Share This Page
Jocelyn Friedman

Ready, Set, Go: A Month in the Life of an MBA Student

by Jocelyn Friedman Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Four weeks into school and already one final exam out of the way.  Whew, only five more to go!  There’s no doubt that it has been a busy month for us first years at the Wisconsin School of Business.  With orientation firmly behind us and a non-stop schedule of classes, conferences, speakers, and assorted group meetings ahead, it’s a great time to reflect on the past month’s experiences and consider the ride so far.

Orientation began mid-August, when the air still felt far too much like summer to be heading back to school (I sure am glad that Grainger Hall is air-conditioned!).  On the first day of orientation all of us received what was to become our most valuable possession for the coming weeks: a snazzy, engraved, magnetic-backed name tag.  Woe to the poor person who forgot their name tag on any given day--just try meeting 100 new classmates along with a motley crew of professors and staff without everyone having identification!  After we managed to attach our names to our shirts we were thrown headfirst into two weeks of meeting our fellow classmates and professors and getting an overview of what we had signed up for as Wisconsin MBA students.  They kept us quite busy during orientation.  Among other things, we took an accounting test, got assigned our groups for the term-long ICA project, had a variety of career management workshops, and attended an assortment of speakers and receptions in the evenings. 

Orientation exposed us to all the different resources available within the Wisconsin MBA program, and gave us a great opportunity to meet our fellow classmates, hear about their backgrounds, and learn why they had decided to come to Wisconsin for their MBA.  By the end of orientation we were all as oriented as could be and very ready to get started with the year.  It was time to hit the books!

Classes started with a vengeance right after orientation wrapped up, apart from the two courses (Accounting and Leading and Working in Teams) which began during orientation itself.  The majority of our classes in our first year consist of “core” classes, which all of the first year MBAs take together, regardless of Center affiliation.  Our 100 person first year class is divided into two cohorts, and we attend all of our core classes within our cohorts.  I’ve been a big fan of this arrangement, as that first week it made it very easy to figure out when and where class was!  I’m also really enjoying the opportunity to take classes with my classmates in other Centers, and we have an incredibly wide variety of backgrounds and skill sets in any given classroom.  It’s really neat to see how different people approach a problem given different backgrounds, and I’m learning a lot just from hearing others’ perspectives in class.  Coursework is tough but doable, and we are also learning a great deal about time management and triaging our workload.

Now two full weeks into classes, it is hard to believe how much I have to learn over the rest of the term (full disclosure: my undergraduate degree is in History and I am now encountering subjects like Finance for the first time…). But one thing is for sure, this year will certainly not be boring!  I’m incredibly excited to be here beginning my MBA at Wisconsin, and the school has prepared us well for the challenges we will face throughout the year.  It’s shaping up to be a great ride.