Money Woes

Kevin as "The Penny Pincher" at our most recent superhero theme party

The first semester of my second year in business school is rounding the halfway point, and I can see a light at the end of the tunnel.  As each day passes, I get more excited about my future.  Like many of my classmates, I am entering the final stages of the job hunt and looking forward to the structure, stability, and hopefully sanity that my future job will bring.  Don’t get me wrong: I love school.  I adore my classmates, look forward to social events, enjoy the classroom environment, and even like studying-it’s true (nerd alert!).

However, I miss having weekends out of the library, eating dinner with my husband, and unapologetically wearing pajamas after 7pm to get out of my work clothes.  Most of all, I can’t wait for a paycheck.  My husband and I are normally pretty frugal (some might even accuse Kevin-who is also a student at Kogod-of being cheap…you know who you are) but lately we have been spending ridiculous amounts of money. Between concert tickets, dinners out, shoes, and other purchases, one would think we had an income.

For now, we will just have to tighten the purse strings and get back to the library.  Dreaming about the future is exciting, but nothing beats making the most of the present.  Hopefully we can make the most of our time in school with as little money as possible.

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Who do you think you are, October?

Dear October,

Well, you’ve done it again – it is only day four and you’ve managed to turn my world upside down.  I thought after last year we could learn to live in peace and harmony, but I was wrong.  Frankly I’m sick and tired of your demands that keep me awake at night.  Between my portfolio analysis cases (that’s right, plural), derivatives mid-term, change-managment presentation, and weekly quizzes, I don’t know which way is up anymore!  So really, who do you think you are, October?  What gives you the right to wreak havoc in my life two years in a row?  And what is worse, it isn’t just me – it seems everyone is sick and tired of you. How can we learn to live in peace?

So it is time to come to a truce because we have 27 days left of one another this year.

For all the added work and overlapping assignments, you are preparing me for future leadership.  You are teaching me how to prioritize and manage my time.  You are teaching me how to listen to and lead others by quieting my selfish thoughts about the work I have waiting for me. You are preparing me for the business world.  So thank you, October.

Yours Til the End,

A Very Stressed MBA Student

Kogod women

Christina, Lavana, Sajal, and Silvia

This Thursday will mark one month until exams and the close of the semester.  As I look back on my first year at Kogod and anticipate my summer internship in corporate America, I instinctively reflect upon some of my most meaningful relationships I’ve developed — those with fellow Kogod women.

Although I have always surrounded myself with thoughtful women whom I cherish dearly, the relationship with Kogod women is different.  Business school is a time of self-improvement where students devote an unimaginable amount of energy to reach personal goals and maximize potential.  And, let’s face it, as business women, daughters, wives, and mothers we will encounter different life and work challenges than our male counterparts.

Out on the town during DCs Restaurant Week

For these reasons, we have an unspoken bond in knowing that we need one another to lend a listening ear, give the final push, or provide words of encouragement.  As highly educated, driven women reentering the professional world, relationships with older friends may change.  Differences in professional and personal lifestyles or no longer connecting through major life changes may sever ties with old friends.

But we Kogod women share similar goals in our pursuit of success.  Knowing this, we will support one another in our personal and professional lives now and into the future.

Friday’s Feast

First-years looking full and happy

Last Friday the Graduate Business Association hosted the school’s first International Potluck Celebration.  Students brought food from their home countries to share with classmates.

I have planned many social and educational programming events in undergrad and now with Kogod.  This event was by far the least expensive and overall, pretty easy to put together.  Although so simple, Friday’s dinner provided insurmountable value to students.  I speak for all of my US classmates when I say that it was a privilege to honor Kogod’s international students.

One of our favorite professors, Ajay Adhikari, with students

The potluck dinner showcased cuisines from China, Thailand, India, Bangladesh, Iran, Iraq, Ecuador, and various regions of the United States (just to name a few).    International students are deserving of everyone’s admiration.  Not only have they moved from opposite ends of the globe to study at Kogod, but they bring valuable knowledge that spans beyond the classroom.  I love learning about their home life, previous work experiences, travel adventures, or even beer recommendations.

The butter chicken from India and lamb chops from Bangladesh placed second to the camaraderie in the room Friday night.  I can’t wait for another International Potluck Celebration next semester!

Love, Like, and Marriage

As I mentioned in my previous post, my husband, Kevin, and I are attending Kogod School of Business together.  Many people thought we were crazy when after two years of marriage we told them we were BOTH quitting our jobs to go back to school.  Others had the do-it-while-you’re-young mentality.  Either way, we took the leap, packed our bags, and moved to the big city from Raleigh, North Carolina.

Me and Kevin in Europe this summer

Kevin’s grandparents are both in their 90’s and have been happily married for over 65 years.  We asked them before tying-the-knot what are the keys to lasting matrimony.  To my surprise their answer was not the typical, “never go to bed angry” or “communication.”  Although both suggestions are valid (cliché, but valid), they advised us to not take life too seriously and to make sure we actually LIKE the person we are marrying.  Not your typical wedding advice.

Let’s face it, one day I will develop every woman’s worst nightmare, kankles (paired with orthopedic sneakers of course).  Kevin will be bald and will probably be missing teeth. According to his grandparents, one day we will slow down, our kids will be grown, and it will just be the two of us, kankly and bald.  When that day comes, we need to enjoy one another’s company, we have to LIKE and love each other.

Loving all the LIKE happening in this photo

Often I think people believe that Kevin and I have this student-married life down pat, but the truth is, sometimes we are missing the LIKE during the semester.  Our MBA frequently bleeds into every aspect of our lives.  Arguments tend to resemble a case analysis, with every detail scrutinized.  We are quick to lose patience at home or even when doing homework, we incessantly worry about money, and frankly sometimes we are just too exhausted to make time for one another.  If there is one lesson we’ve learned in all our years together, it is that relationships require a lot of work.

This semester we’ve implemented Tuesday night date night.  We take time away from school, homework, meetings, or any other distraction to reconnect.  Tuesdays have officially become my favorite day of the week.

Even with the struggles of earning our degree together, I am fortunate to be experiencing a new city and meeting new people with my best friend.  And no matter where life takes us after we’ve received our MBA’s, we will still work together to make our relationship strong.  For better or worse, richer or poorer, (we are in our poorer stage now) we will love and LIKE each other until we are old, gray, and well, bald with orthopedic shoes.

Back in the saddle again

I woke up Sunday morning to find my house in shambles, a giant Elmo costume (yes as in Sesame Street) on the floor, a cardboard crown in the living room, and a name tag stating “hello my name is D. Inferno.”  Some may find this a bit peculiar, but I see it as the marks of a successful theme party.

"Saint Elmo's Fire"

"Bootylicious" with her husband, the "Smooth Operator"

My husband and I are attending AU’s MBA program together and needed one last hoorah before our long winter break came to an end.  What better way to celebrate reuniting with our classmates than a theme party?  Everyone had to come dressed as a song title.

I’m not sure if my favorite part of the night was realizing that we had “Baby Got Back,” “Bootylicious,” and “Fat Bottom Girls” all represented (you can imagine the costumes), or when “Saint Elmo’s Fire” arrived (hence the giant Elmo costume), or the song revealing when I discovered I am classmates with a “Smooth Operator.”

The “Love Potion Number Nine” and “Poison” punches were a hit.  Everyone was cutting loose.   But seeing my fellow classmates, now friends, back in town (and taking a night away from studying, interviews and cases), that was the real treat.

And as for the nice long break, I guess “Another One Bites the Dust.”