From the monthly archives:

June 2011

It has been a long time since my last post, but it could have been expected that I would hardly have much time to attend to the blog. Two classes, six weeks, group cases and projects = no slack time. But it is all over now. I have been officially on a summer break from my MBA program for the last seven minutes, when I clicked submit button on my online final exam in Operations Strategy course.


It is interesting to compare my emotions at the end of the term from my first year of MBA and even terms in the second year. Thanks to the blog, I can go back and read how I felt at the time, because I would not remember it so vividly otherwise. Here is a short recollection of my posts marking the end of the term from my last two years of going through the part-time MBA program at George Washington University School of Business:

  • Fall 2009 – my very first MBA term. I actually had two posts about the end of the term, which is remarkable in itself: Fall Term Is Over, Almost and Part-time MBA on Winter Break! It shows how much emotion I had about it that I could not hold it or express in just one post ;-) It also shows that even amidst all that stress and pressure I was more dedicated to upkeeping my blog than now :-(   It was probably the hardest term of my MBA experience – back to school after too many years break. It’s almost funny to read now that I was looking forward to such simple things as checking my daughter’s homework on a winter break. But at that time it did not seem funny :-)
  • Spring/Summer 2010 – the end of my first year of MBA. I also had two posts, one at the official end of the first year My Part-Time MBA First Year is Over!, which was the end of the Spring term. It was probably the most emotionally charged post of all. Probably because I already learned a bit better to manage stress and became better at expressing positive emotions previously masked by stress. Also, it was a huge milestone – FIRST FULL YEAR OF MBA was done. And the other post was at the end of the Summer term -First Year Part-time MBA Is Complete –  when I officially marked a departure on a summer break, just like today. The emotions were not running as high as in previous post, “just a deep sense of relief and calm serenity”.
  • At the end of Fall 2010 I actually did not even have a celebratory post. I had a quasi-commemorative post Fall Term 2010 at GW MBA Near End, partly because I still had exams ahead after the end of classes. But overall the term end became more routine and business as usual.
  • A post at the end of the Spring term this year – 2-nd Year MBA Spring Term is Over – only mentioned a relief, as far as it goes for emotions.

Today I don’t have as high emotions as last year, but I am more excited than at the end of this Spring term. The reasons are very obvious. First, it is the beginning of a summer break, and I will really appreciate some time off from the school, especially since it is two months. Second, there is only one more year left of my part-time MBA program.

As much as I have been enjoying it so far, in spite of all the stress and time crunch, I am looking forward to finishing it. It has been very taxing on my time and family and we will all appreciate getting back some of our life. Also, I am excited to explore what new doors become open with my MBA degree in hand. Anyways, if everything goes as planned, this time next year I will be done with my MBA, and on to the new horizons!

Below is a chart of my personal emotional levels felt at the end of the terms at GWU part-time MBA program with extrapolation through the graduation.

Emotions Levels at the end of part-time MBA academic terms

MBA Emotional Roller Coaster

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On May 16 I started my classes in Summer Term at GW School of Business. There was some hiccup at the beginning though. I originally signed up for three classes: two from the core MBA curriculum, 1.5 credits each; and one elective from the Department of Information Systems Technology Management- three credits. I was trying to accelerate a little bit, so I would stay more firmly on my track to graduate next May.


When I came to the first class of the elective course, I found out that this course had prerequisites, and not just one, but two classes. Those two  classes are core in Information Systems Technology Management Masters Program. Even though professor said I could just retroactively learn some basic scripting and web tools, I knew it would not work for me. Having three classes was already a bit of a stretch, but I was confident I would pull it out. However having to retroactively review/learn some material from two other classes at the same time was too much even for my unquenching enthusiasm for knowledge ;-) So I had to drop this class. I had seen some of my classmates at GW part-time MBA program dropping classes before and I thought that was quite stupid or lack of thoughtful planning, specifically because you lose money if you drop classes after they begin. And here I was doing that same stupid and costly mistake. To my credit, nowhere in the emails sent out to part-time MBA students with list of Summer electives there was a mention that this class had prerequisites. Seems like the administration or the Department was so desparate to peddle extra classes, that they overlooked the prerequisite requirement disclosure.

There were some other exacerbating circumstances, in addition to having to learn/review material from two other prerequisite classes, that made me drop the class in spite of financial penalty.

  • First, the two core MBA classes had even more compressed format than regular Fall and Spring classes. In summer one and a half credit core classes are taught in just six weeks instead of seven. The length of each session is extended to three hours, but still I would have to go through the same material in one week less. It means more reading and homework per week.
  • Second, all three classes have group projects. Group projects require extra time, coordination and emotional strain as I shared before. I hated the idea of failing any of my groups because of the time constraints I would have.
  • Third, the other two classes were core, and I would have to take them at any rate before graduation. Sometimes, though, you cannot sign up for some classes in every term. Or you might have schedule conflict in the last term. Then it effectively may delay graduation at the very last moment. Not a good plan for me.
  • Forth, if I still tried to joggle three classes, I would most likely get a lower grade in each of them. Not a big one, as long as the grade is passing, but I don’t really see a point in killing  my GPA for no good reason. Maybe I decide to go for PhD in my retirement :-). Given my track record of getting MBA in mid-forties, getting PhD in sixties does not seem like completely out of realm of possibilities ;-)
  • Fifth, I would have to drive myself into the ground to pull it all out. Not in my plans.

Anyways, this was my rationale for dropping the class. It cost me about $600 in non-refundable 15% of the class tuition. Painful, but I will have to write it off as a “sunk cost” ;-( . Still better to drop the class than drop dead trying to make it.

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