Reflections of a Career-Changer

I’m an atypical MBA student in several ways. I’m significantly older (make that more mature!) than average, I already possessed a terminal degree, and I made a near rapid decision to attend the full-time MBA program. My job as a university professor and biomedical researcher was going fairly well, but it wasn’t fulfilling for me, and when the opportunity arose to make a change I jumped on it lock, stock, and barrel. So, what have I experienced so far?

Intensity. My wife and I moved from another state on a Friday to a townhouse we had never seen, and I started school the very next day by attending an Excel review session. The following week was consumed by the 12-hour days of IMPACT week followed on Saturday by a daylong introduction to business accounting. Before we even had a class I was wiped out! Because the semester is broken down into two eight week sessions with first block finals occurring during the midterm week there are roughly double the number of classes as normal packed into the semester. This, combined with topics I had no prior experience with (especially accounting and finance) led to a lot of scrambling and many hours of studying. Indeed, I like to say that I have two full-time jobs, attending class, seminars, etc. and studying for class. This is on top of maintaining a marriage, working on my graduate assistant project, and fitting in some recreation. Having an actual job is easier! Getting a Ph.D. in Neuroscience was less intense. Teamwork is important at Tippie, and I was fortunate to have a great team, which made this first semester as productive as possible.

Competence. This is easily the most intelligent, talented, and interesting bunch of folks I’ve ever been around. We have lawyers, physicians, accountants, math prodigies, Olympic athletes, policy wonks, engineers, international students, and more. Motivated, smart people with fascinating backgrounds are really fun to be around, and that’s just my fellow students. The faculty are accomplished, engaged, and committed to our learning experience. Who knew the business school also had the most effective educators? I like to remind myself that I’ll probably never experience anything like this for the rest of my life so that I enjoy it more now.

Community. All the students have prior work experience, and could be working if not in school. Therefore, all students want to be here, and really value the opportunity to further (or totally change) their careers. Moreover, the faculty and staff are clearly rallied around the purpose of educating us and ensuring that we find meaningful employment after we leave Tippie. I fully expect that the friendships and connections I make here will stay with me for decades to come.

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