Wednesday, September 1, 2010

The 2nd Year Begins

What an amazing, crazy, busy, relaxing, unexpected three and a half months it has been. I find myself back on campus for the start of my second, and final, year of the MBA program. I've had a full slate of classes, met some of the first years, and begun the madness that is sure to be the remaining two semesters.

In a word, China was absolutely amazing! The trip started with us being deplaned due to the smell of smoke and further delays, meaning our arrival was much later than anticipated. First stop was Beijing and all the sites and attractions it has to offer. Highlights were definitely the Great Wall and the Forbidden City. Xi'an and the Terracotta Warriors was next, followed by the World Expo in Shanghai. The trip capped off with a few magical days in Hong Kong. We saw tons of cool sites, met amazing people and learned a ton about doing business in China. If you have the means, I can't recommend it enough.

The Internship
Again, awesome. My number one choice sent me to Chicago for the summer. Anyone who's ever been to Chi-town knows how awesome it is during the summer and I can assure you, it lived up to its hype ten fold! My internship saw me getting lots of exposure to parts of the business I never expected, traveling to many different cities and learning from great people. It reaffirmed why I wanted to work there in the first place and I remain committed to making that work.

The Second Year
So now, the second year has begun. I don't know why, but I had the impression the second year was easier than the first. WRONG! It seems more work, less structure, and much more responsibility. It's one thing to work on three group projects simultaneously when you're in one group for all three; it's quite another to have three separate groups. On top of that, we are now the head dogs in terms of clubs and organizations. No more learning from the older class on what it takes to lead a student club, now it's up to us to keep things moving forward and motivate and include the new first years. It'll be quite a challenge, but one I'm sure we're all up for!

Here's to a great second year!

Friday, May 7, 2010

School's Out, Bring On China!

It's officially over. The first year of my MBA experience came to an end Wednesday with my last final. It's been an amazing year, filled with highs (Project Nicaragua, an amazing internship offer, etc.) and lows (social dynamics of differing personalities, overloaded schedules). I've learned a bit, grown a lot, seen some cool stuff, done some cool things, and survived the first half. Next up, China for two weeks, then back to Ohio for a few days, then off to Chicago to start my internship!

So, let's talk China. This is a school-sponsored trip, so we'll be traveling with two faculty members and will receive credit. There's a great group of first year MBAs going, but there is representation from the Charlotte and Winston-Salem Evening and Saturday programs as well. The trip will take us to Beijing, Xi'an, Shanghai, and Hong Kong (with a possible side trip to Macau). What I'm most looking forward to is the World Expo, which is in Shanghai. Almost 200 countries will be there and it will be an amazing experience. I'm also excited for the typical touristy stuff: the Great Wall, Tiananmen Square, Forbidden Palace, etc. It will also be great to see how the Chinese work and live; we'll be visiting both foreign and local companies.

We leave extremely early in the morning tomorrow, 6AM. Today is packing day, and there's a lot to bring for two weeks!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Almost Done

Wow...I don't know when it happened. One minute you're trapped under an insane amount of work, figuring out which assignment to slack off on, juggling the coming exams and presentations. Next thing you know, you take a look at the calendar and realize in less than two weeks, it's all over. The first year of your MBA journey will be over. It's amazing how quickly it all happened!

There's only a few days left before the second years graduate, the first years head off for their summer adventures and begin their internships. The coming week will not be fun: exam tomorrow, presentation Tuesday, presentation Wednesday, quiz and paper Thursday. If I make it that far, the following week is just an exam and another presentation. A week from Wednesday, and I'm done! So where will my summer begin?

China! I'll be spending two weeks in China, going from Beijing to Xi'an to Shanghai and finally Hong Kong. It'll be a nice mix of cultural stuff and business visits. My main thing is going to be the World Expo; I think I could spend two weeks there, but I'll likely only have a day. I'm definitely pumped for this trip. Unlike Nicaragua, where the language barrier wasn't so much of an issue, there will be a huge barrier in China. When I get back, I'll have two weeks until my internship starts. So, I'll have to pack up and move to...

Chicago! My last entry I spoke of heading to Atlanta. Literally the day I was going to sign my offer letter, I received word from the CMC office to hold off for a day. The next afternoon, I got an amazing offer from a company that would send me to Chicago. The offer absolutely blew me away, so I had to accept! I've never been to Chicago, so this will be an experience. I've started looking at housing options, I've got my start date, so I'm hopeful I'll have something before I leave for China (don't want this hanging over my head while I'm there).

Things are falling into place across the board for MBAs. It seems people are getting and accepting offers every day, and the mood is starting to lighten for the majority of the class. Exciting things are happening all around us and it's a great time. I can't wait for the next adventures in my life. More to come!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

March Ends

Tomorrow is the last day of March. It's been two months since I last updated the blog, and for that I sincerely apologize. Pretty much since the moment school started back up in January, everyone has been running a hundred miles an hour. It's been difficult to get on any sort of legit schedule; things change so rapidly, without notice. Hopefully, things will calm down for the final mini, but probably not.

