After about 6 months at Kellogg, I’ve come to the conclusion that an MBA is essentially about learning a language — the language of business. NPV, segmentation, ROI, VOC, etc. are all “words” that comprise this language and enable you as a businessperson to converse with other businesspeople. It’s not critical that you learn complex technicalities, but the more you know about and understand the varied areas which business touches (e.g., marketing, operations, finance, etc.) the better prepared you will be to hold a meaningful discussion with colleagues and the business community at large.
Several years ago, I went skydiving with some friends. While I awaited my turn, I felt very calm, as if I was simply waiting for a ride at an amusement park. It wasn’t until I was 14,000 feet above ground, peering out the open door of the propeller plane, that it struck me: I was about to jump from a plane in midair. I froze. It was a tandem jump though, and the instructor I was baby-carriered to leaned forward and out we tumbled.
My first few months at Kellogg have been strikingly similar to that jump from the sky. I thought I knew what to expect, and KWEST and the MMM Ready-Set-Go orientation definitely helped ease me in. However, the non-stop frenzy of CIM week, the onslaught of group projects, and the ongoing battle between the fear-of-missing-out and the fear-of-overcommitting stretched my limits. Moving halfway around the world with two kids has brought its own set of challenges (albeit its own unique rewards). I felt I was tumbling, completely disoriented at times.
As I somersaulted down to earth with the wind battering my face and my brain shrieking “This is crazy!” the fear suddenly disappeared. The pure thrill of free-falling kicked in: I was flying. At Kellogg, that moment came for me in early October. Things started to make sense. It doesn’t take me as long to navigate to Jacobs’ group meeting rooms anymore. I’m learning not only about lean operations and customer segmentation, but also about myself. Lunches with professors and fireside chats with preeminent business leaders inspire fresh insights. Kellogg Kids TGs every Friday are a true treat that I eagerly look forward to.
Yes, sometimes I still feel like I’ve lost my footing, but I didn’t come to Kellogg to keep my feet planted on the ground. I came here to fly.
Featured photo courtesy of Colton Jones on Unsplash