The myth of business school is that life gets easier in your second year. While life may not necessarily get easier, it definitely changes, mostly for the better. Below are 5 stories highlighting life as a second year in the full-time Foster MBA program.
The Full Foster Experience
By Guest Blogger Jenny Brackett, Full-Time Class of 2012. Jenny is an MBA/MHA candidate focused on operations and project management. She currently serves as an intern for the UW Medical Center Planning & Referral Department and as a board fellow for Group Health Foundation. She is also vice president of the Biotech & Healthcare Club. Prior to graduate school, Jenny worked in public relations and marketing for clients including Swedish Medical Center, the Allen Institute for Brain Science and Intel Corporation, among others. She is originally from Whidbey Island and is a double-Husky completing Bachelors of Arts degrees in communication and psychology from University of Washington in 2005.
As a second year full-time MBA student, I have pretty much loaded my schedule with as many activities as possible, and I am enjoying every minute of it. When I look back on my first year, while I was incredibly busy with constant deliverables in each class and part-time work, I still felt as if I could have done more. This year, I’m pushing myself to experience all that the Foster MBA experience has to offer.
Classes are obviously priority one. Since I am also in the MHA program (Master of Health Administration), I am taking 18 credits every quarter. My schedule this winter includes five classes, three of which are at Foster and two are in the School of Public Health. The two buildings are literally as far away on campus as possible so I spend a fair amount of time trekking across campus. Some days it’s cold and tiring when I’m feeling lazy, but the views on campus are amazing, and I’m trying to soak up the scenery as much as possible. It’s also built-in exercise which is an added bonus.
Part of my time is spent in my internship in the UW Medical Center Planning and Referral Development department. I am able to fit about 18 hours each week, but I do have to take a night class to open up enough work hours in the day. This is fine since many electives are offered at night, and second years typically take at least one night class. One quarter I also served as a grader for an evening MBA course. It was possible to juggle this, but I definitely went a little overboard.
Besides this, I fill spare moments with activities for the Biotech & Healthcare Club, Operations Club and Leadership Fellows. I also serve as a Board Fellow for Group Health Foundation, so I attend board and committee meetings every few weeks. And as every Foster MBA does, I make sure to log my C4C volunteer hours. It’s not all work though. I definitely make time for fun at TGs and occasional Pub Club. It’s a great opportunity to unplug and socialize.
In your second year, every day is a little different, and everyone’s schedules are different from one another’s. We are all busy but we’ve each customized how we want to spend our time. For me, the busier, the better. It’s only going to happen once, might as well enjoy it.
Get Out What You Put In
By Guest Blogger Sita Dontharaju, Full-Time Class of 2012. Sita is originally from India, studied metallurgical engineering, worked as a software engineer for 4 years and finally found her passion in business. She is passionate about technology and interested in the tech industry for a career. She looks forward to achieving her goals while giving back to Foster.
Here I am, successfully completed one year and one quarter of my MBA and calling myself a second year student! Sounds like a privilege!
First year was busy, as you can read the posts on this blog, and particularly for me there was a lot of getting accustomed. However, second year has been another life changing experience. Having been acclimatized to Seattle, Foster and having finished most core courses, time had come to make decisions that directly affected my career. The challenges I had were diverse – internship that continued as a part-time job through the quarter, a teaching assistantship, club activities, great courses taught by the best professors and most importantly – hunt for the perfect job!
There was a lot of working smart with lot of planning than simply working hard. I always had a schedule and tried my best to do justice to it. There were definitely times when I was not able to stay on top of all the activities due to the busy schedule and conflicting priorities. And then I learnt, it is not always possible to achieve 100% of the goals but giving your 100% is more important. And that gave me a very positive outlook.
The club activities, the TGs and the campus events were always a welcome break from school work. The part-time job was great in its exposure to real-life problems and challenges and gave further motivation to learn more at school. The great faculty made the case studies an amazing experience. And putting all these together, mixed with the great Foster spirit made the dream job a reality.
And the most valuable assets are the bonds with classmates, the connections with the faculty and career coaches and the interactions with the Foster community. I learnt more from the great people around me than I did ever before, which is also the most unique part of my second year. The challenges and the rewards make the second year of MBA unique. Second year offers more challenges, and demands more conscious, calculated and relentless effort. At the same time rewards you with great camaraderie, precious moments and the will to achieve great heights!
And then I remember, during the orientation the dean said – “You will get from the MBA program as much as you put into it”! It’s so true. And second year is when you put in the most, knowing what you want!
