The first month was filled with meeting new people from classmates at Wine Wednesdays to top executives at large multinational corporations to career coaches and mentors at Friday workshops. With my eyes wide open, I spent my time enjoying Notre Dame football games, entertaining visitors from home, coordinating networking calls and emails, and memorizing acronyms aka #cranting. I also attended the Irish Impact Conference inspiring me to explore career opportunities in social enterprises and impact investing.
After spending four long days bonding with my core group over our McDonald’s interterm case, it was time for a trek to the Bay Area. I hadn’t even known these people for two months and now I was planning to spend a whole week living in an apartment with nine of them- what was I getting myself into? We spent the days getting up early and riding around in Uncle Tom’s rental van to visit places like Google, Salesforce, SAP, Intel and Cisco. We spent the evenings out exploring San Francisco. Because 5 days in the house of 10 wasn’t enough, we decided to spend the last few days renting a house in Sonoma with even more of our classmates. No better bonding in the world exists than touring vineyards by day and having bonfires by night.
After the worst few days of finals in the history of finals and memorizing an entire microeconomics textbook, it was finally time to head home for Christmas break. I finally had three weeks to spend time at home with family and friends and relax. Not completely though—after a few phone interviews and a day exploring an opportunity in St. Louis, I had finally secured my internship with IBM just before returning back to South Bend. Crazy how much I missed people I had only known for five months.
We finally wrapped up finals and it was time to go to China! I’m not sure if I even had time to form expectations of this trip, but if I had any, my experience definitely surpassed them! From company visits to GE to cultural experiences at The Hutong to hot pot and a bike tour, I learned about the Chinese business environment, the Chinese culture, overcame my biases and developed a greater understanding for a culture I knew little about. Most importantly, I developed a greater appreciation for the unique experiences my Chinese classmates brought to our program at ND. After climbing the Great Wall, exploring Shanghai nightlife, and endless amounts of dumplings, it was off to Phuket, Thailand for a few days relaxing on the beach, kayaking around the islands, and plenty of coconut, mojitos, and curry.
99% of the MBA experience is about the people and the incredibly supportive and inspiring community I’m lucky enough to be a part of at Notre Dame. I can’t wait to be back in the fall to hear about all of the amazing summer experiences. Here’s to making the most out of the year ahead of us and never saying “no” to the opportunities it will bring.