Looking back at almost three weeks of Orientation, we can all agree on one thing: We are tired. But, really...we are. Like, really tired. The madness of Orientation never ceased. And we loved every minute of it.
More importantly, we can hardly handle our excitement for the two years ahead. The Orientation magic worked as planned and we feel connected to the Anderson, overwhelmed by opportunity and - all things considered - pretty prepared for what is to come. We know what we can expect, but we also know that we can expect the unexpected. And we are most definitely Thinking In the Next (Two Years).
[This post’s headshots courtesy of the post-Orientation 80’s Party extravaganza]
Thinking in the Next 2 Years….I’m exhausted! But in the best way possible. Even though my Ander-journey only began three short weeks ago, it’s been a wild ride. Coming to Anderson, I really wanted to focus on pushing my limits and working outside of my comfort zone. From a 5-day pre-Orientation trip venturing into the wilderness (more on that later), to a terrifying climb and leap off of a telephone pole, Orientation taught me that, with the help of supportive teammates, I can achieve more than I ever thought possible [insert groan].
Yes, it was cheesy and silly at times - running around in costumes, doing wheelbarrow races, and chanting “C-section!” in front of all of my classmates may have felt like summer camp - but I view orientation as a metaphor for the next two years at Anderson. Instead of ropes courses, I’ll be challenged with finance exams; instead of writing and rehearsing skits, I’ll be preparing my “30 second pitch” to use for recruiting. But even though we’ve been warned that first semester is brutal (we’ve seen the second year’s Google calendars and they are pretty daunting!), I have a great group of people who I know will have my back. Plus, if the 80’s party is any measure of the level of commitment Anderson students have to theme parties, I know it’s going to be a great year.
I had a feeling it would turn out like this. I would step foot on campus. A cloud of #FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) would entrap me. And I would sign up to be involved with everything.
Fortunately, getting involved is a fairly significant part of the Anderson experience for most students. As we wrapped up Orientation, between the socializing and the rapid spread of the Anderflu (we’ve gotten very close), we had the chance to meet second-year leaders from Anderson’s over 50 student-led clubs and organizations. I joined several (read: a lot) - the Management Consulting Association, High-Tech Business Association, Entrepreneurs Association, Net Impact, Out@Anderson, Wine Club, Anderson Creative and Joint Ventures - but there were many, many more that will present interesting and diverse opportunities for personal and professional development throughout the year. Some of these organizations require a decent commitment and a membership fee; others do not. Professionally-focused organizations tend to cost the most, but they also provide the highest value. Beyond membership (attending events, etc.) I plan to get involved as a first-year Director in one or two of these organizations, and am currently educating myself about the potential leadership opportunities.
Additionally, each of the five sections has now elected section leadership. After spending two and a half weeks with my section, I was humbled to be elected as my section’s president (Go Section D!). As a member of the Anderson Student Association, I will act as the liaison between my section of about 70 students and the campus administration. I will listen, advocate and lead my classmates, a group of down-to-earth, ambitious, interesting and creative, good people.
Meanwhile...enough of that leadership stuff. (And academics?) We also have career preparation. My career advisor during our first meeting last week that I have clearly demonstrated on my resume that I have the ability to lead. Now it’s time to articulate my other skills. For now, I’m aimed toward the consulting recruiting track. I have a Career Team focused on Consulting, I attended my second consulting recruitment event this evening, and I’ve begun prepping for the infamous management consulting case interviews (thank you, Management Consulting Association). Armed with all of the resources I could want, and more, let the next two years, begin!
The first thing I’d like to talk about is the end of Orientation. I know it seems odd to reflect on the past in order to think about the “Next,” but Orientation has been such a formative experience that I hope you’ll indulge me.
First of all, can I just say, has it really only been 3 weeks since the Class of 2015 arrived at Anderson? It seems hard to believe. After all, we’ve all been through so much together, from the Odyssey ropes course (shout out to my amazing partner, Nicole!), to the luau (where we got the opportunity to pie our section leaders, sorry Danielle!), to the amazing 80’s party, that it feels as though we’ve all known each other for months. One of the reasons for this tight bond comes from the social events hosted during Orientation. The luau was one of them. For those of you who don’t know, the luau happens towards the end of orientation and is a major social event for the incoming class. Hosted at UCLA’s Sunset Canyon (a.k.a. where the ropes course is), the luau is a fantastic opportunity to mingle with classmates and sig-o’s, pie your section leaders, and even hop around in a bouncy castle (Disclaimer: make sure you have neosporin at home). In essence, it’s a civilized lead-up to the 80’s party. And now to that infamous 80’s party… Held at the end of Orientation, post section skits, it is the culmination of 2.5 weeks of bonding. And trust me, it’s a lot of fun. Just make sure you have a great costume!
But now, back to reality. Today was the third day of school, and it was exhausting/terrifying/exhilarating. Classes are in full-swing, with case studies and problem sets already due. Recruiting is starting fast with industry presentations, case challenges, and informational interviews. And of course, there are clubs, leadership positions, and social activities to occupy all of your “free” time. So when I think in the Next 2 Years, I immediately think busy. But I also think opportunity. I knew that business school would be a hectic time, but I didn’t quite realize the amazing resources and opportunities open to Anderson students. The amount and caliber of industries coming to campus is amazing! And it all starts now. So sure, I’m a little overwhelmed by the amount of work we all have, but I’m also incredibly excited to begin my MBA. Stay tuned for more!