With both my first semester of business school and my internship search neatly buttoned up, I’ve fully adjusted to life as a first-year MBA student at Michigan State’s Broad Graduate School of Management.
The demands of the first semester, including classes, group projects, exams, presentations, and internship interviews, left little time for much else. But it appeared many students, including myself, had gotten a grip on successful time management as the semester waned. At some point I made the leap from wondering how I was going to get it all done to aiming for the strongest finish possible.
Before reaching this point, however, we had several opportunities that extended beyond the typical classroom instruction. These events allowed us to interact directly with managers at noteworthy organizations and demonstrated how classroom lessons can be applied in a real-world business setting.
One of the highlights for women in the program was the Committee of 200 (C200) conference. C200 is a highly regarded organization comprised of the world’s most successful female entrepreneurs and corporate executives. Many of these esteemed women from various industries and different parts of the country were kind enough to join Broad’s female students for a day of mentoring, networking, and workshops. The event also provided a rare opportunity for women from Michigan State’s full-time and weekend MBA programs to intermingle, along with alumnae. I enjoyed the candid discussions about women in the workplace and listened intently to anecdotes describing how these women reached the top of their respective fields. The event was capped off with scholarship awards presented to three highly accomplished classmates.
Another interesting experience was the insightful series of guest speakers who visited our first-year supply chain class throughout the semester. Representatives from IBM, Amway, and Procter & Gamble joined students and added rich context to the classroom material. A pair of corporate business leaders from P&G shared how they directed efforts for a new product launch that lead to refreshed standards within the detergent industry. The guest speakers also joined a small group of students for an informal luncheon following class. This was a chance for many students, such as myself, whose degree concentrations lie outside of the supply chain realm to develop a deeper understanding of the field.
THE IMPORTANCE OF STAYING RELEVANT
All professors incorporated relevant examples into the classroom, and students were encouraged to engage in dialogue related to newsworthy business issues. These discussions of current events concerning the business community have helped prepare us for our careers, while also conveying the importance of staying relevant.
As any first-year MBA student will attest, the internship search is already in full swing shortly after arriving on campus. All first-years were invited to attend customized workshops to prepare for this highly competitive process. These events divided us by concentration area, with hiring managers from several Fortune 100 firms in attendance to guide us through the often tumultuous internship interview. We learned how to develop a strategy for off-campus recruiting and handle case-based interview questions. I found this event extremely valuable because not only did it sharpen my interviewing skills, but it also gave me insight into the skills that managers will require for a career in today’s corporate marketing environment.
Although the rigors of the program are certainly time-consuming, there are always opportunities to put the books aside and socialize with my classmates, particularly if a worthy cause is involved. The MBA Assn. does a wonderful job of bringing students together. For example, they hosted a holiday party recently that collected nearly 100 Christmas toys for needy children. Students also had a terrific time at the association’s annual auction, where classmates bid on everything from personal training sessions to hockey tickets. This event raised more than $4,200 for the Mid-Michigan Food Bank.
As a result of last semester’s coursework, I am certainly more confident in my business and management skills, as well as my problem-solving and time-management abilities. I’m particularly pleased that I selected an MBA program that offers a wide range of additional learning opportunities beyond the classroom lecture. This semester I am looking forward to expanding my business knowledge, continuing my work at Michigan State’s University Relations department, and preparing for my summer internship.