Amber Lewis is currently a 1st year at the GSM. She holds an undergraduate degree in Sociology from UC Berkeley, and was a CORO Fellow in Public Affairs. Her professional background is in political campaigns and healthcare policy. Amber is a native Californian and loves exploring its great outdoors by land, sea, and snow.
Last week my roommate (and fellow GSM student) and I were debriefing a rather heated group discussion that happened earlier in the day. I was confiding in her about some new realizations that I had about myself, and the way that I work in groups, when she said: “business school is like living seven years of life in two.” She had put into a sentence what I had been struggling to articulate all quarter. Yes, business school is an investment in your career, your future financial security, and your knowledge base. However, you will not maximize your new skills unless you are also willing to take on the ultimate, and exceptionally harder, challenge of getting to know yourself.
Before coming to the GSM I had a challenging and rewarding career full of responsibility, creativity, and opportunity. Today, I can honestly say that I have grown more in the last four months in this program than I did in the last two years at my job. While I now know how to balance a cash flow statement and do a regression analysis, I also have identified some key leadership strengths and weaknesses to work on and have been challenged to think about what I truly want in life.
It is par for the course when applying to college or looking for a job to be asked about your strengths and weaknesses, your life goals, and where you see yourself in five years. Whether I was asked those questions in an interview or at Thanksgiving dinner, I always had an acceptable, polished… and if we are being honest, somewhat BS answer. To truly answer these questions, with any level of authenticity, takes some serious self-reflection. However, it also requires time, space, and support. To my surprise, that is what I found in business school.
These two years are like hitting pause on your life. You are granted the gift of time to reflect, have personal insights, and develop your inner strengths and talents. The best part is that you get to spend that time with other people who are equally engaged in the process. Stepping into the classroom at the GSM you are surrounded by talented, amazing, driven people, and I continue to be humbled and honored by the caliber of my classmates. Contrary to the stereotype of business school, our class feels like a team, and mutual support and respect is a foundation in our class culture. While your fellow classmates are committed to investing in themselves for these two years, they are also equally committed to their investment in you.
No matter where you end up, or if you even choose to go to business school, I would encourage you to take the time to cultivate relationships with people who will support you in becoming the best version of yourself. While I am learning the importance of investing in my personal development, I have also come to realize that it is equally important to be part of a community that values this level of learning. I found that community at the GSM. Trust me, in the end, the ROY makes it worth the time and effort.