Transitioning to student life
A little about myself, I’m Sam Sung (playing the name game with me was super easy – I wonder why…) and I’m originally from Los Angeles, Calif. I graduated from the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) with a major in political sciences, and went straight into the United States Marine Corps as a brand new 2nd lieutenant. I spent the next four years gaining valuable management experience, culminating my military career with a deployment to southern Afghanistan. While deployed, I submitted my application to Kellogg, conducted my phone interview via satellite phone, and received an email stating that I was accepted! I returned from Afghanistan in March 2011 and found myself in a Kellogg classroom attending Day at Kellogg (DAK) the following month. It was then that I experienced the Kellogg experience, and I knew that Kellogg was the school for me.
But to be completely honest, the transition back to student life has been tough. Kellogg has pre-enrollment courses that you can take online prior to returning, which I found very helpful as I had no background in business. Those courses were great and were exactly what I needed, but I quickly came to realize that the coursework was tough and came hard and fast.
It took me a couple of months to learn the military lingo, so I was at least prepared in that sense to know that I wouldn’t know the business lingo right off the bat. I didn’t know what a P&L is (if you don’t know, it means profits and losses), and thought being a “banker” meant you worked for Bank of America (maybe as a bank teller or manager?). I think everybody who doesn’t come in with a business background goes through similar experiences, second guessing their decision of going to business school, and not just any business school, but one of the best business schools in the nation.
But it’s all about perspective. I often have to remind myself to take a step back and look at my life and how blessed I am. I have a wife that supports me and loves me, with whom I can actually spend time with rather than be separated from for a year (that happened when I was deployed). Further, the way Kellogg integrates my spouse (aka JV or Joint Venture, which is basically a significant other) allowed her quickly to become involved and part of the Kellogg family. I am here, working my butt off and am more busy than I ever have been in my life, but I am preparing the way for my future. The doors that Kellogg will open are starting to slowly dawn on me with each company presentation that I go to (and the sandwiches and drinks that are provided with those presentations don’t hurt!).
Before coming to Kellogg, I looked at numerous student blogs from business schools I aspired to go to, and they helped me live the business school life vicariously through the blogger. Now I find myself in the position to potentially help others who are where I previously was. So, here’s to a year of experiences, ones which will hopefully allow you to judge whether business school is for you, and if it is, what it’ll be like.