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B School Life

MBA Journal: Seeking Balance

MBA Journal: Seeking Balance

Photograph Courtesy Goizueta Business School

The newness of the program is fading away and the real work is in full swing. I am more than three months into the first semester of the MBA program at Emory’s Goizueta Business School, and I have quickly learned I am not in either the legal or library world anymore. Business school is different, and it has its own pros and cons.

I have gone to law school and experienced uncomfortable classroom situations. Just think John Houseman in The Paper Chase. The classroom experience at Goizueta, however, has been a pleasant surprise. Since I am part of a part-time evening program, everyone in my class is coming from work to class. Instead of finding a room packed with exhausted students, I find a room full of excitement, replete with a great deal of dynamic discussion. My classmates consistently add quality insight to the topic of the day, and there are never a lot of heads down avoiding the scourge of law school—the dreaded Socratic Method. It makes the two-hour-and-45-minute classes go by much faster than I expected.

The culture of my program is vibrant. By my own estimate, I am a few years older than everyone else and even one of my professors. I have not found this to be a problem, however, and everyone has been kind and helpful. Pretty much everyone has some interesting work/life stories to tell. In addition, business school administrators have mastered the concept of networking and taken it to another level. It feels as if this networking aspect is almost like an additional class. A social event is scheduled every Wednesday, along with numerous other happenings throughout the semester. It is easy to see the camaraderie of my classmates and the benefits these activities create.

Not everything has been smooth sailing. Statistics has never been something with which I am comfortable, and it may always be a struggle for me. The time commitment is significant, and there are days I get to spend only a few minutes with my family. But after everything I have experienced so far, the big question for me is, has all this been worth it? And the answer is a resounding yes. In this short period of time, I have learned a lot about myself and my own situation. Prioritizing family, work, and school has been a challenge, but I am beginning to figure out the best way to handle everything with the least amount of stress.

I have also been able to apply things learned in the classroom to my own work situation and realized that many of the things I do at work are not out of the ordinary. Finally, I have discovered a large world outside my chosen career path. I don’t work in a traditional business setting, but even a law librarian can learn from classes and classmates about areas outside his comfort zone. And isn’t that why I decided to go to business school in the first place?

Between journal entries, you can keep track of Thomas’s business school adventures at the Business Schools Facebook page. Follow the Bloomberg Businessweek B-Schools team on Twitter.

Sneed is a first-year MBA in the evening MBA program at Emory University's Goizueta Business School.

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