At the beginning of January, I attended the first of the many seminars I have planned to take this year in Paris. Although this wasn't my first trip to Paris, it was the first time I went to the International School of Management.
About two months in advance of every seminar, all the necessary documents, including the syllabus, required reading, pre-seminar assignments and other needed documents are posted on the school's learning management system for students called "MyISM". This gives students enough time to be well prepared for seminars.
Moving back to Paris didn't even feel like an option for me. I knew after studying here in 2013 that I wasn't done with this city.
I decided to take a French course during my undergraduate studies. To be honest, I found it very challenging. The class met four days per week and required me to memorize a copious amount of material in a short amount of time. The semester ended, and I received a 'B' in the course, which was a big deal for me at the time. I decided I would not enroll the following semester.
Before sitting down to write this month's blog post, I did an extensive Google search for "well-known proverbs and quotes about time management". Why you ask? Because Father Time has essentially picked me up by my very thin and boring bootstraps, smacked me in the face, and shaken me up whether I was ready or not and has left me wondering to myself everyday how I'm going to pull my life off.
When I decided to go back for my MBA I had been out of college for a little over three years and my once young and lively energy has been drowned out by my overall acceptance of a mundane and routine lifestyle. I realized quickly that I was not prepared and I might add that I'm still not prepared to be a student again.
I had planned to write something more a bit earlier in the summer, but I'm happy I delayed long enough to have attended the ISM NY summer reception before "putting pen to paper." For me this casual get-together in a bar near Baruch College was "right on time" and amazing!
I am not as nervous about re-starting formal education this time as I was when I went for a Masters (that time also after a period away from school). I'm comfortable about doing the work. I've been a little unsettled, however, about the nature of the work itself. The MBA coursework was like college (or high school), which included a lot of reading, classes held in classrooms and points for class participation. I knew what I was walking into because I had been there before. The independent study and research components sounds interesting, but are somewhat intimidating. Also, I majored in Engineering and then in Finance. The longest papers I ever had to write (in ancillary courses, by the way, not my major) were 10 pages, double-spaced (large font). As I think about the requirements of the ISM courses, and the required dissertation at the end, a cold sweat makes me start to miss all those problem sets "back in the day."
The very essential question one asks when considering going back to school is 'Which business school is best for me to join?' The higher education market, much like any other market, offers wide range of academic products suited for every need, niche and appetite. It is through meticulous research and dissection of the pros and cons that a future scholar arrives to the exciting point of enrolling into a school. What is it about ISM that continuously attracts, convinces and charms hundreds of professionals from around the globe year after year? What describes ISM's unique selling proposition (USP) so to say?
All new ISM candidates will complete an Outcomes Assessment assignment prior to starting with the main course work towards their desired degree. All related information about credits earned, assessment deadlines, and grading can be found on ISM's website, as well as in the enrollment package. Additionally, the academic advising session gives a good opportunity to go over the finer details and questions or concerns with the Academic Director.
Being a student in the IEMBA program, I have some flexibility to create my own schedule so that I can study while working full time. However, it is essential for me to plan ahead. For that reason, I devoted the first month at ISM to planning. I signed up for classes for the next 7 months, familiarized myself with the schools' online platform and all the tools we have available to us, as well as working on my first assignment.
Very soon after I was accepted to the program, I received all the necessary information and had my first advising session with Matthew Andrews, the Executive Academic Advisor, which was very helpful and set me on the right path for the upcoming year. In addition, the school's librarian, Judy Knight, welcomed me to the school and introduced me to the services the library and she offer. Soon after, I had the opportunity to try the services first hand and they were helpful!
After getting to know more about my study program and the school itself, I must say there is truly a reason why the school has the word "international" in the name.
In one of my previous blogs, I already mentioned the possibility of studying in 6 different countries (including France) during the program, which was one of the major factors why I decided to study at this school.
"What have I put myself into now?!!!" I thought to myself, slapping my forehead repeatedly. This was my state of mind as I pondered over the fact that I had to hand in my first MBA assignment in less than 3 weeks whilst working full time and leading my team of students into the next WorldMUN conference, being held in Brussels, half way across the world. Not only was it very far away from the land down under and I was experiencing terrible jet lag, but I had not written an academic paper for about ten years and so to say the least. I was a bit rusty. It was clear; I was officially in panic mode!
The investment into an MBA program, whether it is time, money or energy, is significant and requires a high level of commitment. So, it is very important to choose the right program. The MBA market has become quite saturated with many schools offering MBA degrees. With the development of technology and people wanting to work full-time while studying, schools have adapted to the needs of students and broadened the selection of their programs.