Friday, March 19, 2010

My Second Semester Perspective

Wow, it's been some time since my first two posts.  That's because my MBA program is far more demanding and time intensive than I had anticipated.  I had largely underestimated the rigor of the program, which I think is important to share for those considering returning to school.  

When I went in, I expected the time commitment to be on par with the full-time job I was leaving.  But, this is not the case.  Along with classes and homework are all of the extras that enrich my experience such as, tutoring, team meetings for projects, career counseling, workshops, clubs (I only belong to one), and meeting with faculty.  In addition, our program is in the process of hiring a new Dean and students have been encouraged to participate in the process, which has been really interesting.  We're down to two candidates and should have a decision by the end of this month.  Back to time-- I'd estimate that I'm probably putting in about 70 hours a week.  I'm not complaining though!  I'm loving the experience so far and feel incredibly grateful that I'm in school, rather than working.  

I don't get to have much of a social life outside of school and mitigating that with family and friends has been a bit of a challenge.  My loved ones are usually okay with being "on hold" for a month or two, but when I tell them that I'll see them in two years, it doesn't go over very well.  So, I pack in my socializing during the semester breaks, and try to stay in touch the best I can when school is in session.     

This semester I'm taking Macroeconomics, Leadership & Ethics, Management Information Systems, and Entrepreneurship.  I have about 350 pages of reading every week, along with assignments and projects.  Macroeconomics is my most challenging class because math is not one of my strengths.  Yet, I'm learning so much fascinating information that has a lot of application to what's going on in the economy now.  I understand it conceptually; but I struggle with doing the specific calculations.  Leadership & Ethics is my favorite class because it draws on many disciplines such as philosophy, history, economics, anthropology, and sociology, and it requires a lot of analysis and synthesis, which are my strengths.  We just read Milton Friedman's, "The Social Responsibility of Business Is to Increase Its Profits," which was first published in New York Times Magazine in 1970.  He's a capitalist supremacist and it's interesting to ponder how much social opinion has moved away from what he argued just 40 years ago.                       

Tomorrow begins my first day of Spring Break and I am elated - I get 11 glorious days off!  No, no margaritas on the beaches of Cozumel or Red Stripe beers in Jamaica.  Instead, I'll be catching up on reading and homework; sleeping in and organizing; all of which are seeming really sexy and exciting to me! 
 

6 comments:

  1. All your efforts will be worth it and allow you to grow. I know, I too am a lifetime student who has and MBA. I can relate.
    Keep focused and clear. I am proud of you for taking this trip so boldly.
    Cheers,
    Renee

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  2. So how is it going? I finally got my bachelors at 46..I am now 52 and I've been wondering if I should go for it..

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  3. First, congratulations on your bachelors! When it comes to education, I absolutely say "go for it"! Earning my MBA at this age has been really intense and a work / life balance isn't happening. School is consuming the majority of my time.

    If you do go back, be sure to select a college that is convenient for you, a major that you love, and a program that allows for flexibility. I think it's the last feature, flexibility, that I didn't fully consider when selecting my school. Mills College has a flat rate tuition system, meaning that whether I take 2, 3, 4, or 5 classes, I pay the same amount. I can't justify the cost of taking less than four classes, but I would really prefer to take three and it would suit my life better. We all have so many more obligations at this age (I'm the sole care-taker of my elderly father, etc.), and it does take time.

    All that aside, I LOVE being in school and feel it is certainly the right decision for myself. Please write and let me know if you do go for it! All the best, Anne

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