Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Two Weeks In

“It’s like drinking from a fire hydrant.”

That is how my Managerial Economics Professor and Advisor, Ken Middaugh, described the first semester in Wake’s Full-time MBA program. I could not have said it better myself. However, I would not want it any other way because, frankly, I’m thirsty.
Only two weeks into the program, I am having a hard time recounting all of the experiences and opportunities I have been privy to because it really does afford so much. Our learning and growing actually began before classes started; orientation was as much a part of the value we will gain here as the formal teaching. Dean Reinemund often speaks about students’ holistic development and we are fortunate enough to be cared for and led by a dean who not only talks the talk, but walks the walk. The Wake Forest Schools of Business really does embody the values that it preaches and if anything is remiss, the issue is proactively mitigated (more on that later).
Nostalgic musings aside, I would like to share a sampling of my experiences at Wake so far. Please do not consider this list to be comprehensive or final; as I type, more plans are in the works and that is part of the excitement. I will be sure to keep you well-posted of my journey and be as honest and frank as possible, so as to provide a genuine representation of not only the Wake Forest full time MBA experience, but the life experiences that come along with this journey as well. So, imagine if you will…
Orientation. Even though it only spanned one week, orientation was chock-full of highlights. Some of my favorite moments included: meeting students in the other Schools of Business graduate programs; listening to “Joker One” Author, Donovan Campbell, speak candidly and with great heart about his experiences in Iraq; doing team building activities with my classmates and developing a team charter with my study team; learning more about myself through a detailed analysis of my Meyers-Briggs personality assessment; and volunteering with Meals On Wheels during the Community Plunge.
First “week” of classes. The first week of classes was not so much a week as it was three days. Classes began on Wednesday, September 26th, which also happened to be the first of many highly anticipated “Donut Days” for the Graduate School of Business (I can’t spill all the goodies; you have to come see us to learn more about that one). My class section was fortunate enough to begin our experience with the infamous Jon Pinder teaching Quantitative Methods (not a cake course) and my eyes and ears have never been more open or attentive. The first week of classes was simply fun. Even though 3 short days boasted four of the eight classes we will be taking this semester, I was so glad to finally be at Wake Forest, sitting in a classroom to learn, and get this show on the road. By the end of the first week, I found myself thinking, “ok, I can do this,” and it has been my mantra ever since.
First real week of classes. Things started getting real this first week. I had another realization during this time and while it is not entirely “deep” or mind boggling, it has put things in perspective for me: my MBA will truly be earned outside of the classroom. Classes are from 8 am to 1 pm Monday through Friday. I may be speaking for myself, but classes are the easy part. I do need to come prepared to participate in the class discussions and listen to my professors’ and peers’ insights, however, the work I do outside of the classroom (e.g. readings, homework, study team projects) is where I will earn most of my MBA. The workload is nothing to scoff at; while it is certainly not unmanageable, it is not something one can afford to take lightly. So my advice going forward: do not miss a beat; read every word, ask questions, do the homework and then some. Wake Forest has a wealth of resources and I am fortunate to have them at my disposal.
Second week of Classes. Well, we are only half-way through the week and there is already a new buzz in the air. At the end of last week, the Schools of Business hosted its annual Club Kickoff Fair and we were able to learn about all of the clubs and student service organizations. I signed up for nearly everything just so I can get emails about all of the events that would be coming up in each organization, however, I realize already that I will have to focus my energy on one or two specific clubs that truly interest me. At the end of this week SGA will administer the elections of 1st year student representatives for all of the organizations. “Secretly,” I can tell you that I am considering putting my name on a particular organization’s ballot, but I will fill you in on that tidbit later. My interests truly run the gamut and my name is on the email list for Babcock Women In Business (BWIB), Black Business Students Association (BBSA), Strategy and Consulting Club, Net Impact, Babcock Marketing Association (BMA), Entrepreneurship Club, Finance Club – think that’s enough? Some other hot ticket items coming up are scheduling interviews to be on an Executive Committee for the nationally acclaimed Marketing Summit and submitting applications to be a Student Ambassador. If I do nothing else this year I want to be a Student Ambassador. During my application process, I was fortunate enough to have an Ambassador who cared a great deal for me and genuinely wanted to see me succeed so I feel obliged to pay it forward, so to speak. I find few things in life more gratifying that helping someone else shine their light.
I know that right now it looks like I have my hands, feet and elbows in too many hats, and perhaps you are right, but Wake Forest has given me so much, I just want to give it back. Yes, I am being stretched and challenged like never before, but is that not the point? Until I find reason to do otherwise, I’m running on all cylinders, and you, ladies and gentlemen, can be my passengers.
It is now 11:43 pm, homework is finally done, and I am due to wake at 5:45 am, so I bid you a good night and look forward to the next chapter.

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