Fears of a First-Year

The worst of all 1st-Year fears: Spelling O-H-I-O backwards

Greetings! I’m Jennifer, although almost everyone calls me JG*, and I’m a rookie at this MBA thing. You’re cool because you’re actually reading a MBA life blog! I’m a first year MBA student and proud of it! I can say that now. I spent an entire summer going back and forth between nervousness and excitement and being afraid to even mention my MBA plans. I didn’t want people to assume I was “smart”. Tell me if this sounds familiar to any of you:

The B-School Process

  • Two-years out- “I have to study and take the GMAT! I’m going to be on top of this. 770 here I come!”
  • 18 months out- “I need to actually research my schools. Do some comparisons, visit my top 5, attend all of the MBA events, apply for scholarships.”
  • 1 year out- “I have yet to even look at that GMAT book I bought. Let me at least take a practice test. I’m pretty sure I can do this.”
  • ..2 days after that- “I have GOT to take a GMAT Class.” and as panic sets in… “Oh man! I still need to book flights for all of my Top 5 schools! What ARE my Top 5 schools? I have to write how many essays!? They don’t do interviews in my city?!”

Enter into complete meltdown.

So then you reach crunch time. You’re one year away from the start of the school year that you want to be a part of and you realize the GMAT is way harder than you thought. On top of that  you can’t afford to visit your top 5 schools that you aren’t sure on anyway.

But you get through it. Your friends can’t understand why you’re staying at home to self-reflect so that you can write your essays. Your family may not even understand what an MBA is. Yet and still you get through it. Maybe you read a few blogs written by some current students that keep you motivated. You apply to your Top 3 schools (you quickly realized the importance of being picky) and a few months later you receive your Congratulations letters. You’re on a high! And you should be, you deserve it. However what follows next is strange. I’ll share my story and hope that you all can relate.

I’m from Atlanta so for me a move to a smaller, northern city was a bit frightening. The first thing I began to worry about was, “Will I even like it?” As the summer progressed I would connect with a few of my upcoming classmates or read their profiles on our classmates page and my nerves would be on edge. I thought, “Am I even smart enough?” After I moved to Columbus a few of us met up for Happy Hour and as I listened to the things they had done in their lives I was inwardly freaking out thinking, “How did I even get in!?”

Leading up to and during Orientation I was equally excited and terrified as everything began to come together.  Expectations, assignments, being put into our groups, networking, handshakes, sweaty palms, 30-second pitches, case analysis, on and on and on. It was finally happening. There was no turning back, any fears I had would have to be faced, literally and figuratively. (They took us out to the Outdoor Adventure park and made us do all sorts of terrifyingly fun things, and any fear of heights I might have had are gone now!)

Well fast-forward to today and I’ve officially finished the first few days of class. Already my fears have been eased, somewhat. Do I like the city? I love it. Am I smart enough? Absolutely. How did I even get in? Fisher saw something in me that I could not see myself. The great thing is that Fisher is also helping me to realize those things.

Here’s what I’ve learned in these short few days:

  • I’m not alone. There are 150 other first-year MBA’s and some of them didn’t get “pivot tables” the  first time around either. Just like me some of them have never done a case analysis.
  • Likewise, we can all say that we’ve done a case analysis now, and that for whatever we don’t know, someone else does and they are willing to help.
  • Fisher College of Business will do whatever they can to prepare us for life as professionals. I recently went to L.A. for the National Black MBA Conference (blog post to come!) and if it weren’t for the Career Management prep work I would have been a floundering fish out there.
  • Fisher cares about us. This is so comforting because when I doubt myself, I know there are people I can talk to. They make sure we are at the right place, at the right time, with the right tools, in front of the right people. This is so key.
  • Brutus the Buckeye is the Mascot of Peace.
  • Fisher Commons (MBA Student apartment housing) is the Frat House and I love it even though I don’t live there.
  • These next two years are about to be the most fun, most rewarding, and most challenging years in my life so far.

Here’s what’s really cool about all of that:

The best is yet to come.


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