Core Team: An Integral Component of the Fisher MBA

As I reflect through the past five months of my Fisher MBA experience, one thing that kept me going through this rigorous and fast-paced program was my core team. Yes, you heard that right – ­my core team! Go, Team #3!

Fisher heavily emphasizes the concept of team. Just before you officially start your MBA, you go through a three-week pre-MBA term. At the end, you find out who’s on your core team, the team you will be working with throughout the first year of your program. Just to offer a glimpse of how a pre-MBA term looks, this is where you get to know about the program structure, professors, resources at Fisher and Ohio State. At the same time, you get to attend executive lunches, seminars, career roundtables, and speaker series.

The whole entering class is divided into teams of four to five, with people not only coming from different backgrounds but also from different parts of the world. The diverse nature and vivid experiences that every individual brings to a team make you appreciate the power of such a setting. We, as a core team, faced our first challenge on the very first day we got introduced to each other. As a part of Fisher Challenge, we had to present a case analysis on one of the budding organizations in Columbus and propose an innovative way to help increase the firm’s profits. This was the first group exercise with my team and to date, we’ve delivered on many such assignments. We ended our pre-MBA term with an experiential learning program with all core teams at a location little outside of Columbus (called “Summit Vision”). This was absolutely one of the experiences that I’ll add to my special memories from Fisher for the rest of my life.

A pic from Summit Vision (I am on the extreme left, along with rest of my team)

Over time, as I’ve progressed through the MBA program, these are the people who’ve become a big part of my Fisher family. It’s not just the assignments inside class, but the other experiences. Recently, we all planned a day out at the Columbus Zoo. It was definitely a stress-reliever after the end of our first term and simultaneously gave us the time to know each other better in a setting outside of the class.

A pic from the Columbus Zoo

Overall, working in a team setting has not only helped me in learning the art of coming together as a team to solve a problem but to also appreciate different leadership styles operating within the same team. It, in a true sense, gives you the flavor of how your post-MBA corporate life would be.

My Favorite Class at Fisher

My favorite class this semester, and thus far in the MBA Program, has been Organizational Coaching with instructor John Schaffner.  This course not only provides the opportunity to learn more about yourself as a leader and how you can improve, but also how to bring out the best in others to help them achieve their personal goals. As an added bonus, Professor Schaffner is hilarious and makes the class very engaging.

I spent seven weeks in this course with about 25 other students.  The class began with each student personally reflecting, and included an exercise where we had to create our “Life Map.” This map looks like an EKG reading, where the peaks and lows are representative of the best and worst moments of your life over the years.  While this exercise is very personal, it allows you to be introspective, and by going through a coaching session with a partner in the class, you gain additional insight into how some of your life experiences translate into your style of leadership.  After completing our life maps, we spent the remainder of the course completing additional exercises to learn more about ourselves and then practicing different strategies for developing and maintaining a coaching relationship.

Sample EKG Reading to give an example of what the Life Map looks like!

Coaching is a co-active relationship, and as the coach, you work through the process of deepening the client’s self-awareness by asking the right questions to help them realize they truly are capable of solving any challenge they are experiencing, whether personal or professional.  Through practicing effective listening, awareness, and communication, you are able to develop skills that are critical to success in any leadership position.

Fisher just recently introduced a course called LEAP+TC (Leadership Effectiveness through Applied Projects + Team Coaching) where students gain hands-on experience managing a project with a non-profit organization in Columbus to further develop leadership competencies, practice team building skills and apply the skills they’ve learned in the classroom.  I’m glad to have the opportunity to learn more about coaching to better prepare me for my career post-MBA!

 

Experiential Learning in the Community

One of the main reasons I decided to pursue the full-time MBA at Fisher was because of the many experiential learning opportunities offered, especially the GAP international consulting experience. However, little did I know that other opportunities would present themselves even within our first semester here!

One afternoon, while exploring the events on our Event Hub webpage, I stumbled across an information session to get involved with “Fisher Serves” and engage in a consulting project for a local non-profit. Fisher Serves is a student-run organization committed to promoting awareness and connecting Fisher students to service-based opportunities in the community. The information session I signed up for was about working  on a consulting project for the Columbus Museum of Art.

