Business school, a year later

August 29, 2010 – Jet lagged, I dragged myself to Managerial Economics class on a Monday morning. As I settled myself in one safe corner of KSB 233, I started noticing the cliques my classmates had already formed with each other. A few formal hellos, some friendly smiles, and many curious glances. As the class proceeded, the numbers flew right over my head; most of my concentration was on the faces around the room. I suddenly realized I had completely forgotten what competition felt like. Rather, I realized, the only person I was competing against was myself. At this point, I gave up my attempt to listen to anything; my head went on spinning around faster and faster.

Fast forward one year…

August 29, 2011 – I’m not jet lagged today. I don’t have classes either. Yet, for some reason, there are a thousand things spinning in my head yet again. I wondered why today has been a strange day – until it struck me as I started typing this blog that today marks the first anniversary of my first steps at Kogod. The past year has been a whirlwind – a race against time, a self-imposed deadline to succeed and still be the best person I can be.

I don’t know if I’ve succeeded, but I know progress has been made. I know that I have moved one step (if not several steps) closer to realizing my career goals. To realize, to accept, and to develop my strengths has been the hardest thing to do in the past year, mainly because I come from a culture where even slight praise and a strong level of confidence in women are often termed as being “un-lady-like.” Perhaps being able to completely dodge that traditional thought is something that has helped me – or perhaps not. I don’t know yet.

As an accountant, I am still in the process of making additions and deductions of all that I have experienced in my travels to figure out what exactly makes me who I am. But the experience at Kogod has definitely added a deeper dimension to my personality through the people I have met. A year later, my peers are my strengths and my competition is still only me.

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Caffeine = MBA fuel

Before this semester began, I had only drunk coffee one time in my life. I was about 3 or 4 years old and was really curious about what all of the adults were sipping on during the morning. This was at an age when just about everything I was eating/drinking was fruit flavored: fruit snacks, fruit punch, Fruity Pebbles, Froot Loops. Needless to say, my taste buds were less than thrilled to be experiencing the phenomenon that is Cup-O-Joe. I swore it off for life.

Should have stopped a few cups ago.

Fast forward twenty some-odd years. As I am faced with innumerable assignments to complete chapter upon chapter to read, and events to attend, I suddenly feel like there aren’t enough hours in the day to get a good night’s rest. How can I possibly be productive during these long weeks? Should I turn to the beverage I cursed as a child? Should I go against everything I had preached for so many years? DEFINITELY.

In the right situations, caffeine is a godsend and has helped me power through some of the longest days I have experienced as a student. My adult-style tastebuds have grown to actually enjoy the taste.

As a rookie coffee drinker, I quickly learned that you can have too much of a good thing (diminishing returns for you econ heads). But, I am pretty confident I have found the right balance to get me through the day without having me bounce off the walls. So when you need some fuel to get through those final few pages, a hot cup of coffee just might be your answer!

Calling all bloggers!

The Kogod Graduate Insider is proud to present a new blogger competition!

We’re teaming up with the Center for Business Communications to offer all graduate students an opportunity to write for our blog. Submissions to this competition will appear as guest posts on the blog.

All entered posts should demonstrate the value of graduate education and increased benefit of active participation in the Kogod community. These sentiments should be convened in a well-written post which is captured in a genuine tone.  After all the entered posts have been published, the Center for Business Communication will select a winner to receive a $100 gift card.

More details:

  • Please take a look at past posts on the Insider to get an idea of how we present our ideas
  • All posts should contain a maximum of 500 words
  • Try to include photographs to be included in your guest post. If you don’t have any, please be aware that we may add some art to spice things up
  • Once you have submitted your post, use Facebook, Twitter and other social networks to promote your work to your friends and family!
  • To enter please submit your post along with your name, program and expected date of graduation to jfishbac@gmail.com by Monday October 24. Entries will be posted on a rolling basis.
Good luck! And may the best post win!

Mentors ease the 1st year transition

Back to school, back to school, to prove to Dad I’m not a fool…..

