Friday, December 17, 2010

One Year Later

by Franco Libunao

It’s funny how much can change in a year. I just finished up my work for the semester and I’m so happy. The first year MBAs are still in the middle of finals and they’re in that sad, frustrated, and complaining phase. I see all the Facebook posts, I hear the conversations, and I can’t help but laugh. I don’t laugh because I think it’s funny, but because I know it was only a year ago that I felt exactly the same way. Believe me, if anyone knows how the first years feel, it’s the second years.

While it seems so far away, fighting through all this stress and pressure is for a reason. Fall semester of your first year is often the toughest because you’re forced to study subjects you’re not particularly interested in. In addition, the talent level and skills of your fellow students is significantly higher than in undergrad. But after finals, the students realize that if they can make it through that, they can make it through anything. This realization is key because in the spring semester, other challenges and pressures emerge. For those that have not found an internship yet, there will be the pressure of finding one while those around you find theirs. For career changers especially, the spring often brings the extra challenge of having to work with real clients for the first time in their newly chosen professions. But all they need to do is remember all the stress and pressure they’ve already handled and that should give them the strength to make it through whatever comes their way.

The same can definitely be said in the summer. Once internships start, it’s a whole new world. MBA interns are asked to do so much more than their undergraduate counterparts. For MBA summer interns, they are often asked to hit the ground running with little time to get acclimated to their new surroundings. To make things even tougher, unlike school, you often don’t have your close friends around to lean on during those tough summer moments. For me, I was the only Rutgers Business School MBA at my company, so I felt the pressure of having to represent my school, my classmates, and myself well. On my third day, I was in a meeting and came up with an idea that my team liked so much, they put me in charge of a huge marketing campaign that included launching a new brand while co-promoting one of the summer’s biggest blockbuster films, the execution of several simultaneous events throughout the country, and working with several internal and external teams. Despite all the pressure, everything was a huge success; I finished the summer completing several other big projects and they appreciated my work so much, I was asked to stay on throughout the school year.

As I said before, after that first semester of BSchool, everything changes. No matter how bad things seem right now, you make it through, and you come up so much stronger in the end. My classmates and I all did, the class before us did, and I have no doubt the new crop of first years will do the same. Next year, hopefully, you’ll reread these words and feel exactly how I feel right now. So while all you first years are stressing and are tired of studying, just remember these last few things: Breathe, it’s almost over, and when it’s all done you’ll be way stronger than you were then the semester began. Good luck to all those still taking finals and enjoy your well-deserved winter break!

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