Posts Tagged ‘mba’

Value is arbitrary

laelene Posted in mba,Tags: , ,
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I’ve been having some fascinating conversations this week about what makes something valuable. I personally believe that value is a human construct – nothing inherently has value or not, but we assign meaning to each component of our lives. Of course, with people being as different as they are, this means that everything’s value can be interpreted vastly differently.

Granted, it’s not completely arbitrary and certain things are valued for their usefulness. However, we also have such different opinions on how important uses are that the prescribed value of anything could vacillate tremendously. I mean, just look at the stock market and VC funding.

This even extends to less tangible things like relationships and experiences. We each choose to put more or less value on the people in our lives and the activities we choose to do. Someone who sees a relationship as highly valuable will be more willing to invest energy into it. Someone who treasures certain experiences would be willing to spend more time and money on it.

This can be rather tenuous – the moment we change our minds about the worth of something, it shifts our world view. Just like that, we can stop caring and pay absolutely no heed to what was once a priority. We’re really just living in a world where people generally agree to certain standards. But at any point, that could all come crashing down on us if we stop believing in the worth of whatever it is that props it all up.

The world is what we make it to be…

Second year

laelene Posted in mba,Tags: , ,
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School is back in session and I have yet to get into the swing of things. I still need to get course readers and other materials for class! It’s so surreal to be returning as a second year now, with half of my MBA career behind me. Bright new faces are in the midst of tackling the toughest part of the program while I’m getting the opportunity to reconnect with my classmates after a summer apart.

I’m going to cherish this year and everything it brings, because no part of my life will ever be like it again. I want to take advantage of the opportunity to have so many friends nearby and on a similar schedule. We’ve talked about hanging out and going on trips and basically enjoying each others’ company. I want to get a group together for skydiving, a Yosemite trip, a visit to Iceland, and so much more.

I’ll also be looking to establish strong relationships with the first years and accomplish some things through the clubs I’m involved with. The classes I’m taking are interesting for both personal and professional development, so I’m looking forward to that. Plus, it’s so fun to have class with people you love to be around. I really hope these are friendships that are going to last me a lifetime. I know some of them certainly are incredible and I look forward to seeing where the future takes us all. For now, I’m just trying to remember what it means to be a student because all I want to do is be an MBA! 😉

Gender gap and sexism at work

laelene Posted in mba,Tags: , , , , ,
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Last week, our class discussed the gender pay gap. Well, it was actually a follow-up that the professor brought up because the first time we talked about it, a classmate had been skeptical of the size of the gap and the professor felt bad that he hadn’t properly addressed that skepticism when it arose. So he did a bunch of research and presented us with a slew of numbers from various sources and studies.

This then prompted a very interesting conversation in which the guy who had pushed back initially explained his thoughts and a few of us chimed in. He said that while there is a discrepancy, it’s not the entire story – men are by far involved in the most dangerous jobs out there, risking their lives all the time and that is not accounted for. While this was very valid and gave me pause, I agreed with the professor that ultimately it was unrelated to the topic at hand. The point would be for any women who are in those professions, whether they also see a pay gap.

I completely agree that it is not fair that men are doing such difficult jobs – going to war, working in mines, and doing hard labor that puts them at risk. Another classmate threw in her two cents about how she felt women don’t choose as much risk as men do and that is a personal choice people make. (I don’t exactly agree with her on that, but it might be broadly true. I still think societal expectations do play a role.) Then as I was thinking about this, I suddenly realized that all my life I’ve been surrounded in male-dominated situations and much as I wanted to part of those worlds, I often did not feel welcome.

Prior to that part of the conversation, we also heard from some people talking about how the gap may be due to the fact that women don’t stand up for themselves as much and go ask for raises or negotiate salary. I’ve never had an issue broaching that topic and I always thought it was expected that you negotiate your salary before accepting. I hadn’t realized that so many people don’t do that!

With all that, I had quite a bit on my mind to share. When my hand raised up, the professor noted it and called on me in order. I almost never speak in class because I don’t like to say anything that isn’t truly interesting or valuable. I think what I shared certainly got everyone’s attention. What came out went something like this…

Two things. First, I think a lot of what happens is not just what women do or do not do, but how it is taken. I tend to be more on the assertive side and the last time I went to ask for a raise, I was told not to, that I shouldn’t ask (instead I should apparently wait for my manager to recognize me in due time). So I think to some extent, even women who do exactly what men do end up getting different reactions and results. Would the same comment have been given to a man asking for a raise? I don’t know.

