By Angelica Pastrana, MBA’23
I have tried to freeze time over the last few weeks. I told one of my mentors that I am in a strange place between quickly wanting to get to my internship and holding onto my first year for as long as possible. I lean towards being a forward-thinking individual, but transitional periods call for nostalgia, so please bear with me as I reflect on the first year of my MBA program.
The beginning of the school year was quite the change for me. Going from pandemic isolation to being back in the classroom was challenging. As someone who does not come from a quantitative background pre-MBA, the coursework would have been much harder if it were not for my core team. Many people will tell you that they had the best core team, but the only ones who would be correct in saying that would be my teammates. They helped break down the material for me to grasp the fundamental concepts. Thank you, Mauricio, Charishma, Chad, and Yoon for being the best support system. I also want to call out that if you are going through anything, CAPS is an excellent resource.
Amid academics, I had to remind myself why I came back to school in the first place: to get a job. My Graduate Career Services coach, Christina Schmidt, helped to connect me with alumni at companies I was interested in and companies that I had not considered in the first place. My Business Marketing Academy director, Josh Gildea, also helped me realize that sales was the function I wanted to stay in. The alumni and second years helped me to see which companies would be the best overall fit for me. Because of these conversations, I pinned down my target list, and I am proud to say that I will be going to my top choice this summer.
Finally, classes and recruiting can easily fill up your whole schedule. I have learned that it is not about having time, but about making time, and you must make time for the incredible friendships here. Our class is comprised of diverse perspectives, and it is inspiring to be around such driven individuals every day. I feel so lucky to have a cohort that supported my idea of throwing a pink-themed birthday party. Moreover, the tailgates, Gala, and many more events made even the biggest homebody get out of her shell. I would be remiss if I also did not mention that the city of Bloomington itself has given me resources to further unwind – a special thank you to Eyebrow Style and Hopscotch Coffee for keeping me sane.
What would an MBA post be without key takeaways? I wish my first-years a fabulous summer. I hope we all come back with a myriad of stories to continue having rich conversations. I also hope we live in the moment more intentionally. I am looking forward to tighter hugs, harder laughs, and bigger smiles when we all get back to town and make the best of our final year.