By Marissa “Lau” Garrison, Texas Evening MBA Class of 2014
Celebrating Thanksgiving this year was quite special. No driving back to Dallas (my hometown); no watching football on TV; no gorging on food and post-turkey-meal-food-coma. Wait – so, why was it so special? Well, this would be my first Thanksgiving married to my husband, Jared Garrison. In the spirit of the holiday, reflecting on what I am thankful for, I simply cannot describe how thankful I am to have him in my life. He makes me feel so special.
We met in January 2007 on the 40 acres when both of us attended the LeaderShape Texas Conference during our UT undergrad years. I was getting my Biology and Spanish degrees, and he was finishing up his Mechanical Engineering degree. Since then, we’ve been on our journey learning each other’s likes and dislikes, supporting and motivating our dreams, and exploring the world and having fun.
On May 12, 2012, halfway through my Texas Evening MBA studies thus far, we married; in fact, having our reception in the AT&T Conference ballroom above where my MBA classes are held. It was tough juggling school, work, wedding planning, and, of course, “life” in general; but, as hard as it was, I cannot help but smile at the experiences I’ve had over the last year and the person these experiences have helped to shape.
Since my high school days at Hockaday in Dallas, Texas, I’ve always pushed myself academically and socially and considered myself a confident, outgoing, and strong-willed woman. Yet, the Texas MBA has been particularly challenging to me. I admit, times have passed that I’ve pondered over and over if getting my MBA was the right choice, stressed out over re-doing the same accounting problem without avail, compared myself to classmates who were less stressed (or at least seems so), wondered if I could really have it all (especially as a woman in business), considered my career path and choices as simply luck, and even questioned my existence or simply dropping out! As overwhelming as this was and sometimes still can be, it reminds me to take a moment and step back. Being able to do complex calculations, think critically, and analyze business cases is great for my “business toolkit,” but is this really important? To me, my MBA has helped change the way I think and specifically, helped me recognize and confirm what is truly important.
Starting with Doug Dierking’s Managing People and Organizations class, he spoke of the importance of employee satisfaction – am I doing what I love? Moving on to Ben Bentzin’s Marketing class, he emphasized that failures are often the best opportunities – maybe things aren’t so bad? Furthermore, in Ramesh Rao’s Finance class, he noted one should always make investments if there is a positive NPV (net present value). Well, it’s easy to conclude that my investment in Jared is resulting in a positive NPV! Jared’s patience, understanding, and support have been keys to my success (and sanity) in the MBA program. In my moments of being overwhelmed, simply being able to talk through it with my husband is priceless. My MBA has spurred great conversations with Jared, and I’m sure has helped him develop his perspective too. We are great for each other, working and loving to make each other happier and better.
What I love about getting an MBA is that each person brings something different to contribute to the program, likewise, each person takes away something different. As silly as it may be to take my MBA’s business perspective on my marriage, I am happy I’ve done so. For me, I take away an amazing start to our marriage, eager to never take a moment with him for granted.
It’s amazing where and when you’ll apply what you learn with your MBA. What will you take away?