I wore the same outfit on my first day...

For many students, both old and new, the beginning of a school year tends to be a time full of energy. All at once you’re hit with nerves over classes, stress over all of the things you have left to do, and excitement over the old friends you’ll see and the new friends you’ve yet to meet. This year, 1st year MBA students were offered a helping hand as they began to navigate the new territory of the Kogod School of Business through the GBA Mentorship Program.

My excitement over this program began very early in summer, as I worked closely with our fabulous Admissions and K-LAB staff to build this program from the ground up.  After attending several admissions events this spring and summer, I knew this incoming class was something special and could already see the mentor matches in my head. I found myself saying, “Wow – this new girl reminds me of the best mix of  Julie Jones and Vanessa Lee” (2 faboo 2nd years) and could not WAIT to get these pre-school introductions started!

About two weeks before the semester began, the matches were set, introductions made, and as always, my fellow classmates never ceased to amaze me. I began hearing of 1st and 2nd years having lunch or grabbing drinks together. My own mentees (I’m lucky and got two- Shout out to Kawal and Erin!) began emailing me questions galore (the same questions I myself had just one year ago). During the first week of school we finally had the chance to get this entire motley crew together for a chance to chat with other MBAs, while enjoying the best summer treat ever…ICE CREAM!

Yeah...that's what our ice cream looked like too...

Moral of the story? The beginning of the semester can be tough, scary, exciting, and overwhelming all at the same time. This program not only helps the 1st years begin their Kogod journey, but also give the 2nd years a unique experience – the chance to meet some of the new MBAs before it all begins.  If I could go back to August 2010, I would do SO many things differently and I’m so happy to have two lovely 1st years to share my experiences with.

Fantasy football – and friendships at Kogod

So, you’re in class with a group of people for 15 weeks at a time. You meet someone new and then proceed through the seemingly ritualistic process of becoming friends. “Hey where are you from? Who do you work for? Oh I never heard of that company…what do they do?”

You finally determine that, as you expected, this person will not rip your head off, nor will they steal your pen when you’re not looking. They are a good person; someone you wouldn’t mind being connected with in the future. A few laughs are shared, you both agree that the awkward comment that John Doe just blurted out was awkward, and you become friends. This usually happens right at week 14 and at that point, it seems like all is lost. Vacation comes, you pick different class schedules, and as you and your new friend go in opposite directions, violins play softly in the background of the movie entitled “Your MBA Life.”

How do you bridge the gap, keep those friends you have made, and sustain those vital relationships? You could schedule a dinner where everyone has to struggle with his or her calendar to meet up. You could count on catching up at the not-so-annual Kogod golf tournament, or you could do what a few of my friends and I have decided to do: FANTASY FOOTBALL.

Those of you following me on Twitter (@JohnFishback) know two things. One, I’m new to Twitter; and two, I’ve unleashed its one true power as a treasure trove of information on how to dominate your Fantasy Football league. I’m obsessed with the stats, who’s good, who’s bad, and I’m making trades and picking up players at an alarmingly fast and undoubtedly inefficient rate.

I’m even dishing some of the sweetest “smack talk” this side of the great Mississippi River. It’s all in fun, and it’s much more than just a way gain bragging rights; it’s a simple way to maintain these all-important friendships we’ve worked so hard to create. When I see the guys in my league in the halls of Kogod, we have more to talk about than “how work is going.”

Now, let’s get one thing straight. I’m very interested in what my friends are doing professionally, but I have to say, I feel like I’m boring people when I tell them that things are still going well for the 10th time. Fantasy Football and our friendly competition give us something we can all relate to on an informal basis. It’s fun. It’s easy. Guys AND girls can play. It’s not hard to be good, and it’s very easy to be lucky. If you’re looking for a way to keep your Kogod relationships alive, give Fantasy Football a try. If you’ve discovered another way to keep strong the friendships you’ve made, share them below!

As a note, I got destroyed in Week 1 of my fantasy football season. Time for some rash decision-making based on hearsay. Wish me luck!