If there is anything I've learned in the past four weeks since I started my first year at Haas, it is that the MBA is really just one long period of juggling. You have to somehow balance your academics, career search, social activities, family, friends, club activities, and more. It is a test of your time management skills, discipline, and ability to function with less than 8 hours of sleep. All of the classmates I've talked to have been experiencing similar struggles. We've all been forced to learn how to juggle to survive and get the most out of our time here at Haas.
What makes this stressful lifestyle worth it is that there is never any shortage of interesting and useful activities to take part in. Last week, I had the honor of seeing Michael Lewis speak, met with product managers from Zynga, and listened to a presentation about Google's data-driven approach to human resources, all in the midst of mid-term exams. And that was in a slow week. On top of weekly rituals like TNABL (a class-wide gathering at a local bar) and Bar of the Week, I usually have the opportunity to attend company presentations, meet with entrepreneurs, go to wine tastings, and visit San Francisco. Then there are the classes, club meetings, and Cal football. It is this plethora of activities that forces Haas students to plan out their schedules so carefully.
Before I came to Haas, I wasn't very good at juggling. And actually, I still suck at it. But I have learned to manage my time effectively, optimizing my time so that I can achieve my goals and have fun doing it. Learning to do this is probably one of the biggest challenges MBA students face. I find myself creating to do lists in Evernote, managing my Google Calendar, and piping multiple email accounts to my iPhone. This hassle is completely worth it by the way. I've never felt so engaged, even when I was zipping around the country as a strategy consultant. Coming to Haas was definitely one of the best decisions I've ever made.