Getting your MBA is an emotional roller coaster

MBA? Get Ready For A Roller Coaster

Learning is fun right? Furthering your skill set is awesome! Grad school is a field of daisies…no.

Don’t worry, this will not be 500 words of me complaining about how much school sucks, but it will be a real look at just how much of an emotional roller coaster grad school can be. It has a happy ending though.

Last week I wrote about my new four week class, International Marketing with Dr. Yaprak. In that post I talked about how I hadn’t wanted to go to class and how the long week made 3 hours of class sound painful, but my time in class was actually quite enjoyable. This week’s classes took me for a similar ride, particularly on Tuesday. I drove to campus after a long work day with the thought more work still to be completed after class weighing on my mind. That is not a great mindset to be in when you will be discussing international marketing research and statistics for 3 hours. Stats can be enough of a headache when it is the easy stuff, adding the additional requirements for reliability and validity across nations is cause for an extra dose of caffeine even if you haven’t already completed a 9 hour work day. Despite being exhausted, and honestly a little uninterested in being in class when I walked into the lecture, 20 minutes in I was fully engaged and enjoying the discussion my professor was facilitating. It was still a long class, but my mood was noticeable improved following the lecture. As I drove home that night, the extent to which going back to school places you on an emotional roller coaster struck me. That is not to say that I have not noticed or thought of this in the last year and a half, but the fact that the swing was so drastic and took place in such a short time span was something worth noting.

Going back to school holds plenty of promise, the opportunity of career advancement being one of priority for many students, but the smaller victories and defeats of being back in school tend to be overlooked. Success on a paper, or project, or even in a lecture discussion can take your day from a 2 to a 10. Unfortunately, the opposite can be said for a poorer than expected grade or walking into a test feeling prepared only to find that you studied the wrong material. All of these ups and downs are exhausting, especially when combined with the greater stress of being back in school and the time and effort that goes with it. This is something that I feel many students are not fully expecting when they start a grad school program. They expect the hard work, the long nights, and the frustrations that come with any type of schooling, but may underestimate the number of ups, downs, twists, and turns that accompany the grad school life. It is much more than head down and move towards the light at the end of the tunnel. In fact, as I have moved this program I have come to believe that the emotional roller coaster is almost an additional course for student to succeed in. Grad school is more than just what happens in the classroom or in pursuit of class requirements, there are life lessons to be learned even by those who have been in the work force for many year. (For the record, I acknowledge how cheesy that sounds, but I stand by it).

I think I was lucky when I entered my program; I had watched people close to me go through this process before I started and so I had expectations of up and downs, but I still may have underestimated the emotional component of grad school. If I were to give advice to anyone considering grad school, and in particular a MBA, I would address this subject. Be ready to work hard, be ready to commit, and be ready to start a crazy ride.





Around the (Marketing) World in 72 Hours

Oh what a week. If ever there was a week when I wish I did not have class, this would be it. I love what I do, but I would be lying if I said every moment is cupcakes and rainbows. To spend the day in essentially a state of controlled chaos and then go directly to class is not a schedule that I would like to become my regular. That’s not to say that I did not enjoy my time in class, because exactly the opposite it true. You know a class is good when it can hold the attention of a student who has spent nearly twelve hours bouncing between meetings, trainings, and data sheets for an additional three hours. Further, my professor did this not once this week, but twice! International Marketing is shaping up to be a class that is worth the stress of a condensed four-week schedule.