After attending the session, I realized what an opportunity this would be to not only get more involved in my new community and engage in the art scene of the city, but also build relationships with students outside of my core team and apply some of the key concepts we’ve been learning in class.

http://www.columbusmuseum.org/host-your-event/plan-your-event/

After a group meeting and tour of the museum with museum staff, we’re working in two teams to help improve museum event revenues and the café experience. It’s been a great opportunity working with the Fisher Serves team and we’re excited to build out strategies for the museum moving forward. Hopefully, you will see some of our new ideas come to fruition at the museum next year!

Revisiting my favorite childhood sport at the RPAC

I love having the flexibility to work out whenever I want– and to do whatever activity I want. And you can take advantage, too! As an OSU student, you get to maximize the full value of our RPAC (Recreation and Physical Activity Center). It’s located at the heart of campus and attracts hundreds of students and faculty every single day. Autumn hours are from 5:30 AM to midnight. You can also enjoy the view of the Ohio Stadium (you know, it’s only the 3rd-largest college football stadium in the U.S., with 104,944 seats). Here are some other fun facts about the RPAC and sports on campus:

  1. At nearly 600,000 square feet, it is one of six recreational facilities on campus.
  2. It has two swimming pools with spectator seating of up to 1,400 people

3) Speaking of teams, there are 36 varsity sports teams in total- and free admission for students to all events except football and men’s basketball.

4) Back to RPAC… there’s a wellness center, kids zone, kitchen, fitness suite, laundry and locker rooms, cafe and juice bar.

4) Free group fitness classes! You can also play basketball, volleyball, tennis, racquetball, squash, golf, billiards, foosball, or even use the indoor walking/jogging track.

What I love most about the RPAC, is that I get to revisit my favorite childhood sport: badminton. If you’re not familiar with this sport, it’s a racquet sport that’s played with racquets hitting a shuttlecock across a net. It’s most commonly played in singles or doubles. It’s a technical sport that requires aerobic stamina, agility, strength, speed, and precision, and is most popularly played in Asia. If you have never played it before, I encourage you to try it sometime!

As a child growing up in Singapore, I used to play badminton at least twice a week with my siblings, neighbors, or friends. I mastered the sport fairly quickly, so I used these sessions to catch up and hang out with my friends. It was an excellent way to stay fit and have fun.

When I was first told that there were badminton courts at the RPAC, I could not believe it. They’re located at the far south end of the RPAC, close to the squash, and indoor volleyball courts. You can rent the racquets for free, and you can purchase the shuttlecocks or bring your own. The RPAC has 6 badminton courts! What started out as a small group of classmates has now evolved into something larger. We have people who are masters at badminton, and we have others who are interested in learning this sport. We’ve also established a “Badminton” WhatsApp group. It’s only been about four months of school for me, but I feel that these badminton sessions will be good bonding sessions for us all!

Real-Life Stuff

Tick tock, tick tock…

What’s that sound?

It’s the real world—you know, that thing you put on pause almost two years ago.  It won’t stay paused forever!

Those of us in the MBA Class of 2018 have learned that the second year is a huge departure from the first year of the program—sometimes it truly feels like an entirely different program altogether.

Where the first-year core curriculum is highly structured, the second year brings autonomy and flexibility with both class times and subject matter.

Where the first year is defined by the demanding academic workload, the second year offers more time for introspection and hands-on growth through leadership roles in student organizations.

Many of these changes are welcome, though I don’t mean to speak ill of my first-year experience.  I do miss the close camaraderie of seeing all my classmates in lecture every single day and spending time with my core team.  I’m proud to know that I navigated the first year successfully, but let’s just say that I’m glad a younger Michael was there to tackle it.

The 11th floor of Thompson Library—a great spot to ponder life’s big questions.

