Quote for today
"You can raise the bar or you can wait for others to raise it, but it's getting raised regardless"
- Seth Godin
The thing we started is coming to an end.. the time of my life that will remain wrapped around the courtyards and classrooms of Goizueta.. the memories that will stay with me forever. It’s time to move on, and not yet: not before I write the last post to enshrine this blog in this time that will never come back. Forgive me if its longer than your usual blog post, but its coming. Very soon.
Began with interviews at top 2 Consulting firms, some very interesting marketing electives, and leading to a busy and rewarding summer. The last semester, relatively, was a wash, other than going through the rigmarole of job interviews leading to an offer that I couldn’t refuse. All in all, it’s been a great year. I’ll be a consultant, after all, like a lot of other folks from my class. Plan A worked, and how.
I was talking to a friend who’s been witness to my tryst with MBA, and he delightfully commented that all my risks had paid off, all the uncertainty was taken care of, and it was all celebrations from now on. Well, I’ve had my share of fun and celebration throughout, fallen in love with Emory and to an extent Atlanta in the process, and my only worry is that 2011 will mark the end of what without doubt has been the best addition to my collection of memories.
With just 4 months left, I’ve got a whole lot that I want to still do. To be fair to this blog, I must make up by posting everything I didn’t know earlier about an MBA, and now do. Hopefully I’ll take care of that in the coming year and not let the thought fester.
Best wishes to all for a very happy new year ahead. Enjoy the pursuit and the fruits it brings.
One year over, and you might be wondering how has the tryst been so far. If success is measured by busy days and peaceful sleeps, then I’ve achieved some. Upon reflection, the first year seems to be just a long, eventful preparation for what the second year’s supposed to offer. If first year was more about indulgence, the second year would be where all things come full circle.
Someone reminded me about this blog today, enough to drive a new post out of me. I wish I could write more about my internships and the last amazing model I built for my company, but that’s not what hits me the most today as I sit down to write this. What hits the most is how much have things changed, and how I’ve authored every single turn, every other leap since the last one year. And it’s overwhelming to think that the best is yet to come.
The next few months should be the busiest mess I have ever gotten myself into. If MBA’s a rollercoaster then I’m about to turn upside down soon. The thrill’s not over until you stop imagining about it. I’m ready for more; it’s the less that I couldn’t live with before my MBA.
Most people reach a point during their MBA when they know they have ‘figured’ it out. That’s when you understand the rules of the game, the protocols, the appropriate way of going about things in the MBA land. I reached that point about 2 months ago when I discovered exactly what it is that I want to do post-MBA, and developed a passion for marketing analytics. It pumped my internship search with a new purpose, and I stand today with two excellent internship offers in hand. I am so glad that I didn’t land an internship in the first month, because the grind has helped me perfect a lot of things that I couldn’t have done earlier. Towards the end it’s not about just getting an internship, but getting ‘the’ one that’s most relevant for you.
It’s an exciting time now. Most people have finalized their summer options already, and we’re all going to be back in the ‘workforce’ pretty soon. As we wind up the last few days of school this semester, I can’t help but mention that time has passed much, much quicker than I thought. My advise to all those who are planning to matriculate this Fall – get as involved as you can, and right away. This chance to take a break and do something new, something that you really enjoy may not come again.
So while I complete the last few presentations and get ready for an exciting summer, y’all be merry and keep watching the Clear Admit blog for this year’s Best of Blogging awards ! Thank you Clear Admit for nominating me again this year despite an appallingly low number of posts. While this blog has not reflected every juicy aspect of an MBA life, I hope you’ll give me credit for being absent from here in order to come good on my promise to make the most of my MBA 🙂
The thing about an MBA is that it can zoom by extremely fast. The end of semester 1, a 4-week winter break, and some interviews have now passed between my last post and this one. The second semester introduced us all to some star electives and star professors, my favorite class being market intelligence for its sheer brilliance. Almost half the class has an internship now, and I’m in the other half that’s still looking. On the face of it, getting an internship may not be that difficult. Its getting a relevant one that matters. Across the schools, its a similar scene for international students where the improvement in the recruitment space from last year has been far from dramatic. There are opportunities, but lesser than what you would think. As opportunities through on campus recruiting begin to dry up, everybody’s learning a trick or two in how to network effectively to land an internship in the area of their choice. To paint a picture that the times are not tough would be incorrect.
However, your quality lies in seeing the goodness in bad times. If your MBA applications talked all about how you were excellent at facing and surpassing challenges, you won’t get a bigger one than this at business school. Especially for incoming international students to business schools across the US this year, realize that your situation would not be too different from ours. Realize that the recruitment process is completely differently here. Realize that there would be times when the going would frustrate you, and you can’t always blame the economy. Realize that you are setting yourself up for something for which you need to start preparing, right now. Don’t be discouraged, because we are not. You need to live this experience to understand how it changes you for the better. In that sense, we are all entrepreneurial – we can see our life’s biggest investments giving us all the learning we desired, but not the return – an internship/a job – yet. Situations force us to compare how an alternative investment – continuing in our work/going to a school in our country – could have given us a better return, but I can tell you that if given a choice, ALL of us would choose this again over anything else. The purpose of this post is to tell you that things are difficult, but not impossible. Risk it. But be prepared for it.
Like you would have understood from applying to B schools here, just an application is not a measure of your interest in that school. The same holds when you are applying to a position in a company. How many people you talk to from that company is at times more important than the strength of your resume. That, in short, is the role of networking for you here. Whether you like it or not hardly matters. Whether you do it or not does. To most of the internationals that does not come naturally, but you get better at it after a few months in school.
What keeps us busy, then, is how to get ourselves in front of a recruiter. How to persuade people to interview us. How to get a chance to sell our brand better. How to remain optimistic and continue to enjoy the humor of hard times while preventing it from turning into a dark comedy.
Whats been only 3 and a half months since school began seems like a lifetime in itself. Already. When there’s so much happening, I guess its got to be that way. Let me see how I can best break this time down and talk about things that an applicant would like to know.
The first thing that strikes you about Goizueta and stays with you is that the whole Community thing is so amazingly true. Everyone out here helps you, guides you, becomes your friend. Without exception. You don’t just get a class of 170 friends, you get a whole community of alums, professors, program office and everyone else who want you to do your best. Now thats a huge responsibility. You better make them proud.
The core courses we have covered so far are Microeconomics, Leading Organization & Strategy, Data Decision & Analysis, and Professional Communication, and come December we will be done with Marketing, Finance, and Financial Accounting. In addition we have Management Practice that continues next semester. Thats a lot that we have already covered, come to think of it. How much did I learn ? I think I’ve done pretty well, though aided by the fact that Goizueta has a grade non-disclosure policy. Getting to actually learn an incredible lot from some excellent professors is one of Goizueta’s good secrets to know.
Lets talk about what you most want to hear – jobs. Yes, the second years are getting offers, and good ones. Some of my classmates have already bagged internships. For most of us in the first year, the internship search season begins from January, but the groundwork has been laid in the past months, and will continue well into the rest of this year. Is the picture rosy ? Not quite, but its still a great picture to be a part of. There’s this sense of optimism in all of us that also resonated from the second years when I reached out to them as an applicant last year. We all know its tough, but we all know we are going to get there. Each one of us will make it. Speaking of facts, there are probably more openings this year than the last, and the economy’s not an excuse anymore.
Atlanta. A special note to international applicants – the location of your school matters a hell lot. Almost every other week we have alums helping us out, formally or informally, coaching us about interviews and resumes and giving us a sense of their work after MBA. Its all possible only because a sizable number of alums fall enough in love with Atlanta to be based out of here. Then there are other frequent informative sessions and speaker series, as well as local company visits and treks, thanks to Atlanta being the hub for some great companies. And after a hard day’s worth of classes and assignments, Atlanta spoils you for choices for how and where you want to enjoy the rest of your evening. Every day offers the possibility of a party, and to say that we make the most of it is an understatement. Thats another of our well-kept secrets – we party hard. No kidding.
I wish I could turn this blog into a photoblog – that would reveal to you the rapport we share with our classmates. It has to be lived to be believed.
There are a few specifics I would like to discuss in my next post – concentrations, GMSC, and International Potluck. The current post on the school’s blog talks about one of the many resources school offers you for your internship preparation. This being the application season, let me know if there’s some aspect of the school you would like to hear more about.
Before I leave, here’s a rundown of things to cover this weekend – we have a number of group assignments due for finance, a marketing case analysis cum presentation for strategies for targeting low income consumers, a couple of management practice assignments for structured problem solving, a night long’s worth homework in accounting, mock interview preparations, etc. etc. etc. How do we manage to do it all ? For good measure, we have an awesome, grand party called Semi Formals coming up tomorrow evening, where the whole class is going to get together and discuss all the assignments. Umm. Not really. The night will speak for itself.
I’m writing to let you know that I’m alive, and kicking. We’ve been through an intense experience called Block B (popularly known as Block 2), which is anything but a stroll in the park. Exams begin from tomorrow and last until Thursday, and are we all so looking forward to that day !! Last few weeks have been the toughest, raising hundreds of questions in my mind as I continue to find answers to some of them.
Block 2/B is a once in a lifetime experience. Its particularly interesting because its not so bad as its made out to be, but it hits you at one point or the other. All the realities come pouring down to wake you up from the magical myth an MBA is supposed to be. Its not so bad. Its just, REAL. Face it and survive, without forgetting to enjoy the process.
I have a new found respect for Thursdays. You’ll know why if you are at Goizueta. Can’t wait for the next one to arrive !