Second, in regards to the gentleman’s comment about men in riskier roles… these are anecdotes and my personal experience, so I don’t know how well they translate broadly, but: I spent much of my life trying to break in to male-dominated arenas. I was in ROTC and I worked in the tech industry. At one point I was the only female in the office with 12 men. For the women who are trying to join these ranks, it isn’t easy. The amount of sexism I encountered – oh and in the film industry as well (I interned there once) – made me feel sometimes unsafe and at the least, unwelcome. So the question is, for women who do want to take on those riskier jobs, how do they do that with these obstacles?

Some of my thoughts hadn’t ever been properly formulated before I said them! I was the last person to contribute before the professor wrapped up the conversation and moved on to the next topic. It was strangely liberating to share those stories in such a public setting. I found my voice quivering a bit though I’m not sure why. With that, we laid the discussion to rest and continued on with other things in class.

It was strange; I had never made the connection between my own experiences in male-dominated situations and why it was such a challenge. Between this and some other things going on in my life, I have had some painful reminders of bad moments from my past. Then I received an email from the professor recently, thanking me for sharing in class and essentially apologizing for not giving me “an adequate response” and offering to chat more if I wanted. The niceness and effort hit me like a ton of bricks. I cried.

What we need are more men like these. Ones who are willing to open up the conversation, advocate for what they feel is right. After all, we all know deserving women. Too many women are treated poorly at work, whether it is inequitable pay or workplace harassment. On another note, one of the female MBAs in the program shared an article with some strong PSAs about harassment at work – they’re uncomfortable, awkward, and powerful displays of some of the very real things that happen to women constantly. I know I’ve been in similar situations.

So I’m uplifted that men are taking note and speaking up about this. But I’m also saddened that this is such a problem in the first place. I’m glad we talked about it and hopefully my stories touched some people in class, so as they rise in the ranks in their organizations, they can be cognizant of the issues that women face. More than that, I hope they take the professor’s lead and bring up these conversations so it can be dealt with.

As for that gender pay gap? Numbers vary from as good as 98 cents on the dollar to as low as in the 70s. Take what you will from that.

The nights are the hardest

laelene Posted in mba, relationships,Tags: , , , , ,
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It is a hormonal thing that at night I feel more emotional?

This has been going on for about two weeks now. Late at night, as I’m winding down for bed, I find myself feeling melancholic. It’s something that suddenly hits me and makes me cry (or just want to). It’s not that I’m going through a particularly tough time or feeling depressed these days. In fact, I’m very satisfied with where I’m at in life.

But right before I get to bed and before I can fall asleep, sadness hits. Out of nowhere, I miss Panda. It got so bad a few days ago that I basically had to coerce him into flying out to visit me this weekend (yay!). I don’t know why this happens because I’m perfectly fine and happy in the day. I really don’t think about it at all. What is it about the late night that is bringing this out? Am I suppressing something without realizing it?

We are about 8 months in to the third time that we’ve done a long distance relationship. It’s the first time since we got engaged and married. I live with two delightful ladies in my MBA class who I love to pieces. I’ve been doing pretty well in classes, though it feels like a struggle much of the time. Still, I’m very fortunate that I was able to get my recruiting done early so I haven’t had to balance interviewing with coursework. Instead, I’ve been able to focus energy into planning Admit Weekend, which is fast approaching (in early April)!

All in all, things are going well.

So I wonder, maybe it’s because I’ve been very introspective lately? Right now, we are in the midst of electing our student leadership for the next year. I have been struggling with how I want to be involved and how much energy I will be able to dedicate over the next year to new roles. Tooooons of thinking, questioning, and re-thinking there. Also, I am in the Marshall LEAD Fellows Program and we had our first session early this month. Another chance for introspection and reflection. Plus, they gave us Passion Planners and essentialism (a book), both of which I’ve started to use and have challenged me to think hard on my life goals.

I must say, I found it easier to outline what I want long-term. I’m having trouble pondering the next couple of months. Could all this intense thinking and soul-searching be triggering my midnight moods? Whatever the case, I’m glad that I get my husband back ever so briefly this weekend. Maybe that will be the cure (or maybe it’ll be finally settling the roles I may take on).

