Last weekend I graduated with my MBA! I vividly remember the torture of studying for the GMAT, the exhilaration of getting accepted into business school, the overwhelming sadness of starting a long distance marriage, the anxiety of moving to a new city, and the excitement of starting a new chapter. Two years flew by and it was an unforgettable experience! I made lifelong friends, shared laughters and tears, learned to overcome failure, and celebrated successes. I am grateful for my time at business school and the people I have had the chance to meet. I want to take a moment to write down some lessons learned from business school:
Dig beneath the surface – People come from all walks of life and experiences, and the only way to learn more is to show genuine interest, ask questions, and listen. A week before business school, I traveled to Peru with 24 classmates. During the trip there was one rule: we cannot reveal our alma mater, major/concentration, job before business school, where we lived before business school, hometown, relationship status, and which program we were accepted into at school. This was extremely difficult because when two strangers first meet, they are bound to talk about one or more of those things!! But this rule forced us to throw out preconceived notion, dig beneath the surface and get to know each other at a much deeper level. During the trip, we passed around a notebook to write clues and predictions about each other. This was eye opening because it showed people’s first impression of me and how well they were listening. Below is what my classmates wrote about me. When I asked my classmates about it later, they thought I went to an ivy and/or was a consultant because I am well-spoken and come across as extremely intelligent. One person gave the example of when we were waiting in a long line at Machu Picchu and I made suggestions of how the line could be more efficient. I did not attend an ivy or was a consultant. This made me wonder if I had revealed that I went to a Big Ten school and worked in brand management, what would have been the preconception?
Remember how you got here – Sometimes when a dream is achieved, one forget the difficult path it took to get there. During convocation, our dean told us to turn around and thank the people who supported us. My eyes welled with tears thinking about all the people who supported me over the years. I have faced many obstacles and could not have achieved my goals without their help. When the itty bitty shitty committee in my head tells me “I can’t” and to give up, my family and friends let me vent and then tells me to persevere. During my two years in business school, I was also shocked by the strangers who helped me, whether it was to give up their interview slot because they know I wanted it more, or to inspire me to dream bigger.
Never stop exploring – There was a portrait project this year with the theme “A message you would like to remind yourself of 10 years from now.” My message to myself was to never stop exploring because I have learned that I’m happiest when I am continuously learning, finding new passion and things I love, traveling to new destinations, and opening myself to new opportunities.
I am excited to be done with business school and to start another new chapter. As I look to the future, I hope:
- To never lose touch of a friend/family because of time or distance
- To inspire others around me
- To follow my dreams and passion