As mentioned in earlier blog posts, students have a choice to enroll in a local Mid-Semester Module (affectionately abbreviated as MSM) or earn their global credit through an international MSM. I chose to take Brandon Smith’s “Advanced Communication Skills for High Potentials” MSM on campus and then spend the next 10 or so days in Costa Rica with friends (to be highlighted in the next blog post).

MSM with Brandon Smith:

If you haven’t already heard of Brandon Smith, he is a bit of a legend around these parts. In addition to being a fellow Vanderbilt Commodore, Brandon is a professor, an author, an entrepreneur, a counselor, a coach and The Workplace Therapist (trademarked!). If you get on campus and decide you have no idea what you want to do with your life, he is the man to talk to. If you got team problems, he is your soundboard. Needless to say, his time is a scarce resource, so the 100 of us or so that took his 4 day MSM soaked it up like a sponge.

Now when you hear a course title called “Advanced Communication Skills for High Potentials,” I imagine your eyes glaze a bit. This could have been the most pie in the sky course, learning how to increase our vocabulary or making presentations on how we define the concept of communication skills. Rather, this course was extremely insightful and practical for those of us who are re-entering the workforce. Two of the four days were spent with actual executives, recruiters, and HR professionals who told us exactly how they identify high potential employees. We also reflected on our “personal brands” and performed brand-checks with classmates. Finally, we learned how to navigate difficult workplace situations and how to say no when necessary. Can you imagine that?! So practical, so helpful. And on top of that we got to listen to a few classic Brandon Smith stories. That man knows how to work a room!

We weren’t the only ones having fun on our MSMs though. My friends and fellow MBA-ers who went away to India, Singapore, Chile, Argentina, Nicaragua, and Vietnam or even stayed on campus for a different MSM all came back with incredible stories. It is really neat to think that the 250 or so of us dispersed to nearly every single continent for the first half of March before once again reconvening in our little corner of Atlanta. Ok, tender moment is over.

All-Graduate School Mixer Event at the Fernbank Museum of Natural History: