Posts filed under 'Working Professional MBA'



Barely have time to breathe? Get an MBA!

FREE BEER!

Before I start with the real deal, you should know that if you carefully read my posts you will learn about FREE BEER! And who doesn’t like FREE BEER? Of course, not every post will have FREE BEER in it, and I may even not talk about beer at all, but chances are one day will be your lucky day and the nectar of the gods will be bestowed upon you.

OK – now that I have your attention, back to business …

If you are like the “old me”, you barely have time to breathe. You probably work about 70 hours per week, not because you have multiple jobs, but because at your only job if you don’t do your tasks nobody will, and even more your colleagues come to you for help and you help them all the time. Oh, and that moment at the office when the unspeakable happens and the fan is hit… that means you’ll be there over the weekend too, to fix the problem. Vacation? You’re not exactly sure what that means. You didn’t have one of those in ages, but you remember reading about them in a newspaper. Or did you see it on TV? Things are blurry and unclear if this “vacation” thing is even real, or just a figment of your imagination. And then it happens.

I don’t exactly know how the transformation was triggered. I know I decided I really want my MBA sometimes mid-January (why I want it in a future post). I scheduled my GMAT exam in 8 weeks from that date, and I started to study every day for 2 hours. At first it was more like 1 hour, because I would start looking over the study books close to midnight, when my nine-to-five job allowed me to get home and then I was too tired. But then, day by day my priorities started to shift. I still finished all my tasks in time at work. I still helped all my colleagues that asked for help (probably not always taking the task from them and doing it instead, but pointing them in the right direction, on what/where to search). I started to get home sooner and sooner. At 10pm. Then at 9.30. Then at 8, and then at 6.15pm.

I got a pretty good GMAT score, and I applied on May 15th (that was the last day one could have applied for the fall semester). I got accepted (best day of this year, so far). I even had time to go to a VMware training course and a week-long Cisco conference. Somehow, without finishing any less tasks at work, and without neglecting anything important in my life, I am now reserving anywhere from 1 hour (weekdays without classes) to 5 hours per day (days with class or weekend days) for my MBA, and I still have more time than I had at the beginning of the year.

Maybe it’s just me, maybe starting an MBA will not clear your schedule. It did clear mine. I think the best decision I took this year so far was to start my MBA.  And did I mention now I also have time to get my FREE BEER?


What a difference a year makes

I’m officially done with a year of the WPMBA program!  It really has went by pretty fast.  Sarah’s post is really true.  Her last bullet for me was the hardest to get used to when I started.  (Don’t obsess about grades…) When you start the program, you soon learn that you have to maintain a 3.0 average in all of the core classes.  Which is a B.  When I first started a year ago, that really intimidated me.  What if I get below a B?  Or how much work is it to get an A?  As I began to learn, B’s are ok.   There will be classes in which you know you may never use the material again and are just doing what you can to get by; but even in those classes, there are still tips and information that is valuable to learn, or enough to at least sound like you know what you are talking about in conversation.  Most of the classes incorporate current/local events into the topics which helps the “Why do I really need to learn this?” question.  Virtually nobody will know (unless you share) what grades you get and employers (for the most part) will not ask to see your transcripts, just that you have graduated.

To go along with Sarah’s list, I have a couple more bullets to add after a year in the program:

  • Commuting an hour (or more) is doable.   Patience is needed when dealing with traffic on a regular basis.  I don’t know how many times I came to class complaining about the traffic on 315, but it was a lot.  It helps to be open and accommodating when it comes to group projects.
  • Take time to exercise.  The first couple of quarters, most of my free time was spent on studying and that came back to bite me.  Treadmill time and reading articles is a great combo!
  • Beware of the vending machines.  Buying a candy bar and pop before or in between classes every day is not good for the weight or the wallet.
  • Meet as many classmates and get to know them.  Networking is such a great aspect with classmates and it helps later on when you need to form groups or need expertise in a specific area.
Enjoy your summer break!

 


First Year = Check!

Last night while we were enjoying beers and basking in the post-finals glow at the Varsity Club, one of my friends pointed out that we were officially “one year down” in the WPMBA program.  I’ve thought about that before, but for some reason, hearing him say it made it real.   I survived four whole quarters!

Now, notice that I don’t say I’m “halfway done” – because I’m not.  The program will take me ~2.5 years to complete, which means I am not quite halfway there.  But hitting the year mark is really something.  That’s one year of four hours, two nights a week, for 40+ weeks.  And during all that time, I’ve learned some things along the way that are worth passing along:

  • You get used to the schedule, but it never gets easy
  • It’s OK to occasionally (ok, more like rarely) skip class in favor of a beer with your friends – or a night with your couch
  • Always bring a sweater to class – the rooms are cold!
  • Packing your dinner takes away the stress of having to stop somewhere on the way
  • Work in groups as much as possible – it makes doing homework much more fun, and you might learn more than you would on your own (I know I do)
  • It takes some time to establish your group of friends, but once you do, the program takes on a new level of fun
  • Don’t obsess about grades like you may have in undergrad.  Grad school is all about learning, and getting an B doesn’t mean you didn’t learn

Here’s to the next 1.5 years!


