femba week 0: leadership foundations

I just completed my first week of business school. Academic classes haven’t started yet, but we took this week-long leadership style course in order to get to know our sections and classmates, learn more about ourselves, and lay the groundwork for the rest of the upcoming school year. All in, it was absolutely exhausting but I’m pleased with how it turned out.

We more or less had 12+ hour days and we did everything under the sun from a leadership simulation exercise, to personality assessments, to a ropes course. I don’t think I learned more about myself, per say, but I definitely was able to observe a lot about my classmates and how I can best interact with them.

A few things I came away from the week with:

1) Being in an MBA program is a lot different than being in an academic one. For one, I spoke up more than I have probably ever done. We had a public speaking class too, and I think I surprised some of my teammates because I evidently come off as ‘the quiet one’. It’s interesting, how a lot of stereotypes and first impressions come into play and I won’t say I don’t enjoy surprising people every now and then with what I can do.

2) People are nice, mostly. I’m just bad at relating with some of them.

3) I hate networking. Always have, and still do. Repeating myself over and over again is just – ugh. But I’m trying to get better at it and I hope that one day I can small talk my way in and out of every situation as easily as I eat all the ice cream in my freezer.

4) I’m looking forward to this year and I’m still terrified, but in a good way. It will be a challenge, and it will challenge me like no other. I know I have a tendency to be inflexible the instant I think someone isn’t pulling their weight and taking advantage of others in a group work situation. So I think I need to work on my tolerance and also work to not be a burden to others. So, how I balance this and learn to do more leading matters. What this means – lots and lots of introspection coming to this blog in the near future. Aha.

Overall, a good start to the year. I’m optimistic for what else there is to come.

N

in other news

Seeing as I more or less failed at the writing thing, I’ll just go ahead and lead with it: I’m in! I’ve submitted my deposit and SIR, and I’ll be joining the FEMBA class of 2021! Woohoo. Three more years in LA. Do I sound excited or what?

These last few months have been on-and-off eventful. I alternate between being crazy on the go, and being a hermit in my apartment. It’s like I’ll binge socialize and then go into hiding hungover until the next round.

I’m also now on a budget, so I can pay for school and not deplete my savings. We’ll see how well that goes. I’ll do a little post on that at some point later, after my finances stabilize.

Nicole out x

road to 700

At the start of 2018, I decided to do my best to document my journey toward and during b-school. Namely, I wanted to write down my thoughts, strategies, challenges, and successes related to my goal of attending UCLA’s FEMBA program.

It’s certainly not a sure thing (touch wood), but there are a myriad of factors that led to this decision stretching back the better part of 6 months. It culminated in my decision to leave my last job and move down here to LA. One important component of the FEMBA application (besides grades, work experience, etc) is the GMAT.

Now, nobody likes standardized testing, let’s be real.*

This aversion to testing probably dates back to elementary school days with CORE testing to AP tests to SATs and ACTs and beyond. Somehow, there was always a test you had to take somewhere, somehow. Cut to 2012 when I took my GRE, having studied only ridiculously obscure vocabulary words so I wouldn’t completely flunk it. Fast forward once more to today, where I’m looking at these probability math problems laughing at Younger Me’s conviction that I wouldn’t ever have to take another test again because heck no, was I planning on going back to school. Funny how things turn out.

I gave myself less than four weeks to prep, which in hindsight was a terrible idea. I also set a minimum goal of 700 for myself. It’s difficult to find the right balance between rushing and giving the right questions the right amount of thought.

But I did it!

700 flat. I didn’t take any of the breaks and I actually thought I did better than I really did. So yay, 1 less hurdle to worry about on my journey to FEMBA. Time to start my application!

*The vast majority of the population, at least, so I rounded up.