This post is courtesy of guest blogger Mit Majumdar, a member of the Texas MBA at Dallas/Fort Worth class of 2014.
Many of you who have been in the corporate mill for a long time will relate to what I’m going to say here. “Should I be getting into this?” or “Will I have time?” are some of the usual questions people have when they begin to think about returning to school for their MBA. And once you go through one of the information sessions, you may have even more apprehensions. Whether you should do it or just turn around and not – the to-go/not-to-go cycles within can be overwhelming. But ultimately in my case, I was able to exorcise the doubts. Reasons prevailed once I was able to see through the mist, and it all came down to a few simple drivers – the desire to learn, have the UT Austin logo on my chest, get to know and learn from some of the best faculty, and ultimately, meet an awesome set of individuals from different parts of the professional world. All these pushed me to go ahead and join the Texas MBA at Dallas/Fort Worth program – and I am glad that I did.
Just as a quick background, I have been working non-stop for close to 20 years. It can be tough when you are on the constant grind, especially with incessant travel 20 days a month. That can be stressful – and accumulative stress has its own perils. Hence, it was quite a challenge for me to look beyond my regular routine and opt for this course.
My first week of the MBA program in Austin (for Austin Intensives) was intense. Of course, I had told my colleagues to expect some delays in responses, etc., but as you know, the work never stops – and neither did mine. But then the best part happened – I met some outstanding friends and sat in classes taught by some of the best professors. The experience has been surreal, and the pain of balancing it against my existing work seems to recede to the background.
Of course, along with work life, the demands of balancing family life with additional coursework and class work pouring in through the weekends can be tough. I needed to make serious adjustments during the first few weeks, but as I moved along, I started to make the best use of the 2-3 hours travel time every week at airport stops and so on. Study groups were also of great help – my study mates have become great friends and they ensured that I was up to speed with the latest information as they helped me to keep up with the course demands. Apart from the study groups, I have built a strong support network in general. Professional life and McCombs life are very different – unlike colleagues, classmates are eager to help – they all know the more they help the more we all learn, and they also realize we are all in the same boat.
The professors are also quite helpful – their only intention is for us to learn – and it is evident in every action. They continue to come up with creative ways to impart knowledge to us. Some of them have virtual office hours, which are a great way to re-emphasize the teachings and solidify our foundation. Every time a class weekend approaches, I start feeling an adrenaline rush (there is always one exam or another – and you can’t forget the homework assignments) as the flurry of activities becomes more intense. But I have gotten used to this hectic pace.
I am able to apply everything I learn so quickly and in such unassuming places that it is just interesting to say the least. For example, I was in a meeting with the Chief Strategy Officer of a leading communication service provider and we were discussing Big Data – how to leverage the customer information that they have and monetize it. At the back of my mind, I’m thinking statistics – mean, sample, confidence interval and so on – and thanks to our stats professor, Mr. Carvalho, I could make that discussion very productive.
Similarly, recently when I had to get approval for a proposal (to be submitted to the client), I was asked what the cash flow is and I was ready with the answer. After that I was able to amortize it over the duration of the deal. Thanks to Professor Limberg, it all feels so easy now.
And the most important part on leading people and organizations – we apply it all instantly in our work life, especially when you are already managing a team or part of a team. Every bit of it.
I can empathize with all of those who are struggling to make a decision. But for me, I know it was the right one – the faculty, the learning, the classmates, and most of all, the time on campus after every two weeks actually helps me to de-stress.