Dear Class of 2020,

Before I get into the heart of this post, I want to apologize to my readers who may have been wondering where I’ve been for the past few months. The answer is all over the place! My spring semester was pretty crazy, so here’s a very quick summary of what I’ve been up to:

Traveling

Between the fact that my family all lives in New York, and I generally love to travel, it seems as if I was barely in Columbus last semester! In March alone, I spent a weekend in Philadelphia for the Cornell Alumni Leadership Conference, a weekend in Boston for the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference, a weekend in Lexington, Kentucky to visit some famous thoroughbreds (like Triple Crown winner American Pharoah), and a week in Singapore as part of Fisher’s Global Business Expeditions program. Finally, I spent a fantastic three weeks in Ethiopia and Kenya with six of my classmates as part of the Global Applied Projects program. I will dedicate a later post to my GAP experience (I would HIGHLY recommend it if your internship allows), but for now here’s a sneak peak of how we spent some of our free time in Kenya:

Internship hunting

I’m not going to lie to you: my internship search was incredibly long and painful. I watched and celebrated as classmates landed great offers, while I continued to scramble even as I headed off on my GAP trip. In the end, I got a fantastic offer from Boehringer Ingelheim, a large pharmaceutical company, to join the Equine Marketing team in Duluth, GA for the summer. As a horse lover, working in the equine industry is my dream, so I could not be more excited. I will dedicate another post to my internship search process. Shout out to Allison Jones from the Office of Career Management for the incredible support I received throughout my search!

Classes

If you think that your Fall semester classes are rough, I am sorry to say that you’re in for a rude awakening. The group projects that come with the first half of the spring semester will hit you like a ton of bricks. I ended up enrolling in 18 credits this semester (including the GBE and GAP), and it is not something I plan to do ever again. Between my classes, internship search, and travels, I didn’t have much time left to breathe!

Student Orgs

One exciting thing that happens in the Spring Semester is student org elections. As the second years depart, it is up to them to figure out who should take over club leadership for the coming year. I was chosen as the VP of Communication for the Fisher Sports Business Association and the VP of Major Events for the Association of Marketing Professionals. I am excited to work with the rest of the team that was chosen by both clubs and can’t wait to meet our new members!

As I begin my summer internship, I  have been thinking a lot about the Class of 2020, who will arrive on campus in a few short months. There are so many things that I wish I had known before the first day of Pre-Term, and many things I heard as a first year from the Class of 2018 that I know my class is going to repeat. So, without further ado, here are a couple of things you might hear from the second years and during your first year of business school and how to handle them:

“Grades don’t matter.”

If like me, you’re not that far out of school, this will be a hard one to swallow. After all, everyone is expected to maintain a certain GPA to remain in the program, besides the fact that certain companies will ask for your GPA when applying to internships or jobs. On the other hand, as long as you put in the work, you will be successful in class, so it’s not something you should be stressed out about either. I’ve learned more from my experiences outside the classroom than I have in it. The courses set a great foundation of the underlying business knowledge you will need to navigate the business world, but the networking events, conferences, and company visits I attended during my first year provided valuable experiential learning that shaped my decisions as I chose electives and searched for an internship. In short, classes are important, but they aren’t something to be stressed over. Don’t pass up an opportunity to network with representatives from a company you are passionate about or even spend some time learning about your classmates because you’re panicking about the exam you have next week – opportunities abound at Fisher and the larger Ohio State community, and this is your time to take advantage of them!

“My core team was incredible” or “My core team was the worst.”

Team 12 bonding during pre-term

The core team experience, whether it works out for you or not, is an essential part of your first year. You will probably go in with certain expectations, colored by testimonials from previous students about their own experiences. After the first few weeks of classes, you will find yourself either hearing from other students about how much they love their core team and wondering why you don’t feel the same way, or listening to the gripes of those who are having some challenges with their team and feeling fortunate that you can’t relate. The best way to handle the core team experience is to go in with an open mind and be prepared to learn a lot about yourself and how you work with others. You will likely spend the rest of your career working in teams, so your core team will help you figure out what kind of team member you are and leave you better prepared to work with groups in the future, regardless of whether you become best friends or go your separate ways when the year is over.

“Your class doesn’t seem as interested in going to events as ours was”

Here’s the thing that second-year students tend to forget: the first year is HARD. You have little say over your schedule, tons of group projects and assignments to work on, and are navigating the internship search, leaving virtually no breathing room for anything extra. The second years have it relatively easy in comparison, with full control over their schedules and many returning from their summer internships with job offers already in hand. The issue of low attendance at events is typically brought up by the second year students who took the time to plan them. After all, what’s the point of hosting a cool event if no one wants to come? Do the second years and yourselves a favor by attending all the events you can. The student organizations put a lot of time and effort into making sure there is always something happening at Fisher, and there were few events I went to in the first year that I felt weren’t worth attending. In fact, I found myself wishing that so many people hadn’t missed out. Don’t let anyone feel like your class is the only one resistant to attending events – every single class experiences similar struggles in the first year. Make sure you’re one of the students that makes time in their busy schedule for events. 😉

Good luck, Class of 2020, and to all future incoming first-year FTMBAs!