When you start your MBA, your life will change. Thirty days ago, I started my Executive MBA at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business. Fuqua was my “Hail Mary” shot at a top business school, and here I was on Day 1 standing in the Hall of Flags under a balloon arch that said “DUKE”. I couldn’t help but feel like exploding with excitement! As I walked into a room full of 97 new faces, I admit I was a little anxious. I’ve heard stories of what it’s like to work full-time AND go to a full-time MBA program. With this big commitment in store, we have all started to notice some changes happening in our lives over the past 30 days.
Your brain literally hurts. Whether it has been a few years or 15 years since you last opened a text book, get ready to wipe those cobwebs out of your head. The first month is bound to stretch your brain and get you back on the trail to crunching numbers in Accounting and tossing around concepts in Economics.
Things that used to be important, no longer are. Did you like to watch TV before? Did you enjoy reading books before bed time? You will quickly learn what is important to you. Things that you thought were priorities will fall to the back burner, and quickly! Set your priorities in the beginning, whether it be having lunch with your parents once a week or having a date night with your partner.
You start to look at your work differently. After that first class session, you begin to find takeaways to bring back to work with you. That light bulb goes off in your head as you begin to formulate new ideas that could benefit your company. After my first weekend of accounting, I went back to my desk and opened up my company’s financial statements. That was the very first time I had ever done that!
You may disappoint your friends/family. As things begin to get put on the back burner, you will inevitably have to pick between studying and going to a friend’s party. As homework and group work pick up speed, there may be times that you can’t go visit mom and dad or go on your girl’s night out. But that said, ensure you make time for them. Scheduling those times will help you to manage the stress of classes, homework, working full time, having kids, working out and the list goes on.
You meet awesome people. The people you meet will have diverse backgrounds, job roles, education, and culture. Your MBA will give you the opportunity to build friendships for life. I was amazed at how quickly we all meshed as a cohort. After just a few days, it felt like we had known each other for years.
Stay tuned for more topics from the life of an MBA student…