The second year, however, is not without its own unique challenges—and while the stresses of the first year were anticipated, the stresses of second year can catch you off guard. This is because during the second year, you start to feel the real world encroaching.

Where will you work?  Where will you live?  Have you picked the right career path?  Will you relocate?  Will you be uprooting a significant other, spouse, or child in the process?

These are some of the questions you must find final answers for during your second year.  No doubt, these are fortunate problems to have and part of the great growth of the MBA experience—but their permanence and weight can make them rather slippery.

Stop to smell the roses…or watch them change color (?).

The good news is that you are never alone.  Every day, I’m surrounded by 91 friends going through the same process, asking the same questions, thinking the same thoughts.  Then, of course there are the other resources all around us—career counselors, professors, staff.  The key is to remember to enjoy the ride; with patience, the right answers have a way of finding you.

Our time here may be winding down but it is far from over, which means our task is to make the most of what is left.  The real world will have to wait… for now.

The MBA Diaries

In the months leading up to my return to school, one question continuously crossed my mind: What does a day as a Fisher MBA student actually look like? Although my campus visits during my interview and Red Carpet Weekend gave me a good feel for the program, it’s hard to know what your day-to-day will be until you actually get here. So, I decided I would give you a taste of a typical day as a Fisher FTMBA. I like to keep myself extremely busy, but this day (below) was an unusually busy one for me. Your own schedule will obviously vary based on what you decide to get involved in and any obligations you have outside of Fisher, so take this as just one example of what life here is like:

Thursday, 11/09/17

7:45am – Roll out of bed after “snoozing” my alarms at least ten times. I hate mornings, but many of our core classes begin at 8:30am so you do what you have to do. Luckily, my roommate (a third-year vet student) shares my sentiments.

8:10am – Head to campus to begin my day. I live in Grandview a little more than two miles from Fisher, so I usually drive and park on campus.

8:30am – Operations I – I’m a marketing major, but I’ve always been fascinated by operations and I have to say that I’m really enjoying this class. Professor Hill leads us in finishing up the value stream map calculations we started on Tuesday. When he’s done, we have time to discuss potential solutions with our classmates based on the calculations we’ve made. Even though my math skills aren’t stellar, I enjoy thinking about how to make processes more efficient. This class is particularly heavy in case studies, and it’s really helpful to apply the principles of operations to real-world examples.

10am – Professor Hill lets us out a few minutes early, so I make my way downstairs to drop off some stuff in my locker and grab coffee from Rohr Cafe. I try to make coffee at home in my Keurig to save money, but I often don’t leave myself enough time to do that before I have to leave for class. On my way, I run into Julee Conrad and Sarah Campbell from Admissions. They offer me free coffee from the Fall Preview Day table. The GPO is the best!

Coffee coffee coffee!

10:15am – Accounting – We just had our second midterm exam on Tuesday, so today we’re transitioning from Financial to Managerial Accounting. Accounting is the quant-heavy class I like the most because the math is fairly basic and Professor Xue (most of us just call her Sue) is the best. Our last Financial Accounting unit was difficult, so I’m glad to be moving in a new direction.

12pm – I pass by my friend Courtney in a study room on my way out of Accounting and stop by for a chat. Courtney is a second-year student and the president of the Fisher Graduate Women in Business (FGWIB), and I work closely with her as one of FGWIB’s first-year liaisons. We talk about FGWIB, Fisher, and life in general– and before I know it it’s almost time for my next class! The second-year MBAs have been an incredibly valuable resource and I can’t wait to pay it forward next year. So if you’re reading this and are starting at Fisher next fall, come find me!

12:45pm – Quickly scarf down some leftovers for lunch before heading to Finance class. I’m not always good about packing lunch or cooking in general, but I try. Gerlach Hall, home of the Fisher graduate programs, has fridges and microwaves and there aren’t a lot of places to get food by Fisher. Plus, it’s healthier and more affordable.

Eating lunch from my snazzy Fisher lunchbox

1pm – Finance – This is our most quant-heavy class this semester, and the English major in me has been struggling. Luckily, I have awesome classmates and a great TA who help me get through it. Professor Wellman does a lot of example problems in class, and copying down the solutions as he works through them helps me understand the material. Today we continue our discussions on the interest tax shield and capital structure decisions.

