We did it! 250 cases. 93 new best friends. Countless problem sets. 1 cold call. It’s funny to imagine that 9 months ago this great group of friends were all strangers wearing business casual. This week marks the end of an inspiring, enlightening, and all-around fun first year of business school.
As with everything, I ask myself “was it worth it?” After this semester, the answer is a resounding yes. This so-called “vacation” has turned out to be a marathon at a sprint’s pace, but I’m enjoying every minute. I tried to summarize the high points of the year and my favorite things that I’ve learned – nuggets from class, wisdom from section mates and general experiences that have changed my perspective. It’s challenging to collect all of these emotions and condense them to a few bullet points, but here are some scattered thoughts on why this experience has been transformative so far, and what I’ve enjoyed learning most.
- The people are the most critical part of the experience: it’s cliche, but being placed in such an intense group of impressive, type-A people can be intimidating. I have been continually blown away by the cohesion of my section, and finding a home with these compassionate, funny and impressive individuals.
- The limiting schedule : it was bizarre at first to be shepherded around, with everyone following exactly the same schedule. It felt like high school, and it was strange moving from a professional environment to feeling like my time was not my own. I’ve had to become adaptable about finding time for myself (which proved to be very important), and I’ve had to become more efficient about finding time.
- Putting yourself in the shoes of the decision-maker provides a different perspective on leadership: people often say that MBAs know how to criticize but don’t know how to do. We’ve spent the year putting ourselves in the position of being the decision-maker, which has given me profound respect and understanding for what it means when all of the choices look wrong.
- Business school is a process of self-discovery: I didn’t think that focusing my efforts on learning for 2 years would cause a serious process of introspection. Every day we are asked to come in with a stance on a particular topic, and it has pushed me to evaluate and define my values.
I can’t wait to come back next year to an entirely different set of challenges!