Candidate no more

May 25th, 2007 by under Uncategorized. 1 Comment.

I’m now the proud owner of an MBA degree. Commencement was held on Monday. I took the big walk and shook hands with Dean Frank. I also received a photo montage poster of various occurrences of the letter M around campus, which meant very little to me since I took my classes at satellite campuses. I look forward to receiving the actual diploma in the mail. It’s amazing how uneventful the graduation ceremony was considering how life changing the three previous years had been.

Some people go back to school to change their lives. Others go back just to add another line to their resume so they can make more money. You can tell the former from the latter by their attitude at the end of the program. I fell into the first camp and wanted to keep going. It feels like there is so much left to learn. I’d done some group work with the person sitting next to me at graduation and she definitely fell into the latter camp. She was completely burned out and couldn’t stop complaining about different aspects of the program. However, she received a 4.0 in the program, which may have been a symptom of resume-it is.

In the core, my professor for Managerial Economics and Public Policy was Charles Olson. He gave us a great piece of advice that I thanked him for at the reception after graduation. I’m going to have to paraphrase since I don’t remember the exact quote. The gist of it was that it was possible to get a 4.0 in the program without actually learning anything. A student could memorize all of the right answers, speak just enough in class to get credit for participation, and write some decent papers without learning how to become a better manager or employee. I’ve come to see just how true this is. Part of the personal growth that I went through in the program was the discovery of the major disconnect between how I viewed myself and my actions versus how I actually behave. I also learned a lot about how I am perceived by others and the impact that my actions have on how I am perceived. A lot of that growth came from the professors from the Management & Organization Department who taught me that emotional intelligence counts more than IQ when it comes to managing people.

The people who I met in the program were such a big part of the learning experience for me. We all pushed each other to learn and grow together. At the end of winter term, I published a list of names of graduates who I was sad to know I would not be seeing on a regular basis anymore. This time around the list is a lot longer, and I know I would forget someone if I simply put a list together. So, suffice it to say that I will miss most of my classmates. You were all a great group of people and I have a ton of respect for the hard work I saw everyone put into their education.

Special thanks and acknowledgement go to the members of my VCIC team. I know we’ll all keep in touch, but it was sad nonetheless to know that our shared academic experience was over. So, to Moshe, Skye, Shad, and Tom, I wish you all continued success in all of your endeavors. Hopefully, we’ll all get to work together again sometime. I would also like to wish the best to Sergio, who I worked with more times than anyone else in the program including my first and last group projects in business school. Finally, I have to wish good luck to Jason from our case competition team, who’s still working on his dual MBA/MS.

In closing, I would also like to thank Alissa Arford-Leyl for offering me this gig as the blogger for the part-time program. It was a lot of fun. If anyone reading this is interested in taking over as the part-time MBA blogger, she’s the one you want to contact.

The next chapter starts now…

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One Comment

Alissa  on June 4th, 2007

Nat – Congratulations and thanks for giving us a great blog as we traveled with you through your MBA experience! Any other current students interested in blogging for the Smith School should e-mail me at aleyl@rhsmith.umd.edu.