Oh yeah, and I completely forgot — Happy Valentine’s Day! <3

Second semester

laelene Posted in mba,Tags: , , ,
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I had hoped that with the new semester, I might be able to post more frequently, but it looks like I may have underestimated the demands on my time and energy. Things certainly are more manageable, but we need to start planning Admit Weekend and I have a class that doesn’t start until the second half of the semester, so I have a feeling March is going to be a crazy month.

So far the first two weeks have been really nice. At the tail end of winter break, I attended Tech Trek up in the Bay Area, where we visited a bunch of companies (more on that in another post). Then we kicked off classes last week (has it only been that recent?!! I feel like it’s been a month) and I started taking a bunch of fitness classes at the gym since they’re free for the first two weeks, giving us an opportunity to preview them before committing.

This past weekend we had a trip out to Mammoth, which was timed perfectly with the crazy snow they’ve been getting. They’ve received massive amounts of snowfall and have the most snow anywhere in the country at the moment (somewhere around 15-20 feet). It didn’t snow while we were there, offering my classmates excellent skiing and snowboarding options. Meanwhile, I stayed at the cabin and enjoyed my book the first day and did some homework and had a group meeting the second day. I will try to get a post up about that as well, so you can see the massive mounds of snow and the giant icicle formations.

Tonight I wrapped up my last class of the week and many of my classmates are off to Park City for the Sundance Film Festival. I’ll be attempting to get ahead of the mounds of reading that my classes seem to require. In true Core fashion (aka insanely fast and front-loaded), we have a midterm on Monday. Already. It’s for global economics and I’m amazed at how I can read something and then basically forget the entire contents by the time I get to class.

I’m also taking two human capital courses – Designing High Performance Organizations & Human Capital Performance and Motivation. They’re both night classes, but I find them so engaging and interesting that they haven’t felt long. I think I also do better on energy later in the day. My fourth class is Getting the Organization Ready for Big Data, which seemed interesting and useful, but I’m not feeling great about it and I’m considering switching to something else. The professor is brand new (just got his PhD in 2015), the class has never been taught, and he speaks in a rather quiet monotone voice with low energy. He’s nice enough but the class isn’t very exciting.

The class that kicks in in two months is my LEAD class – Leadership Education and Development. We have a cohort of LEAD Fellows from my class who will be taking this and also another class in the fall. LEAD is designed to give us hands-on opportunities to develop our leadership styles, with a community project, off-sites, the class, and a speaker series. I can’t wait to see how the program goes! We’re the first class to have this full-fledged program and I feel very lucky to be part of it.

So that’s a synopsis of how this spring semester is going so far. Sometime next month, global econ gives away to global strategy. Then we start to focus on the countries that we will be traveling to and do projects specific to companies we’ll be visiting. I’m on the Shanghai Taipei trip and I’m so excited!! Also, I’ve scheduled an awesome trip to Israel for spring break, which my classmates planned for us. This is going to be an exciting four months.

Adobe Analytics Challenge 2016

laelene Posted in mba,Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
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This weekend, I participated in the 15th Adobe Analytics Challenge. My team, DataInsights, was one of six finalists chosen to be flown out to Lehi, Utah (Adobe’s headquarters) and it was quite a ride! USC Marshall had two teams going and we all decided to extend our stay to enjoy Utah after the competition.

adobe analytics challenge XV homepage with six finalist teams

Check it out, we’re on the homepage!

This was my first case competition, so I have nothing to compare it to, but I must say that it would be hard to top. I mean, $50,000 worth of cash prizes, free trips to Utah, a fancy meal, all that swag, and a chance to check out Adobe’s headquarters? It was fabulous and I’m glad I was part of it. I hope to come back next year to support more Marshall teams that make it to the finals!!

view of snow covering salt lake city from airplane landing

I passed out during the plane ride and woke up to find snow covering the town.

view outside plane window when landing at salt lake city airport

Funny enough, as we got close to the airport, the snow was gone.

first glimpse at beautiful snowy mountains in utah

On our way to the hotel, we marveled at the mountains.

springhill suites lehi living room area

They got us suites, which was perfect for meeting in.

