June 9, 2011

My Take on the First Year of the MBA Program

Post by:
Ivan Busulwa: MBA, MPH 2012
Health Sector Management & International Health
MBA Council
One of those late nights in the grad lounge.
(L-R: Juan Machado, Sergio Floris, Roman Sverdlov, Ivan Busulwa)

First Semester

Now that I’m done, I’d like to share with you my assessment of the first year of BU’s MBA program. I have come to realize that the program is as much about time management as anything else. There are lots of on-campus & off-campus activities, optional courses to take elsewhere, keynote speakers to listen to, and extracurricular events like the cohort cup to participate in. Oft-time, I wish I could be in two places at once!

Despite all the class work that will be thrown at you especially during the 1st semester, I strongly encourage you to participate in the extracurricular events, get involved with the clubs, and get to know the second year students and mentors that will be assigned to you. I found these quite helpful since they usually went out of their way to listen to students’ issues and guide 1st years on how best to navigate the hurdle that is the first semester I. My only regret is that I didn’t get involved with as many clubs as much as I’d have liked to.

And did I mention there’s a lot to see in Boston? Fellow students from the area gave me a useful list of places I should visit before I ever think about leaving the city. There’s the Quincy market, the Aquarium, Fenway Park (which you’ll get to see a part of during orientation), all the pubs along Comm. Ave, and inevitably, a Red Sox game. Being the fair weather fan that I am, I’ll probably go to one of their games before the close of the year.

Cohort B after the finals. Goodbye first year… Enter second year!

Second Semester

I felt the 2nd semester went way better than the first one, especially since I got an internship early. This allowed me to focus on lots of other things without having to worry about where I was going to be in the summer. Besides the internship, there was a lot more to be happy about. The winter blossomed into a beautiful spring and the class work got more manageable. I also felt I got to spend more time with friends and to participate in events like the cohort cup. I decided to wrap up the year with a trip to New York City. I haven’t been to many places yet but I can certainly say NYC ranks up there as one of the grandest I’ve visited (after Boston). And the best part is that it’s only a $15 bus ride away and 4 hours from school. At such prices, I’m considering making the trip down there a weekly ritual.Although I had been forewarned, only now do I notice that MBA hours move faster than the real time. I just watched the 2nd years graduate and I still can't believe I'm less than one year away from joining them.

Overall, at the expense of sounding cliché, I feel the biggest value one gets from the MBA is the ‘experience’ with other students. Just sharing classes and spending time with various people from different backgrounds and having diverse personalities & perspectives, is one of the MBA's greatest values – and it's difficult to attach a price to that. There's definitely the in-class knowledge from the professors but I don’t think that even comes close.

In fact, at the close of the semester, I felt somewhat sad since we weren’t going to be seeing much of each other during the 2nd year as we’ll no longer have the same classes in the same cohorts. Despite all the hard work though, I can confidently say that this has been one of the finest nine months I've ‘experienced’!

Some Cohort B members after the MBA talent show. Still don’t understand how we didn’t win the cup! (L-R: Kerri Carlson, Ivan Busulwa, Assad the Assassin, Siddharth Garg, Akshay Bhargava, Rachel Dacwag)

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