2:45pm – I head to the Office of Career Management for a meeting with Chase which is recruiting on campus today. I’ve been working hard on my internship search since I got to campus, and Chase is one of my top choices.

3:15pm – I have a little time to kill before my next meeting, so I stop by the Graduate Student Lounge. I spot Ashley, another one of my second-year friends and the co-president of the Fisher Sports Business Association of which I’m also a member. The lounge is a great place to catch up with friends between classes and do group work. I often pass through just to see if any of my friends are around. I won puppy playtime with Ashley’s dogs at last week’s Fisher Follies auction, and I can’t wait to meet them!

4pm – The Office of Career Management started a Job Search Action Team program, and today is my team’s first meeting. The teams are made up of students across all of Fisher’s graduate programs and led by one of our career counselors. The goal is to support each other as we move through our internship and job searches. We get to know each other and learn about “feedforward,” a positive feedback system we’ll be using in future meetings.

5pm – After the meeting ends, I run over to the Blackwell for a happy hour with prospective students. The admissions team is always looking for volunteers for our Fall Preview Days and I love to help out. It’s nice to unwind with some of my friends after a long week and share my experiences with people who might just be my classmates one day!

5:50pm – I make my way back to Gerlach Hall for Chase’s info session. After hearing more about the company and their opportunities, we have the chance to network with a number of representatives from the Columbus office. I’m inspired by Chase’s initiatives in the digital banking space and impressed by their customer-focused mission. I leave the session exhilarated and look forward to learning more as I move through the application and interview process.

8:00pm – I finish up just in time to give my friend a ride home from yoga class. Normally we both go to yoga Thursday at 7pm at the North Recreation Center, but my schedule was just too full today.

8:30pm – Get home in time to collapse on my couch and watch some TV. It’s Thursday, which means I have no class tomorrow!

Hope you enjoyed a day in my life! If you want to see more posts like this, feel free to let me know in the comments.

 

Five Things I’ve Learned in Two Months of Business School

Time Management

One of the biggest adjustments for me was getting back into a routine of planning out my daily schedule. While working full time, I had an easy daily routine of work, happy hours, and Netflix. Once I got to Fisher, I had to quickly relearn how to make sure I blocked off time to study, get to the gym, meet with my core team, put in hours in my GA role, make it to networking events, and many other things. Google Calendar became my best friend. It’s really easy to let things pile up or forget to get an assignment done, but with a little proper planning each week, staying on top of all of the agenda items is very much manageable.

Personal Time

When you’re in the thick of studying for your next exam or getting a group project done on time, it’s easy to forget to take time for yourself. I found myself pretty stressed a couple of weeks into classes and knew I needed to make a change. So I became more conscious of making sure I set aside a few hours each week just for myself to do non-school things. Whether it’s getting to the gym for a quick workout, catching up on some TV, or reading a fun book at a coffee shop, I make time to be alone every week to recharge. It might seem like you don’t have time when you have a finance exam next week or a big interview to prep for but making time for yourself is important to keep yourself balanced.

Don’t Stress About the Small Stuff

There will be many things to stress about when you’re in business school—interview prep, staying on top of homework, and the next data analysis exam will all be pressures for you. It’s easy to get caught up in all of the stress, including the stuff that doesn’t matter. When I first started, I worked too hard to make sure everything in my life was perfect outside of school and that’s not realistic. My apartment is messier than I’d like it to be, I eat a few too unhealthy meals, and I sometimes forget to text someone back for a couple of days. Learning to not stress about the small or insignificant stuff in my life has been a huge stress relief for me. I focus on what is important and learn to live with the rest of the imperfections. If you try to worry about everything that’s not quite right, you’ll drive yourself crazy.