springhill suites lehi bedroom area

In the afternoon, we rested and cleaned up before dinner.

entrance to foundry grill at sundance

A shuttle bus drove us up to the Foundry Grill at Sundance.

meat and cheese appetizer at foundry grill sundance

When we arrived, Adobe staff and some appetizers awaited.

mac and cheese appetizer at foundry grill sundance

As we settled in, we chowed down on the appetizers before ordering.

adobe dinner menu at foundry grill

The menu for the night!

foundry grill squash soup

It seems most people got the squash soup.

foundry grill greens & grains

I opted for the salad.

foundry grill filet mignon

Filet mignon was probably very popular too.

foundry grill chicken breast

I wanted carrots, so I got the chicken.

foundry grill maple pecan bread pudding

One of the desserts was bread pudding.

foundry grill chocolate cake

The other option was chocolate cake with cherry flavors.

foundry grill wall art of metal tools

The decor in the place was very rustic.

walking to adobe headquarters building

The next day, we got to Adobe around 8 am.

moon over adobe headquarters building

The moon was still up!

adobe headquarters entrance with event signs

In the entrance, they had signs for the event.

adobe headquarters cafe eating area

Their open cafeteria area is so spacious and bright.

adobe analytics challenge setting up

As we got breakfast, they set up the stage, complete with mics and down screens.

free swag for finalists at adobe analytics challenge

What a wonderful surprise to find at our seats!! I love the swag.

prizes for audience attendees of adobe analytics challenge

The audience got to win all sorts of cool things!

adobe hallway view

This is where we paced doing last-minute practicing for our lines.

view of street from adobe headquarters

Looking out the hallway, there was still an awesome view.

teams of finalists in the holding area practicing

We were the second to last team to go, so most of these folks went before us.

adobe analytics challenge finalists on screen

After all the presentations, the judges had time to deliberate and then we got ready for the announcement.

view from stage of adobe analytics challenge

All teams got on stage for the prize announcements and this was our view. My team came in 4th.

gorgeous view of mountains from adobe headquarters

After the event, we got to have lunch at the cafe and check out this amazing view.

adobe headquarters indoor fire pit

Following lunch was a tour of random things like the indoor fire pit!

music room at adobe headquarters

They’ve got a music room and signed guitars from artists who have played there.

interactive art in stairwell at adobe headquarters

As you go up the stairs, you can grab a ball that you can drop down a tube at the top.

funky top chair in adobe headquarters game room

In the game room, you’ll find these fun spin top chairs! You can fall backwards to roll completely around.

adobe headquarters nunchuck chair and gong

Ah, the nunchuck chair… you should ask about that story if you visit.

pretending to sit in nunchuck chair at adobe headquarters

I didn’t want to sit on it but I wanted to pretend!

closeup of nunchuck design

The nunchucks had some cool dragon designs on them.

adobe headquarters spray paint art on wall

They commissioned a famous graffiti artist to do this. There’s a timelapse of it somewhere…

posing by entry of adobe headquarters

Before heading out, a final pose with Adobe!

neck pillow as coaster for pot

That night, we drove down to Moab and immediately had dinner. This was funny way of holding a pot.

homemade steak and asparagus dinner

One of the guys made us steak, asparagus, shrimp, and zucchini!

men of the household cooking

I love that the men took over the kitchen as the women hung out at the dining table. Thanks guys!

rustic western feel to bedroom

I got a sweet bedroom all to myself.

fancy shower with lights and steam room function

The master bathroom had this insane shower with tons of showerheads, color-changing lighting, and a steam room function. Not to mention a sauna next to it and a hot tub outside. We used them all!!

view from moab trails retreat cabin

The next morning, we saw our surroundings for the first time.

selfie with the truck from the movie cars

First order of business was lunch at a local cafe. Look what we found!

pond at eklecticafe in moab

The outdoor seating area included this pond.

hungry bird eating salad off plate

As we were leaving, the birds came to have some fun with the food.

line to get in to arches national park

Then it was off to Arches National Park!

beautiful red rocks in arches national park

Our first stop provided wonderful views.

snowy mountains against red rocks

Check out the snowy mountains in the background!

red rock formations at arches national park

Sometimes I feels like we’re in Arizona and other times the snow on the mountains feels like Colorado.

