End of My First MBA Semester – Blogmas Day 17!

Hi everyone! I did it! I survived my first semester for my MBA! That’s probably no surprise to you as I’ve been talking nonstop about it. I’m so happy to finally have made it!

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Today was the first weekend after classes and I’m so confused by all this available time I have now. Two more weekends of freedom! Then it’s onto weekend classes. But more on that later.

So in case you missed my previous posts or are newer here, I’m currently studying for my MBA! I’m a student at Elmhurst College, which is actually my alma mater where I got my Bachelor of Science in International Business (Class of 2013). I’ve talked about my experience here and there in many posts but here’s a few of my specifically MBA posts:

  • Admissions & Acceptance: where I tell you about applying and being accepted into the program.
  • Getting Ready for School: exactly what it sounds like. I named these pretty straightforwardly. It was pretty much my to-do list for starting school.
  • Back to School Haul: I basically went a little overboard school supply shopping. Want to know what I actually used? I’ll tell you in another post if you’d like!
  • My School Books: I share my thoughts on my two text books. On that note, I need to find out if I need any books for my next classes. Okay, I just went to check and I don’t need any for my J-Term and Spring isn’t posted yet. Phew.
  • A Communication Workshop: We were required to attend a workshop about business writing, presenting, and personality traits and it was a ton of fun!
  • Going into Finals: I basically ranted about my annoying group haha. Sorry not sorry.

And now I’m going to tell you what I thought of my first semester!

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Fall 2017: My First Semester

So this semester I took two classes. Everyone needs 6 core classes so that’s where I started. Students that haven’t taken any business classes whatsoever were able to take an extra class for a few hundred dollars the summer before they actually started taking classes that was a sort of “intro” class but from what I hear it’s not actually too useful.

For my program, there were two options. I did the Tuesday course option where I took one class from 6-8:10pm and the second class from 8:20-10:30pm. There was also two Thursday groups where they took one class for 8 weeks and then finished the semester with the second class for the last 8 weeks, from 6-10:30pm. The Thursday classes were also for students that didn’t have business classes before. Or so I was told. Either way, I much preferred the Tuesday classes so that’s what I’m doing.

My first class was Financial & Managerial Accounting. Now I absolutely sucked at Financial Accounting in undergrad and rocked Managerial Accounting so I was so worried about this class at first. However my professor was great and kept classes engaging and I felt like I was really getting it. For both the midterm and the final we had group projects that involved a paper, presentation, financial analysis, and peer evaluations. It was definitely my more time consuming course but mostly rewarding. I didn’t like my group much, well actually one of them was very, very annoying but the other two were kind of just there.

My second class was Organizational Management. This class was just like my undergrad classes. Powerpoint lectures, a midterm with a test that was multiple choice/true and false/short essay, and a presentation for the final. There were also a few reflection essays we had to do and in class group assignments. We were also “graded” on “participation” which was so annoying. This class was fairly easy but the participation ultimately brought my grade down unfortunately. The thing is, I just don’t have anything to add because I don’t have management experience and that’s typically what the professor wanted to hear. Plus I hate speaking in front of people anyway (that’s the introvert in me). Ah well.

Oh, for the program we had to do reflection essays. In fact, I already have another assigned and due after the holidays. Groan. Plus we had both program required workshops such as the communication workshop previously mentioned and the orientation as well. Then on top of that we had optional workshops about excel. All of these things were on Saturdays. The only ones that we were graded on were the reflections though.

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So I’m still waiting for one of my final grades to be posted by I did get A’s for both classes! (I know because everything is graded in our class portal.) Even though it’s a part time program the workload made it feel like a full time program. And with working full time, blogging, and working for my dad’s company a few hours a week, it was kind of stressful. But in the end I made it through just fine and I’m super relieved it’s over. I’m not going to lie and say it was super hard but it wasn’t a walk in the park either. There was a lot of late nights trying to work out problems and researching.

Okay, so that’s my thoughts on the classes themselves but what about the students? So as I said in a previous post, my group mates were annoying. I think for the most part though the class is pretty dedicated because its not an expectation that we’ll be there necessarily. I mean, these days if you want to get management positions it seems to be a requirement but it’s definitely something we all chose to do. However, I think the fact is that the program is fairly simple to apply to. The standardized tests aren’t required, you need your transcripts, a few letters of recommendation, and an essay (pretty much). Oh and a ten minute interview. Well, in that regard I guess my experience may have been a little different. Mine was ten minutes because the person interviewing me was the director of the program and he already knew me. I’d taken his strategic management class and he remembered me (as did the assistant director who did our excel workshops as I took his excel class years ago) (and the college chaplain) (and the lady at the library cafe who remembered me as well even though she never knew my name and we never had a proper conversation before). So I think that the easy application process, the convenient schedule, and the fact that most students taking classes on campus live close to the college (everyone is scandalized that I’m an hour away) means that the students are a little more laid back about their studies. It’s also not the most expensive program out there, although it is quite a bit of money, so it’s a combination of things.