Friends are Important

Getting through business school is a challenge (and I’m only 10 weeks in!) but friends make it so much easier. The best friends in my life are the ones I have met and forged relationships with since arriving in Columbus just a few short months ago. When the going gets tough, your business school friends understand you the most because they are experiencing the same highs and lows. Take time to build meaningful relationships with people from other backgrounds, geographies, and points of view. Friends make life fulfilling and they’ll be the best ones to help you relieve some stress when you don’t think you’re going to make it through the next finance exam.

Fisher Friends at Apple Orchard
My friends surprised me with a trip to the apple orchard on my birthday!

Fisher is a Great Place

Sounds pretty cheesy, right? It’s true, though. I was not quite sure what to expect when I decided to go back to school full time and move halfway across the country to do so. But I have been overjoyed with my decision, especially choosing Fisher. The admissions team took a lot of time to curate a class of people who complement each other, push each other to think different, and most importantly, get along with each other. Yeah, classes are tough and sometimes you don’t know if you’re going to make it through the week, but at the end of the day, the people here are amazing. Everyone wants to make sure I have the best possible experience and are willing to go out of their way to help me make it happen. I know I would not find that everywhere but I am very thankful I found it in Fisher.

Hopping around Columbus

I love to be involved. By the end of my undergraduate career at Cornell University, I was an active member of five different student organizations. So, when choosing an MBA program, I had to be sure that there were ample opportunities for involvement. When I arrived at Fisher, I quickly realized that there are more student organizations than I could ever hope to join… and that’s a good thing! I’m currently a first-year leader for Fisher Graduate Women in Business (FGWIB) and the Association for Marketing Professionals (AMP), as well as a member of the Fisher Sports Business Association. I also joined the Ohio State Hunt Seat Equestrian Team, a club sports team. Am I really busy? Definitely, but I love every minute of it!

My AMP membership has been particularly rewarding. It’s incredibly valuable to me as a marketing student, as the second-year leadership team has gone out of its way to help everyone looking for marketing internships (myself included), from recommending companies to resume reviews and internship workshops. The club also organizes annual visits to companies in Columbus and nearby Chicago called a “Marketing Hop.” I was fortunate to participate in the Columbus Marketing Hop over fall break, and it got me very excited for what’s to come in Chicago in December. We visited three companies – The Oneida Group, Homage and Alliance Data – with a lunch stop at Easton and a happy hour at Land-Grant. Here’s a rundown of our action-packed day:

The Oneida Group

As a young, single student who has yet to “settle down” and with a limited budget, my current sets of dishes consist of a random mix of boring white plates, some very basic silverware, and a collection of glasses from my parents’ attic in New York. My cooking skills are less than stellar, and my tiny kitchen barely has enough storage space for both me and my roommate. Needless to say, cutlery and cookware aren’t things I spend much time with. But as soon as I walked through the door of The Oneida Group’s new office in downtown Columbus, I felt inspired to become the next Martha Stewart. CMO Jeff Jarrett and Director of Retail Marketing & Innovation Sean Gibson gave us a sneak peek at Oneida’s upcoming marketing campaigns, and we all took home an Anchor Hocking LifeProof water bottle.

Homage

Next stop was Homage, a clothing company that specializes in retro t-shirts. It also makes a lot of clothing for sports fans and being a Columbus-based company, that includes apparel for the Columbus Blue Jackets, Columbus Crew, and of course, the Ohio State Buckeyes. We took a tour of the company’s warehouse and office space – complete with a wall of the employee’s favorite t-shirts – and talked to the marketing staff about their strategies. On our lunch break in Easton, we were able to check out one of Homage’s stores and get some swag.

Alliance Data

Our final, official stop of the day was Alliance Data, specifically the card services division. Alliance Data is responsible for numerous loyalty programs and collects data to help a wide variety of companies in their marketing campaigns. We were first brought into the Innovation Lab where we got a first hand look at some prototypes Alliance Data was testing for clients. While I am unable to disclose exactly what we saw, I can say it was almost like getting a glimpse into the future. We wrapped up our visit with a presentation from Tim Sweeney, Sr. Director of Marketing Analytics, on what Alliance is working on as well as a panel and Q&A with Fisher alumni. While our Data Analysis class is not exactly my strong suit this semester, I found myself fascinated by everything Alliance is able to accomplish through data and walked out feeling like we, as future marketers, truly have the power to affect change.

