The first year of my Kellogg MBA is done! It ended on June 11th. At least that’s when I had my last exam. The next thing on my plate is my summer internship at Microsoft! I think it’ll be a pretty good time in Seattle.
A very common line that I heard from MBA grads when I told them I was going to business school was “business school was the best 2 years of my life!”. That certainly wasn’t the case for me though. I’m pretty sure that the past year doesn’t count as one of the best of my life. A better way to describe my first year at Kellogg would be transformative. I’ve learned a lot and improved my business acumen, and I’ve also had the opportunity to work with some really smart and talented people. Most importantly, I have been fortunate enough to create some true friendships with remarkable individuals that I believe will support and challenge me for the rest of my life. I know it sounds cliche, but it turned out to be true in my experience.
This year the outgoing Kellogg class of 2014 did something interesting. Each student took a personal portrait while holding a message that they’d like to send to themselves ten years from now. It was really interesting to see the insightful, inspiring and sometimes funny messages that these portraits contained. Stealing a page from their play book, I asked myself what I would tell myself a year ago as I was about to start my MBA at Kellogg. I came up with four things:
1. Figure out what’s important to you outside Kellogg, and create the boundaries necessary to protect it. Not doing this might lead to unpleasant consequences for you.
2. Networking is important, but play to your strengths. If you come alive in large gatherings, then by all means go for it. If you are more comfortable with smaller, personal conversations, then go ahead and do that. What’s important is that you’re making meaningful connections that matter to you.
3. While the first year is fast paced and filled with interesting activities, you still need to make out time to reflect on your experience and make sure you remember – and are daily moving towards – your true North.
4. Seek out and spend time building relationships with the 2nd years. They really are an amazing bunch, and they’ll be gone sooner than you think! 🙂