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Optimizing My Approach to the Fall Semester as an MBAn Student

Master of Business Analytics

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My First Month as a Sloan MBAn Student

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There’s a saying at MIT Sloan that going to school here is like trying to drink water from a firehose. After one month as an MBAn student, I now see the truth behind that expression.

I’d like to clarify one part of the expression: drinking from a firehose sounds difficult and unenjoyable. Although this month has been exceptionally tough, it’ also been some of the most fun I’ve had.

The firehose turned on as soon as orientation started. The week-long orientation experience was exceptional. Having two days of technical workshops in our “fun orientation” may sound strange, but these workshops were actually a great way to get to know my classmates better, and ended up being quite useful when classes started. There were also non-academic events during orientation week. Some were organized by the MBAn team, including a day we spent team-building in the woods, and others were organized by the class, like dinners, movies, and karaoke.

Before classes picked up, I decided to turn the firehose flow up higher by adding clubs from Sloan & my dorm, as well as from greater MIT. On the more academic side, I’m in the public speaking club, which meets weekly for lunch, and I represent my class with a seat on the Sloan senate. On the more social side, I took a (free!) windsurfing lesson at the MIT Sailing club, which is a five minute walk from Sloan, I play board games every week at my residence’s board game club, and I’m also on an MIT intramural basketball team. It’s sometimes hard to make the time for the fun activities, but I’m always happy when I do.

Then, classes and research started to pick up, and it wasn’t long before the firehose was on full blast. Although classes ended up taking more time than all my extracurriculars (and sleep) combined, I knew I was in the right program, because I liked the material so much that I genuinely didn’t mind working for most of the day. The class lectures themselves are great: every professor is engaging, class participation is high, and the material is cutting-edge. The latter point often means that I can’t find many resources online to help, but luckily, I’m not in this program alone. I’m sure that my class has collectively saved hundreds of hours just by sharing Julia tips with each other.

Speaking of my classmates, I’ve been super impressed by all of them. As I get to know them better, I think more and more that the MBAn admissions team must have had a significant focus on choosing people who they thought would get along with others. Everyone is nice, helpful, and has a great sense of humor.

So, I do feel like I’m drinking out of a firehose, but it’s much nicer than it sounds. Right now, I’m trying to build habits and set up tools to make sure I get as much of the water that I can, although sometimes that just means trying to make sure the hose is pointed in my mouth and not in my eyes.

Asher Wright, MBAn 2020

Asher is an MBAn class of 2020 student who prior to MIT Sloan was working as a software engineer at Shopify.