It won’t be long before I miss being a second year!
What Happens when you say “Yes” to Extending your Internship
By Guest Blogger Andrew Roberts, Full-Time Class of 2012. Andrew is a Seattle local with an undergraduate degree in Economics from UW. His background in non-profit organizations and startups, but he finds himself in a lot of finance and strategy courses these days. He is looking to a career in consulting post-grad. When not over-scheduling himself with class and work obligations, he aspires to work-life balance with Crossfit, hiking, photography, and travel.
Who knows what I was thinking… I had survived year one of my MBA in good health and good spirits. I spent my summer dedicated to my work as an intern at Intellectual Ventures. Come fall quarter, by some strange luck and careful bidding, I had managed to squeeze 16 credits of core and electives into just two class days and two nights. When September came around, my efforts at IV had made an impression and they asked if I could stay on. A glance at my calendar showed three days a week completely free of school obligations. “I’d love to – looks like I can manage 20 hours or so…”
Now a taste of what actually happened:
Monday – Work Day
In the office by 8:30am, out by 6pm. I hate the commute to the Eastside. I like the free coffee and bagels at IV. Did I forget to eat lunch?
Finance team meeting to review case deliverable from 7pm to 8pm. Might get around to reading for Ethics afterwards…
Tuesday – Class Day
Ethics didn’t have a chance last night, so it’s Starbucks @ 8:30am to caffeinate, eat, and read up for class @ 10:30.
Lunchtime Meet the Firm for Deloitte Consulting, but I’m so sick of Vietnamese sandwiches I’ll have to forage elsewhere for food.
After lunch, it’s Finance with Jennifer Koski. I love the cold calls (no really, I do!). Then, another meeting with the Finance team to prep for next class. I’m so glad we have an accountant on our team…
Duck out of the meeting early at 5pm to catch an overview of the Study Tours this year. Brazil is going to be amazing…
Barely time to grab Coke before I’m off to my night class – Entrepreneurial Strategy with Darius Sankey, who happens to also be a colleague at IV.
9:30pm and I’m finally on my way home on the bus. I read what I can for Direct Marketing the next day, but 13 hours straight has taken it out of me.
Wednesday – Work Day, With Class…
Work from 8:30 onward. Thank God for coffee. I have every intention of leaving by 5pm to make my evening class with Elizabeth Stearns
I get held up by some important conversations and held up even more by terrible traffic. I’m late to class… Again. It’s becoming a running joke – I’ve been threatened with impromptu karaoke in front of the class if I’m late again. I don’t know how the Evening students do it.
Finally homeward bound at 9:30pm.
Thursday – Class Day
Today resembles Tuesday, except it is Alvarez & Marsal instead of Deloitte at lunch. I really like this company and they’ve got offices in California as well… Have to keep that in mind when the recruiter comes a calling.
I still have a Finance meeting in the afternoon, and another with my Entrepreneurial Strategy team after. No night class and I still don’t get off campus until 8:30pm.
Friday – Work Day
What is the lethal dose for caffeine? I feel as though I’m getting close… Work runs late (or maybe I don’t know when to quit), but I’m determined to make it back to campus for the Halloween TG. This year I’ll be going as the beleaguered grad student. Save some beer for me!
Saturday & Sunday – Weekend, sort off…
Finally a break! Wait… Actually, I have no free time during the week, so it’s a Direct Marketing team meeting all afternoon. Both days. These folks have been incredibly understanding of my work commitments – I couldn’t do it without their support.
It’s a pathetic thrill that I actually have time to go to the grocery store and do laundry before it’s time to get things together and prep for the coming week!
Hours on Campus: 30
Hours in Off-Campus Team Meetings: 8
Hours at Work: 26
Cups of Coffee Consumed: Too Many
Number of Meals and Hours of Sleep: Not Enough
Sense of Accomplishment: Off the Charts
FT MBA Second Year = Your Year
By Guest Blogger Saurabh Modh, Full-Time Class of 2012. Saurabh is originally from Ahmedabad (India) and is a second year MBA student at the Foster School of Business. He is focused on Marketing and Finance and is currently exploring opportunities within the technology industry in Seattle and the Bay Area. He is also involved in the MBAA (VP of IT) and holds a leadership role in the Foster Business Technology Club.
The title of this post is representative of what the second year of a Foster full-time MBA student can be. It allows a lot of flexibility with respect to choosing your classes, your projects, your part-time work, clubs, etc. Having said that, it does not mean that it is less hectic than any other quarter of the MBA program. Well of course, except the first quarter. I will describe how a typical day in my second year of MBA goes by. Let me start with Tuesday.
