With final exams and the integrated company analysis (ICA) presentation completely behind me, I decided that now would be a good time to reflect on some of the key takeaways of my first semester in the Wisconsin MBA program:
The arts are important and prevalent in Grainger Hall.
My fellow Bolz Center colleagues and I questioned our identity as "arts students" in a program full of future investment bankers, researchers, and CEOs. However, the arts play a role in the lives of everyone in Grainger Hall. During the early weeks of the program, many of my favorite conversations with my MBA peers were about the arts—they included everything from our most memorable music concerts to why a Priscilla Presley autobiography is a worthwhile addition to a literature collection. The arts are a way to create and foster connections with people and they certainly play a role in the classroom. On our final day of finance class, we were asked to write haikus about a finance topic. The haikus were not only helpful during the final exam, they also made for excellent study break conversations!
Grainger Hall feels like a home away from home.
With over 200 full-time students in the Wisconsin MBA program, we have exclusive access to specialized study areas, a locker room, a lounge with a kitchen and pool table, and our own computer lab with free printing. With such accommodations, students may find that Grainger Hall becomes a home away from home with a brand new family of sisters and brothers. We keep groceries in the fridges, clothes in the locker room, and friends and family often see us Skype or iChat from the confines of our centers or the hallways. And while the program makes it easy to never have to leave 975 University Avenue…
…balance is key.
It is important to actually leave Grainger on occasion! Whether you have a family, significant other, special friends, or a non-business school related passion, it is incredibly important to create time for yourself that does not include the memorization and recitation of math formulas or marketing concepts (unless number crunching is your passion!). The city of Madison and surrounding communities boast a great deal to do, see, and explore. So, get out there and have some fun. Time spent away from Grainger Hall helps us to chill out and unwind and improves our focus when we are ready to hit the books again.
It is already the middle of December, and I am shocked by how quickly the last few months have sped by. I am constantly in awe of the lessons that I have learned and the friendships that I have formed within such a short period of time. And of course, I am excited for the next chapter...but first it’s time to leave Grainger Hall for a few weeks to chill out and unwind.
Happy holidays, everyone!