October 24, 2014

My first 50 days as a full-time MBA student

Jaclyn Agui is a first-year MBA candidate in the Weatherhead School of Management.
For someone who used to be a full-time worker, it may seem daunting to transition back to being a student. I definitely had my reservations and concerns that my transition would be difficult. Fortunately, it was quite the opposite.

Buddy Program

First-year MBA students in New York City
Before classes and even orientation, day one for me began when I met my second-year buddy. A “Buddy Program” is an integral part of the Weatherhead program, where first-year MBA students are paired up with current second-year MBA students. My buddy was my first connection to the MBA program. She gave me tips for how to prepare for the coming semester, offered to give me some of the books she used during her first year, and introduced me to other first- and second- year students. By the start of orientation, I already felt like I was a part of the Weatherhead community.

Orientation

Orientation is a weeklong event where the Weatherhead Student Experience Office pulls out all the stops to make students feel at home and part of one big family. They fed us very well, gave us cool t-shirts, introduced us to faculty, and even provided a few happy hour events.

The most memorable experience during orientation was the Ropes Course event. The entire cohort boarded a bus that drove to an outside camp facility. Here we grouped up with our assigned teams and underwent a number of trust exercises using the ropes courses. This experience was extremely valuable for me to get to know my team members better, specifically their personalities and how well we worked together as a team. The exercises broke the ice for everyone, and at the end of the day when the whole cohort came back together in a large circle, there was an immediate sense of belonging and community.

First week of classes!


As most know, the Peter B. Lewis Building is extremely unique in its architecture and layout. So for most students, including myself, the first week of classes provided an opportunity to find my way around. Fifty days in and I am still finding new rooms in this building! In the first week, I quickly got acquainted with faculty and the Career Management Office. It was also a priority of mine to get to know my cohort and second-year MBA classmates better.

Internship search and getting involved

I believe that my internship/career search and getting involved in the Case Western Reserve community are just as important as class performance. Weatherhead has provided many opportunities for networking and meeting professionals outside of my existing network. The first career event I attended was the New York Trek. I traveled to New York City to tour the NYSE and network with Weatherhead alumni. The exchanges I had at this event have greatly influenced the direction of my internship search. I also had the opportunity to attend the Women’s national MBA career fair, where I participated in workshop sessions, networked with businesswomen and delivered my pitch to dozens of employers. In general, I have found the Weatherhead alumni base to be very supportive in reaching out and providing feedback for students.

Getting involved at Weatherhead is easy. Our graduate student body provided a club fair for all entering students to learn more about the student organizations that exist in the school and their upcoming events. I joined the Marketing Club, Net Impact, and Women in Business. I also was able to participate in Flourish & Prosper: The Global Forum for Business as an Agent of World Benefit as a volunteer.

Overall my first 50 days have been a whirlwind of experiences. Although at first a bit overwhelming with classes, career search, and involvement, once I got into a routine and set my priorities, it became a lot more manageable. I am now preparing for my midterms…Wish me good luck!

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