To prepare for an upcoming interview I’ve been looking through lists of possible behavorial questions that I may be asked. It’s odd to remember that before I came to Smith to get my MBA I didn’t even know the term behavioralquestions existed…And now I find myself obsessively studying a 3″ stack of index cards with possible question and answer combos written on them. Some of them are obscure (“What element best describes you: earth, water or fire?) and some predictable (“What is your greatest strength?”) but one really made me think about how I ended up here. “Tell me about the most difficult business or personal decision you’ve had to make.” Fairly tough question…Life is made up of small decisions we make every day but to select the single most difficult one requires perspective. A choice that seemed immense and intensely stressful at the time (i.e. should I buy a new car or a used one? or just keep riding the subway? or maybe buy a vespa?) seems trivial in hindsight. And others that I made on the fly (“Should I have dinner with this guy?”) have had a huge impact on my life (that guyis now my live-in boyfriend). But one decision I knew would have a profound effect on my life was deciding whether to attend a full time MBA program. After thinking about getting my MBA for a few years and looking at the part-time programs available in Boston (where I was living) I’d made the decision to go full-time. I traveled for my job and knew that I wouldn’t have the flexibility needed to attend a part-time program. So after months of essay writing and GMAT studying and traveling across the East Coast to visit schools I finally had completed all my applications and was just waiting to hear the results. And then I got offered my dream job. And I didn’t even ask for it. Things had gotten a lot more complicated all of a sudden. A job in which I felt I was underutilized and frustrated hadjust turned into an opportunity to travel, challenge myself and move up the corporate ladder. Right about the time my acceptance letter from Smith came I had to make a decision….Do I A) stay and see what this new position has to offer? I had a good idea of the responsibities and what would lie ahead and it sounded fun. Plus I’d be in Boston with my girls, my apartment , my salary and my ample free time. Or do I B) leave and experience the unknown: Maryland. I had all of two acquaintances in all of the DC-VA-MD area. And I had no idea if I could even succeed in this MBA program or what kind of job I would be able to get afterwards. All I did know was that I’d have a hefty loan at the end of two years. Ultimately it came down to me picking which option I was more excited about…Which one would offer me the greater opportunity to experience something new, something challenging, something I could potentially fail at? That choice was the MBA program at Smith. And so here I am. Needless to say my past bosses were a little surprised when I left that dream job opportunity to go to school full time…but I’ve never regretted it for a minute. I have been challenged, enlightened and excited every day since I made the decision to come to Maryland.
Archive for October, 2008
Apparently Wednesday is the new Friday. Before I returned to school for my MBA I thought Thursday was the new Friday (largely in part to the $1.99 appetizer happy hour at McCormick & Schmick…) but for the last seven weeks Wednesday has been the culmination of my work week. Don’t misunderstand me – It’s not as though my work ends on Wednesday. It’s just that my classes are front loaded to the beginning of the week and pretty much all of my deliverables are due by Wednesday. This week was especially intense because of finals. Between Monday and Wednesday at noon I had just a few things to do (i.e. Business Law final, group presentation for Negotations, group presentation for Strategic Procurement and a take home final for Strategic Procurement). But it’s now Wednesday at 3:15 pm and I’m still alive. Victory! Finals have been completed, presentations given and Thursday (i.e. SnoozeDay) is quickly approaching. So other than me trying to explain to my friends why I can’t return phone calls before Wednesday night…what is the point of this rant? TIME MANAGEMENT. We talk a lot about time management in the MBA program. That should not be surprising – obviously you need excellent time management skills if you want to be successful in the business world. It’s the implementation part that’s tricky….How do you keep all those metaphorical balls up in the air? My technique is Post-it notes. As juvenile and wasteful as that may sound that’s honestly what works for me. Lately flourescent Post-it notes seemed to have taken over my life…they’re everywhere….on my desk (“Write blog entry TODAY!”), on the refrigerator, inside my planner (which kind of defeats the purpose of a planner), on the dashboard of my car…but they do keep me in check. I can’t pinpoint why Post-its are so much more effective for me than a list or pop-up reminders on my Blackberry. Perhaps it’s the satisfaction of crumbling that note and throwing it away when the task is done? Maybe it’s the fact that it’s hard for me to ignore the hot pink heart Post-its that seem to mutiply overnight? Whatever the rationale, they do the job for me and so I’m sticking with them. So thank you 3M from the bottom of my heart. You can rest assured you’ll stay in business until at least May of 2009 when I graduate from the MBA program.
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed by the student bloggers are theirs alone and do not reflect the opinions of the Robert H. Smith School of Business or the University of Maryland or any employee thereof. The Smith School is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied in this blog.