The 3 real lessons of an MBA…

Tens of thousands of pounds invested, hundreds of pints drunk, a few library all nighters and some life long friends made.

I’m halfway through my MBA and I’m nowhere near the business expert I thought I would be. In fact, it’s clearer than ever how little I do know.

But I wouldn’t change it.

The lessons I have learnt are different than those I expected to. But the most important lessons are the ones you never knew you needed, deep eh….?

1. Time management/good enough is good enough

In the first term of the MBA we were so swamped with assignments and exams that I – a strict perfectionist – was forced to turn in mediocre work. And guess what, nothing happened, the world kept turning and I passed everything.

Coming from a career (veterinarian) where slacking was not an option this was at first a bit of a shock. But now I can embrace it and funnel my time to the tasks that really matter.

2. How to cope with failure

MBA recruitment is soul destroying. Numerous people warned me but I secretly believed that I was special and companies would be fighting to employ me, like they always had in the past. WRONG!!!

The fact is, everyone on the MBA is a special snowflake with great experience, a diverse background and charm to boot. The pool of talent is immense. As I was rejected over and over, I went through the 5 stages of grief:

Denial: “This must be a mistake! I’m going to email the head of HR just in case!”

Anger: “I don’t know why I applied to this stupid company anyway!”

Bargaining: “OK in the grand scheme of the world Google aren’t that big a deal…”

Depression: “Anyone want to go to the pub!? Now!?!?”

Acceptance: “Maybe I’m not as special as I thought I was?” (Please excuse my massive ego)

3. How to say no

Theres so much on offer – committees, clubs, parties, internships, travel opportunities, competitions, corporate events.

This is on top of studies and perhaps some sort of non-MBA life (for me it was 2 dogs and a husband).

It’s impossible to juggle all of these shiny, exciting balls. Again, people warn you, but the rules of life don’t apply to special snowflakes… ermm nope! Turns out we are all human. Saying no to parties to allow for career, missing out on an internship because of travel plans or skipping the consulting company presentation with all the freebies to have dinner at home with your other half are sacrifices we all face.

It doesn’t feel good but it’s an important reminder to think of what you really came here for, prioritise accordingly and grin and bear the guaranteed FOMO that will ensue.

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