Move over, Dos Equis. You’ll find some of the world’s most interesting people matriculating on business school campuses. Take Duke daredevil Bering Tsang. Last year, he traveled to Chile for a 1,200 mile motorcycle ride through the backroads, mountains, and vineyards. Just one problem: He’d never driven a motorcycle before. Sure enough, this marine quickly figured it, joking that he was flying 80 mph up the highway a few hours after he started. And you’ll find plenty more from this list. Purdue’s Eric Barajas lists one of his hobbies as “extreme camping” (i.e. live off the wilderness for a week).
The University of Rochester’s Kanika Chopra is a Sudoku champion in India. Vanderbilt’s Gina Bruno recorded commercials for Radio Disney as a child. Boston University’s Blair Merlino competed in rodeos as an undergraduate. Ohio State’s John Lockwood helped launch a version of Sesame Street in Pakistan. North Carolina’s Taylor Mallard once changed her name in college on a whim. And Northwestern’s Bruno Valle played in a Green Day and Weezer cover band in high school. Ah, the stories they could tell.
TOP 50 ADVICE FOR THE NEXT CLASS OF MBAS
Indeed, this year’s Top 50 weren’t shy about swapping stories and offering advice to future MBAs. For one, check your ego at the door. “The hardest part of business school is realizing that everything you thought you knew about prioritization, mental stamina and your relative level of intelligence is basically false,” says Texas A&M’s Robyn Peters, who graduated as her program’s valedictorian. She also emphasizes building relationships during the two years. “Your network is your net worth,” she cracks.
Anne-Marie Kruk of the London Business School also warns students to set priorities and limits early on. “The hardest part of business school was saying no to things! There were so many opportunities to get involved in the community and I learnt along the way that it was better to focus my attentions on a few positions and make long-lasting, contributions with impact.”
Even more, Minnesota’s Alyssa Callister, a Goldman Sachs alum who will be joining McKinsey after graduation, implores students to take time to reflect and plan. “Business school is a great time to take a step back and be intentional about the type of employee, colleague, and manager that you want to be. Take the opportunity to create your personal brand.”
Business school is a time of transition, trial, and transformation. It’s a whirlwind of projects, trips, events, cases, and interviews that goes by before you know it. Once you look back on it, one thing is clear. You won’t believe just how much you accomplished in such a short time.
Congratulations, Class of 2015! You’ve earned it.