So, let's talk classes. We are finally at the point where we have declared concentrations and selected two electives for mini four. I'm enrolled in Financial Statement Analysis and Practical Issues of Marketing; my concentration is marketing. I went back and forth between marketing and finance, but in the end decided to stick with what I know. Most of my interviews were for marketing positions, and sitting in on the finance elective found me applying to switch classes DURING class. I'm certain I made the right decision!

Trips: I spent my spring break in Nicaragua for Project Nicaragua. Basically, we consult with local business owners and teach seminars on basic business concepts. The people we taught and work with can have pretty primitive business knowledge, yet they are some of the smartest people I've met. If there was something they didn't understand, it was usually our fault, not theirs. It was one of the most amazing experiences of my life, and I cannot wait to get back. This is why I came here, to do things like this.

Jobs: This is where it gets interesting. I did quite a bit of on-campus recruiting. I had an offer from one company, with a deadline to let them know the day I got back from Nicaragua. I had asked for an extension, as I was waiting on two more offers. They said no, so I said no. It was one of the scariest things I've ever done, turning down a sure thing in this economy for possibilities down the road. Luckily for me, it paid off, as I was offered a summer position with one of my top choices! I'm pretty pumped, and it's an enormous load off of my shoulders.

What's upcoming? Two electives, three required courses, finding housing in Atlanta, going to China for two weeks before the internship starts, and becoming an uncle. Things move quickly in B-school!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Such A Long Trip's certainly been awhile! I apologize for not posting for the last few months, but things just got crazy busy for awhile. By the time I was ready to write about something, ten more things had crept up and blogging got put on the back burner for awhile. Hopefully it doesn't get like that again!

So what's happened in the meantime? Thanksgiving, Christmas break (a whole month!), finals, and internship stuff. Last semester ended with a blowout party, which was nice. Finals went well, I got pretty good marks on all my exams and ended up with a decent GPA. Over break I did some networking for my internship, which was somewhat successful. All in all, not too bad.

As soon as I got back to school, things were back in full swing in no time! Three classes carried over from last mini (quant, finance and marketing) and three new ones began (macroeconomics, operations and information technology management). With the new classes comes reshuffled sections. Half of the teams from my old section joined half the teams from the other section. It took a few class sessions for everyone to get a feel for the others, but now the debates are lively.

Internship stuff is also happening. I had two interviews this week, two more next week, and one the week after. This, along with preparations for the Marketing Summit and Project Nicaragua's March trip have kept me super busy! It doesn't stop though, you've got to keep pushing forward as best you can. I still wouldn't trade this for anything!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Is it break yet?

Things sure are busy in Winston-Salem! It's been almost a month since my last post, and for that I apologize. We were told by the second year students that this time of year is the busiest. They weren't kidding! It seems each week we've got a final, a project, or some mix of both. We've finished two courses so far, Managerial Economics and Management Communications. This weekend we write our case final for Quantitative Methods, then take that final exam Monday. On Tuesday, our accounting projects are due. Next Monday and Tuesday, our accounting and finance exams. Then we have a break for Thanksgiving, then as soon as we get back, our main project for Organizational Behavior is due, followed quickly by a marketing final. Phew!

On top of that, we still have regular classes, complete with pop quizzes and lengthy readings. My advice to any prospective student: invest in a comfortable chair and some good lighting. Your eyes and back will thank you! The quiz count this week is three so far, with another one to come tomorrow. I wouldn't say this was an abnormal week, but definitely a trying one. With all these projects and exams and classes coming to a head, things feel at a bursting point. I keep telling myself, December isn't far away!

In other news, things continue to progress on other fronts. Various groups continue to meet and discuss issues and trips. The Wine Club had a rousing meeting where we tasted various new world reds. The Marketing Summit team continues to plan and strategize for this year's event. Project Nicaragua has selected its group for the January trip. The international trips have been announced and people are excited to figure out where they want to go next May. Football season is about to end, but the Demon Deacon basketball team is set to begin!

It's definitely a period of change right now. The weather is changing. The leaves have packed up and headed closer to terra firma. Some classes are ending, others are beginning. We are nearly one quarter of the way through our MBA, and it feels like just yesterday we started this crazy adventure!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Fall Break

Today is our "fall break." A whole one day of classes free. I spent my day off sleeping; went to bed at 2AM, woke up at 1PM. It was amazing. A perfect use of my free time! Now it's back to business and getting some work done. Since lots of people headed out of town for the weekend, it should be pretty quiet here in Winston-Salem.

We had our first exam on Monday. 3 hours of accounting was pretty rough. More exams are coming up in the week to follow, as we end the first mini and begin the second. Most classes carry over between minis, so it's not like we have a fresh slate of professors or anything. Just a new seating chart (I move from the cushy confines in the back row to the first row off to the side) and new material.

I've talked a lot about balance in business school, as have several other bloggers. What is the right balance between class work, activities and personal time? Honestly, I don't think there is one. I don't think I'll ever reach a point where everything fits into my schedule. Some weeks coursework is light, so I focus on myself or other obligations. Other times, I have tons of work for classes and everything else falls by the wayside. Mostly, it's a mix of stuff and it's impossible to fit everything in.