The End of the Quarter System

The end of Spring Quarter will be the end of an era.  The end of quarters and the start on semesters, Ohio State has had quarters ever since the college started back in 1870…back when Ohio State was strictly an agriculture and mechanical college.  Initially, when I found out semesters were coming, I was not very happy.  Going from 10 week classes to 14 did not seem all that exciting.  What if I don’t like a class?  I’m going to have to sit through it even longer.  But, the WPMBA program has made many of classes half term which will be seven weeks.  This will give us more opportunities to take elective classes that fit our interests.

Another change that will happen with the semester switch is only taking one class per night.  I’m really excited about this.  Many times, over the past year, I have neglected reading in one class for doing homework in another.  Or, like this quarter, having two midterms on one night….that made for a long four hours!   So only one class that will last from 6:00 – 9:15 will be a welcomed change.

So as we move to semesters, there will be plenty of uncertainties, confusion, and trying times.  But we should all embrace semesters with some patience because everyone in the university will be new to this system.  Good bye Quarters.  Hello Semesters!


Balancing Act

This past weekend was a great example of the balancing act that is life.  The weekend before finals (for some) corresponding with a holiday weekend.  Three days to study?  Great in theory.  However, that wasn’t the case.  On Saturday, my sister-in-law graduated high school and is now a Buckeye!  The superintendent had five things that not only the graduates, but everyone, should do every day: pay someone a compliment; do a good deed; be yourself and love what you see in the mirror; do something for yourself; and make a memory.   Such good advice.

On Sunday, I was able to fit in some studying and attended a “Dave Boone FUNance study session” which was very helpful!   On Memorial Day, we had a homecoming luncheon at our church and then had my sister-in-law’s grad party.  Busy, busy weekend.

After a year of being in this program, there will be busy weekends like this one and there will be others that aren’t as busy.  My advice is plan ahead.  Plan out your weekend and know when/if you can fit in studying.  Also look ahead and realize that if you have an upcoming busy weekend, try to do homework or readings ahead of time.  Helps lessen the stress of trying to do all the readings and homework at the last minute.

 


I’m going to be a M.O.H.

M.O.H – Maid of Honor.  That’s a title I’m donning for the first time in my life this year, for my best friend Ashley’s wedding (and no, it’s not going to be like the movie).

Ash’s wedding is August 25.  While August 25 may seem like a long way away, my MOH duties began long ago.  Dress shopping for her dress and the bridesmaid dresses, dress fittings, many discussions of wedding details, and the best part – the bachelorette party!  Ashley will be a bachelorette for another 4 months, but we chose to start celebrating early to accommodate her busy schedule as a second-year medical resident.  As a former member of the Ohio State Equestrian team, and lifelong horse lover, she wanted to attend the races at Keeneland in Lexington, KY – similar to the Kentucky Derby, but much more affordable.   Planning your best friend’s bachelorette party is no small task – especially with an already packed schedule like the ones we have as WPMBA students.  So how did I do it, you ask?  By tapping into the planning and organization skills I have acquired both at my job and at school.

The planning started with scheduling.  Finding a weekend that would work for both Ashley and her 12 friends attending the party was not easy – starting early, so that everyone could set aside the weekend, was key.  Then came the big things, like finding a hotel, scheduling transportation to and from the races, and buying tickets.  Once those critical items were crossed off the list, I started delegating.  I asked another girl to be in charge of making restaurant reservations.  I asked everyone to bring food and drinks for the hotel room.  I bought fun stuff for weekend, like blow-up stick horses – which were a really fun way to look like a bachelorette party!  I took a cue from my experience planning trade shows and meetings at work and rather than ask everyone for input on certain things, I made the call and communicated what each girl needed to do – without being “bossy”.

In the end, the girls told me how appreciative they were of my planning – they knew where to be when, what to bring, and what to wear – all the things that are key to a successful bachelorette party.  And a success it was!  Despite the lousy weather, we all had a fantastic time – especially the bride.  MOH success #1!  Now for the wedding shower (which, luckily, her mom is planning most of) – and writing that speech!

Horse Races!

At the Horse Races!


