Three Learnings from My First Month at MIT Sloan

 A few reflections from my first first month at Sloan.

1. Take advantage of your time before Sloan.

There are a lot of shiny objects in business school. Ruthless prioritization is easier said than done.

To mitigate the whirlwind of information overload, do some of the legwork before matriculating. I had nine months between getting in and starting school. Undoubtedly, I used that time to celebrate and travel a bit. I also used the time to attend conferences and network with Sloanies. Networking turned into a pre-MBA internship. The internship turned into a full-time offer. Take advantage of every opportunity. You never know what will happen!

A few opportunities I highly recommend:

  • MIT delta v accelerator program in New York/Cambridge (startups)
  • McKinsey’s Next Generation Women Leaders in DC (consulting)
  • Toigo Foundation conference in New York (finance)
  • Forte MBA Women’s Leadership Conference (general)

2. Ask for help – you are not alone!

The MIT ethos celebrates “drinking from the firehose.” It’s not all academics. Core semester (“core”) is designed to be overwhelming. From the sheer volume of class time/workload to clubs and networking events, we are pulled in different directions all the time.

What’s getting me through core:

  • Sloanies pay it forward. I’ve been surprised by the number of check-ins from alums, my core fellow, and mentor from Sloan Women in Management. #SloaniesHelpingSloanies is real.
  • I lean on my core team. I was a bit reluctant about working in the same small group for an entire semester. Now, I could not imagine going through core without them.
  • My network outside of Sloan is incredibly valuable. The MBA experience can be a bubble. It’s easy to forget that it takes a village. I’m grateful for my church community in Boston, my significant other, and mother dearest who always picks up my calls.

Orientation Day @ Warren Center. So much core team love.

3. Remember what’s important to you.

Business school is not the end goal. Everyone is here for different reasons. Sloan can be an accelerator to propel your career forward, or in a different direction if you so choose.

I’m here to learn how to be a phenomenal manager and business leader. I’m honing skills to critically analyze and identify business opportunities. I want to diversify my network and broaden my perspective. Finally, I want to get better at public speaking. Luckily, we get plenty of air time in communications class for this!

With so many goals, I’ve learned to be stingy with my time.

3a. Make trade-offs. You’ll lose count of the WhatsApp groups and Slack channels posting new events vying for your attention. Make trade-offs. In typical MIT fashion, test and learn what works. I found that my favorite conversations happen over small group dinners, after sweat sessions with my yoga/spin buddies, and during one-on-one coffee chats.

3b. Practice self-care. Common advice for incoming MBA students is to choose 3 out of the 4: school, social, career, sleep. When the time comes, choose sleep above all else. Sloan is a mission-driven place. All of us are here to change the world for the better. We can only go on to do great things if we take care of ourselves first. Your body (and mind) will thank you.

Caribbean Ocean @ Sloan Olympics — one of my favorite events! 

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