There’s something about being a first-year MBA that makes you a little bit nervous. Or perhaps not everyone, but definitely me. I’m not your typical MBA. I majored in Foreign Area Studies at Barnard (in other words, I took a lot of French classes). I did not work in finance, or consulting, or even a traditional “business” (I worked for three-and-a-half years in book publishing). I almost failed Intro to Econ in my last semester of my senior year of college. So what on earth was I thinking when I decided to apply to an MBA program? The same thing that all of you applicants are thinking, and the same thing that you, my classmates, once thought: an MBA, unlike any other degree, can open the door to possibilities that allow you to shape your own career.
But first you have to actually earn your MBA. Which means, you have to pass all of your classes. To me, it seemed easy enough. That is, until I sat through my first Accounting 607 class with Professor Ajay Adhikari.
There’s something incredibly intimidating about Ajay’s voice. Perhaps it’s the volume, or the timbre. Or perhaps it’s due to the fact that at the end of every slide, he asks: “Everybody clear?” And because Ajay an accounting expert, to him, it’s crystal clear. So asking Ajay to explain further feels like an admission of stupidity. Or at least that’s how it felt in the first month of classes. Everyone’s still new, everyone’s trying to impress each other, and even though you’re in the same cohort with the same people all day every day, you still don’t really know your classmates well enough to admit that you have know idea what Ajay means by “debit”.
At one point (for me, it was right after a dismal grade on the first midterm), you realize two things: first, that Ajay is actually one of the nicest and funniest men you’ve ever met, and second, that you better damn start asking questions. So one morning, we were discussing LIFO/FIFO, and it was really not clear. Inevitably, Ajay got to the end of a slide and asked: “Is everybody clear?” From across the room, one of my friends said: “No, not at all.” Everyone in the class started laughing, including Ajay. It wasn’t laughter at her, but nervous laughter of relief. Everyone else in the room was definitely not clear, and finally, someone had been brave enough to speak up.
Kogod is the kind of place where you are pushed to your limits, but you have an incredible support system of your peers, professors, and the administration. We all come from different backgrounds, different cultures, different life experiences. In fact, many of us are not your “typical MBA”. But what we all have in common is that we all chose Kogod, and we’re all in it together. No matter what cohort you’re in, Kogod students help each other succeed. And that is pretty darn clear.