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Just a few weeks ago, the fall term ended with final exams in our first quarter classes. But getting here wasn’t necessarily a piece of cake. Shortly before the holiday break, students began to disappear from Jacobs and started to focus much more on final exams. And despite the fact that business school is often referred to as two-year vacation, many people actually spent a lot of time studying during the final couple of weeks.

In just about all of our classes, exams were open book and lasted for three-hours. Although that may sound long, the professors told us that if we’d been coming to class, doing the work all quarter, and put a few hours of study during exam period, that everything would be just fine. But the question on everyone before mind was, is that really true?

In some cases, students took the professors up on their “offer” and did little preparation for classes, though in other cases students spent an innumerable number of hours preparing. For some students that’s because they felt more urgency to do well, given they’re planning to interview at firms that ask for grades. Likewise, because most students have done well their whole lives, so don’t want to start performing otherwise now.

For me, the biggest hurdle felt like Finance. I enjoyed the content of the class also thought highly of the professor, but the content was more challenging than my other classes, since I didn’t come from a typical finance background, unlike many of my classmates. But I put a lot of time in studying, did practice exams, and went to review sessions, and in the end everything turned out just fine.

In the end, it remains to be seen how academic performance will impact professional opportunities. While most of us have heard that grades won’t make or break an application, I suspect that some companies will still consider them for candidates on the margin, which is a stark contrast to law school, where grades are usually the determining factor of a job application.

But more important than how grades turned out was that we all made it through the first quarter. First, that meant we could finally start to focus more on recruiting. And second, it meant that we could finally pack up and finally head to Aspen for the annual Kellogg Ski Trip to celebrate the end of their first quarter with classmates.