The 6 Surprising Things I Learned in Business School

As my 2nd year begins to wind down, I was debating about what helpful nuggets of advice I could leave for any current or future MBA students. So I present to you a Buzzfeed-style random list of “The 6 Surprising Things I Learned In Business School.”

1. It’s important to have an answer to the question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” 

Maybe not the first week, but eventually. Probably in the 1st semester. Do everything, see and listen to every speaker, attend plenty of company info sessions, and eventually you’ll figure out what you like and what you don’t– which is the first step in deciding what you want to do.

2. How to interview like a boss

Okay, maybe not like a boss, but you will improve. I got rejected from almost every company I interviewed with my first year, so I’m not really a beacon of shining interviewing success, BUT I’m a heck of a lot better at interviewing than when I joined the program, and that’s a skill I’ll use for the rest of my life! And always remember that jobs are like spouses; it’s not a question of success rates or batting averages, you just need to find the one.

 

3. Super-crazy insane time management

I will let you in on a secret: I watched TV most weeknights. I know, it’s crazy, but I was able to prioritize insane amounts of homework, group work, a graduate assistantship on campus, student organizations, recruiting happy hours and info sessions– and I still had a social life!

I did sleep, but definitely gave up working out, cleaning and cooking, but knew that I needed to do some things to invest in my mental health, and that’s why I watched TV (usually as I wolfed down dinner before diving into homework, but it counts!). Even though I was stressed, it definitely helped keep my life into perspective when I talked to my classmates with children; now, they are the real heroes here!

4. I am not and never will be the smartest person in the room/organization.

Your classmates will be crazy smart! Everyone in the program is smart, motivated and has probably been pretty successful up to this point. So, it can be a pretty humbling and inspiring experience to hang out with these people for two years. It’s also a great feeling to realize that YOU made it into this impressive group too, so it’s a strange mix of self-confidence boosting and some humble pie, too.

5. I have a newfound appreciation for free food.

“Free food” is one of the most beautiful phrases in the English language, especially when you’re a poor graduate student who isn’t earning any money and is too busy to take the time to cook and eat well. I can’t tell you how much pizza I’ve eaten in this program, and I LIKED it.

6. Introspection is a rare and beautiful thing.

I expected to gain technical skills during this program, especially since in my English Literature studies I had literally never taken one of these business classes, and I certainly did. What I didn’t expect, though, was how much the program pushed me and developed me as a person.

In leadership courses, you’ll learn about your strengths and weaknesses (some knew what to expect and some people were really taken aback), but it’s very good to know these things about yourself, so that you can continue to improve in those areas. I also recommend taking Professor Rucci’s Leadership Legacy class, where you think about what you want your life’s work to be and how you want to be perceived by the people around you. Since you’ve stepped out of the workforce, take the opportunity to do a little soul-searching and make sure you understand your priorities. That way, you’re prepared for life and can make deliberate decisions about your path that lead to your long-term happiness.

Image Sources:

  1. Baby in suit. http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2014/03/31/article-2593486-1CB8CB6700000578-692_634x567.jpg
  2. Interview. http://belimitless.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/maxresdefault.jpg
  3. Balancing act. http://imworld.aufeminin.com/story/20140102/candace-cameron-bure-balancing-it-all-154578_w1000.jpg
  4. Average student.  http://0.media.collegehumor.cvcdn.com/63/67/cc67ed1901e9a3178f44e723c1f6c629-collegehumors-average-student-scholarship-contest.jpg
  5. Free pizza. http://s2.quickmeme.com/img/32/324ee338a4ce69e815a9ef7839eea7830fb46a92b4494b70b9e1c4cc5c56e405.jpg
  6. The Thinker.  http://d279m997dpfwgl.cloudfront.net/wp/2016/05/0512_the-thinker05-wide.jpg