Tales from “the Married Couple”… Part One

Everyone we know thinks we’re crazy.

A little background is in order. Three years ago we set out on a five year plan for my husband Joe to go to law school and get an MBA. He moved to another city and we lived apart while he was in law school. It was tough, but we made it through. He graduated in May, took the Bar Exam in July, and found out that he passed the Bar a few weeks ago!

This past November my husband called me up and said those 5 words that always make me nuts: “I have a crazy idea…”

“…why don’t we go to do the MBA together?”

I was a little surprised, to say the least. The plan was always for him to go first, and for me to get my MBA in a few years. Joe had a good theory, though: we had just spent three years apart, so it would be a good chance for us to reconnect and was I really going to go back to school in five years? I had a good career going already, so this might be my only chance. So we applied, and Fisher accepted us.

So far it’s working out pretty well. Since all the first year students have the same classes, I have a built in study partner in addition to my Core Team. We use each other’s strengths, like Economics for him this quarter, and Operations for me next quarter. We have the same schedule two days a week and we survived mid-terms together. We haven’t strangled each other yet, so we must be doing something right!

We’ll keep you up to date on how it’s going, but for now it’s just been a lot of fun to go to school with my best friend. For anyone considering the same crazy idea, take it seriously. It’s an experience we’re sharing that we’ll never forget.


Building Your Personal Brand

One of the really great parts of the Fisher curriculum is the required seminars by the office of Leadership and Professional Development. Their programs are designed to provide additional tools to help you develop your skills outside the classroom.

Today we finished the second session of the Personal Branding Workshop. The workshop is described:

In today’s competitive climate, it is important to distinguish yourself as a unique professional in order to resonate and leave a lasting impression with potential employers and your professional peers. The Personal Branding Workshops will introduce tools to help you develop your personal brand so you can clearly communicate who you are and stand out from your competition.

In the fist session, Professor Michael Bills was introduced to us. Among other things, Professor Bills teaches Innovation at Fisher and has extensive experience in brand positioning. He walked us through a branding model for a company, for the Fisher College of Business and for himself to show the application of branding on several levels. As he said in the lecture, “a personal brand positioning should emphasize what makes you unique and special, not what makes you the norm.”

A Personal Brand consists of:

  1. Your Beliefs
  2. Your Mission Statement
  3. Your Personality Traits
  4. Your Brand Statement

Branding yourself is a very introspective process. After the first session, we were tasked to come up with three to six personality traits that we thought described us in that unique and special way. I found this to be very difficult. You really have to look hard at yourself to figure out who you are and what you believe in, in a way that can be used to promote your unique self.

In today’s second session, it was Dean Karen Wruck‘s turn to share her personal brand with us, and it was nice to find out that we weren’t the only ones who found this exercise difficult! Afterward, Professor Bills led an interactive session in which many students shared their brands with the class and we discussed many things like the value of $5 words, choosing complimentary personality traits and ensuring your brand reflects your passion.

Overall I found the workshop to be a valuable tool to help me develop the “Story of Jen Barlette” that I will be able to share during interviews and to lay a foundation for understanding what I am really looking for after my time at Fisher.