April 20 is not only my older brother’s birthday, but marks the official one month countdown to graduation. That is the most exciting and terrifying thought all at the same time. Why do you ask, because this is my last graduation (until I decide to get three more masters degrees – jk) and I do not have a secured job to date. Either way, I’m also excited because I have accomplished a great deal in my 25 years and am happy about that. So … School’s out for summer? No, school’s out forever! It’s really a bitter sweet time around campus; everyone is planning dinners and get togethers to get the most of our last month here. These two years aren’t just marked with academics, but they are full of memories and friendships, a family of sorts. There’s never really an official goodbye when it comes to good friends, but it always feels like it when there’s a final activity such as graduation to remind you that you won’t be spending everyday together anymore. I know I will be sad to leave school; I’ve made good friends and connections over the past two years. My first year was a bit more hectic for me, I was a bit shy and spent most of my time off campus, commuting from school to work to home, but this year has changed drastically and I’m glad to have gotten to know my classmates better. My advice to all those looking at Smith, be prepared to come to school for an MBA and leave with a family.
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It’s not all about working hard, it’s about playing hard as well. A luxury we are given as full time students are winter, spring and summer breaks. These are well deserved breaks that really allow us to make the most of our time in school. Many students use this time to get ready for interviews, continue the job/ internship search or just recuperate and prepare themselves for the next set of classes. Spring break for many full time students means the end of our first term of classes and then the beginning of the next 7 week term (Term D). Luckily before I graduate, I only have one more 2 credit class, so I will have more free time to devote to the job search process.
I planned my spring break this year to maximize travel and job search, with a weekend trip to Paris and then the rest of the week working on things to get me caught up and prepared for the next semester. My trip to Paris was fantastic and I recommend everyone visit at least once in their lifetime. Also, as break comes to an end, I think I have done a good job at catching myself on behind work. It happens sometimes, but you can’t make a habit of it. Overall, don’t get too caught up in one aspect of your life while in school. You have to learn to effectively multitask, because this is one of the fundamental challenges presented to you, while here. I’ve learned my lesson and ready to finish up the semester/term strong. Countdown to graduation has officially begun!
Buffett was GREAT! So Warren Buffett was named as the third richest man in America and should couple that title with most personable and down to earth 80 year old you could imagine. The days started with a tour of Nebraska Furniture Mart and then we headed to the offices to have a question and answer period in the Cloud Room of Berkshire Hathaway. The 2.5 hours of question and answer was great, because not only did he offer insight into what made him successful business wise, but he talked about life lessons un-related to business that we could use as take-a-ways. I remember that he stopped reading fiction in his 20s, his views on marriage and has an affinity to Youtube. We talked about his Fisher investment views and fears of Lindsay Lohan running off to Mexico with Ben Bernanke. Also, he offered his views on China as an emerging economy, how African markets would play in the growth of the world’s economy and then switched gears to talk about his views on the ovarian lottery and asking for any transvestites in the room( he was making a joke). A lucky Smith student was chosen to ride with him from the Berkshire Hathaway offices to the restaurant. After lunch, he posed with every student for pictures and took some funny ones, like a fake proposal to Sarah Kroncke, one of our professor chaperones. Overall, it was a great visit; he taught me a lot and made me literally burst out laughing, at the same time. I’m thankful to Smith gave for this opportunity.
So I have kept you on your toes long enough, the trip I was referring to is to Omaha, Nebraska. Exciting right?!? Actually, despite the preconceived notion that Omaha has nothing to offer, it really will be an exciting trip. The purpose of the trip is to attend a question and answer, then lunch session with Mr. Warren Buffett! Now you’re excited for Omaha! This is the first time Maryland students have met with him since 2005 and we are taking about 20 students, as one of eight schools to participate in the event. The last time Smith went, it was a combination of MBAs and undergrads, but this year it will be all MBAs, with two faculty members accompanying us. I will definitely keep you posted, but I am really excited to try to some steak in Omaha. I really don’t know what to expect beyond that, but either way, I’m meeting Warren Buffett. Wow, now that I think about it, this is the second time this year Smith has allowed me to experience a once in the lifetime opportunity. If you stay involved and open to new things, Smith will open a lot of doors for you, so be prepared to walk through them!
Till next time!
So as a full time student, I really didn’t get to grasp how difficult it is to be a part time student, until I started taking some part time classes. My two night time classes are from 6:25- 10 pm and they are tough! I can’t imagine how a part time student does an 8-10 hour work day and then comes to class, to be engaged and interactive. I feel like my brain has shut down past 7:30, yet my classmates are great are still going! It really says something about the dedication to your education and the caliber of students here at Smith. Professors are very tolerant of late attendees and breaks (well because these classmates have established lives), but other than that, there is no difference in the programs. Sometimes I wonder if I had what it took to be a part time student with a full time job. I’m sure if need be, I would have done it, but I know the full time program was the best option for me. I left a position at a company where I foresaw no growth, to experience as much as I could as a student and I think I’ve been able to do that with my Global Study Abroad trip, club participation, upcoming class trip and not to mention, the opportunity to celebrate another spring break. Either way, whether you are thinking full time or part time, have no fear both MBA programs are equally challenging, with great classmates in both. No matter the time of day or night, Smith delivers grade A education!
