Friday, October 8, 2010

Succeeding in Business School with a Non-Business Background

Just two months into my MBA program and at times it feels like it’s been two years already! Especially on days like today, as I prepare for final exams and realize how much material my classes have covered since they began in early August. At the McCombs School of Business at the University of Texas in Austin, the first semester of the MBA program is split into two quarters. The quarter I am completing now included Accounting, Finance, Statistics, Microeconomics, and Career Planning. I realize many of you have had extensive experience in these areas, and I have to say, you may have an easier transition into the academics in business school. But if you are like me, coming from an “untraditional” background of non-profit management, jumping back into school after several years, especially into heavily quantitative courses, can be a challenge.

At the same time, I couldn’t be happier. There’s something so satisfying about tackling a great challenge like this. My mother once told me that some of the most meaningful things in life are the most difficult to achieve. Not only that, but the issues discussed in class are, for the most part, so relevant and practical. Sure I may never run a multiple regression statistical model to determine the best market price for a home, but I do think my business knowledge will help me make better strategic decisions in my professional and personal life going forward.

To hold my own in the classroom, I have collaborated with the study group I was assigned to in my cohort; I have formed another study group with three women who have become good friends; I have had tutoring sessions with a second-year student; and I have pushed myself hard to study efficiently and effectively. Outside of school, I am fortunate to have a supportive husband, family and friends. So while I may not get the top grade on my finals this week, I am proud that I have already expanded my horizons and grown personally in this short time. Do you have any questions or concerns about the academics in business school?

Adrienne Lowenstein
Forté Fellow
Class of 2012, McCombs School of Business, University of Texas

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