Focus. Re-Focus.

After a few life-changing reflections, a few ego-bruising rejections, and a birthday, I  thought I’d take some time to share what an MBA, like me, reflects on when things aren’t going my way. 

If there is anything school has taught me it is the value in re-focusing your efforts. I’ve been doing a lot of reflecting, mostly on what an awesome time I had being 25-years-old.

If you are 25, enjoy it.

I’m reflecting on the awesomeness of 25, not because of age, but because of the mindset. At 25, I was a young professional – making moves and taking names – I was agile and had made one successful career switch since I started “working” in 2012. At 25, there’s an innocence and arrogance you have about work and the “real world,” and while it has disadvantages, it has more advantages than you realize. The advantages:

  1. You’re young enough to make professional mistakes and recover.
  2. You’re optimistic about the future and approach every “work issue” creatively – the words it’s always been done this way do not apply to you.
  3. The real world hasn’t jaded you – you’re happy to be working & applying the concepts you learned in college in whatever position you’re in.
  4. You’re fearless. You ask questions, because you can and because your supervisors encourage it.
  5. Work is more than just a paycheck and job security, it’s something you are passionate about –  if you’re lucky.

There are more, but five is plenty. As I sit down and look ahead of what’s in-store for me and my internship search, I realized the need to focus and re-focus. These five characteristics, I’ve concluded, have escaped me, and I’ve become a victim of circumstance instead of a creator of opportunities.

Today, it’s time to focus & re-focus my efforts to make personal and professional improvements. However, at 28, I need to re-evaluate my strategy.

  1. I’m no longer a “new graduate,” it’s time to take calculated, educated risks. I need to read more books about the industries and functions I want to be part of. Here are a few on my list:- Year of Yes, by Shonda Rhimes
    The Art of War, Sun Tzu
    Delivering Happiness, by Tony Hsieh
    – Lean In, by Sheryl Sandberg

    NOTE: All of my managers and mentors have read The Art of War, it is highly recommended for business leaders and managers.

  2. There is a solution to everything, if you continue to think outside the box. I must approach everything with an open-mind focused on finding a solution.
  3. Learning-agility is important in every industry, Janna. Get it together and remember you’re not a rock, you’re a plant and you need to bloom wherever you’re planted.
  4. Stay fearless, but educate yourself.
  5. There’s no reason to compromise your passions for a paycheck. There is a way and a path to make them both a reality in your life…it’s not straight, it’s probably not even pretty, but it’s possible.

With that being said, bring on the next few months. We’ll see where I am then.


Janna Fernandez

I am a first-year MBA/MPP Candidate at the University of Maryland, Robert H. Smith, School of Business. I enjoy exploring new places and meeting new people. My blog will give you insight on my B-school experience, as well as how I, an island girl (from Guam), acclimate to the coming winter.For questions, comments, concerns, or suggestions email:

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