Archive for November, 2010

MBA + Mia = help needed

November 22nd, 2010 by under Uncategorized. No Comments.

One of the things I get asked a lot by my classmates is how I manage my school workload with taking care of my 2 year old daughter Mia. The only answer I have is my mom.

My mom might just be Superwoman in disguise. She’s amazing. Having my sister nearby helps too- free babysitting is always a plus! But that’s what it is- my family, mainly my mom, helps me out tremendously- day in and day out. I have study time and group meeting time in the evenings because of them. I may not get to go to every happy hour and club activity at Smith, but I’m at more than enough to have a great time while in school too.

My daughter Mia

Everyone in a full time MBA program needs some sort of support system. For younger singles, it may be just a tight group of classmates that you can go to for advice, to vent, and to stress out with. For married people, it’s probably their spouse. As a single mom, my mom and family provide me with all the support I need to get everything done AND have a life. Parenting does involve a lot of sacrifice and selflessness, but because of my family support, I’m able to be a grad student, a mom, and just… me.

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Networks…

November 15th, 2010 by under Uncategorized. No Comments.

I would describe myself as pretty outgoing. In fact, my Myers-Briggs even says that I am an extrovert. But, networking, at least the way I think about it, does not come very naturally to me. Meeting people- yes. Networking- not so much. Some may think they are the same thing, but you’ll realize the difference when you try to reach out to  someone you “met” versus someone that is in your “network.”

In B-school, you get a ton of advice and teaching on how to network effectively. It’s always good to hear this kind of stuff because like I said, it’s easy to feel like you know what you’re doing…when you really don’t. I can give plenty of examples of this. For instance, I remember when I attended the National Black MBA Conference last year in New Orleans. I met so many people! It was great! As soon as I got back home, I started emailing all of them. “It was great to meet you. I’d love the opportunity to speak with you more about… ”  Well, here’s what happened. Half of those people (maybe more) did not respond. I’m not even sure if they remembered who I was. Honestly, why would they? We hadn’t really talked about much. We had just exchanged cards because… everyone was doing it.

That is not good networking, I’ve learned. When you’re networking, it’s almost like you’re on a hunt for connections with people.There needs to be a reason or a desire for each party to want to speak again. As a grad student, we are able to have this unique role of the bright-eyed explorer, looking to soak up any and all information like a sponge. And many people respond to that and gladly take on the role of “teacher.” So really, as grad students, we just need to make that first contact count in order to take full advantage of this time we have.

To be honest, most of the expansion of my network is a result of the activities I have been involved in. Everything from my summer internship, MBA conferences, club activities, etc. While this may just be a factor of my personality type, I truly believe it’s easier to add people to your network when you find yourself talking or working with them as a result of a mutual interests or goals. Mixers and happy hours can present various challenges to making real connections.  Despite that, I still go into any event with a goal and hope of meeting someone new. You really never know what people have in store for themselves, the contacts they have up their sleeves, or how you may be able to help them.

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