One of the big parts of my MBA experience has been my Graduate Assistantship. During both my first and second years of business school, I’ve worked in Smith’s Marketing and Communications office (Marcomm) with Alissa Arford – Smith’s Director of Online Strategy – about 10-12 hours a week. Not only does the assistantship provide a generous contribution to my tuition and living expenses, but it has also been a nice way to use and expand my skill-set while staying connected to the working world.
My main responsibilities as a GA in the Marcoms office have been writing news stories for Smith’s website, conducting market research for new initiatives, helping to produce videos, and contributing to this blog (!) The video production has been particularly fun. While I had previously commissioned video pieces in jobs prior to business school, I hadn’t actually been part of the video-making process. These past couple of years I’ve had the opportunity to storyboard, get behind the camera, and capture the shots that we needed.
Many of my fellow classmates have GAs. They are either part of a financial award package, or an extra job that students take on to help with costs. It can be hard sometimes to fit a part-time job into the busy MBA schedule, particularly during the first year, but it’s definitely doable – and there are many different types of GA opportunities depending on your background and the availability across departments. MBA GAs I know do a variety of jobs ranging from working in the admissions office, to being a teaching assistant for an undergraduate class, or even working with the angel investor network in the DC area. I think it’s certainly been a positive experience for many of us.