“But how can I encompass Dickens’ entire take on sexism in Little Dorrit in one-two sentences?”
“That’s part of the challenge.”
This was an exchange between my Professor and me in my senior year as an English major at UCLA. I was reminded of this conversation the other day in my Leadership, Ethics, and Professionalism class when I received feedback on my personal brand. When it came to discussing the topic of me, I wasn’t quite concise, direct, or specific enough. I hadn’t perfected my personal thesis.
This is actually a theme I’ve noticed throughout my first two weeks of business school: there is consistently direction to ‘think it through and be specific.’ We have been repeatedly told that case studies, personal brand presentations, elevator pitches, and interview stories all need that level of thought to be great. And so came my revelation: “I now know exactly how my BA will help me succeed in my MBA.” Believe it or not, I really had some doubt about this previously!
You see, business school in and of itself is intimidating, but possessing a liberal arts background and having to take Corporate Financial Accounting and Business Analytics? That is doubly intimidating. Everyday I’m surrounded by marketing grads, finance grads, econ grads, engineers, lawyers; you name it—they’re here. At first, I couldn’t help but think, “How am I possibly going to keep up? Am I already behind?”
When I was an undergrad, I had no idea what I wanted to do, so I chose a major based on what I liked to do already: read. (I know—so nerdy, right?) And luckily for me, there is a heck of a lot of reading in business school. The rest may not come naturally or quickly, but I have to keep reminding myself that I am by no means incapable. So I work hard—and I’m not alone. We all have our own strengths and opportunities for growth, and I personally can’t wait to see the people who emerge on the other side.
In the end, being a liberal arts grad doesn’t mean you’re going to struggle in business school; on the contrary, mostly everyone struggles in business school for different reasons. We came in this wonderfully diverse group and we will leave that way—in the end, the only thing we may ever all have in common is an MBA. We will not only learn from our professors, we will learn from each other, and it is important not to forget that; no matter what your background is, you will always have something of value to contribute.