Halfway to my MBA! (Plus a Q&A!) #BirthMay Day 21

Hi everyone! I’m halfway through my MBA and I’m already looking forward to graduation. (There’s also a short little Q&A at the end of this post!) I’d rather hoped both of my grades would be posted by now to make the all A’s official but alas, only one is so I’ll just continue to wait on that.

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Looking Back

So I suppose the one thing I don’t usually do in these posts is go back over my journey so far since I always seem to think that most of you have been following along with my posts, but I know that’s not always the case! While you could go back and read my previous MBA posts I’ll include a short little synopsis.

I applied to my MBA (Master’s of Business Administration) program at Elmhurst College (in Elmhurst, IL west of Chicago) in March-June of 2017. I was accepted into the program in July and in August of 2017 I attended my orientation and started classes. Now, I have completed 5 of the required 6 core classes (1 more to go), and then I need to take 4 elective courses after that. So although I’m not done with the core courses I’m still considering it halfway through because that’s 5 out of 10 classes completed. Now electives in grad school aren’t as exciting as in undergrad. They’re not like the general “101” or “Intro to” classes, they’re still business related, so they might not sound as exciting but let me assure you I am.

So here’s the classes I’ve taken so far:

  • Fall 2017
    • Organizational Management (This was the class I got an A- in, ruining my hopes of a perfect 4.0… BY LESS THAN ONE PERCENTAGE POINT)
    • Financial & Managerial Accounting (Got an A!)
  • January Term 2018
    • Analytical Tools for Management (Got an A!)
  • Spring 2018
    • Marketing Management (Got an A!)
    • Finance Management (Grade not yet submitted but my professor emailed me that I got an A!)

Looking Forward

Besides creating an entire Pinterest board for graduation cap decor ideas, I would say I am trying to just enjoy the few weeks I have off before my next class. But I do have homework already for my first night of class. Before going into that, let me introduce my schedule for the next year!

  • Summer 2018
    • Negotiations (this isn’t the typical capstone course of the program, but I took that class already in undergrad so I was allowed to take something else) (this is also over the course of two Fridays and two weekends of a Saturday/Sunday combination)
  • Fall 2018
    • Corporate Finance (this is once a week all semester)
    • Leadership (this class is over two weekends – both Saturday and Sunday, so that should be fun)
    • Data Analysis in Social Media (this is once a week over the second half of the semester which I’m not thrilled about but it seems like a great class and two of my friends will be in it with me)
  • Spring 2019
    • Project Management (I want to be a Project Manager so I have to take this class, and it’s only the first half of the semester!)

Btw, I should mention I did go to Elmhurst College for my Bachelor’s of Science degree. Class of 2013!

So I am looking forward to all of these courses, as I picked them because I thought they would be helpful and interesting. They all came highly recommended from a friend who I met in undergrad and started a year before I did (so she’s graduating next week!) and a classmate in my spring classes that had already taken these electives (he is also graduating next week).

The great thing about the Elmhurst MBA that I’ve learned is that there’s so much flexibility and accommodations that are possible because it’s such a small program. The down side is that there really isn’t many course options because it’s such a small program. For example, I know the professors and my classmates well because I have been with them for a year or longer (two of my professors had taught me in undergrad) but there are really only a few options for scheduling either in terms of what days/hours you’ll be in class or what classes you can take when. During the fall/spring terms there were only the options to take classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and you could only pick one day. For the summer, the class I’m taking is only offered on campus and there’s only one section. And for electives the fall semester contained better classes (in my opinion) than the spring so that’s why I’m taking three in the fall and only one in the spring.

Overall I think the pros over-weigh the cons. After all, this is a fast program, only two years, that is part time and one of the most affordable in the entire Chicagoland area. Plus, I have always felt at home at Elmhurst College, so I love being back and experiencing the school in a whole new way. Also, in undergrad I did the midyear commencement since I graduated a semester early, and I had to graduate in the gym rather than the campus mall. In grad school I’ll have that outdoors graduation! Class of 2019!

Q&A

Okay so now onto the Q&A portion of my post! I didn’t get many questions so I guess my posts are more informative than I thought? If so, that’s cool! However if you didn’t get the chance to ask me your question go ahead and leave it in the comments and I can still answer it, no problem!

The first question came from: Sage Olivia

Did you take a gap year or two before going to grad school? And if so, do you think it was the right choice to take some time before jumping into it?

I took quite a few gap years in-between! Four years to be exact. I think most programs are different, so for example psychology majors in undergrad expect to go to grad school right after in order to be able to practice, or students who want to practice law or medicine. But for an MBA it’s actually recommended to take some time to work as you’re expected to bring in your “real world” experience to the classroom.

Also, from my experience those of us who have taken time off to work before going back to school are actually more into the work and dedicated. The students I’ve seen come in straight from undergrad are the ones that watch sports games on their computers during class and don’t show up to class. Then again, they’re also the ones getting free tuition because they are grad assistants but considering one of my friends is a GA in the program with me who had a job in between undergrad and grad school I somehow don’t think that’s it.

The next question is from: Amelia in Hull

Which course did you find easier or was your favourite to do this semester?

I think it was probably finance. It was the most stressful and challenging so that’s why! Both classes were lecture heavy but for finance we had major projects that required a lot of work and collaboration so I feel that it was the one I learned the most from as well as bonded with my classmates a lot more with it.

And the final question is from: Budding Regardless

How different was your life a year ago?

Very different! Last year around this time I was finalizing my application (I put off my essay for the longest time) and had a ton of free time. But I was also feeling like I had very few prospects for a new job and was feeling the internal itch to go back to school. I’ve always loved school although I’d really felt burnt out by college but it’d been awhile since then so I wanted to go back and enjoy school again. I guess if I had to pick a word to describe that time it’s unfulfilling.


And that’s my thoughts as I enjoy this time in between classes before starting the second half of my MBA journey! Wish me luck?

Thanks for reading!

Pamela

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