This past week has given me some time to reflect on this past year at Fisher and everything that I have learned. I have had the opportunity to meet and speak with many friends and family members that have asked me to tell them the most important lesson I have learned thus far through b-school. To be honest, I tell them that learning how to balance every aspect of life and business school has been the greatest lesson. I’ll go into specifics below.
Family – When you move your wife and 2 month old son across the country you realize that you are not the only person involved in the decision making process. For me, coming back to school to obtain an MBA was not a personal choice, it was a family choice. They have been more than supportive. With that being said, they always have been and always will be my first priority. I personally feel that in business today, too many people put dollars above family. Spending time with them and having time to play with my little boy each night helps me to focus better on my studies than I normally would. They help me realize what the purpose of returning to b-school was all about. My advice to any b-school student with a family – put your family first and everything else will take care of itself.
School -Let’s face it, grades and school are important. The costs of returning to b-school from working full time are extremely high. Knowing that, I do my best to allocate my time at school as efficiently as possible. I have also learned to prioritize my time to certain subjects and responsibilities that I have. Because of the heavy work load and demands on my time while I am at school, I have become better at managing my time. It also helps being on such a great core team that works well together.
Networking – Almost equally important as the education and knowledge that one receives at b-school is the important aspect of networking. When I talk of networking I don’t mean the cheesy guy at the bar with a beer in his hand trying to chum it up with every person that enters. Those guys annoy. I am talking about learning from those with expertise in areas that interest you. It should be a learning experience, not just another business card or email address. Learning how to network and speak with people about industries that I have no experience with has helped balance my understanding of many interesting business industries and meet many great people.
Social – If all you worry about at business school is getting straight A’s and your interviews you might go crazy. I have been able to balance my schooling with many social events and activities that help me stay sane. From hanging out with classmates at a happy hour to tailgating for a buckeye game there is always a way to take a step back and breathe. A few weeks back I was able to participate in a dodge ball event that helped raised $500 for a local charity. I have also been able to play intramural basketball with a few of the other first year MBA’s. Each week their is an event of the week that is hosted by the Fisher Social Chairs that give students the chance to meet one another and relax from studying for a few hours. These social opportunities help with mental and physical health and have been great for me.
The message of my post today is to work hard and play hard. Business school can be a very demanding time, just like any worthwhile accomplishment … but if you don’t find a balance you may get burned out. By balancing my life here at Fisher College of Business, I am hopeful that it will carry over to my career for many years to come.