I wasn’t expecting it to be like this.
I knew it was going to be hard but I didn’t think that economics (or finance, or accounting, or strategy…) would be the death of me. I knew I would cry here and there but I didn’t think I would keep the tissue industry afloat! I knew I would change but I didn’t think it would be this personal. This MBA ‘thing’ is tough work but it’s also one of the best things I’ve ever done.
Here are three of my biggest realizations (read: survival tips) so far:
1. Knowing why I’m here, keeps me here
Why did I pursue an MBA? I wanted to throw myself in the deep end. I wanted to gain the business know-how to earn a seat at any boardroom table. I wanted to fast track myself to becoming a real #GirlBoss. Because of these goals, I’m able to drag myself out of bed for 8am classes 6 days a week (and run like the wind every morning I’m late!). I’m able to justify handing over those tuition fee installments with monopoly money I don’t even have and think “oh well, I’ll pay it back one day!” And I’m able to turn those 3am late night group projects into spontaneous, heart-pumping, bad-singing, Instagram-story worthy dance parties to keep the energy up! It’s the why I’m here that keeps me going when I’m here.
2. I cry. A lot.
Sometimes it’s in private. Sometimes it’s on the phone to my mum. And sometimes it’s sitting in a classroom of 90 people torturing myself because I feel like the only person who doesn’t understand the jibberish written on the blackboard. Welcome to my new norm. My brain hurts everyday, my emotions are on the most ridiculous rollercoaster ride, and I regularly curse the day I thought it would be a good idea to get an MBA. But because I stay true to my advice in #1 I’m able to dam the eyeball waterfall that keeps trying to get the better of me. And let me tell you– it’s SO worth it! The pain means I’m pushing myself and the trade-off (hello strategy buzzword!) is a few tears here and there. I’m not shying away from my emotions; I’m harnessing them.
3. I’m changing in unexpected ways
Sure, my financial literacy has definitely changed for the better (can I interest you in a costing system, sir? Or, madam, perhaps I could calculate the future return of your investment in today’s terms?), but the real changes are happening deeper down. My emotional resiliency is stronger, my mental capacity is bigger, and my ability to self-reflect is on a whole new level. How do I know? I’m keeping track. I’m recording a video diary every so often. I’m telling anyone who’ll listen about the latest update in “Candice’s Swiss MBA Adventure.” It’s all in the pursuit of that moment at the end of the year when I can look back, pat myself on the back, and say “Girl, you did it… now stop watching old videos of yourself and get out there and crush some business!”
So there you have it. A very personal look at what this MBA experience has taken out of me – but more importantly given to me. It has surpassed my expectations. It has changed my whole thinking. It has revitalized me.
With that, I shall end with a fair warning:
Watch out world, I’m coming for you.
Candice Gallagher, American/British, MBA 2018
(Featured top image from Long Island)