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Turning tides

Posted by Charlotte on 09 March 2009

My MBA experience has completely shifted this term.  My priorities have changed and my outlook is not the same as it was.  Last term work was my priority and I felt that the MBA was just very time-consuming.  I went home to Boston for 3 weeks over Christmas and I couldn’t bear to pick up a book, let alone look at a number.  I realised I had been missing old friends and I was desperately in need of recharging my batteries.

Thankfully I survived the initiation tests to get to the rewards of this term.  And wow, what a term.  How can I summarise it in a sentence?  Interviews, suits, jobs, rugby matches, discovering the alumni bond, party organising, Sundowners, a trip to Paris, Sundowners and more parties.

There’s not much of classes in all of that and yet classes have been great.  Marketing and Discovering Entrepreneurial Opportunities are all getting to the crux of what makes businesses tick.  However, I have learnt far more from doing interviews than I have in any class.  I spent the first few weeks absorbed in ‘cracking cases’, the standard method of interviewing for consulting companies where a business problem is thrown at you and you have half an hour to draw together all of your knowledge and wit and come up with reasonable assumptions on how the problem can be fixed.  It is extremely strategic, a lot of fun and thankfully the preparation paid off since I am lucky enough to have an internship offer from a consulting firm for the summer.

But more than that, this term I have really experienced what it means when people say that the MBA is all about building a network.  This isn’t as cheesy as it sounds and it’s not artificial.  Job-hunting has been a truly bonding experience.  We regularly met up in groups to prepare for interviews together even though we were all competing for the same roles.  The 2nd years have been an amazing resource and the alumni I have met have been extremely supportive and just want to help you to get a job in the companies they work for.

I have found my network of friends and contacts growing in so many other ways too.  I have met up with a student from Kellogg on exchange here who has worked for the company I am going to this summer, I’ve met some creative people through the lunchtime photography classes offered by an avid photographer in our year, I’ve been to brunch with the 19 girls in my stream, I’ve shared drinks, songs and dances with the long line of alumni involved in the rugby club after the alumni match last weekend and I’m finding out the talents of my fellow classmates as part of the committee organising this year’s summer ball.  And this is all going to continue in the sun – I’m going to Thailand for 2 weeks over the Easter holidays with the sailing club – can’t wait!

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