I am privileged to introduce you to Jen Wood who is my guest blogger this week. Jen talks about the busy lifestyle of an MBA candidate outside of academia. Jen is finishing her first year as a full-time MBA candidate, and will be a Project Management Intern at Tattoo Manufacturing, Inc. in Tucson this summer. Jen hails from Massachusetts and completed her BA in Philosophy from University of Notre Dame. She enjoys spending time with her dog, reading chapters in her cost accounting textbook, and long walks on the beach.
Jen Wood, Class of 2012
Being an MBA is a constant exercise in perfecting the elusive balanced schedule, one that rounds out all of the academic rigors and deliverables with the “extracurriculars.” Throughout my journey here thus far I have become the Queen of Extracurriculars; I also answer to Over-committed MBA, Uber-joiner, and, at times, perhaps Crazy. I promise though, filling up that Google calendar, despite some natural anxiety at the sight of such a thing and marathon–style days, is well worth the effort and the experiences that draw you out of the comfort (a relative term) of the classroom environment. These opportunities are always there for the taking, and while there are so many reasons to put them off, there are just as many to justify taking full advantage of as many as possible: resume-rounding, leadership-building, concept applying…and the obvious, a little bit of fun? (Yes, MBA’s are permitted). As the Uber-joiner, I’ve taken advantage of many of these opportunities this year, and though I’m admittedly sleep-deprived even as I type this, I have no regrets.
So, what exactly am I talking about, here? Examples please! I’ll start with my most recent adventure to New Orleans as a case competition mentor for the undergraduate chapter of the American Marketing Association. Granted, sacrificing a couple of class days to support a talented undergrad case team as they pitch a marketing proposal to real Nintendo executives is such drudgery (*sarcasm alert*). Add some red beans and rice, a hurricane perchance, and some quality time in one of America’s most interesting cities…I can see why no one would want to sacrifice academics for that.
Perhaps that’s a poor example, how about sacrificing some midterm study time to host a table at the Extraordinary Women Doing Extraordinary Things Networking Tea? This event co-hosted by the National Association of Women MBA’s (NAWMBA) gave me and many other fabulous ladies the opportunity to be inspired by other strong, successful women, and eat scones; that’s sort of a winning combination in my book any day.
What about spending my Saturday with some other altruistic MBA’s helping to organize donations at Casa de los Niños, a local shelter for abused children? I’ve also attended events in the Distinguished Speaker Series here at Eller, gaining valuable insights about the challenges of strategic integration from Oracle’s Larry Abramson and the importance of establishing a great brand from IBM’s David Yaun.
Then, of course, there are intramural sports. I have played a sport in every intramural season offered this year, which has afforded me the opportunity to, shall we say, decompress a bit, but also develop stronger relationships with other classmates and future colleagues. This, however, is just scratching the surface. I already have a list of additional things both within Eller and in the Tucson community that I’m going to do next year as well.
Have all of these required my time and my energy? Yes. Has participating forced me to make some sacrifices elsewhere? It certainly has. Can I honestly say that my involvement has been paramount to my evolution from some professional coming back to school to Jennifer Wood, Eller MBA Candidate 2012? Without a doubt! My advice: this is a unique opportunity, not to attack it with all the energy and time you can spare is folly.