From MBA Candidate to AlumToby Gardner
The Final Chapter: What started off as a business school dream that would lead to a GMAT and an application has finally culminated in a graduation ceremony and two years of memories. I have mixed emotions about graduating. I'm happy to finish, but sad to leave.
It's a cliché, but my two years at Haas (Haas Full-Time MBA Profile) were among the best of my life. It seems an obvious statement in hindsight, and yet I wonder how many of us had this in mind when we applied to business school. One naturally assumes that an MBA will improve one's career, but I didn't realize that this break from my normal life would be a time when I could also focus on becoming a better friend and partner. For one and a half years while I was in school, I was in a long-distance relationship, which only seemed to make us stronger.
I can't speak enough about the quality of education and the friends you make at Haas. I would recommend this school to anyone who is focused on becoming the best in his field, has a team mentality, and is friendly. Haas and Berkeley in general have no interest in arrogant students with big egos. One of the things I'll miss is the opportunity to work on challenging projects with my friends, while still wearing my pajamas. That said, I feel ready to take what I have learned and put it to good use in the real world. That … and I'm tired of eating frozen dinners because of my lack of income.
My final few weeks at Berkeley were predictably hectic; the combination of job hunting and my fiancée's arrival from Australia meant that previously ignored assignments needed my attention. Night after night, I had to churn out assignments for classes such as Game Theory and Corporate Financial Reporting until finally the moment came one Thursday when I completed my last paper. As I attached my final assignment in an e-mail to my professor, I realized that I was sending out schoolwork for the last time. While some may view the shaking of the dean's hand as the official graduation, for me it was the clicking of the "send" button for my last paper when I made the transition from MBA candidate to alum.
Ernst & Young Bound
As for life after Haas, I am very pleased to report that my fiancée and I will be staying in the Bay Area upon graduation. As for many students before me, the pull of San Francisco was too much for us to leave, and I have accepted an offer with Ernst & Young in M&A integration. The opportunity to stay in the Bay Area and work for Ernst & Young (a company widely acknowledged as one of the best employers) was too much to pass up. So this summer will be all about relaxing, having fun, and finding a place to live before work starts.
The graduation ceremony was great, mainly because I had so many of my family members see me graduate. I hadn't walked for my undergraduate ceremony because I was overseas at the time, so this was my first experience wearing the cap and gown at a graduation ceremony. The weather was predictably sunny as one comes to expect in Northern California, although I was fortunate to be one of six students under cover and onstage as recipients of various class achievements that the administration had chosen to single out. Alongside three of my classmates, I was honored to receive the Leadership & Service Award for outstanding leadership, service, and commitment to the school and its values. It was also a proud moment for my family, who had come from France and Australia to see my graduation.
So there you have it, my final article. Whichever program you end up attending, work hard but be sure to remember that your time at school is not just a chance to get educated; it's an opportunity in your life to grow as a friend, husband, brother, and son. Our careers are important, but our lives are judged by much more than that.
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