mike Farago (MBA ’16), Russell Rennie, Carley Monell, Mark Grabowski and Faye DeMoura (MBA ’15) serve on this committee.

Ken Mooney, SBS Alumni Board Member President, was also present for the event. He reminded the recent graduates to fully utilize their Suffolk Alumni network and remain involved in the school. Ken also encouraged the students to think about participating in the Ram Alumni Mentoring Program (RAMP), which helps to connect alumni and students in mentor relationships.

Students of the North Campus enjoy the Suffolk experience within their own backyard. The North Campus is located in Lawrence MA, about 30 miles north of Boston. Most of our MBA students are part-timers who also juggle the challenges of working full-time and some have families of their own as well. There is a great sense of community here at the North Campus, and it is obvious in the connections they have with each other. Read more about the North Campus on our Facebook page!

-Julie Woodsum, MBA ’17

Sunset Dinner Cruise

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The first annual Sunset Dinner Cruise was held on Friday, May 12, 2017. We had a fantastic turnout of graduating SBS graduate students and their guests. The memorable evening consisted of beautiful views of the Boston skyline by way of the Boston harbor, a delicious dinner and dessert buffet, DJ entertainment, and of course, dancing!

Thank you to all the students who made this event so enjoyable!

Current SBS graduate students—get excited! This will be you before you know it!

SUGBA’s Lunch with A Leader

It all started as a joke, but it lead to something more meaningful.

Food was my primary motive for attending the Lunch with a Leader event hosted by the Suffolk University Graduate Business Association (SUGBA)… at first. I thought I would get my free lunch, network a few minutes in and then leave—simple as that. My outlook totally changed once I entered into the Corcoran room and was greeted by a warm welcoming bunch of graduate students. I knew no one there, but at that moment I knew I was in for a treat… and I was right. I sat through the lunch listening to the two Vice Presidents of Outcome Capital and thoroughly enjoyed every moment of it. They each discussed their career paths, personal experiences, education, and their take on the “real world.” It was great sitting at the table like a boss with two industry leaders giving us graduate students insights on what to expect—it almost felt as if they weren’t Vice Presidents, but more like peers or even mentors. I then knew I wanted to be part of this group of professionals and so I officially joined SUGBA.

The Lunch with a Leader event was my first date with the association and they brought me home with welcoming arms. I enjoy attending the Lunch with a Leader event because it brings our group members together like a family, despite everyone’s busy schedule. The coming together reminds me of a family dinNick Yener with all of the discussions going back and forth, getting advice, and networking in a casual environment. I love coming to the Lunch with a Leader event because it reminds me of the reason why I joined the organization—the people in it.

– Nicholas Ye, MBA ’18

6th Annual International Night


Suffolk University Graduate Student Association’s 6th International Night at Suffolk university was a very successful and amazing event. The students showcased the diversity and variety of nations together under one roof put on a scintillating event . This year, more than 25 nations were showcased with traditional foods, dance, and music, and more than 300 students joined us at this event.

This turned out an excellent opportunity for international students to represent their countries and allow others to learn more about where you come from.alpansh

Access this link for more images from International Night 2016. Please visit our SUGBA’s Facebook page for more information.

– Alpansh Banerjee, MBA in Business Intelligence ’17

Tips, tips, tips


Graduate school is a huge and scary step. These recommendations may seem simple and common sense, however, they have helped me along the way.

Healthy lifestyle

Twelve years after graduating from college, and one semester into the MBA program, I realized that I had again picked up my bad undergraduate habits: not sleeping enough and eating out more. Re-evaluate your thoughts about sleep, mine were mainly that I absolutely needed it! Start planning your meals in advance and schedule some time to cook in bulk.

Pace yourself

You will be tempted to match your classmates’ schedule or the pace at which they are going through this program. DON’T do it. It is crucial that you find out what works for you and what will maximize your learning and experience. I found out that I had to start with 2 courses even though I was working part-time. I then added two more the following semester.

Also having a 10-15 minute break in between study sessions has been the best remedy to prevent burn out, increase concentration retention, and come up with creative ideas.

Enjoy your studies

And apply it to your everyday life! I realized that my most engaging classes were the ones I applied to my everyday life, the world, my job, the United States, my personal thoughts and beliefs.

Choose your courses wisely

Seek advice and be prepared! I spoke to the professors before choosing my courses. I found out beforehand what the professors expected in each course.

Be flexible

Don’t be afraid to change your initial concentration to fit or complement your long-term goals. I entered as a MBA/Non-profit specialized degree. I dropped the specialization my second semester for a concentration on Non-Profit, and now I am considering a different concentration to better prepare me for my planned career.

Team work team work

For my MBA 640 online course, I worked with a classmate in order to better grasp the concepts discussed in class, which worked well. I usually prefer to work alone, so this was a big step for me and one I would strongly recommend.

Get involved!

During my first semester, I attended 90% of all the professional development workshops and networking events. This helped me see beyond my “student” perspective to get a “real-time” view of what a career in my chosen field would look like.

Make friends with the staff

Get to know the administrators and support staff at the business school. Share your reflections about your experience with them in a constructive way in order to promote change. Developing relationships may lead to future opportunities, career advice, and general support.

– Gaelle Gourgues, MBA in Non-Profit ‘17

Get involved ASAP

kanishkaMy tip for new MBA students is to GET INVOLVED!

I was fortunate to be part of a group of 4 of extremely driven individuals who brought the MBA association back to life.  We then re-branded it to Suffolk Univ. Graduate Business Association (SUGBA) in order to include all Sawyer Business School graduate students.  It was difficult to get started with a very small budget, but we were able to recruit talented students and it is great to see how much it has grown and the role it plays within Suffolk now.  In addition, I was fortunate to be graduate fellow to Dean O’Neill, from whom I learned a lot about leadership and global business.  I was also able to provide him valuable insights into the student journey for a Suffolk Univ. graduate student.

– Kanishka Sharma, Global MBA in International Business ‘12

Carbonite Retreat

Getting involved with the Boston community is the biggest advantage of being a Suffolk MBA student. Being able to go to corporate trips two blocks from the University or to a networking event right after class is priceless. I was one of the 20 students to attend the Carbonite trip on Friday 21st of October. Not only were we able to interact with potential employers and colleagues, but we were also able to show them Suffolk MBA students’ potential.

We were given a real case study relating to the cloud storing and backup industry. Our teams worked under pressure to analyze the problem, brainstorm ideas and deliver the best solution. We were able to implement and demonstrate our problem solving, time management and team building skills. Finalizing the trip, we had time to enjoy the Carbonite environment and mingle with current employees.

This experience is not isolated to one company or an industry, but is applicable in our everyday lives. We encounter problems daily and are forced to make decisions on the spot. Collaboration on a complex situation is required in the workforce. Lastly, connecting with professionals is how you build your career network.nsanchez

I strongly encourage all my fellow MBA students to take advantage of the opportunities to engage with local companies during your studies, explore Boston and most importantly get to know professionals, faculty and alumni. Those connections will make the difference in the future.

– Nathalie Sanchez, MBA in Strategic Management ‘17