Did First Quarter Have To Be This Way?

Did First Quarter Have To Be This Way?

BY SOM DEB, STAFF WRITER

By now, we’ve all heard that being in business school is like “drinking from a fire hose.” Sure, business school is a busy place. Even five minutes of spare time is hard to come by, and I’m guilty of making excuses for not calling my friends or family. But I’m not sure it has to be this way.

Many of us made the expensive decision to come to Anderson to hit the reset button on our careers, retool ourselves with valuable skills, and build friendships and networks along the way. There’s no doubt that a lot is riding on our decision to be here. Small wonder, then, that we spend much of our first and second quarters running around like headless chickens, attending company presentations, mock interviews, dinner events and so on.

But for a school that prides itself on “thinking in the next,” I believe we’re suffering from recruiting myopia (to borrow a phrase from marketing class). In order to help us ace the internship interview process, the school force-feeds us overwhelming amounts of information early in the year.

At best, we gain a lot of superficial knowledge about topics that might not even be relevant to our future jobs. At worst, we become a population of stressed-out students who end up cramming before final exams because we haven’t properly learned or understood the course material. In focusing so heavily on our professional aspirations, we’re neglecting to build the real skills and core competencies that we’ll need to succeed in our careers.

I’ll confess that during the past few months, I’ve found myself prioritizing interviews and company meetings over schoolwork. As a result, I end up writing mediocre presentations the night before they’re due on topics drawn out of thin air. I’m not benefiting from the class at all.

There’s no easy way for business schools to help students juggle academics and recruiting. But in talking with some of my friends at other schools, I’ve gleaned a few ideas that would make life easier. For example, how about scheduling midterm breaks expressly for recruiting activities? One business school I know has a 10-day break for those recruiting in the banking sector.

Or how about shifting some of the class load away from the first two quarters? I know different industries work on different recruiting schedules, but Anderson might consider at least lightening the academic load until later in the year, when the majority of students have secured internship offers. This way, when students do attend classes, they’ll be giving their full attention.

Most of us came to business school with the intention of learning. Let’s rethink how we can modify the system so that we’re always striving for success, not settling for mediocrity.

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