What it means to be Tess Meyer, MBA.
I just walked the stage and received my MBA this past June 15th. You’ve been with me from the start, and today I want to recap what my MBA means to me. Here are my top MBA tips, with 20/20 hindsight.
- Pick Wisely – There are many options to choose from for an MBA and it is a critical decision. For me, the main factors were cost, location, class size, and program type. Other factors to consider might be prestige, cohort makeup (i.e. percentage of international students), or class offering. I was looking for a smaller program that allowed me to build close relationships and wanted a two-year, full-time MBA.
- Money Matters – I am very fortunate to have earned a fellowship on campus that paid for half of my MBA (but I was still left with $40,000 to cover myself), but if I could do it again, I would more strongly consider the cost of the program I chose. When looking at MBA programs, it is easy to become desensitized to that figure on the bottom line. Here are three things to keep in mind: 1) An MBA is a worthy investment; 2) You are sacrificing time and money (tuition plus the opportunity cost of not working) to be here, so don’t let a difference of, say, $10,000 keep you from accepting the school that is most right for you; 3) Find free money and avoid the burden of student loans at all costs.
- Know Your Priorities – Throughout the program, I felt pulled in many ways. In addition to being a student, I was working part-time, was an executive member of the MBA Student Association, had a semi long-distance relationship, was job/internship searching, and worked to maintain strong relationships both in and outside of the MBA. You cannot satisfy everyone nor be at all places at once. Know what is most important to you, know what is your North Star, and spend the bulk of your time engaging in activities that propel you there. P.S. Grades don’t matter like you think they do, and if the difference between an A and a B is five hours of studying, spend that time doing something that serves you better.
- Customize It – Everyone’s MBA journey is different. Along with knowing your priorities, make your MBA program work for you. I began my MBA in the Innovation and Entrepreneurship track. With just two quarters left to complete this degree specialization, I realized it no longer served me and I dropped the specialization. I instead filled those units with classes in the Conflict Resolution Master’s program and became a certified mediator, some that is much more applicable to my HR career aspirations.
- Location, Location, Location – I completed my MBA at the University of Oregon in Eugene, OR, USA. After growing up in LA and completing my undergraduate studies in Northern California at UC Davis, I was ready to live outside of California. Oregon seemed like a great state to be in (it is!) and Eugene had a cute college town feel. Since Eugene isn’t a big city by my standards, distractions were minimal, and I was better able to focus on my MBA. But it came at the sacrifice of almost no on-campus recruitment. UO is two-hours from the next major city Portland and recruiters rarely made the journey to see us. This meant that we had to go to the jobs, not the other way around.
- Invest in Relationships – The best thing to come out of my MBA was the network — made up of my cohort, professors, coworkers, and new-found mentors. I built life-long friendships, a bond made strong through the years of blood, sweat, and tears. This, along with great practice at public speaking, is the piece that you just can’t get elsewhere.
- Stay Present – The experience goes by so fast. Soak every minute of it, and as much as you can, show up for yourself and others.
These past two years were such an amazing journey for me. Here are a few final words to sum up the experience:
Grow. Humble. Learn. Listen. Inquire. Explore. Expand.
What are your 20/20 takes of a big experience like this? Let us know below.