To start, Dr. Yaprak is a personable guy who is incredibly passionate about what he does. The excitement that he brings to his discussions is hard to brush aside. He also demands students’ full attention and engagement in the class, which makes for a much more interesting three hours than those filled with a monologue lecture and a PowerPoint presentation. Dr. Yaprak has no illusions that his MBA students would rather sit in class after work than relax at home, but his approach is that if you are going to sit in class, you should get something out of it. While I was completely exhausted when I walked into class both days this week, I can honestly say that my time spent in class was worthwhile. Before class started I knew that I was interested in the material that we would be discussing and that the next four weeks could be advantageous as I advance in my field. However, after the first two classes I can see that not only am I interested, but I am kind of excited to dig in. I will be the first to admit that I am a bit of a nerd, especially when it comes to my industry. I’ve spent a good portion of my career in marketing research and am continually intrigued by what can be discovered in consumer and research data. A large portion of this class will rely on research and research methodology, topics that Dr. Yaprak is quite knowledgeable about given his research and publication history. While I work with a great team who know their stuff on daily basis in my career, it is fun to be able to “nerd out” about data and research in a non work environment.

All of that said, this class will be a lot of work. We have multiple cases to critically review, plenty of class readings, and a comprehensive group research project. In an eleven-week semester those items represent a fairly typical class work load, but this class’ shortened time frame means that my group and I will be cranking our level of effort up for the next few weeks.

Hopefully this work load will mot impede my goal of getting back into regularly posting, but if it does, I apologize in advance.




Finishing grad school in 2017

Be Good To Me 2017

See ya 2016, 2017, bring it on!

I’ve been remiss in my writing recently, but with the new year comes a renewed dedication to projects. As much as I hate to admit it, in the last couple months I fell into the trap burnout. Writing was supposed to be my release, a place to share my journey through grad school and a way to unwind. However, as many content creators will tell you, at the end of the day, blogging is work. When you spend all day staring at a computer screen for work and then follow that up with homework on the computer, your laptop starts to look very unfriendly and the motivation to spend any more time in front of it disappears. Not only did staring at a screen for any longer make my head hurt, I simply did not have the energy to tell my story. Now that I have been out of class for a few weeks and had a whole week off of work, my laptop seems less like the enemy.

So what is new in the world of this Mid (Late) 20s Night’s Dream? As mentioned in the last post, I am 4, yes just 4, classes away from being done with my MBA!!! Exciting as that is, those 4 classes still represent 5-6 more months of work. There is a light at the end of the tunnel though, and I am quickly coming up on it. I start another 4 week course next week, International Marketing, which I am actually looking forward to. The professor is focused on more than just academia, he wants his students to thrive in the real world with skills and insights that work in more than just the classroom. The syllabus was posted a few weeks ago and as I perused the reading list, there were quite a few articles that caught my attention as something I would be interested in in reading. As for my two full term classes that start in February, they are classes I am approaching with a little more apprehension. The first is Social Perspectives, essentially business ethics. It is supposed to be one of the toughest courses in the program, and while my professor has decent ratings, I am sure it will be an interesting 11 weeks. That class also came with a bit of sticker shock when I looked up the text book. For the majority of my classes, I have escaped the pain at the bookstore that was a staple experience in undergrad; not for this class though. Even renting the book will set me back a pretty penny. Focus, focus on the light at the end of the tunnel.

My second class is the core management class for the program. When I registered for the class a professor that had been recommended to me was scheduled to teach it, but that has since changed. I do not know anything about the new professor and the syllabus has not been posted. For now, I am flying blind into that class. The one upside is that it is an online class which gives me more flexibility in how I schedule my class time.

Beyond school, I of course have the obligatory New Year’s resolutions. My resolutions are nothing groundbreaking, but they are things that I can do to make me a successful and more relaxed version of myself.  My resolutions for this year are:

  • Power down electronics an hour before bed. Take some time to unplug and relax. This is going to be the hardest resolution for me to keep.
  • Get back to reading for fun. There is a giant pile of books in my bedroom that are calling for attention (probably in that hour before bed)
  • Take time after EVERY workout to properly stretch. I am generally pretty good about this, but when things get busy and I try to squeeze a workout into a jam packed day, stretching is something that tends to get cut short. This leads to aches and pains that remind me that while I’m not old, I am not a teen anymore and I need to take care of my body.

2017 is here and I am ready to take it on. Follow along as I tackle the last stretch of my MBA!