Alley-Oop!—By Chris!

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Ask any first-year MBA student what takes up their time outside of classwork, and they will most likely tell you it’s the internship search.  Much of the time I’ve spent on internships has been preparing for interviews.  It can be tough honestly evaluating your own strengths and weaknesses, but sometimes this process can lead to revelations about yourself!  Oddly enough, I noticed a habit I have that could fall into either category: I have spent hours, often on my own time, making easy step-by-step systems to get things done so that the next person in my shoes can hit the ground running.

I can’t say that this is always a strength.  Sometimes I’ve compulsively rebuilt systems that ended up being of little use, effectively wasting my own time on something that ends up being pointless.  But really, that’s a matter of me correctly identifying time constraints and priorities.  When done right, I love creating a way of doing things that is simple, efficient, and pays it forward in time saved for the next guy.  Since March Madness is coming up, the basketball metaphor seems appropriate – alley-oop!

It’s fitting that this realization came right before the incoming first-year MBA candidates prepare for Admit Day and Summer Orientation.  Thinking back to this time last year, I was full of questions about the GSM, the grad school experience, and what to expect.  I appreciated the help of the students who let me know what was what, and I am excited to do the same for our incoming class.  These upcoming events are a great platform for the current first-year students to speak directly to the concerns of the incoming class, and smooth out the transition to grad school for our teammates.

The desire to set up our new classmates for success is school-wide!  We’ve already had an outpouring of enthusiasm from current first-year students looking to about share their experiences and background with the incoming students, and when next year rolls around our class will be proactively recruiting incoming students for leadership positions throughout the school.  With little time to adapt, we know the importance of having a senior teammate that is there to put us where we need to be for victory!

In a lot of ways, this is a hallmark of leadership, and a towering strength at the GSM.  We know each other on a personal level, and we have a continuing tradition of identifying opportunities for our classmates’ success.  Not only are we demonstrating a desire to help our incoming classmates, but the community of cooperation at UC Davis speaks to the value of paying it forward!

It’s a good feeling to know that you’re setting the stage for success, and time spent on one’s teammates is time well spent.  Now when I say that I strive to set up the next guy in my shoes, I can quickly think of many of my own classmates who have done the same for me.  We know how good a slam dunk feels – and it feels just as good to set up a teammate for the win!

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