A full-time MBA program goes by fast, really fast. If we don’t already know it, we all learn how to maximize our calendars, color code our priorities and hit the ground running. As someone who was in the working world for almost a decade before returning to get my MBA, I knew that a full-time MBA program would be a drastic schedule change, but what I didn’t realize was the flexibility that being a full-time student would give me to do things that I may not have been able to do in the working world.
For me, it all happened by accident. I’ve always enjoyed running in races and I usually always have a race on the calendar. When I was working full-time, I often had meetings, work travel, or evening engagements that limited my workout time to mostly early mornings. Toward the middle of the school year, however, I noticed my workout routine inadvertently changed a bit. I would still wake up early to get my workouts in, but after a long day of classes or studying, I often found myself needing a little pick me up in the evenings. This often meant lacing up my running shoes and getting a few more miles in for the day. I loved these little runs. Not only were they a great way to clear my head, but I also noticed my race times gradually improve. Before I knew it, I was setting new time goals for myself that I don’t think I would have been able to achieve on a full-time work schedule—and ironically, I did it with less free time than when I was working.
There is no doubt that MBA students are great at maximizing flexibility, and this year, I encourage all of you to maximize your own flexibility and put something unexpected on your bucket list that you may never have the chance to do again outside of a full-time school schedule. For me, it was running. For a classmate of mine, it was taking a class in viticulture and enology. Maybe for you, it’s going to the dentist in the middle of the day because you CAN. Okay—set your sights higher than that, but you get the picture.
In the hustle and bustle of a busy MBA program, it is easy to put our heads down and forget our surroundings, but especially in a college town like Davis, there are so many opportunities to experience one new thing. Have you ever been bowling in the basement of the MU? Have you ever been to a UC Davis football game? Have you ever been to a GSA (Graduate Student Association) meeting? (You might just meet a future business partner.) When I look back on last year, I am overwhelmed by all of the wonderful memories I have from this MBA program, but those little extra runs in the evenings will always hold a special place in my heart. Not only do they symbolize a personal accomplishment (or experience) that I wouldn’t have otherwise had, but they also made me a better MBA student. So, as you color code your calendars and hit the ground running, what will you do this year that you may never have the chance to do again? I promise the experience will energize and relax you and you will have more to offer because of it. Just don’t forget to invite a classmate…