Ready to Move On, MBA in Hand
It's time to go. I spent the past four months dreading this moment. School had become comfortable, and I didn't want to leave. I had class only two days a week, and my day started at 2:30 p.m. Life was easy, and I didn't want to go back to the real world. Now I can say I'm happy the time has come. It is time to move on, time to be a grown-up again, time to step into the unknown, time to continue to grow.
My B-school experience has been phenomenal. I achieved every goal I set for myself. I got an internship, got a job, became co-president of the Consortium Club, and earned better grades then I did as an undergrad. (My undergrad transcript is blemished by a B in geology.)
I recently found a list that I wrote during my senior year in college. It reads, in part: 1) Get a job in TV, and 2) Get an MBA. I completed the first item on the list years ago; now I can check off item No. 2. Even though I dreamed of getting an MBA, I didn't necessarily think I'd be going to school full-time and I hadn't considered Wisconsin. However, if I could do it all over again, I would do it exactly the same way.
Wisconsin Offered Everything I Wanted
Wisconsin was a great fit for me, although not in the way you might think. I was not attracted to its party reputation, great beer, or Big 10 athletics. Those aren't bad reasons to love Wisconsin, but they weren't my reasons. The business school is not ranked in the top 10 and quite frankly, I didn't care. In fact, as an undergraduate, I turned down an offer to attend an Ivy League school, because it didn't offer a degree in journalism. I believe you should go to the school that will best help you achieve your goals.
If rankings are important to you, there's nothing wrong with that. If you're looking for something else, that's fine too. Wisconsin offered everything I needed. I wanted a small program that would allow me access to the people and resources to help me achieve my goals. I wanted a program that wouldn't leave me with a six-figure debt. Wisconsin provided a solid business foundation that has allowed my classmates and me to obtain jobs with leading companies in our field.
While the education is important, the full-time B-school experience provides something more. Through endless group projects and extracurriculars, you gain valuable insight into human nature. I've watched friends become enemies and enemies become friends. I've seen compassion, cooperation, courage, chicanery, and cowardice. As much as we'd love to put "challenging" people in a space shuttle and send them to another planet, we have to learn to work with them. B-school provides a safe environment for you to experiment with different ways of working with people and dealing with conflict. Even if you forget some of the textbook theories and formulas, many of the experiences with your classmates will leave you with unforgettable memories and lessons.
With that, it is time to say good-bye. But before I conclude my final blog, I want to have what I call my "Oscar" moment. I would be remiss if I did not give thanks to God for carrying me over every step. Thank you to BusinessWeek.com for this amazing opportunity and to all my readers for their interest and feedback. Thank you to the University of Wisconsin at Madison, the Wisconsin School of Business, the Center for Brand & Product Management, and the Consortium for Graduate Study in Management. Thank you to Michael and Kevin for lending an ear and to my extended family for your undying support. Thank you to St. Felicitas Grammar School, St. Ignatius College Prep, University of Missouri at Columbia, and the Missouri School of Journalism. (And happy 100th birthday to the No. 1 J-School in the world.) Last and most important, thank you to my parents, Charles and Marjorie Coffey. There is no one I love more and no one I respect more. In the best of times and the worst of times, you always believe in me, always support me, and always love me. With that, I step back into the real world to spread my wings and soar.
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