standing with arms outstretched with delicate arch in the background

When we find Delicate Arch, I put on my fancy dress.

standing with arms overhead with delicate arch in the background

Who did it best? Me?

standing with arms outstretched overhead with delicate arch in the background

Or him? 😉

jumping with delicate arch in background

I had to do a jumping shot too. Always.

making a manmade arch as person runs underneath

This human arch was great for running under.

planking across boulders to create manmade arch

Try planking it!

view of one of many arches

Every pit stop had something to look at.

crow staring waiting for food

Look at the glow from the canyon on its back as it eagerly awaited food.

crow sitting on dead tree branch

crow flying at arches national park

What an amazing place!

arches national park rocks against blue sky

The sun was setting as we reached our final destination – Devils Garden.

walking on trails at arches national park

It was quite chilly without the sunlight.

doing bridge pose with arch in background

With a change of wardrobe, I decided to imitate the arch for this one!

twirling in front of arch

I was instructed to twirl, so I did as best I could with no shoes on.

twirling with skirt poufing out and arch in background

It was a lot of fun as I got dizzy.

back view of dress at arches national park

My photographers were getting into their own and starting to instruct me on what to do for this final one.

tips of snowy mountains peeking between red rocks

Wow, check out the mountains behind the red rocks.

brown bunny eating grass at arches national park

Just before exiting, we saw this adorable bunny.

brown bunny posing for camera

It even posed for us for a bit before hopping off.

t-bone steak with mushrooms and onions

That night, the ladies enjoyed the hot tub and came in to find dinner ready.

eagle decoration carved in stone tile of bathroom

I just loved this random detail in the hall bath.

adobe headquarters in lehi utah

Our last day, I woke up ill and pretty much slept most of the day away. I caught a picture of Adobe as we passed by on the way to the airport.

free swag for adobe analytics challenge finalists

And finally, here’s a look at what came in the bag! I looove the custom branded S’Well bottle and wall charger.

The craziest week

laelene Posted in mba,Tags: , , , ,
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Every time I think things can’t get crazier, they do! I mean, this week has been insane for me, especially in contrast to my classmates.

It started off on equal footing, with tons of studying and procrastinating for our finals on Monday and Tuesday. Luckily, we got through them and I think I’m relatively unscathed (we’ll see how the grades pan out). I then practiced interviewing with multiple 2nd years, worked on a case competition, attended various info sessions and workshops, had an informational interview, did a phone screen, and prepped for a big interview tomorrow.

Just today alone I was on campus for a full 12 hours of work back to back. I didn’t even have time to eat, though strangely I wasn’t very hungry. I did manage to eat 4 cookies to tide me over until I got home around 10 tonight. My body doesn’t feel tired, but my brain is a bit numb. Meanwhile, many of my classmates have the entire day off since we don’t have class and they don’t have many (if any) meetings. What a stark difference in lifestyles right now. They’re at the beach and I’m in study rooms and classrooms.

Oh! And then today I got a delightful phone call letting me know that I was selected to be a co-director for the Marshall MBA Ambassadors program!! Yippee! So I also squeezed in a quick meeting with the co-directors who are passing on the baton, then sat with the program director in admissions who helps guide us, and finally had a touch-base call with my co-director, who is out in New Orleans for a conference. We had a kick-off dinner to plan for tomorrow, a welcome email to send to the rest of our ambassador team, and other deliverables that don’t need to be done just yet.

It has been a whirlwind of a week and it’s barely half over. Tomorrow I have more meetings, case competition stuff, my all-important interview, and the kick-off/welcome dinner. I’ll have some breathing room after 9 tomorrow night leading in to Friday morning, so I might go home. Then it’s another informational call, a meet and greet on-site with a potential employer, and a long drive out to Joshua Tree for a fun weekend camping and rock climbing.

Whew!

But then when I return Sunday I need to regroup with my case competition team to finalize what we will submit Monday morning. We also happen to start a new set of classes Monday, with our very first prospective student visitors already! #mbalife

An ocean of work

laelene Posted in mba,Tags: , , , ,
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Yikes! I’m getting worse at staying on top of things here. With two full weeks of class behind me, I’m in the thick of things and just trying to stay afloat. It truly feels like a tsunami is behind me and I’m trying to swim to stay ahead of it. Every time I get past a wave, it’s a relief but then I look back only to find the massive waves have not receded.