Scheduling – Part Two

So last week was a busy week for many of the WPMBA‘s; well, those of us who had the fun experience of two midterms back to back last Tuesday.  I for one was not a fan of two midterms on the same night.  It made for a long weekend of studying.  And then came scheduling.  A post several weeks ago, I was very excited about the opportunity for scheduling for fall semester.  For the past year, we’ve basically been told “The switch is coming, you must take these classes.” Which was simple enough.   But now, with the majority of my core classes out of the way, picking electives was exciting idea to start.  Well, scheduling for electives can be a daunting task.  There are several options.  Some may can pick classes by days of the week, others by interests, workload, group projects, professors and so much more.  I’ve scheduled for autumn semester but I’m not positive about the classes yet; there’s still time.

So here’s my task for anybody in the WPMBA program that happens to read my blog.  What elective classes did you like/dislike?  What would you recommend to those of us choosing electives for the first time?  Those who have taken the classes first hand are great resources!


Electives…Friend or Foe?

With almost four quarters in the WPMBA program under my belt, the time has come to make the big leap from core classes to electives.  I am not entirely completely with the core courses, but due to the quarter-to-semester conversion, I won’t be taking my last quarter of electives until Spring of 2013. Which means it’s time to start taking electives.  Now, many of my classmates have been looking forward since day one to getting the core classes “over with” so they could begin taking electives.  I, on the other hand, am terrified of electives.

Why terrified, you ask?  For one, the choices themselves are overwhelming.  Fisher boasts a wide selection of course offerings, which is a good thing, I know – but makes deciding which ones to take a bit stressful.  What if you pick the wrong ones?  How do you know if the professor will be good, or if the class will be too challenging or not challenging enough?  I will do my best to talk to my older, wiser classmates who can provide advice on what to take and what not to take, but without a central depository for that type of information, it’s almost impossible to have the “in” on every class.

Perhaps even more disconcerting to me is the loss of “core comfort”.  For the past year, I have been told exactly what classes to take and when to take them.  I have gotten to know my classmates well.  Now, we are all going to be spilt up based on our interests and schedules – and that makes me sad.  I really like being in class on Tuesdays and Thursdays, seeing the same people.  Now, we will be spread out – I will probably have class on Monday and Tuesday, while some of my friends will have class on Wednesday and Thursday.  And what about seeing everyone at the bar on Thursday nights?!  “Growing up” is making me sad.

I need to remind myself that I am not in this program just to socialize (although that’s what makes it bearable) – that I am actually paying a lot of money to learn – and learn what I want to learn.  I also need to remind myself that new classes are an opportunity to meet new people, which means an opportunity for new, refreshing class discussions.  Change can be good!  At least I’ll keep telling myself that…

How Electives Make Me Feel


Classmates – the Fisher WPMBA program’s greatest asset(s)

After being in the WPMBA program for almost a year (which does not seem possible!), I have learned so much.  The core classes are all beneficial and the professors are (for the most part) passionate about their subject matter and helping the students succeed.  But the best part of this program has been all the new classmates I have met.  Every person in the program has a different background and different work experience but all come together two days a week to continue their education.  This network of classmates is amazing.  Need to know what classes to take next term?  Just ask a couple of classmates and get their views on professors, work load, etc.  Need homework help?  Met up with a group of people and work on it together.  Upcoming job interview?  There’s probably someone in the program that works where you are interviewing.  Ask for advice!  The options are really limitless.  They all understand the pressures of working 40+ hours, plus class, plus studying, and maybe having room for a life now and then.  They understand taking vacation days from work to study for an exam.  When I started the WPMBA last June, I was not sure what to expect.  Honestly, I was overwhelmed.  But after meeting several great people starting off, and more each quarter, the classes and workload balancing act still may seem overwhelming at times, but I know I have a network of friends that are available to help or at least understand.

Shout out time:   Two of those classmates that I met on Day 1 who I call friends now are Vince and Dave.  They are great!  I’m going to miss them over the summer when I’m not sitting by them every day in class, since we’ll be taking different electives…as much as Dave has tried over the past six weeks to get me to like Finance.


Fisher “Prom”!!!

I will use this post as my first unofficial action as the WPMBA Internal Public Relations representative (I am running uncontested, so I think I’m OK to say that :-) ).  This post is a shameless plea to get you, WPMBA student, to attend the Fisher Formal on Friday, May 18!  Reasons to attend:

  • It’s not just for the full-time students, although it may feel that way.  Let’s show the full-timers that the WP’s know how to party, too!  They shouldn’t get to have all the fun.
  • It’s downtown, in the Smith Brother’s building – I’ve never been, but I hear cool things
  • $40 all you can eat and drink.  Nuf said.
  • It’s a reason to dress up a bit and wear that new, cool tie or fun dress
  • It’s a great opportunity to have a fun night out with your school friends without having to drive home and go to work in the morning!
  • It’s my BIRTHDAY!

Hope to see you on May 18th!

Better Than Your High School Prom!


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