When I first got to Thunderbird, I was full with fervor and drive to be the best student I had ever been. Graduate school was, and still is, no small undertaking. I quit my job, backed off from the volunteer organizations I was working with and threw myself wholeheartedly into my school work. Academically, I was the best student I had ever been. It wasn’t until I sat and had a conversation with Professor Tom Hunsaker at the end of my first trimester, that I realized I was doing it wrong.
He told me that being in an MBA program doesn’t mean that I am necessarily learning a whole new set of skills (though I was and I really did not see it). Getting admitted for my MBA meant that I actually already possessed the skills to be successful in this world, Thunderbird was going to help me fine tune and practice these skills at the highest level possible. To complement my academics, I needed to be actively practicing and honing my skills in a live environment. It was my job to be the best candidate for any job I applied for, and what I do while I am in school is equally important.
I took on special projects. I originally started where I was comfortable. I have experience in the IT field and found my first project on campus, with Dastor. Michael, the Editor-in-Chief, had created this position because he wanted to raise the profile of the student newspaper, and because it was in an online-only format, needed an IT Director. We rebuilt this site and increased readership 6 times over. After I got comfortable working and attending classes, I branched out.
After a ridiculous amount of special projects, including Foundations, Student Government, and other projects that are near and dear to me, that conversation with Professor Hunsaker rings more true than ever. I am headed into my last trimester with some of the most amazing stories of professional and personal experience about challenges, obstacles, triumphs, and failures. The moral of the story is this, taking on every special project you can while you are here. Find your breaking point (that point you just can’t take anymore) and break through it.
“Don’t wait for anybody to tell you that you are ready. Go out and do it.” -Tom Hunsaker