If you aren't nervous on the first day of your MBA program, you're either a liar or a fool. An MBA program's greatest asset is it's network - between tuition and leaving full-time employment you're sacrificing nearly a quarter of a million dollars to gain that network. That's not all - Rady classes are small, so each person counts. Basically, on Day 1 you're hoping it will all be worth it.
But then you walk into that first mixer for pre-term, and it all starts to come together. The backgrounds of your newfound peers leave you impressed, inspired, and curious. Yahoo Japan. United States Marine Corps. The classical pianist-turned-theater director. Honduras. Poland. Turkey. Taiwan. The software engineer who turned down an offer from Google to come to Rady. The faces you meet blur from individuals into exactly what they were meant to be - a diverse, potent cohort. The lunchtime conversations drift from intriguing concepts to pop culture to local food. During briefings the cohort asks tactfully sharp questions, and it becomes clear that this is a crowd that is actively invested in the school.
At the close of that first week a celebratory happy hour was held at a nearby restaurant. A melange of international students, military veterans, software engineers and bio-tech researchers (to name a few), all laughing and enjoying one another's company. In the weeks that have followed that moment has been repeated many times, and one phrase continues to be reinforced: this was worth it.
Wilson Galyean (@wgalyean) is a Full-Time 2015 Rady MBA Candidate focusing on entrepreneurship. He an Afghanistan veteran, former US Army infantry officer, and received his Bachelors of Science from the United States Military Academy at West Point in 2008.