I knew when I returned to business school, my second year would look a lot different than my first year. I will start off by saying that I was fortunate enough to receive a full-time job offer following my internship allowing me to cross the job search off my to-do list for the semester. However, adding a global pandemic into the mix kept things interesting. Here are some of the highlights:
I had a classroom experience like no other this semester with some classes being fully online and others being offered in a hybrid modality. I will say it was good to be see familiar faces in Grainger Hall a few days a week, even if those faced were masked and socially distant. I had the opportunity to become a Fellow in the Weinert Center for Entrepreneurship this year, so much of my coursework was focused in that area: Entrepreneurial Management, Venture Creation, and the Fellowship Seminar. In particular, the seminar was a great course. Each week one of the fellows pitches an idea for a venture and receives feedback on their idea as well as potential experiments that could be run to test product-market fit. This was quite a bit outside of my comfort zone, but I wanted to become a fellow because I know that as a brand manager, I will be tasked with delivering growth to businesses of varying sizes. Plus, you never know where your career will take you. The rest of my course load was focused on rounding out my marketing knowledge with brand strategy and strategic pricing. Brand strategy was an interesting course covering the theory behind branding and discussing the trend toward purpose driven branding. It included an experiential learning component, and we got to work on a brand plan for a sunless tanning company.
This semester was my second semester as the treasurer of the Graduate Business Association. As a GBA board, we had a retreat prior to classes resuming to set some goals for ourselves and come up with a plan for what would be a semester of virtual events. We hosted trivia nights (some professionally hosted, some not as much…), scavenger hunts, and other events to help build a community among the MBA and Masters’ programs. This was tougher task than in prior years, but you have to play the hand that you are dealt. I also served as co-president of the Food & Wine Club along with Natalie Marinello. We hosted fun virtual events like a wine tasting and Indian cooking class. I am proud of what the student organizations I was a part of accomplished in a semester that looked very different than first semester did last year.
I also got the opportunity to become a teaching assistant this semester for Marketing Management (MKT 300) for 88 undergraduate students. Being a TA is something that I knew I wanted to do while I was in business school, and I am glad I was able to make it happen. Obviously getting my tuition bill taken care of was appealing, but the real appeal was the opportunity to get my feet wet with instructing students. I have always wondered if I would want to become an executive in residence and teach a course down the road as a second (third?) career, and this experience has helped reaffirm that as a potential path. Additionally, it was a great opportunity to improve public speaking and reinforce my own core knowledge of marketing.
The semester was a good one overall. Sure there were days were Zoom fatigue was a huge stressor, but there were probably just was many where I was thankful I could wear sweatpants to my meeting and spend more time home with my family. It is crazy to think that I am three-fourths of the way through business school already. Time flies when you are having fun.