Advice to the class of 2013

Jared McInelly – TMMBA Class of 2012

Last night I had a chance to talk to the incoming class of 2013. I still can’t believe it’s been almost a year since I started this program. The time really has gone by fast. I’m also really surprised by all that I’ve learned this year as well.
Here are the three stories I shared with the class and the main points from each.

Value your team
I remember the first time I met with my team. We met before dinner one night to discuss our answers to the Microeconomics homework. We were supposed to turn in one assignment for our group. As we went around the circle and explained what we got for #1, I was shocked to see that we each of us had a different answer. I thought, “what are we going to do now? I know I’m right, how can everyone else be wrong?” As we discussed the problem further, we figured out what the right answer was. It turned out that, big surprise, I was wrong.
I learned from this experience that the work we would do as a group is better, and more often correct, than the work I do on my own. I’ve really come to enjoy working on assignments and projects with my group. I look forward to their insights. Know that you are on a team with smart people. Learn to work with them and value the insights they bring.

Make a plan with your friends and family
Six weeks into the program I got a call one night as I was driving to class. When I answered, all I could hear was sobbing on the other line. After a few minutes I figured out that it was my 5 year old daughter asking me why I wasn’t going to be home for dinner. After talking to her for awhile and calming her down, I began to think about the effect this endeavor was having on my family. That night my wife and I talked and came up with a detailed plan of how we would use the time I had available to make sure we did things together and as a family. We decided that Friday or Saturday nights would be a date night for us and that Sunday nights would be dedicated as a family night. This plan has really worked well for us. I know that I’ve only have these couple of time windows to spend with the people I really care about, so it makes the time we spend that much more intense.
As you start the program, make sure you have a frank discussion with your friends and family about the program and when you will be around for them. I suggest you come up with a plan that takes into account the people you really care about. You’re going to graduate in a year and a half and those people are still going to be in your life. You don’t want to neglect them for that long.

You are a select group
My brother and I studied for and took the GMAT around the same time. We were talking one day after we’d gotten our scores back. He said something that I thought was interesting (which was something I’m not used to hearing from my younger brother).
“Of all the people in the world who have careers, we are the kind of people who have taken the time and energy to study for and take a really hard test. That puts us in a small minority.”
For TMMBA students I would say that we are the kind of people who have scored well enough on that test to apply and get accepted into the best program at the best university in the Seattle area. And we are willing to do it while we are still working full-time! We really are a select group. Your classmates are a select group. Get to know them well. Reach out to people and sit with new people at dinner, lunch and breakfast on class days.
Right when we started the program we all started adding each other on LinkedIn. About a year later, we all started adding each other on Facebook. You are going to make great friends in this program. Take advantage of the opportunity to meet strong, intelligent people like you.
Good luck to the incoming class of 2013. You will love this program. It’s intense but very rewarding!

Leave a Reply