First mini-semester: complete. In less than two months, I learned how to apply the latest scientific research to manage a team, and I saw how businesses can use statistical analysis to make critical decisions with precision. When I imagined earning my MBA, I knew that I wanted an experience exactly like my first classes at Tepper.
As part of the online hybrid program, I am receiving a world-class classroom experience from my basement in Massachusetts. That opportunity alone is impressive. What has truly stunned me, however, is the sheer volume of resources available to me. For example, consider, just some topics from my emails this past week:
- 3 upcoming case competitions
- Virtual treks to speak with leading companies across healthcare and tech
- A CMU-offered career fair focused on startups and emerging companies
- Multiple club-sponsored talks and social activities
- Resources at the Masters Career Center, including recruiting and career advice
- Summaries of new articles on sustainability and impact
- Classmates offering help with Excel formulas while studying for our final exam
- Resources from CMU’s Student Academic Success Center
- Upcoming workshops from the Accelerate Leadership Center on topics like Authenticity and Assertiveness in the Workplace, Time Management, and Interpersonal Relationships
- Invitations for individual leadership coaching sessions through the Accelerate Leadership Center
- Advice from my mentor on how to succeed in my upcoming classes
Going into my first mini-semester (heretofore affectionately referred to as ‘minis’), I expected to take classes to earn my MBA. Over the past few weeks, I have begun to learn my MBA. What do I mean? Simply put, I am learning that Tepper is not just a series of requirements to complete. It is an experience.
I was overwhelmed when I first saw all of the resources here. There were so many opportunities that I didn’t know where to start. That is where community really made a difference. Before I even started my first mini, I had opportunities to talk with second and third year students. They shared their experiences, suggested “must do” activities, and offered advice for how to navigate my first weeks here.
During Basecamp, this advice became even more targeted when I met with my student mentor. When she saw that I was feeling overwhelmed by assignments, she spent 30 minutes helping me to plan exactly when to watch each video, complete and reading, and submit each quiz. I survived my first week. We met again and continued to plan. We talked about how to improve the quality of my work as well as how to complete it more efficiently. When I was unhappy with my first case analysis grade, she took the time to coach me on how to craft a stronger memo.
I learned a lot during my first mini. The classes were as exhilarating as I expected, but what I learned outside of class was just as exciting. I learned what it means to talk about the “Tepper Community.” All of those academic resources in my email inbox? They exist because the university genuinely cares about each student. All of the treks, talks, and social events exist because student-run clubs work together to create exciting new opportunities for their fellow students. Most important is my mentor, a fellow student who takes a genuine interest in helping me to succeed. Being a Tepper student is not just about taking enough classes to earn an MBA; it is about immersing myself in the resources that this school offers to develop the holistic skills that I need as a well-rounded leader.