There seems to be this idea floating around some business school circles that the second year of the full-time MBA program is much more relaxed than first year. Based on my experience so far, that isn’t quite the case! As soon as I came back from my summer internship, I immediately hit the ground running, serving as a Peer Advisor for first-year orientation and then taking a block week (one-week intensive) entrepreneurship course called Lean Launchpad. Since then, I’ve been busy with classes, club activities, interviewing for full-time jobs, and trying to invest what remaining time I have in deepening my friendships with classmates. I’m glad to have some added perspective now that I’m coming around the block again.
As a second year I’m finished with the core, so there’s complete flexibility around course selection – assuming that one does a bit of planning due to the bidding system – and I’ve been able to dive into some subject areas that particularly interest me. For instance, in one of my favorite courses, Catching the Growth Wave in Emerging Markets, I’ve done projects to build a business case for building cell towers in Africa, investing in technology companies in Vietnam, and developing urban farming solutions for the favelas in Brazil. I am also enjoying a course called Napoleon’s Glance which focuses on strategic intuition, and I am trying to figure out how to better integrate the professor’s teachings into my life (more sleep and less time with technology?). Something that has really resonated for me in business school is the value of good teamwork because often there isn’t enough time to do everything on your own, and because my classmates bring so much useful life experience to the table with each discussion and project.
Recruiting has also been a major focus of my fall. I came to business school with some ideas about what I wanted to do after obtaining my degree, but doing spring and summer internships and other project work through courses and competitions really helped me to refine my goals and understand some of what an “ideal” next job might look like for me. Initially I wasn’t sure I was mentally ready to think about recruiting just a few weeks into second year, however upon starting the process, I realized just how much I had learned over the summer and how I could more fully embrace the experience. If a job were meant to be, that would be great, but if a door closed, there would still be others to open. In the meantime, it was a pleasure to go through many of the interviews since the executives I spoke to were more than happy to share their thoughts on industry trends.
Some personal development areas I worked on were enhancing my executive presence and not speaking too quickly. I credit some of my rapid-fire speaking tendencies to growing up with an identical twin with whom I had a unique “language” and fast talking style very early on.
I was lucky to enjoy a bit of a break from school and the job search and take a short adventure tourism trip with my cluster to Costa Rica (the photo above is one of my favorites from whitewater rafting). With the end of fall term in sight, I’m looking forward to relaxing and spending time with my family in California over winter break, then participating in block week courses Lessons in (Reverse Innovation) in India and Marketing of Luxury Products. I think they’ll be well worth it.