I graduated from college in 2009 with a Bachelor’s degree in English. In 2011 I decided to go to grad school. In 2013 I got accepted into business school, it’s not Harvard or anything (not that I even applied) but I got into my first choice major state university. Class enrollment was essentially the same as undergrad; you see what courses are available and what works with your schedule and you pick what interests you. There’s a core of classes we all have to take and some electives we get to choose from (I’m particularly excited about the entertainment business classes). The professors have their TAs and graders do the majority of the work and still keep odd office hours and take several days to get back to you when you have questions. But with all these similarities of undergrad what have I really learned so far?
1. Just because you went to college doesn’t mean you’re smart.
I’d like to consider myself a fairly intelligent and educated individual. I assumed the rest of my classmates in my MBA program would exude sophistication and worldliness and leave me and my little English degree in the dust. Boy was I wrong. Granted, a lot of those enrolled with me are very smart and capable and will undoubtedly have stellar careers in finance or business but there were a shockingly high number of students who were still barely able to form a coherent thought. To some of my classmates the basic rules of grammar and syntax still escaped them, and when we were forced to work together it annoyed the piss out of me.
2. Your ability to regurgitate information should not have ended in undergrad
In my intro courses (I get it, it’s laying foundation work, we need to memorize certain things) there was a lot of rote memorization and regurgitation. I thought those days were behind me when I got my Bachelor’s but grad school demanded I read my text books and memorize trivial facts I could easily look up at a moment’s notice on my iPhone from Investopedia.com.
3. The Internet is still your best friend
I think I learned more from Investopedia than I did in any of my textbooks. TED Talks were also surprisingly more prolific in my courses than I would have thought. We literally had classes where we were supposed to watch YouTube videos and then discuss them. I’m so happy my $200 textbooks came in as handy as I thought they would.
4. Just like in undergrad, no one has any clue what’s coming next
After college I knew I wanted to write. I got a job with a company in New York and wrote various humorous pieces and movie reviews. But like many of my peers I still had no real idea of what I would really do, which is probably why I ended up in business school. After some cursory research online for what people with MBAs can actually get hired to do I’m honestly a bit overwhelmed. My classmates and I have discussed what we can do with our MBAs and a common answer is “someone will pay me to do something,” yes, maybe, but what? I really don’t know.