When I made my decision to attend the accelerated One-Year program at Goizueta, I knew that I was signing up for an intense experience. As May drew closer, I had the good fortune to meet a few Goizueta alumni, current students, and staff – and one conversation topic popped up in every chat with those folks:

“So… are you taking any time off before school starts?”

“Nope – my last work day is the Friday before classes start.”

“Oh. Good luck with that!”

As a somewhat obtuse individual, I accepted their cautious well-wishes without a second thought. I’ve spent more than half of my life in school already, so how hard could it be to go back to the academic grind?

The answer: it can be very hard – but it’s extremely rewarding as well!

Classroom simulation exercise in Leading Organizations and Strategy:

Today, we wrap up our fifth week of classes as business school students – one month on a calendar. It’s been a short period of time, or so it would seem. In the past month, my classmates and I have weathered the following business school gauntlet:

75 hours in the classroom immersing ourselves in 5 academic courses (Managerial Economics, Data and Decision Analytics, Systems and Processes, Leading Organizations and Strategy, Management Practice)

35 hours with the Career Management Center learning about career paths, refining resumes, practicing interviewing skills, and otherwise preparing for the upcoming job search this fall

27 individual and team homework assignments

Hundreds of pages of case studies and readings

12 quizzes,  tests, or major group projects

The numbers are staggering… but every piece of that workload has been essential and enriching as our class has been introduced to the core business school curriculum. As we move on in our careers after school, we’ll be bombarded with perplexing issues, ambiguous roles, arcane data sets, short timelines, and countless other difficulties. Knowing the challenges that await us a year from now, the Goizueta faculty and staff are doing an amazing job of introducing us to those issues – and providing us with guidance and tools that we can use to navigate our way forward once graduation day has come and gone.

Five weeks have come and gone, and I already feel like I’ve grown substantially since starting school – my core business knowledge has expanded, of course, but I’ve also learned to put down my own biases and to consider the perspectives and criteria that others might adopt in order to make business decisions. I’ve learned how to determine whether a variable displays heteroskedacity in a multiple regression model forecasting weekly museum attendance (more impressively, I’ve added the word “heteroskedacity” to my vocabulary), but I’ve also learned to respect the powerful influence that organizational culture and capabilities have on a firm’s ability to execute business strategies. The Goizueta core curriculum offers a wonderful and challenging blend of quantitative and qualitative coursework that is already equipping my classmates and I to become more effective business leaders in the future.

It’s been an amazing (and intense) five weeks, and I’m excited for the road ahead in school. For now, though, I’m going to go outside and take part in another grand Goizueta tradition – Kegs in the Courtyard, our weekly happy hour!

Kegs in the Courtyard: