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留学参考:The Toughest Challenges MBAs Face In Business School  

2016-12-21 04:11:56|  分类: DIY留学综合信息 |  标签: |举报 |字号 订阅

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留学参考:The Toughest Challenges MBAs Face In Business School


 BY: JEFF SCHMITT ON JULY 04, 2016

 

 

In your mid-twenties, you’re still trying to figure out who you are and where you’re going. Take your career. A few years out of school, you’ve probably notched your first promotion. Your superiors are singing your praises and making promises. With a few bucks in your pocket, you’ve grown accustomed to your toys and weekend adventures. It’s all going so right — except for one thing: Those nagging questions tugging at you every day.

Do I really want to do this job much longer?

How long will it be before I hit my ceiling?

Can I take the next step without going back to school?

Even if I go back, do I truly know what I want to do?

FROM FBI CYBER-SLEUTH TO NERVOUS FIRST-YEAR MBA

Returning to school is one of the biggest decisions you can make. Put it off and you risk being anchored, unable to shift roles or industries. Head to campus and you sacrifice a year or two of pay for an uncertain result and (potentially) a mountain of debt. That was the dilemma facing Jessica Davlin, a 2010 Duke grad who’d worked for both the FBI and the White House in cybersecurity. While the chance to join Team Fuqua to become a “leader of consequence” was a “no-brainer” for Davlin, the actual act of returning to campus was a leap of faith.

“It was very tough to uproot my life in D.C., say goodbye to my friends, and leave my comfort zone — all for an uncertain future,” she told Poets&Quants. In fact, the decision continued to hamper her transition to being a student during her first year. “(It) was stressful and challenging and there were times when I questioned if I had made the right decision. I loved the life I had before business school, so the uncertainty was unsettling.” In the end, Davlin drew on the grit and stamina she developed as a champion distance runner to turn around her experience. She channeled her love of public service into launching a “Spring of Service” initiative to connect the school with volunteer opportunities in the community. She became a COLE Fellow to guide first years making the same transition she had made. Ultimately, she landed a dream job as a business program manager at Microsoft.

Forget the tales of business school being a two-year job hunt filled with overseas jaunts and hazy weekends. MBA programs can be pretty rough — and not just those core quant courses. They are a daily practicum on ruthlessly setting priorities and managing time — key skills for aspiring executives. And business school is purposely designed to dispel a “go-it-alone” mentality, replacing it with a team-driven interdependency requiring relationship building and strategic compromise.

Such a steep shift can fluster any first-year student, even the top MBAs from the very best schools who comprise this year’s Best & Brightest MBAs. That’s one reason we asked these graduates to share “the hardest part of business school.” With the next class of MBAs poised to hit campus soon, the same demands and doubts will undoubtedly strike them, too.

LEARNING TO MANAGING YOURSELF BEFORE MANAGING OTHERS

Chances are, being a student again is bound to be a shock to your system. Forget a boss telling you where to be and what to do. In business school, for better or worse, you are your own boss. And learning to manage yourself — before you manage others — is a cornerstone of the business school experience. That’s particularly true with the workload, explains USC’s Jordan Selva, no stranger to being busy after playing baseball and singing in chamber choir as an undergrad.

“The sheer amount of readings, projects, and meetings that took place during a five-month period was beyond anything I would have anticipated,” Selva notes. “Even though classes were only held in the mornings, I was on campus past 10 p.m. every night that first semester.” And that doesn’t even include extracurricular activities, networking events, and job hunting, according toAnkur Goel, who was a club president, student ambassador, student representative, and case competition maven at the University of Pittsburgh.

Mind you, dictating your own schedule has its perks. The biggie, of course, is choosing what you want to do. Alas, such freedom comes with a price: not having a paycheck coming in. That was the biggest test for Tyler Lorenz, who left a cushy management job in the foreign exchange market to become part of Texas A&M’s 2016 MBA Class. “Taking a 2-year break from the working world puts a huge financial strain on resources. Not letting this constant stress affect your work or relationships was tough.”

 

MBAs CHANNEL NANCY REAGAN: “JUST SAY NO”

As a whole, if you asked the “Best & Brightest” MBAs where they struggled most as first years, you’ll probably get a two word response: “Saying no.” Would you really expect anything else from such students? Take any group of high achievers and toss them into an environment with a myriad of clubs, events, and opportunities; you’re certain to see most run themselves ragged, thinking they can do it all. That mindset plagued UCLA’s Maeghan Rouch, a Dean’s Scholar ticketed to Bain & Company. She found that taking on too much inevitably detracts from the overall experience. “The truth is, when you are in this environment, it’s so easy to want to take advantage of it all,” Rouch confesses. “With too much on your plate, you can’t fully reap the benefits of everything you’re doing.”

So what advice does the Class of 2016 have for avoiding this pitfall? First, says Cornell’s Nadine Thornton, come to campus with priorities. “I made some missteps and signed up for things I was not as passionate about or overcommitted more than once.” Wharton’s Ami Patel, who founded a charter school for Teach For America, made tradeoffs and became more patient and disciplined in the process. “I want all the learning and development at once,” she admits. “But it’s essential to focus and go step-by-step, and slow down, to actually sustainably learn anything.” Duke’s Libby McFarlane offers another helpful nugget: “Less is often more.” And Blair Pircon, an award-winning entrepreneur who focused on her startup during her two years at Northwestern, approaches the issue from a contrarian angle. “The sooner you can define what you don’t want to do during business school,” she emphasizes, “the better.”

