Surviving Quarter One

Mike Sharifi, Class of 2018

Mike Sharifi, Class of 2018

Fall quarter as a returning Evening MBA student in an interesting time, to say the least. The warm weather is fading and the days are getting shorter. Work for most of us is picking up ferociously before the holiday standstill, and after more than a month off, we are reacclimating to the comforts that remind us why we choose Booth. From seeing last year’s MBA Cup trophy in the lobby to George’s smile at the Midway Club four floors above, there are many reminders that this place is home.   

There are familiar faces in the lobby of Gleacher as you walk around on your first day, but even more noticeable are the faces you don’t recognize. They are the newest members of this exclusive “fraternity”, and can very well be your next group partner. I look at these new faces and think about my first emotions when I was in there shoes last fall. Excitement, fear, uncertainty, anxiety, pride, panic. We all feel these emotions to varying degrees, and they are often hard to process. However, I hope this article provides the newest Evening and Weekend class with a few quick tips that helped me get beyond my emotions and create a plan for my first quarter.

Tip #1: Get Involved…but be Realistic

    We all know that there is much more to Business School than what we learn in the classroom. Getting involved with student groups is a key attribute to the Booth experience that you cannot replicate. Whether or not you were able to attend the SAC Activities Fair, it is important to check out all the groups Booth has to offer and contemplate join those that may pique your personal or professional passions.

    That said, be realistic about your workload in the classroom and the workplace. While we are eager to jump in and make the most of our Booth experience, I’ve come to learn that balance is what makes part-time work. Whatever your balance may be, make sure that you do not exceed the point where your marginal costs exceed your marginal benefits (thank you Booth for making me think in these terms).

Tip #2: Plan Ahead

    Mark everything on your calendar. Google Calendar, planner, or anything in between, make sure that you are keeping tabs on everything on your plate. The first few weeks of class may go by smoothly, but come midterm season, preparation is key. Work, school, family, travel, etc. will come at you quick, and long-term success is imperative on your ability to stay organized.

Tip #3: Remember Why You Chose to be Here

    This tip may seem a little redundant to some. You may be thinking: “Well, I’m here because it’s one of the best schools in the world”, but there are deeper motivations for each of us coming to Booth. Never lose sight of these, and while they may change as life changes, it’s always important to remember the reason we are here.

Mike is an Evening MBA Student and Director of Talent at Telnyx. His hobbies include running, volleyball, and exploring local restaurants.

Managing Your Time at Booth

Mike Sharifi '18

Mike Sharifi '18

Many Evening and Weekend MBA students understand very well that being a member of the Booth community comes with sacrifice. Whether it means spending less time at the gym or less time with family, we are all giving up something important to attend class. To contrast with our friends in the Full-Time program, we have at least fourteen hours of class work each week, in addition to full-time jobs and Booth extracurricular activities we engage in. With all of this on our shoulders, excellent time management is necessary to both keep us organized and sane. We each have different techniques for balancing our schedule. However you do it, this article should help you with some useful pointers from your peers.

Tip #1: Prioritize Tasks Every Day

Planning ahead is necessary for avoiding the feeling of helplessness

Planning ahead is necessary for avoiding the feeling of helplessness

    It may not be the most natural or exciting task to do, but it is especially important to plan out our days and prioritize what needs to get done. “If I start to think about what I need to do by the end of the week, I usually freak myself out. When things pile up, it helps to just focus on the next 24 hours,” notes Karen Sanchez (’18). Whether by creating to-do lists or setting notifications on our Google Calendars, we all can benefit from optimizing our days to make sure we don’t fall behind in the classroom and the office.

Tip #2: Review the Syllabus Ahead of Time

    Back in undergrad, many of us - myself included - would forget about midterms until the week of and neglect to study until the night before. While we could manage that lifestyle because the opportunity cost to pulling an all-nighter studying was often a frat party or Netflix binge, we have more pressing priorities in our lives today. Knowing this, Vijay Rajan (’18) makes sure to map out key assignment and exam days as soon as he has access to the syllabus. With busy days in the office and constant travel for work, noting big school events months in advance helps him to best arrange his work schedule accordingly.

Tip #3: Keep Your Friends, Family, and Co-workers in the Loop

    Starting up at Booth isn’t only a change of pace for each of us, it also affects those around us. During the quarter, we might not be able to attend every company Happy Hour or catch mom up on every little detail about our lives, but it’s important that we give those in our lives realistic expectations. Antonia Lee (‘18) makes sure to give her friends and family plenty of notice on the days/weeks that she might be off the grid. Everyone that we’re close to understands that we’re “busy”, but unless they’ve known others doing Booth part-time, it will be hard for them to completely relate unless we provide insight.

Tip #4: Do Something for Yourself Each Week

    If my life was a revolving door that only involved school and work, I’d be absolutely miserable. Don’t get me wrong, I love my job and I love Booth, but each of us needs something to take our mind off both, especially when they get stressful. Whether it’s making time each day to read Game of Thrones or playing pickup basketball on Tuesday nights, it’s important to do things for you. Life is much more than just work and school…don’t forget that!

Editor Mike Sharifi is an Evening MBA Student and Director of Business Development at Built in Los Angeles. His hobbies include running, volleyball, and exploring local restaurants.