Just about every single day, we either have a quiz or some sort of homework or project due. Next Friday we’ll already be done with two classes. How crazy is that?! Three intense weeks of class and they’re over. I’m still not sure how I feel about that at this point. On the one hand, we are basically going through recruiting boot camp so we are prepared as polished professionals as soon as we begin looking for internships.

(In case you’re not familiar with MBA life, you basically starting the recruiting process in the fall, where recruiters from various companies come on campus to seek interns for the summer. These internships are done in the summer between 1st and 2nd year and often can lead to full-time job offers to start after graduation. Much of the focus is on what internship experience you can get, since the whole idea of business school is to prepare us to be leaders in corporations.)

This week was pretty brutal, with long days dragging into long nights. It culminated in an all-nighter Thursday that lasted until nearly 5 am on Friday. I ended up sleeping for an hour and a half. Surprisingly, I was pretty functional for the day and didn’t even sleep early last night. This morning it was tough getting up though, so thank goodness it’s the weekend and we have a little bit of breathing room. I still feel pretty stressed since there’s a lot to do – research for two projects, studying for a quiz on Monday, reviewing for a quiz on Tuesday, conducting an informational interview and doing a write-up on it, plus a bunch of readings.

There are some boxes I really want to review but I just don’t have the bandwidth yet! Hang tight and I’ll hopefully get around to them later this month and into next.

MBA time

laelene Posted in mba,Tags: , , ,
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Orientation is in full gear and we are buuuusy! (In fact so busy that I started drafting this days ago and never finished posting it… til now!!)

They’ve kept us busy, with days starting either at 8 or 7:20 and “ending” around 6. Afterwards, we’d have group meetings and homework to complete before the next day of jam packed activity.

usc marshall mba orientation bbq

Sunday was our first time ever as a full class of 228. We had a BBQ to kick things off and meet each other and our SOs/kids.

balloon animal usc trojan horse

The kids and staff got to request balloon creations! Someone had this awesome horse.

brand new lecture room in fertitta hall at usc marshall

We took the opportunity to visit the new building, which is meant to house much of the undergrads at Marshall. This is one of their big lecture rooms.

usc marshall mba welcome sign with balloons

Monday morning, we got in before 8 to start our lives as MBAs.

usc marshall mba orientation folder with name tags, schedules, and other documents

My orientation binder contained tons of material and name tags. The big laminated one is for class, the small one was for getting to know each other this week, and the gold one is for networking and professional events.

usc marshall mba binder

I sat at a gold table, which foretold the core I was split into (we are divided into 3 for classes). Core A is gold!

usc marshall mba orientation welcome

We were greeted by many, including Assistant Dean Bouffides seen here in Town & Gown.

uscard table at usc marshall mba orientation

During lunch, we had a chance to pick up student IDs/parking permits, ask about the fitness center/health insurance/financial aid, etc.

usc marshall mba box lunches provided by usc hospitality

The lunch boxes were quite good! I devoured just about everything. I love the Marshall mints. #branded

Starting Tuesday, we were split into our cores. There are three with 76 students each – Core A, B, and C. I’m in Core A! (Best one, of course.) I like to call myself an alpha female. Each core is then split into 13 groups (11 with six people and 2 with five people). My group is A6 and we have one other female, who is international. Of the 4 men, one is international and the other 3 domestic. These folks are going to be like family in the coming months, as we will have TONS of class work, teamwork, and other interactions.

usc marshall mba students walking to classroom

The next morning, there was coffee with the deans, bright and early at 7:20. We then walked back to Popovich Hall for class and more orientation.

The next couple of days was a blur of class, assignments, reading, group stuff, and more orientation sessions. We were trained on everything from teamwork to career management to elevator pitches.

usc marshall mba core a in class

Yesterday, it was TAM day in the afternoon (Teamwork at Marshall) so we got to dress down.

In our strategy class shown here, we set the tone by whooping the other two cores in the cola taste test challenge! Our team got 6 out of 9 correct whereas the others… got 1 each. Core A has stellar taste buds!

usc marshall mba tam day

We got out on the field and competed in a variety of challenges. Here is Core B in their grey shirts, waiting for Core C to show up.

usc marshall mba tam day activity

Activities included this one where we had to get people to “islands” without touching the ground.

