Key Takeaways from Winter Quarter at Foster

I can’t believe that I am officially a third of the way through the MBA already. Time is flying by – I haven’t felt anything like this since Officer Training School. If the first quarter at Foster was all about academics and time management, then the second quarter was all about balance. You had to make trade-offs between coursework, career management, consulting projects for real-world clients, and extracurricular activities throughout the quarter. I’ll be honest, the internship search was my highest priority this quarter.

It’s been a real blur, but I found that writing helps solidify things in my memory. You can call this an ‘after action review’ of sorts, and I highly encourage you to try it out as well. Here’s what I learned:

Leading Teams and Organizations

Trust data and research first. If you read Fast Company, Forbes, or any other business magazine, you’ll see that there’s a ton of articles on the subject of leadership. However, not all of it is supported by data or evidence, and a lot of it is just conjecture on the part of the author. This class taught me to value information that is backed by some kind of data or research, and appreciate anecdotal advice for what it is.

Corporate/Competitive Strategy

Strategy is all about tradeoffs. As MBAs, we want to do everything to the best of our ability, but there’s never enough time or money to do it all. Companies can’t do everything or pursue every opportunity either, and this class gave us a way to figure out which tradeoffs to make. 

Business Statistics 

This was absolutely eye-opening for me. When I was in the Air Force, I spent a lot of time trying to learn as much about data analytics as I could, but I honestly didn’t know where to even start learning. This class demystified data analytics for me…it’s like the clouds parted and I could see the way forward. I found out that I love working with datasets and getting real insight from them. I was also really happy with both of the speakers we had. It’s very inspiring to hear companies talk about how they’re using exactly what we learned in class and applying it in real business situations. 

Teamwork

I am so grateful to have had 6 people on my team this quarter. The internship search was in full swing from week one and never let up, so it was great to divide up the work so everyone could focus on interviews and applications. My team relied heavily on each other for support, and I can’t tell you enough how much that was needed this quarter.

Gratitude

My team implemented something very cool this quarter: gratitude. We started each team meeting by going around the table and listing three things we were grateful for. We did this to help build up each other’s resilience and also find out about what was going on with each other’s lives. While this took some valuable time from each team meeting up front, I think that in the end it made us a more cohesive team overall. This led us to have better discussions and make better decisions, and most days we ended up finishing half an hour early. 

 

If you haven’t done a review of your last quarter, I highly encourage you to give it a try! What do you want to remember from this quarter?

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