Land-Grant

Sad at the thought of the hop coming to a close, I made my way to Land-Grant along with some fellow AMP members for an optional happy hour and tour of the facilities. While I’m not normally a beer drinker, I’ve started to explore the craft brewery scene in Columbus thanks to the Columbus Ale Trail. Creative Director Walt Keys treated us to some of the most delicious beer I have ever had (still kicking myself for forgetting what it was called) and showed us the brewing facilities that are conveniently attached to its taproom in Franklinton. We also learned about Land-Grant’s start through a successful Kickstarter Campaign and subsequent partnerships with the Columbus Crew and the Columbus Bluejackets. It was amazing to hear how supportive the Columbus community was of this growing business and to see how a grassroots marketing campaign turned into a thriving craft brewery whose beers I recently spotted on the shelves at Kroger.

The Columbus Marketing Hop was a fantastic kickoff to what was, for me, an action-packed fall break. I’m so grateful to be part of an organization that can offer me hands-on opportunities to explore my chosen career path. I’ll be counting the days until the Chicago Marketing Hop in December!

Why Ohio?

Hey there! I’m Ariel and I am a first-year student in the full-time MBA program (FTMBA, as we like to call it). At 24, I am one of the youngest in my program, and I’m also the only person from New York. In an attempt to explain the roundabout way in which life led me to the wonderful Fisher College of Business, I’ll summarize my journey in my top 3 FAQs:

1. Why did you decide to get an MBA?

After graduating with a BA in English from Cornell University in May 2015, I had virtually no idea what I wanted to do with my life. With little knowledge of the career paths I could take, I enrolled in the Columbia Publishing Course to explore a career in book publishing. From there, I landed a job as a marketing assistant at Henry Holt, a small publisher that’s part of Macmillan Publishers. I loved marketing, but I realized that book publishing wasn’t really for me. I ultimately decided to get an MBA to learn more about marketing before embarking on a new career journey– and here I am!

Me at Cornell graduation. I wasn’t too thrilled about it 😉

2. What do you want to do after you graduate from Fisher?

Good question! Honestly, I feel like the world will be my oyster with all the doors Fisher has already opened for me. Right now, I’m concentrating in marketing and sports management (a brand new major this year) in the hopes of eventually ending up in the equestrian industry. In terms of summer internships, I’m looking at roles in both marketing and brand management across a variety of industries. Because I have less work experience than most of my peers (average work experience in an MBA program tends to be 4-5 years and I have less than 2), it’s important for me to get a good company on my resume to really propel my career forward. Luckily, the Office of Career Management has been really helpful in developing my career plan and suggesting target companies for me to consider.

Me with Annie, a horse I used to ride. If I could ride horses all day every day, I would.

3. How did you end up in Ohio?

New York is pretty great, don’t get me wrong. My friends and family thought I was crazy for wanting to leave. But frankly, New York is also exhausting. After four years upstate in Ithaca, adjusting to life in New York City wasn’t easy. Eventually I got tired of the stress and expense of living in such a large, active, pricey city, and I knew it was time to go. I’m also really close with my family and felt I wouldn’t have the motivation to be truly independent if I didn’t step out of my comfort zone. When I applied to business school, more than half of my list was made up of schools outside of New York. When I began my search more than a year ago, I just so happened to visit one of my best friends from undergrad who is now a graduate student at Ohio State. I fell in love with both Columbus and OSU, and the rest is history. I’d also like to give a shout-out to Fisher’s incredible admissions team for being so supportive throughout the process. One month into classes, I can definitely say that Fisher is the right fit. I also love living in Ohio…so much so that I may never leave!

Gerlach Hall, home of all Fisher graduate programs

Well, I better get back to studying for my three midterms this week (no one ever said school was easy!). I’m looking forward to sharing my adventures with all of you!

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