3 Things I Wish I did Differently At Business School

Now that I’m a few months into life after graduation, I’ve had some time to reflect on my bschool experience. I feel very grateful for the opportunity to have attended a school like Kellogg as it was a truly transformational experience. However, if I had to do it all over again, I would definitely do some things differently. Before mentioning what these things are, I think it’s important to state that some of these areas of improvement are definitely unique to me – an introverted and risk averse Nigerian guy. Now that the safe harbor statement has been shared, here goes:

1. I Wish I Developed Relationships With People Not Like Me: Most of my really good business school friends turned out to be people who recruited for tech-related careers, were part of my section, or were foreign students like me. This sort of makes sense considering that like attracts like right? The downside to it is that there were so many awesome people who didn’t fit into any of these buckets that I’d really have loved to develop a relationship with. I think I was just too caught up with academics, finding a job, and delivering on my other bschool responsibilities to find the time and resources for these other relationships. In other words, I was lazy and it cost me big time.

2. I Wish I Partied More: Parties aren’t my thing and they probably will never be. I prefer quiet casual conversations in quiet settings to loud parties where I can barely hear myself. In addition, there’s usually such a huge demand on your time at bschool that most people (including me) end up doing what’s tried and tested. For me that was avoiding parties and spending time with my friends in quiet, convenient settings. If this is true, why do I wish I partied more at Kellogg? Some of the cool people I wanted to meet actually liked to party (they’re not like me remember?). Also, a wise friend once said that the magic of life usually happens outside your comfort zone. I wish I had stepped out of my anti-party comfort zone more often; who knows what magic I may have found? 🙂

3. I Wish I Took on More Extra-Curricular Responsibilities: Now to be fair, I did take on a decent amount of stuff. I was president of the Africa Business Club, logistics chair for the Kellogg Technology Conference 2014, VP communications for Catholics @ Kellogg, and an admissions committee reader for my entire time at Kellogg. The reason why I feel I could’ve taken on more is that I could fit these responsibilities into my schedule without dropping major balls. In other words, I didn’t figure out my breaking point. Maybe if I did take on more, I may have reached my breaking point. I may also have been forced to learn new time management skills in order to cope. There’s no way to confirm this hypothesis now though because I didn’t experiment.

If there’s one piece of advice I’d give to current or aspiring business school students – given my own personal experience – it would be this: do what you need to do to be successful, but once in a while, try to find the magic that lives outside your comfort zone.

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4 thoughts on “3 Things I Wish I did Differently At Business School

  1. Dear friend, funny enough, all you have said is who you really are and not surprising to those who know you from the old school days.

    To do the things you said you would have done would be going outside your comfort zone. But I totally agree with you. It is outside your comfort zone you find magical moments.

    Nice one.

  2. It is tempting to look back and wish for a slightly difference experience, isn’t it? I too looked back for these near exact 3 reasons (why we are so similar in this regard is a topic for another day perhaps?)

    I learnt, after listening to some of the stories of my classmates and graduates from later classes, that this is simply a mirage that exists at most top tier business schools. The reality is : You would never have been able to add these 3 things you regret to your experience at Kellogg. Why? Because we are all finite in our capability.

    You wish (like I wished) that you had spent more time with people who were not like you. But have you factored in the extra effort and time it would take for you to fit into a social dynamic that you do not naturally gravitate towards or fit in with? And the “opportunity cost” involved?

    I guess what I am trying to say is that, we all have finite capabilities with infinite possibilities at an M7 school. I’ve spoken to some brilliant classmates who were incredibly social while at Kellogg, with wardrobes filled with more costumes than clothes and more “besties” than you could possibly know what to do with…. only to have them end up with jobs they absolutely hate and with no (yes, zero) surviving friendships once everyone graduated and moved out from the bubble. I can assure you, this isn’t a few exceptions.

    These classmates of ours will be fine, and will find new parties to attend in costume, as will the classmates who chose other combinations given their choices as well. I doubt you and I would have been as resilient had we not ended up in our current position. Which is why, I think, we are where we are 🙂

  3. Great post Efesa! I find that most introverted MBA students often have these same…misgivings, so you are spot on, and not alone. However, one should console themselves in the fact that the few friends that were made and developed in that period are relationships that are deep and long lasting, far beyond the 2-3 years post-MBA.

    We should also apply these learnings beyond the MBA life — when pushed to do something outside your comfort zone (though I struggle to think of any scenarios similar to and as contrived as the 2-year MBA at Kellogg :)) and you are apprehensive, do it for “the magic”.

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