We’re still in the throes of a Thanksgiving food coma so we’ll take this opportunity to continue the so-generous and so-insightful contribution received from a seasons-past former BSer about his pre- and post-MBA experiences, and the transformations he had in his thinking along the way. If you missed it, start with Part 1 here or Part 2 here.
## **EssaySnark:** So how do you think you have been changed by the overall business school experience?
**former BSer** Hah. It was big changes from start to finish!
The first big change was deciding to go for the EMBA instead of the MBA. That required thinking deeply about my motivations and expectations.
As for the actual experience at bschool, my presence and confidence grew significantly. My EQ is higher. And for sure I’m better at managing pressure and ambiguity. (This one is a big deal for some of us engineers, who like to know we have the best answer to any given problem, and like to get that answer on our terms).
But the biggest change is that I don’t care about consulting now.
Consulting was a thing I had been interested when I was burning out as an engineer. It’s a place to apply analytic thinking and problem-solving skills while you build communication and relationship management skills. I heard it once described as finishing school for executives, which described it succinctly.
By the time I graduated, I decided that I’d rather create value in the marketplace directly, rather than as a professional advisor to top management of large firms. In part it was my experience in the entrepreneurial classes. In part it was the relationships I was establishing within my cohort. But a big part was the podcasting.
This requires a little detour and backstory.
The short version is that I cohosted a podcast series with Firmsconsulting.com on EMBA candidates seeking to transition into management consulting. We recorded about a hundred small episodes. It went well, and gave me ideas for training products I could launch on my own. (Shout out to Firmsconsulting—I’ve known them for several years, and they helped me understand exactly what the best professional values ought to look like in action). [Based on this former BSer’s recommendation, we’re telling all you current BSers about this company — they have resources to teach you about case interviews in consulting hiring, which some of you may be interested in. EssaySnark has not vetted them but we trust this BSer, so check ’em out if you’re curious. -ES]
This leads to the final big change from bschool.
Instead of switching into consulting, I left the federal government for an engineering role at Fluke in the private sector. Now I’m learning about their highly complex thermal imaging products, and with my MBA, I have both technical and business career paths open to me.
## **EssaySnark:** What was the one thing in business school that you did not want to do or were reluctant or resistant about? How did it turn out?
**former BSer** During our second year, I was selected to lead the Executive Student Investment Fund. This was a brand-new club that gave EMBA students a chance to manage a small fund. We listened to stock pitches from our classmates, opened and closed positions, and did everything necessary to manage both the fund as well as the club.
We had faculty support, but the club had only just been started by the cohort before us. Therefore, there was no long history of operations, and we would have to figure out how to handle things ourselves. There was also the responsibility of making sure that this newly born club continued on into it’s second and third years of existence.
This may seem like a trivial conundrum, but it was scary for me. I’ve generally preferred indirect leadership based on influence over roles with direct leadership authority.
In the end, with the encouragement of my classmates, I made my application and was selected to lead the fund. We oversaw stock pitches, made some adjustments to the portfolio, and successfully transitioned the club to an even better group of leaders from the following cohort.
## **EssaySnark:** What was the one thing in business school that you were most excited about? How did it turn out?
**former BSer** Going in, I was excited about going back to BCG to knock their socks off with my shine new Darden EMBA.
That didn’t happen, because I have better plans now:
I’ve moved to Minneapolis. I’ve started a new career with Fluke. I’m starting a side business. I’m consulting with one classmate. I’m friends with many others—and they are some of the most amazing people I know. Finally, one of our cases inspired me to start rowing after graduation, and as soon as I moved for my new job, I joined the Minneapolis Rowing Club, and am well on my way to becoming a competitive rower.
## **EssaySnark:** When talking to people interested in getting an MBA, what is the main thing you find yourself repeating to them over and over, that you really want them to listen to or hear?
**former BSer** Visit the schools.
Oh, and think hard about what you need from your MBA. Course content is available online for a fraction of the cost. If you spend the time to learn proper networking, the recruiting pipeline available on-campus is redundant. An MBA can be useful and life-changing, but don’t underestimate what you yourself are capable of.
Most wonderful advice indeed!! The last point, the first point, and all points in between. Obviously this is capturing one person’s evolution through how he thought about the process and the value and what he wanted out of it — but these are critical questions for YOU to be thinking about, too. Do you know why you want an MBA? Do you REALLY know why? This might be some good questions to ponder for anyone in the process of applying!!
And finally: THANK YOU to this former BSer, who clearly is making good use of the opportunities and has launched his life into an entirely new direction! A big relocation? Competitive rowing? A startup on the side? And you thought an EMBA was not as valuable or worthwhile!!
Stories like these are priceless for those who come after, to better reflect on options and potential and validate the very endeavor they’re undertaking. Any other former BSers who want to share in a similar Q&A format, just let us know! You can leave a note for us in SnarkCenter or drop an email to Team EssaySnark — we’re always so grateful for these types of contributions.