Sheena Nelson, Evening MBA Class of 2016, gave an inspiring, lighthearted speech to her fellow graduates at Commencement. Read on to learn the advice Sheena shared with classmates as they begin an exciting new chapter post-graduation.
Hello everyone! I’m Sheena Nelson, and am beyond proud to speak to you today and represent the evening Class of 2016. Our class is filled with amazingly intelligent, fun, and caring men and women, and mothers and fathers, and not a week went by where I wasn’t genuinely impressed by what you all do.
Before I go any further, I want to take a minute and explain for those who might not be aware what the difference is between the Daytime and Evening MBA programs at the Foster School of Business. As many of you may have guessed, we go to class AT NIGHT! Shocking, I know! But the largest difference between our two programs are that evening students are inherently insane, or extremely efficient, depending on how you look at it. (It’s a very thin line between the two.) Rather than quit our jobs and take two years for our MBA studies, WE all decided to keep our full-time and professional jobs and take THREE years for the same amount of coursework! Two years with no job pressures, or three years with job pressures…makes TOTAL sense! Ok, somehow the math seems off, but I promise, we feel like it was the better of the two options for us.
What we lacked in sleep and personal lives during those three years we made up in amazingly rich life experiences. We pursued areas of study in fields we weren’t as well versed in, we wrote papers and sat exams, some of us traveled abroad together, and most importantly – we shared jello shots with Ed Rice (Core Faculty, Economics Professor) at Dantes.
When I think back at how we started this three-year journey, I remember our first weekends of ePrime and eLead. I don’t know if you guys remember, but during eLead we were at a conference building at Anthony’s waterfront. It was a beautiful Friday and Saturday, so what better time to sit inside for full-days in a conference room…in our suits. On our second day, we arrived to see a Norwegian Cruise ship was docked right outside our room. We were even happier when about an hour into our work the ship started blaring “CELEBRATE good times…COME ON!” for the remaining 6-hours, nonstop, while passengers laughed, had cocktails, and sang along….right outside of our balcony. It was a great indication of the types of compromise we’d experience during the program – the dilemma of “I really need to study” against the pull of “I want to not be in class right now”.
But, here we are! We survived! And as we move forward with the next stages of our lives, I’d like to introduce my Foster School of Business, Evening MBA exit program — eLeave. Yes, extremely creative name…that’s what an MBA will bring to the table! Dan Poston, feel free to use this if you like, by the way. eLeave is this – what to do with ourselves now that school is over. Well, after becoming reacquainted with friends, spouses, maybe children who didn’t see you as much during these three years…I recommend the following three steps.
First, remain a learner. So many of us commented the best part of being in school again was learning outside of our jobs and companies. So don’t let that stop! It doesn’t mean you have to sign up for coursework in the fall, but continue to read, question, analyze in whatever way you like. Maybe Mark Westerfield (Core Faculty, Finance Professor) will let you do his taxes! Mark?? No?? Ok, maybe something else then.
Secondly, one of the greatest strengths of this program is its cohort model, and while you might not be helping a teammate with homework, you could help volunteer or serve on the board of a non-profit. Being a leader doesn’t just mean having all the business answers, it also means having compassion for others around you. We can give back in so many ways, and as we look for things to fill our newly found free time, let’s keep in mind ways we can continue to help pay it forward….outside of C4C Weekend.
And third, let’s not be strangers! An MBA is so much more important than the paper, it’s us! Facebook, GroupMe, Instagram, LinkedIn, oh yeah, and actually meeting IN PERSON, it’s on us to make that happen. And I hope we will.
So that’s it! We’re done!! Thank you all again for letting me laugh and learn with you during this amazing experience, and letting me speak to you all today. And Congratulations!! With that, there’s really only one more thing I need to remind you all – with our futures so bright, always wear your shades.
Sheena is employed at Microsoft where she works as a World-Wide Product Marketing Manager for Surface, creating strategies to sell Surface products through online partners globally. She lives in Ballard with her husband and Shih Tzu and can be found most mornings with an espresso in her hand.
Wondering if the Foster Evening MBA Program is the right fit for you? To make an appointment with the Foster MBA Programs Office, call 206-543-4661 or toll free at 1-866-778-9622, or email us at [email protected]
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