Ultimately everyone just wants to get the work done and go home, and then collect a shiny new diploma in May 2019. Personally I wish the program was more research/paper based than group work/presentation based but it is business school, not law school I suppose. I am much more ready for actual research than what we’re currently doing but ah well. I’m adjusting.

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Oh, one cool thing that I’ve learned lately. My graduation ceremony might be outside! So the graduate ceremony used to not exist. When the college started offering masters programs the graduate students would be in the giant commencement and would walk and get their diplomas before the undergrad students. This was all out on the campus mall in front of the school chapel (private school with religious ties so they can get away with a chapel on campus). When I graduated I actually graduated in the school gym…

That’s because I graduated a semester early and you can’t really expect the college to have a commencement ceremony in February outside when you’re in northern Illinois. Fun fact, my college puts videos of each ceremony online so you can view my commencement on Youtube! (I’m at the 1:18:00 mark. I didn’t realize that I got applause until I watched it a few weeks ago. Also I knew the president of the college quite well so I was up there chatting with him awhile LOL.) Then sometime after I graduated they split the ceremony so that the graduate students had a separate ceremony inside the chapel after the large ceremony. This year they changed it again because the chapel could no longer hold everyone that wanted to attend (students and their families) so now the ceremony is moved outside but still separate. I’m really excited and I hope that lasts for 2019. I suppose the weather could be quite miserable but I missed out on that experience the first time so now I want my chance at it. We shall see what happens!

So what’s next? J-term! I am taking Analytical Tools for Management (or something along those lines), which is a really fancy way of saying statistics. I have a feeling that’s the end of my all A’s dream as I barely passed stats in undergrad and I hear it’s a brutal class. I am going to have class on Friday/Saturday/Sunday for three weekends in January and I’m dreading it. I’ve decided to request days off from work during January as I have way too many vacation days still left and because I know I’m going to want a break in the week. I’m also thinking of either only posting three days a week in January or maybe taking the month off. I think I’d miss blogging too much so I might go with three days a week. I shall think about it a bit more.


So that’s the end of the first semester! I already have another reflection paper due at the beginning of January so I have to start thinking about that.

If you’re in school, how did your semester go?

Thanks for reading!

Pamela

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14 comments

  1. Congratulations on entering your MBA year. I am finishing up my Associates year with this current term. All my classes are 100% online. I have six terms a year with two courses a term. Its a lot of hard work because online classes are more self-reliant where research is almost necessary in order to learn the topics as best as possible. Most times, this is in the form of YouTube videos.
    Next term, will be the beginning of my Bachelor degree of Integrated studies with concentrates of Business and Social Services. I’m hoping to enter the MBA program for Human Resource Management at the same school I’m currently enrolled.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Congratulations on your Associates Linda! I do plan to take at least one class online during my program, and I took a few online courses during undergrad so I know what you mean. YouTube is amazing for homework help, I’ve used it a few times for accounting.
      Good luck on your Bachelor and Masters studies! 🙂

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  2. Congratulations! As sweet as it feels finishing the semester, it’s an even better feeling graduating and receiving your degree in the mail! I finished my M.Ed. in June, and I was so glad to be done. It felt like a giant weight was lifted off of my shoulders. Good luck with the rest of your MBA!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Congratulations on getting through your first semester! I’m also studying my MBA part time fully online and intensive (8 week subjects all year, and each subject has 1-2 essays/reports or group projects, quizzes and a final exam), working (full time) and have ‘life’ in between that just has to slide sometimes. But that’s what it takes to achieve goals! I appreciate your honest and forthright review on your semester – you groan at a reflection essay yet here you write a great reflection!
    Cheers, Kate

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Kate! Wow your program really is intense! But you’re 100% right, we have to do quite a bit of juggling everything to get it done. And graduation is there waiting for us. Hahaha I’m thinking I should just copy and paste this post now for my reflection essay! 😂 Thank you again and good luck on your MBA journey!

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