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Settling in as a First-Year MBA

Andrea Puterbaugh 23It is hard to believe that the first round of classes is nearly over. Module one is coming to a close, and even though it has only been about eight weeks since we officially started our Krannert journey, I have already learned quite a bit. We have discovered that many of the opportunities to learn are not necessarily found within the walls of a classroom. Some of the most important things we have learned so far have been through experiences that have presented themselves in working with peers or in situations that have come up.

Sometimes the hardest skills to learn are not necessarily things that you come to the program expecting to learn, but they are some of the key skills which will help you succeed in your future career. For example, my group has learned how to work through situations where one or two team members do not agree with the rest of the group. We have learned diplomatic skills that have better prepared us to work with others in any setting, but especially in a future work environment. I have also learned the importance of playing to your strengths while pushing yourself to learn things that are difficult, instead of simply relying on others to do these things for you. In the team environment, everyone is expected to contribute equally, however sometimes certain team members have a better understanding of the concepts or have more experience with the topic you are dealing with. This does not mean that you should simply let them do the work because then you are cheating yourself of a valuable opportunity to improve your skills. Instead, you can watch how they do things, ask questions, and take advantage of their strengths so that you can improve your areas of weakness.

In my time at Krannert so far, I have also learned a lot about the culture of the Krannert Master’s programs. I have been able to see how there is a level of dedication that is unlike anything that I have seen before. Not only is everyone focused, driven, and willing to work hard, but everyone is willing to help others out. This is true in regards to both the students in the program as well as the faculty. When I have an issue with a problem on a homework assignment, I am able to go to the study areas and ask anyone in my program for help, and someone is always willing to explain the concepts or help me understand what I need to do in order to solve the problem. If I cannot find any students to help me, I know that there is an open line of communication with the professors and they are always ready and willing to help however they can.

I knew coming into the program that the Krannert MBA program was built with the foundation of a team mentality. However, I did not know just how much of a warm, inviting environment it would be because of that team focus. The collaboration extends far beyond the academic teams which we were assigned for homework and projects. The whole of the Krannert Master’s programs is a team and not just in the cliché way. A definition of “team” that I found (in Merriam-Webster) which accurately describes the program is, “marked by devotion to teamwork rather than individual achievement.” So as I move into the end of the module and prepare for my finals, I am confident because I have a team to rely on. While we all want to succeed individually, we understand that we can achieve that best by working together and devoting ourselves to making the group the best that we can.

Andrea Puterbaugh

First-Year MBA Student