Two-Year MBA Veteran Reflection at Graduation

Submitted by Dylan Vest, Two-Year MBA 2017 and Navy veteran

This Spring at Goizueta is the last I’ll experience as an MBA candidate at Emory, and it’s flying by even faster than I anticipated. Between travel, formals, house-warming parties, graduation and a plethora of other activities that have already crept into a good portion of my calendar over the next few weeks, I have precious little time left before I’m walking across the stage (Well, we’ll see how this Global Macro final goes). Naturally, being a prior Naval Officer, I saw this coming and decided to make a proper plan (as we veterans love to do) for it about six months ago.

While you might suspect that I orchestrated an elaborate itinerary to visit 46 countries in three weekends and one month before starting work, I am proud to say that I took a round turn on the typical last-semester extravaganza. I saw an opportunity to prioritize the life-balance that I wanted to perpetuate into my next career, which after racking my brain for several weeks I boiled down to relationships, fitness & creativity. I quickly signed myself up for a second half-ironman triathlon in May, took my mom up on a dare to perform “Europa” by Santana with her next Christmas in front of the family, and minimized my class schedule to make room for “hanging out”.

While my triathlon training and six-string acumen have been coming along quite nicely (fear of embarrassment is the best motivator, I say!), it’s the last hard push to discover and cultivate lasting relationships that has been most rewarding for me: meeting with a core team member once a week to work out together; emailing my favorite professors for book suggestions; hitting balls at the driving range with a friend who will resume active duty as an Army pilot upon graduation; drinking beer and swapping million-dollar business ideas at Slice N’ Pint after Global Macro; competing in a PS4 game night on a random Thursday with a new group of friends.

Maybe most importantly, I’ve been setting myself up for a great work-life balance once work begins. I purposely made a few calendar events with friends that repeat on a regular basis forever, which means even after I start working as a consultant. Although I won’t have time to train for two hours a day, I’ve been commuting by bike now for 6 months and I plan to continue doing so at Simon-Kucher & Partners . If I achieve my goal, these habits (and more importantly these friends) will stick with me even when the reality of a 9 – 6 workday hits.