Gratitude for Two Tremendous Years

On Wednesday afternoon last week I visited Sloan one last time.  I didn’t want to leave Boston without taking a glimpse at the place where I experienced so much.  And now as I race off to my new life on the west coast, I struggle to put into words exactly how much I’ve grown.

While a number of my eloquent classmates have already provided their own reflections, I’ll use this final blog post as an opportunity to express my gratitude.  I am thankful for:

1. Learning in the classroom

I know that many people would say that the greatest learning in an MBA program doesn’t necessarily come from reading cases, doing problem sets, and listening in lectures.  And while I might generally agree, I very much enjoyed the act of learning for learning’s sake.  The opportunity to take classes and push myself to study things so far out of my comfort zone (Corporate Finance anyone?) is something I will greatly miss.  I purposely registered for courses previously foreign to me and avoided anything that looked like my old job, and I think I’m better for it.  There are some exceptionally talented professors at Sloan and I’m grateful to have been able to think about true business challenges with them.

2. Being inspired by my peers

Starting an MBA program is instantly humbling.  At Sloan I was surrounded by military veterans, start-up founders, and non-profit leaders.  I was continuously impressed by my peers who pushed to make life better for the entire community and students to come.  There were my those who challenged faculty to bring more women guest speakers to classes, those who founded ground-breaking conferences that sparked meaningful discussion on unconscious bias, and those who started their own businesses while managing a full course load.  Being part of a cohort of such exceptional people made me want to work harder and be better.

3. Collaborating with classmates

Collaboration comes in many forms at Sloan.  It starts your very first week when you’re tossed into a core team.  I worked with six truly fantastic people over the course of a semester.  They encouraged me to stretch myself, they asked me to teach what I knew, and they made me smile when accounting problem sets had me confused.  Beyond the classroom, some of the strongest collaborations you can experience are in running clubs and planning conferences.  Through Sloan Women in Management (SWIM), I helped plan and execute an award winning conference.  I worked alongside tremendous women as we revamped the club’s programming, offering the female student body of Sloan the opportunity to interact with alumnae, improve interview skills, and test entrepreneurial ideas.  Sloan only confirms the idea that there is strength in numbers.  I will miss working with my classmates and I am grateful I can consider so many wonderful people friends.

4. Finding my leadership style

While I had the opportunity to lead projects in my prior work, I’d never really taken the time to think about my strengths and weaknesses as a leader until coming to Sloan.  Two years of an MBA provides ample opportunity to learn about what kind of leader you are and think through what kind of manager you hope to be.   Perhaps the greatest opportunity to gain those personal insights is through club leadership.  With my fellow SWIM Co-Presidents, I thought about how to fund raise and develop a budget, how to think about the needs of the people we represented, and how to motivate and inspire.  I am far from a perfect leader but I will reenter the real world with a clearer sense of who I am and what I hope to build upon.

I am incredibly jealous of those about to begin their MBA journey.  For those still exploring whether Sloan is right for them, I encourage you to attend an admissions event this summer.  For women in particular, admissions will host a series of alumnae panels around the theme of “Women Embracing Authentic Leadership: Sustaining your values and creating meaningful work.”  You can learn more about these events here.

Farewell for now, MIT Sloan.  Thank you for everything.

 

Hailey Crowel

Hailey is a member of the MIT Sloan MBA class of 2016 and a Co-President for Sloan Women in Management (SWIM). Prior to joining Sloan, Hailey spent more than four years at Google in Sydney and San Francisco as an analyst, helping some of the world’s largest travel brands develop digital marketing strategies. Before that, she worked in in business development at the Los Angeles Times, and conducted research in Japan as part of the Fulbright program. Hailey received a B.A. in English & Comparative Literary Studies from Occidental College. She plans to return to the tech industry following graduation from Sloan.

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