As soon as I get up on Tuesday, I know it is going to be one of the most hectic days of the week. I have a Consumer Marketing and Brand Management class at 10:30am. This class is usually followed by an MBAA meeting or a meet-the-firm event or a club event from 12:30 pm to 1:20 pm. As soon as it is 1:15 pm, I realize I have to go to a new venture intern meeting at 1:30 pm. This meeting is part of a CIE project that I along with three other MBAs are doing with a start-up located in the South Lake Union neighborhood of Seattle. After finishing the meeting by around 3:00 pm, I get a good 30 minutes break before I go for my Macroeconomics class at 3:30 pm. Once the Macro class is done, I have another 30 minutes break before I go to my last class of the day – the Business to Business Marketing class from 6:00 pm to 9:30 pm. At 9:15 pm, I keep thinking of the queen size bed in my apartment and how I will go sleep on it once I am done with the class. But no, depending on the week, I might have to finish a case before an early morning class on Wednesday. This is how my Tuesday goes. Did I scare you? The good news is that the rest of the week is not as overwhelming. I have only one class on Mondays and Wednesdays. And so, on those days, I usually search for jobs, apply for them, do informational interviews and participate in club activities. Of course Thursday is the most happiest day since the weekend is right around the corner.
So yes, second year schedule can be designed and manufactured as per your requirements. And it is a lot of fun to decide which classes to take, which events to attend and which club activities to participate in. I would say MBA second year gives you a great chance to build your character and personality.
Know When to Say No
By Carly Massey, Full-Time Class of 2012. Carly graduated from Williams College having majored in Psychology & English. She moved from Boston for Foster’s MBA program and has studied general management over the last 5 quarters. She just received and accepted a full-time position in Liberty Mutual’s Corporate Development Program and will be returning to Boston upon graduation.
Second year can tailored however you want. Two small nuggets of wisdom: everything will take more of your time than you think, and know when to say no. I did not understand either of those things, and as a result have found myself scrambling around this second year as I juggle all my responsibilities. Don’t get me wrong, I love everything I do and wouldn’t give up a single piece of my involvement. But if I had known, I may have used the word “no” more often last year when signing up for everything. A typical day of mine goes like this:
9:00 am – Team meeting to go over a presentation for our 10:30 class. I missed all the team meetings this weekend as I was out of town, but am quickly brought up to speed and ready to lead the presentation.
9:30 am – I am one of the Challenge for Charity auction co-chairs and need to start coordinating the night of volunteer activities since the auction is less than a month away! I meet with my co-chair and the person we delegated this task to in order to explain the process, go through the time line, and assign people duties. We still have so much to do with the auction!
10:30 am – Brand Management class. Each team has done a Visual Identity Exercise with Benaroya Hall. Now, we get to present our ideas to two people from the actual marketing agency with this task. Everyone has great ideas – it’s awesome to see so much creativity!
12:30 pm – The MBA Association hosts a meeting for club presidents and first-year representatives to go over club goals and succession planning. As president of the Women in Business Club, my first-year rep and I must attend. It’s a great meeting and we come up with some really good ways to improve WiB going forward. They also serve food, which is necessary.
1:30 pm – As a Leadership Fellow, one of my tasks is to meet with my first year team members in a one-on-one capacity. I meet one of my team members in a coffee shop and we chat about the internship process, what second year is like, etc. It’s a great conversation – I’m so glad I get to interact with first years this way!
2:30 pm – I haven’t checked my email in several hours so I spend an hour going through my 30 unread emails. I also check the Student Ambassador email inbox to ensure I didn’t forget to schedule a class visit or anything.
3:30 pm – Macroecon class. Today we discuss what the effects of extending or expiring the Bush era tax cuts are. Despite being a class of 100+, the conversation flows well.
5:30 pm – Time to head home! Once home, I check email again, do my reading for class the next day, and check facebook to see if I’ve missed any news.
8:30 pm – Done with school work for the day. I put away my computer, cook dinner, watch a couple episodes of “How I Met Your Mother” and go to bed around 11. I love being as involved as I am in Foster – that’s why I wanted a smaller program. And it’s days like these that I go to bed feeling accomplished and happy! Tomorrow I have less on my plate, so I’ll make sure to go to the gym and go to lunch with friends. Even when I am running around, I can’t forget to take care of myself mentally and physically.