The Class Of 2017 Shares Their Biggest Regrets

University of Florida’s Laura Gonzalez

THINK LESS ABOUT SHORT-TERM COST AND MORE ABOUT LONG-TERM GAIN

Other lamented losing out on signature MBA experiences. In hindsight, the University of Florida’s Laura Gonzalez, now wishes she had been part of a case competition. “UF is one of the business schools most recognized for winning case competitions,” she acknowledges. “The case competition preparation program is a tremendous learning opportunity. I received feedback from some of my peers that I would have been a very good candidate for case competitions, but I did not have the time to take advantage of this great opportunity.”

For Alana Digby, famed for swimming the English Channel, that signature experience was overseas treks. Musing over her two years at the London Business School, Digby would’ve looked past the moment and embraced the bigger picture. “At the time, they seemed expensive and difficult to fit in around my training commitments,” she believes. “But I should have tried harder to make it work. I now appreciate that treks are such a good way to meet people outside of your usual business school circles, and those opportunities are golden!”

Tada Yamamoto doesn’t harbor many regrets, calling them “the opportunity cost of something else that I was able to do.” That said, he came to Ohio State hoping to master a new language. Despite being unable to squeeze this into his crammed schedule, Yamamoto chalks it up to setting priorities. “I don’t think I would have sacrificed the other things I did gain in its place and I continue to pursue it, so it is difficult to truly call it a regret.”

DON’T NEGLECT THE LARGER CAMPUS

Some graduates have even grown wistful towards academics. If the University of Pittsburgh’s Andrew Brennan could go back, he would’ve published something. By the same token, USC’s Helen Hartung would’ve taken more classes. Beyond that, Aaron Silver would’ve started taking classes even before he started at the University of Michigan. “I regret not taking the optional pre-orientation summer accounting course and hopping on the Fast Track in Finance program,” he confides. “We only have so much time to soak up knowledge at business school. The fast track is a phenomenal opportunity to get a head start and sneak in some extra electives.”

University of Maryland’s Alexandra Moore

At the University of Maryland, Alexandra Moore found herself “inundated” with ideas between cases, theories and speakers. Eventually, this spurred her to collect ideas and formulate her own in a notebook. If Moore could do it over, she would’ve started jotting down theoe ideas down from day one. “I really appreciate the entrepreneurial creativity I’ve been able to discover within myself during business school,” she says, “whether it relates to a future company I might start, a process improvement to implement at my school, or a blog post I want to write someday. I’m sure I’ve forgotten some ideas I’ve had along the way and a list would help me to keep them front of mind, reflect on them, and maybe someday change the world with one.”

Of course, some of the class’ biggest regrets had little to do with the business school per se. Look no further than Emory University’s Adam Parker, a real estate maven who wishes he’d taken classes outside the business school. “I can see the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a top-tier law school, and a world renowned medical school across the street from the business school. These are amazing resources which were at my disposal that I wish I had capitalized on during my time at Goizueta.”

Parker wasn’t alone. Jay Russell served as class president for the Kelley School of Business in 2016-2017. He believes that his biggest blunder was not taking full advantage of everything that Indiana University had to offer. “The campus is consistently ranked in the top 10 most beautiful campuses; the Jacob’s School of Music is internationally recognized as a top music program; and the athletic program is successful in one of the largest athletic conferences in the country with a national spotlight,” he highlights. “I know that I will not have this kind of access to high quality academics, arts and performance in the near future.”

“CALM DOWN AND STOP STRESSING — IT WILL ALL WORK OUT.”

University of North Carolina’s Lauren Montagne

At their heart, the Class of 2017’s regrets can be traced to fear, namely the fear of missing out on something valuable. However, there was another fear that united the Best & Brightest: the fear of falling short. This fear haunted Boston College’s Katie Philippi. Even though she describes her first year as a “blast,” she adds that she suffered from this “underlying feeling of stress and worry.” During this time, She would continuously ask herself, “Was I studying enough? Should I be networking with more people? Will I get an internship? Did I choose the right internship?”

Gradually, Philippi changed her tune. Her new message to herself: “CALM DOWN and STOP STRESSING — it will all work out.” This change of attitude made all the difference. “While you might not get every internship or job you apply to,” she continues, “things will work out for the best. In my second year, I have been able to heed my own advice and just enjoy business school.”

Finding this elusive sweet spot — where students accept some limitations and choose to live in the moment — was often the turning point for many members of the Class of 2017. “There were times that I focused too much on the result, rather than the process,” admits the University of North Carolina’s Lauren Montagne. “Business school is all about trying new things (and sometimes getting it wrong). It’s part of the learning process, and I wish I had realized that sooner.”

DON’T MISS: MBA ADVICE FROM THE CLASS OF 2017 OR TOP MBAS SHARE THEIR FAVORITE CLASSES