In other words, saying no is often a first year’s big test when it comes to self-management. In the aftermath of being blitzed and buried, they come away with a key lesson: Everyone has limits. For Fona Osunloye, a McKinsey recruit who focused on education and African business during her time at Yale, business school involved finding her limits and then respecting them. “The hardest part of business school has been coming to terms with the fact that there are way more interesting academic, social, and professional activities than any one individual can possibly make the time for,” she explains.

THE REAL BALANCE: KEEPING AN EYE OPEN FOR OPPORTUNITY WITHOUT FORGETTING YOUR ORIGINAL PURPOSE

For other first years, the real trick to business school is finding that balance between staying focused without losing touch — or taking the larger university for granted. That was the big regret from Ohio State’s John Petersen, a former U.S. Army company commander.  “I tend to get really wrapped up in classes and projects,” Petersen confesses, “so it’s easy for me to get tunnel vision and forget that there is a whole university here. I think it’s really important to go meet grad students in other fields and spend time outside the business school…At the end of the day, I think this is one area where I’ve struggled and I wish I had spent more time meeting people in other departments.”

Another delicate balance for the 2016 “Best & Brightest” MBAs was remaining true to their goals while keeping an open mind to new avenues. At the University of California-Berkeley, Dan Fishman, a prolific fund-raiser who eventually headed Haas’ student government, realized he wanted to use business tools to help “seniors age with greater purpose.” At the same time, however, he discovered new interests in b-school that risked sidetracking him from why he entered Haas in the first place. “I’m often pulled astray by tempting opportunities that appear more lucrative or easy to accomplish,” he reveals. “It’s a struggle not to betray this passion in pursuit of more immediate, gainful options.”

Along with these temptations, some first years are also contending with a variation of survivor’s guilt. Their FOMO involves being unable to let go of their past life and embrace business school. Instead, they are constantly looking back on those they left behind. INSEAD’s Marie-Renée B-Lajoie, an emergency physician before entering business school, wrestled with the sense that she was being selfish in enjoying her “transformative journey” at the expense of others. “In my case, the hospital I worked at is experiencing increasing patient volumes, with a very limited number of physicians, stretching their resources to the max. Part of me feels guilty that I am not working on the ground and instead investing in my own education.”

JUST LIKE WORK: PEOPLE AND CHANGE CAUSE THE BIGGEST HEADACHES AT B-SCHOOL

Of course, these larger philosophical questions sometimes take a backseat to the day-to-day headaches. And the biggest one of them all, naturally, is managing conflict between people. That’s particularly true in an environment like b-school, where your success, let alone the quality of your experience, is predicated on your peers. Babson’s Siddharth Astir understands this dynamic all too well.  “With top minds and strong personalities from all over the world with experiences from different sectors in life, it would sometimes become difficult to come to a decision in the case of a conflict,” he confides. To counter these tendencies, Astir counsels mutual respect and active listening. However, Astir admits that such strategies don’t always yield a happy ending. “It is not a flawless method and there are times when people are left unsatisfied or disgruntled at the end of a decision making process.”

 

In popular culture, business school is often lampooned as a hiatus from the whiplash pace and relentless disruption of the rat race. Well, don’t tell that to the University of Iowa’s Kyle Wehr, who found the constant change as the hardest part of business school. “The reality of the MBA is that there is minimal stability,” says Wehr, the recipient of the school’s Excellence in Leadership Award as a first year. “During the whole 21-month program, you are changing classes, learning new skills, trying to figure out where you’ll spend the summer, and trying to figure out where you will be living and working following graduation. The MBA is a tremendous experience, but it is very difficult to establish an authentic, deep foundation during this time.”

Recruiting can also take its toll on first years, adds the University of Chicago’s Florian Amann, who successfully transitioned from consulting (Deloitte) to investment banking (Goldman Sachs) during business school. “Since everyone at business school is used to success in her or his prior life, a second-best outcome is often considered a failure and can be hard on people (although everyone is doing EXTREMELY well in the grand scheme of things).”

B-SCHOOL IS THE PLACE TO TAKE RISKS

Ultimately, a six figure investment in business school requires students to set a long-term trajectory. However, that path isn’t necessarily clear from the start. That was the story of IESE’s Sean Porta, who’d entered business school after quickly climbing the ladder at Scotiabank. Like his peers, Porta thought he knew what he wanted to do after graduation.

And then he quickly came to a rude awakening.

“After you’re exposed to so many different classes, experiences, backgrounds, geographies – you start to fall in love with a lot of different ideas and become a little confused,” he admits. “I never caught the “consulting bug,” but I found myself contemplating industries and positions, for example marketing at a high tech company, that I would have never have considered in my wildest dreams before coming to the MBA. Figuring out what I really wanted to do (and where) was difficult.”

Porta eventually settled on working on working for the Adidas Group in corporate ventures, thanks to bouncing ideas off his classmates and professors. That wasn’t the case with Tiffany Chang, who managed accounts for a creative agency before starting at the University of Maryland. However, she stayed in her field, moving into marketing at the Ford Motor Company after earning her MBA. But don’t assume Chang took the path of least resistance. Instead, her secret to success was based on doing business school was designed for: Taking risks.

“The hardest part of business school was constantly reminding myself to embrace the things that made me uncomfortable,” Chang emphasizes. “The issue was not adapting to the challenge; it was how to conscientiously create a challenge every day for myself. I naturally like to lead and take charge, so in certain situations I would force myself to take a back seat and learn as a follower. It was hard to always push myself to do the opposite of what I wanted to do, since it felt unnatural…but it was necessary for me to experience different styles of leadership in order to add more tools to my toolkit.”

 

 

以上内容摘自:

http://poetsandquants.com/2016/07/04/hardest-parts-business-school/

 

 

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