Hi everyone! Today I’m going to give you an update before starting my fall semester for grad school! In case you didn’t know, I am starting my second and final year of graduate school on my journey to my MBA. Since classes start next week, I figured it was time to get writing this post!
If you are new or missed any of my previous posts on my MBA journey please visit My MBA Life on my blog to see more. There’s quite a few updates so let’s get going on them shall we?
Yes, we should start with the main part of the school process. The classes I’m taking! I am actually doing a crazy thing and doing three classes this semester. Normally this program calls for two. And there isn’t a point when I’m in all three at once so it’s not completely out there but still a little overwhelming to think about.
The first class I’m taking is Corporate Finance. This class I’ve heard is good but the material can be tough. The professor did email out the syllabus and it seems like it’s intense work wise but he seems very willing to help. A friend from undergrad that did this class last year said he’s very good about helping you through it if needed so I’m probably going to take advantage of that. Luckily we don’t need a textbook for this course, he’ll send out the readings and we’re encouraged to find more material through reputable news websites. He did say if anyone was violently opposed there was a book option but I’m not opposed, violently or otherwise. This class is going to meet once a week throughout the entire semester for about two hours a session.
The second class is Leadership. This is supposed to be a really good class as well. This course is over two weekends in September. There is one weekend in between each of those. This class consists of Friday evenings for four hours after work, then all day Saturday and all day Sunday. We do have a book for this class, not a textbook per say, but it is like a business “self-help” sort of guidebook I believe. It is Great Leadership: What It Is and What It Takes in a Complex World by Antony Bell so if you’ve read it before let me know what you thought. I ordered it early Tuesday and got an estimated arrival date of Friday this week. I just checked and Barnes and Noble says now it’s arriving on Monday which is extremely disappointing as I wanted to try to read it this weekend before my Finance class starts. This class seems to be very discussion oriented and a huge number of points are also coming from papers we have due each weekend. I’m not expecting this class to be difficult necessarily but still interesting and challenging.
The last class is one I don’t have a ton of information about and I actually forgot my printed schedule at work so I don’t have the full, official name of it right now. Basically it’s a data analysis for social media marketing course. Unfortunately I’ve heard this class is outdated but I’m hoping to still get important information from it. As this class doesn’t start until October for the second half of the semester I don’t have a syllabus yet or any more information so more to come on this one! This will meet once a week for four hours and I might do an online version of the class actually to avoid having to go all the way to campus twice a week and a late drive home after class. If I do that though I will miss some of my friends that are taking the class in person.
One of the most disappointing parts of grad school had been the lack of extracurriculars. It makes sense as we’re all busy with work and some people have families and such but I was just so involved with other clubs and groups in undergrad that it was weird to not be anymore. However, it looks like I’m doing two things this year outside the classroom for my college!
The first is the First Year Mentor Program. This is the first year they’re doing something like this I believe although I have participated in versions of this as an undergrad student mentee. Now I’ll be a mentor to ten first year undergrad students and I can’t wait! I know I would have jumped at the opportunity to do this years ago so it feels great that I’ll be able to give back now. While this is a volunteer position we get some money to do activities such as dinners or coffee meet ups (If We Were Having Coffee IRL!) with the mentees. I think I’ll try to do a few coffee meets ups and try to make them group things so that I can meet with them a couple times. Only one time is required to be in person but we have to reach out periodically to each person so it can be text, email, etc. I can’t wait to meet them! I am guessing they’re going to be randomly assigned as we weren’t really asked anything besides “are you interested” when submitting our info and “can you do it” once accepted. Not even what my job is or anything. I know we’re going to get more information and an orientation so this is exciting! Hopefully it won’t be too crazy but I am so, so excited to meet the first year students I’ll be assigned and try to help guide them and help them succeed.
Second is a group my friend is hoping to start! One of my friends from my classes last year recently read Lean In by Sheryl Sandburg and she wants to start a student group within the MBA program to serve as a sort of support and networking group based on what she’s taken away from the book. She reached out to me to ask me if I was interested in helping and although I haven’t read it yet I thought it was a great idea and immediately agreed. I’ve requested the book from the library but it is still quite popular so I think I will end up buying it on my own soon. She’s still thinking about how she wants to go about it so I can’t wait to see what she thinks up!
I realized after I wrote this that I had more to add but on random topics so I’ll add them here. I have to say, financial aid is quite confusing to deal with. I don’t remember it being this difficult in undergrad. Before I’d get a nice mailed printout that clearly stated the amount I was bing charged, the financial aid I was getting, and the amount I owed after that was all set and done. Now, I get a vague email saying I have to “pay” or “enroll in a payment plan” by a certain date but it lists two different dates. Then I check the student portal which doesn’t say how much I’m being charged anywhere that I can easily find. Separately I can check my financial aid for either the year or one semester at a time but there’s no way to see the year split into the semesters at the same time.
After all that mess, I can log into another website that I can pay/enroll in a payment plan but then it was confusing too. First it said I had to pay x amount but then when I logged in for the deadline it wouldn’t let me pay because it said my financial aid would cover it (from my student loans, don’t get too excited for me). I called the office before 4pm and since it’s summer clearly no one was around… Anyway, I left a message, waited a week (after the deadline) and never heard back. Finally I emailed the office and they actually emailed back right away confirming that I didn’t have to pay anything up front for the semester as it was all through student loans. So that was nice and although I don’t technically have to pay my loans while in school I do anyway and I went ahead and paid half the semester back as a “refund” so I won’t be charged interest on it but it’s still annoying that it took so many steps to confirm. The way I’d read it before was that I had the loan on top of the payment but evidently not. At least it worked out in my favor!
Another thought was how unfriendly the campus is to graduate students in terms of schedules and so on. For example, it is impossible to get to the bookstore if you work a full time office job. It’s only open Monday-Friday from like 9am to 2pm or something crazy. All the offices close at 4pm and that’s usually the time I’m leaving work. It’s so frustrating sometimes! It’s just so different from undergrad when I could just walk two minutes into the office before taking a quick nap before my next class. So strange but such is the struggles of an adult student I suppose!
So that’s my thoughts before the start of the semester. Let me know if you’re also heading back to school and if so how you’re feeling! I know some people are already starting. Good luck to all my fellow students out there!
Thanks for reading!
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