Yup, just as the title says. I thought Friday was my day! You hear that Friday is a day off when applying to business schools across the board, but its trickery! Fridays are just as busy, if not busier than any other school day. Lets take this Friday for example, I have a meeting for my GA and then a meeting for a trip I am taking in March with the Finance Association. In addition to these meetings, I am also scheduling a meeting with a career adviser and had to turn down a networking opportunity. Who thought that my 8 hour span would be so jammed packed? If that wasn’t enough, I am still missing out on a finance round table. All that to say is Fridays in business school are more valuable than you would realize. Its one of the only common meeting days for students and it becomes one of your busiest days before you know it. When in business school, forget the notion that Friday is just the day before the weekend, its definitely a work day that should be utilized to its full capacity.
PS: More details about this trip in March to come in a future post.
Luckily for me, I am only taking 8 credits this semester, which totals 4 classes. I am taking 6 during term C (the first 7 weeks) and 2 during the latter part of the semester. I am used to the three classes during a term, but now I find my days are more open, or so I thought. It’s January and I am still in the job search process. Instead of spending my days shopping or watching television, I am researching companies and strategically planning a job map to figure out what my best plan of action should be. This all takes time, its not easy, but its exciting all at the same time. I am not frustrated with the process (yet), because I know that every dream job opportunity takes time and I don’t know if I’ve fully given the process my full attention yet. As of January 30, I can say that I will now consider myself having another 2 credit class, titled “Arielle’s Job Search 780”. Unlike those listed on the class schedule, it doesn’t meet regularly, but it is work intensive. There is a lot of outside classroom learning, qualitative and some quantitative work, but I know it will be worth it. I hear the professors pretty good too. Okay that last part was a joke, seeing as this class is my own personal independent study. This may seem comical, but in all honesty, I have to approach the job search process like another class. I have to do the work and the due diligence if I want to see results and because I know I will see results, I am willing to put in that work. Check back with me to see how the class is going; I’m sure I will have interesting tales of success and otherwise along the way.
Winter break can be a great time to relax, devote time to your job search and/or take a short term study abroad trip. I was fortunate enough to do all three! Right now I am writing to you from Langkawi Island, Malaysia. This is my last night here in Malaysia and it has been an amazing trip. The class offered a lot of great visits to companies and universities in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia to deepen our understanding of Islamic Finance and its future in Malaysia. If you didn’t know, Malaysia is set to be the hub of global Islamic finance, so I feel more than fortunate to have been able to have inside conversations with stakeholders who will really help this process along. Along with the business visits, I had time to actually see Malaysia and what it had to offer and it’s been such an eye opening experience. I never imagined I would be traveling to South East Asia and here I am! Smith opens a lot of doors for you and its imperative that you take advantage of all that you can. It was great to not only get to know the students I traveled with but also mix academics with making life long memories. All I can say is I am truly fortunate!
So it’s the tail end of fall term finals right now and I thought as a second year, I would be “coasting”. What a fallacy that is. I am currently taking three classes in Term B, a pre-departure class for Malaysia, Applied Equity Analysis and International Economics for Managers and I am almost as stressed as I was in the first seven weeks here at Smith. If you have talked to any Smith student, you know the first seven weeks as the most qualitatively based and intense time at Smith. Well here I am a year plus later and I am stunned to feel that same pressure return. The great thing about it this time it’s because of classes that I chose for myself and I am really enjoying working on my projects. That may sound crazy, but there’s something to be said about feeling like you’re really learning something and can appreciate your classes. The project I am currently working on is a company valuation, which is extremely time consuming but I think it’s been a great learning experience, at the same time. That’s the great thing about business school, every time I have felt stressed and pressured, I know it’s because I’ve, personally, placed that much importance on my education. I want to get the most out of it that I can, which makes me work that much harder. Business school is about making your experience valuable to you and even though I wish I wasn’t taking finals and working on final projects, I wouldn’t trade the education or experience.
I’m very excited because yesterday I had my first fall class for my Winter Study Abroad trip to Malaysia. It’s one of the short study abroad classes offered, of the about 6 options going all over the world including India, China, Israel and South Africa. Each course offers a different theme, which was why I chose Malaysia; we will be studying Islamic Finance. It’s a growing sector in which financial matters and investments are all governed the by the word of the Qu’ran and also over seen by a Sharia board as another level governance. I learned about this type of finance when I worked at Lincoln financial, one of the funds we researched, Amana Funds, was an Islamic fund that had certain stipulations on how it invested its money and I found it to be completely interesting. Coincidentally, yesterday our guest lecturer for class was an executive from Amana funds who gave us more background into Islamic finance and its origins. Needless to say, my excitement was intensified. Right now, my biggest decision is whether I should plan to travel over to Asia early and visit possibly Thailand or to maybe extend the trip and visit Germany for a day or two, so many options. This class is another example of a trip that I would never in a million years imagine taking alone or with friends and there’s the added bonus of it being a study abroad opportunity and earning credits.
Smith makes it really easy for students to travel abroad on these short term trips in January, March, May or August. Not going abroad undergrad was something I definitely regret and I’m glad that I have the opportunity to do so with fellow Smith students, having meetings with Malaysian executives from various companies and learn about an emerging topic at the same time. The thing I like most about the Short Term trip is, it’s just that, short term, for only ten days. This way I can spend all four semesters physically at Smith, but still gain an abroad experience. Smith is full of great opportunities like this, you just to make you take advantage of them while you are here!