What Life is Like in the First Year of a Top Business School
So what’s it really like in business school? You hear the stories. For some, it was a non-stop sprint, where they juggled projects, clubs, interviews, and even a side business. For others, it was a blur of booze, buffets, and boondoggles. So which is right?
Both are, actually, according to a recent column in Wall Street Oasis. In “Reflections of Year 1 at Booth,” the anonymous author, a gentleman who calls himself “Compbanker” and claims to have a 760 GMAT, makes a salient point: “…the MBA is an individual journey. You complete it alongside hundreds of peers, but your experience is uniquely yours.”
And what was this student’s experience? Strangely, Compbanker didn’t share much of his personal journey, aside from his disappointment in Booth’s academics and his love of travel (“Nothing compares to the peace of mind that comes with having absolute freedom over your schedule while not having to worry about the future”). However, he did provide a glimpse into students’ divergent social, academic, and career journeys.
Regarding Booth’s social life, Compbanker observes that “People self-select. One’s impression of the social aspect of b-school is more a reflection on him or herself rather than the school as a whole.” In one week, he witnessed Booth students drive down to the Kentucky Derby, coalesce in a “Thursday Night Drinking Club,” perform their annual ‘Follies’ skits, and participate in outdoor paint ball. And each of these activities drew a hundred or more students!
In other words, there is something for everyone. “If you want to be academic to the exclusion of all else,” Compbanker notes, “you can certainly fade into the shadow of your 600 classmates only to be seen at class and study groups.” However, students would likely be selling themselves short with that approach. “The number of opportunities to partake in social events at Booth exceeded the amount of time you have in your schedule,” he says.
Shockingly, academics was the part of the MBA experience that disappointed Compbanker. “As someone who didn’t have an undergrad finance degree, I was really hoping to broaden my knowledge base beyond what I learned at work. Unfortunately many of the classes have deep seeded roots in theory that are only marginally applicable to the real world.” However, Booth’s grade non-disclosure policy was a major plus for his studies. “This enables students to either take challenging classes or focus their efforts on getting a job without worrying about consequences.”
And what was the biggest surprise? It was how career-centric the program was, particularly for those looking to move into investment banking and consulting. “…both of these paths have an overwhelming amount of events and requirements that include networking, meals, one-off conversations, and info-sessions.”
To cope, Compbanker leaned heavily on Booth alumni. “I spent very little time looking for an internship but found all the alumni that I contacted to be extremely helpful in sharing information or connecting me to people I wanted to speak with. The Booth network is surprisingly strong in PE.”
Heading into his second year, Compbanker seems pretty confident about his career prospects. “Pretty much everyone that puts in the effort ends up at a bulge bracket or elite boutique in the geography they want.”
To read the full story, click on the link below.
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Source: Business Insider