SEMESTER SERIES : KIRK SMITH – SHOULD I ARRIVE EARLY? ANSWER: YES

“Are you the student who posted in the Facebook group? Get in the car now!” 

That was my first introduction to the community at Goizueta Business School (GBS).  As I walked to watch the One Year program play IM softball, one of the students recognized me, picked me up, and drove me to a field I never would have found on my own.  I’m sure future blogs will discuss the community aspect of the GBS proposition, yet the experience highlighted an important decision many prospective students face: When do I move to my future home?

I believe that you should move down to Atlanta early because it gives you the opportunity to…

Explore Atlanta- Until I interviewed in November 2013, I had never step foot outside the Atlanta airport.  Now? I regret never doing so.  Whether you are interested in southern or Korean barbeque, burgers or beers, chances are you will find a food or beverage that will appeal to you.  However, there is more to Atlanta than just food. When I arrived, I asked Corey Dortch and Harriet Ruskin an innocent question: What can I do in Atlanta? Within minutes, the two of them generated an amazing list of restaurants, museums, and outdoor activities.  Why is this a benefit for business school?  First, you can help your fellow classmates find activities throughout the city.  It’s fun helping others explore new areas, or avoid others, while developing connections that will last beyond school  Second, you won’t have an opportunity to discover Atlanta as much as you want once classes start.  Take advantage of the time now while your schedule has a greater degree of flexibility.

GBS at the Georgia Dome for NFL Preseason

Establish Your Professional Network…Early- Interacting with One Year and Evening MBAs provided me an excellent opportunity to learn what they did/do, identify common areas of interest, and dive into the culture of the school.  Everybody at business school will admit that the first semester is the hardest.  Between your core curriculum, recruiting, and social events, it is hard to break outside of your section, or even team, bubble.  Enjoy the access to an incredibly engaging group of individuals who you will rarely see until the spring semester when your electives begin.

Start New Traditions- Many students will be starting entirely new lives in Atlanta.  This can be terrifying, but exhilarating.  One of the ways that helped me cope with the change of living in a different state for the first time in my life was to start attending trivia at a bar in Little Five Points.  The drinks are cheap, the food is good, and the company is fantastic.  Over time, more people started attending the event and brought their partners to contribute to the team knowledge.  Again, this interaction with different people and their partners only adds to the business school experience.  What started as an activity to kill time before school has turned into a weekly ritual motivating us to work hard Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday to enjoy relaxing times with friends (and occasionally win gift certificates).

Part of the Weekly Trivia Crew

For some, moving to an entirely new city, state, or country may be logistically difficult due to visas, partners, or work commitments.  Yet for me, the benefits outweigh the cost.  It allowed me to push myself outside of my comfort zone, which is one of the main reasons I decided to pursue a full time MBA.  Talk to me in a few months, and I may need that extra paycheck…