Wednesday, September 29, 2010

5 Weeks in…an Update from a First-Year MBA

I’m in my fifth week as an MBA student at Washington University in St. Louis, and, wow, have I learned more than I thought was possible! My strategy class has engrained the proper steps of critical thinking into my head, and my microeconomics and statistics classes have filled my brain with charts, formulas and analytical tools useful to solving various management problems. I always live by the mantra that no matter how much I think I know, there’s always something more to learn. After these five weeks, boy, do I have a lot to learn!

You may be asking me how microeconomics and statistics can apply to real-world management decisions. Well, in our classes, we must solve problems such as if a company wants to manufacture a new product only if at least 25% of customers will purchase it, given the results of a sample of the population, should the company manufacture the new product? We read cases daily and must analyze management’s decision using the tools we’ve learned in other classes.

So, the school work is intriguing and fast-paced, but the social life is a nice offset to de-stress and release some energy. Olin has a large variety of clubs, including those focused towards ethnic outreach, industry-specific, athletic and service agendas. I have joined the Healthcare and Life Sciences, Women in Business and Olin Cares (community service) clubs, and I am a Graduate Business Student Association Senator. In addition to clubs, Olin also holds happy hour every Thursday to bring first-year and second-year MBA students together in a social atmosphere.

Although the work is intense, I have taken advantage of the activities offered through the program. As a potential MBA applicant, I recommend you find a school that offers a healthy balance of schoolwork and social activities. There are many excellent MBA programs around the nation, so make sure you find the one that best fits your personality. If you select Olin, I’ll look forward to meeting you next year!

Kelly Bien, Forte Fellow
Class of 2012 at Olin Business School at Washington University in St. Louis

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