The second-year ride
The winter quarter just ended at Kellogg and this means that my MBA journey only has three more months left to completion. Ever since my second year began, my mind has been turned on to reflection mode, capturing memories, absorbing experiences, wondering what is left to do and what I may have missed out on.
At Kellogg, one of the most popular student acronyms is FOMO – Fear of Missing Out. It is touted to incoming first-year students as a warning not to overreach yourself. Kellogg’s halls are teeming with opportunities to engage with and the sheer number of choices often overwhelms new students.
I believe that we only use FOMO in half the relevant settings. It is equally appropriate for graduating second-year students, but for the opposite reason. For us, it is not so much about overextending. It is about making sure we cover as many bases as we can before we leave. In my opinion, second year is all about checking items off your bucket list and ensuring that nothing gets left behind.
I began my second year at Kellogg last fall secure in the knowledge of where I was headed for work post graduation. I accepted my offer from where I held my summer internship, and my joint venture (spouse or partner of a Kellogg student) was agog at an easy ride for the coming months.
Most of the last six months have been spent explaining to her why my second year of business school has been busier than the first year since I am no longer under the stress of recruiting.
I will readily confess that FOMO has smacked me left, right and center as I have been desperately trying to leave an imprint and absorb as much from Kellogg’s environments before my time on campus is up.
So here is a list of what I have managed to accomplish these past two quarters of my second year:
- Undertaken 10 academic courses across a variety of subjects, such as International Finance, the Affordable Care Act, Software Coding, Corporate Financial Decisions, Impact Investing, Advertising Strategy, Public Policy Analysis and Probability with its application to Decision Modeling and Customer Analytics (Study Tip: Keep a lot of caffeine and a bunch of awesome group members handy if you want to survive that diversity).
- Led the Kellogg Photography Club while being supported by an awesome team that has put up with all my whims. We managed to showcase the history of the Kellogg school through 100 years of archival pictures, and right now we are in the process of clicking a personalized portrait of every member of the graduating class for our portrait project.
- Pursued my interest in social impact by trying to define an academic agenda for that space at Kellogg with the Net Impact Club. In between, I dabbled with my impact investing group to test whether an urban slum redevelopment project in a Tier 1 Indian city could be financially viable (Answer: Yes, provided you get a lot of dollars upfront!).
- Lent my efforts to bring back the Technology Conference to the school and as finance chair in the organizing team kept an eye on every dollar we spent (P.S. We finished with a handsome surplus!)
- And in between all of that, for a few hours every week I had the honor to pay forward and lend my efforts to shape the incoming class at Kellogg as a Student Admissions Reader. Of all the responsibilities I have handled at the school, none has been more close to my heart than this one.
Two things have remained constant during all the madness of the last six months. The first has been the amazingly talented group of classmates who have enabled me to succeed both in class and in clubs. We talk a lot about teamwork and culture at Kellogg and it often starts sounding like a cliché for outsiders, but for those of us in the Jacobs Center, it is something we live and breathe every day.
The second constant has been the autonomy and opportunities afforded by the school. In my endeavors I have found a participating and willing set of administrators and faculty who have been open to engage and share insights, both inside and outside the class. These past two quarters I had a privilege of learning from some of Kellogg’s most remarkable faculty, such as Prof. Sergio Rebelo, Prof. David Besanko, Prof. Florian Zettelmeyer and Prof. Ben Jones. I have marveled at the level of preparation that they bring to the class and the passion with which they have immersed themselves into their subjects.
So if you are a prospective student reading this, fear not. An MBA ride that is busy, engaging and filled with rich learning opportunities is indeed possible. Also possible, due to Kellogg’s inclusive culture, is the opportunity to share that ride with your special one – my joint venture sat next to me for half of my classes and is also an officer with me on one of the clubs.
If you are a second-year reading this, please show up for the Portrait Project!
And if you are a first-year student or soon-to-be first-year, I have two words for you:
Aftab Khanna is from New Delhi, India. Aftab is a bit of a social media addict, loves to watch any kind of sport and shares his thoughts on Twitter at @aftabkhanna.