Coming home from work and rotating between b-school application essays and GMAT studying was just the tip of the ice burg. I remember asking friends who had recently graduated what the b-school experience was like and having them tell me that it’s 90% time management.
90% time management? What the hell did that mean? Would I be making extravagant “to-do” lists? Did I need to get a kitchen timer? I successfully fit in at least eight hours of work, a jog around the Charles River or 90 minutes at the gym almost every day. I even managed to toss in a Seinfeld or Family Guy re-run! Time management was not necessarily something I had placed a lot of emphasis on in my pre-business school life. I stayed busy, but not the ‘busy’ I’ve come to know as a student.
I’m well over halfway through business school and I can honestly say the opinion that this experience is 90% time management is spot on. Thanks to the Blackberry they handed each of us on day one, I’ve managed to avoid waking up each day and making crazy “to do” lists. Okay, that’s a lie. I’m old school. I still make psychotically long “to do” lists each day. I try and enter items into my Blackberry but I miss out on the joy of physically crossing something off my list when I rely on technology as oppose to the back of whatever envelope I grab on my way to the Metro.
First-year of business school was like time management boot camp. There are countless required time commitments like class, homework, professor’s office hours and team meetings and depending on your level of self-torment, there are also commitments to extracurricular activities. I think I did a pretty good job piling commitments on to the “to do” list during my first-year. I ran for and won a couple first-year board member positions on clubs, completed a social venture consulting project for a non-profit and took on part-time assignments for a local technology licensing firm. Toss in the fact this was also my introduction to economics, accounting and finance and you can start to see why my hair has started to take on a very interesting salt and pepper motif.
Now its second year, I’ve decided to forgive the liars of the Class of 2009 who told me second year was a walk in the park. This semester has about 380 hours left. Yep, I’m counting it down by hours. I’ve got three more group projects to wrap up, a couple big individual write ups, a technology assessment that I’m doing for a local consulting firm as well as a web article or two for my graduate assistant position. Oh, and at some point I should probably figure out a full-time job.
It was some advice from a buddy back in Boston who had already run the b-school gauntlet that helped me the most.
“Shut up and have a beer.”
So simple, yet so powerful…
I think back to the time leading up to mid-term exams fall semester first-year and I cringe. Now, I’m a seasoned veteran. I take things in stride, deal with set backs as they arise and better understand how to prioritize tasks. It’s all become one giant balancing act that I need to maintain for a short time longer and then I can enjoy my winter break.