We started off with a hula hoop challenge (sending two down the line without letting go of each others’ hands), then did an egg drop before splitting into smaller groups. Each core was split into 4 and we rotated through challenges. Our team did the marble challenge, getting 4 in the bucket (2nd place). The first rotation took us to the water challenge, transporting as much as possible (we won). Then it was a word game and the one shown above, both of which we lost. Luckily it’s based on overall performance across all teams!

usc marshall mba tam day core a pride

To wrap up, we had the water balloon toss. We did quite well but my partner and I got eliminated about halfway through. This is my attempt at an “A” symbol.

usc marshall mba core a

Our team did really well and had the last team standing!

usc marshall mba tam day group photo

The professional photographer took a big class photo for us.

usc marshall mba coffee with deans morning breakfast

Finally, today we had another coffee with the deans to kick off the day.

usc marshall mba networking event desserts

To wrap up the week, we did a mock networking event complete with hot food, fruit, cheese & crackers, and of course, dessert.

It’s a relief to be at the end of the week, but there’s so much to do. Tomorrow I have a social event where I’ll get to meet some 2nd years and I need to prepare work for Sunday, when my group is meeting. We’ll work on group stuff, discuss some things, and go hiking together! I also need to fit in filming a box opening for Yuzen.

It still feels surreal that I’m (shh) technically a Trojan now… I think at best I can be a Brujan. I feel a connection with Marshall and “the network” and the people, but somehow not the generic Trojan image. Once a Bruin, always a Bruin I guess. Have you felt a stronger affiliation to your undergrad institution, if you continued your education too (and went somewhere else)?

Easing into student life

laelene Posted in mba,Tags: ,
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It’s the first official day of taking a course at my MBA program and I’m glad that I signed up to take the JumpStart for Accounting. It’s not as fast-paced as I was afraid it might be, so it makes me feel like I can handle the material, even though there’s already stuff that confuses me. This is a quick refresher course that is just 2 hours a day for 3 days. Official classes start next week for us, before any other students are even back on campus.

With just one class right now, I already find it hard to get the work done, but part of that is probably getting used to studying and learning so much again. Plus, I’m still doing a lot to get settled in to the apartment and I’m only about a third unpacked at this point while still trying to figure out the food situation (should I eat out and have leftovers or cook in bulk?). There’s also so much socializing to be done…

Oh, and there was a fire alarm today that was quite distracting. I wasn’t sure where to go and by the time I got downstairs, I saw people milling about but then the alarm ended as they tried to figure out who pulled the alarm. I had my “essentials” with me – purse with electronics, keys, phone, and skateboard. With the coast clear, we stood in line to get back up the elevators and I noted a ton of tiny dogs (and one cat).

The day was off to a rocky start after that and the glass thermos that I broke. I hope my dad can help me buy another one of the thermoses. Then to top it off, just as I was about to shower before heading in to class, I dropped my ring down the bathroom sink. I was able to turn off the water but didn’t have the tools to unscrew the pipe. I had to go off to class without it, which felt weird.

At school, I picked up my parking permit and went to park in the lot I’ll be using this year only to find you need your student ID to get in. So I had to go to a different structure that is also open to the public. I was going to get my ID after that, but I wanted to make sure I was early for class so I just went in.

My life feels a little off-kilter these days, with so many things going slightly wrong. I damaged the moving truck I used to bring my furniture. I couldn’t find my precious rock salt lamp that was a gift from Calavera (it took me 3 hours of searching, but I did find it). The car key batteries died so I had to use the key manually while trying to find the right size battery. I couldn’t find my extra car key, which my roommate will need sometimes since we are tandem parking. I then received the batteries today and managed to jab myself while trying to unscrew the tiny screws. One promptly fell into the fuzzy carpet and I had to run a magnet all over the floor to find it again. Plus, everything that happened today!

But you know what? None of these are life-threatening or anything that will impact my life in a major way. I’m trying to keep my head up, my hands steady, and focus on the business of being a student again. It’s not an easy transition and having to think so hard at night when I just want to veg will be a challenge, but plenty of others have been through the same. I have two awesome roommates splitting a great apartment with me and there are dozens of fantastic classmates ready to make this year incredible. I’m looking forward to our first social event as a class this Sunday!

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