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Fellow Friday: Day in the Life of a First Year MBA

aileen-maria-ritchieLife as an MBA student is a whirlwind of activities and deliverables—but with the proper planning, it can be productive and fun. Planning is crucial because it keeps me sane and gives me a great sense of satisfaction. Here is a snapshot of a typical Tuesday during Fall Quarter.

However, my day really begins the night before with food preparation. I eat often, probably six times a day or more, so I must plan ahead on food. It is also more cost effective to cook at home and bring leftovers to school. I like to pack at least one granola bar, some fruit and snacks, and lunch. I pack this in a lunch bag and have it waiting in the fridge before I go to bed.

aileen-capoMy typical morning starts at 6:45 am—wake up, shower, and walk my dog, Capo. I attend Simon Business School at the University of Rochester in upstate New York. I’m a Californian native and an Austin Texas transplant. This year is my first time experiencing the seasons on the east coast! As a result, taking my dog on morning and evening walks requires bundling up as the seasons change. Even though it’s chilly in the autumn and winter, I really enjoy my morning walks because it gets my blood pumping and helps me clear my head for what I know will be a long day.

After our walk, I feed Capo and sit down to a quick bowl of cereal. While I eat, I boil water for tea (because I definitely need a caffeine boost). By the time I’m done, I pour my hot water into a thermos, steep my tea, and rush to my car. The drive to school is quick, and the rest of the day is packed:

aileen-schedule8:30 am: Attend Business Modeling class on simulations and optimization + eat my granola bar.

10:20 am: Attend Marketing Management on Promotion and Brand Management + eat a snack.

11:50 am: Break for lunch! Usually, I meet with a classmate who also tutors me in Finance.

1:00 pm: Swing by my Finance professor’s office hours to clarify some questions on the Capital Asset Pricing Model (CAPM) topic. If I have time before 2:00pm, I also stop by Accounting office hours to say hi to the Teaching Assistant and review some practice problems.

2:00 pm: Meet up with my assigned team for the quarter to prioritize our upcoming team and individual assignments. I also eat something to keep my energy going.

3:30 pm: Rush to additional office hours with the Finance TA. I utilize these office hours every Tuesday because I have never taken a finance class prior to this one. (I was an English and Art major at UC Berkeley).

5:00 pm: Take a quick break to eat a snack before heading to a third set of office hours.

5:30 pm: Additional Finance office hours—I like to use this time to prepare for the next day’s lecture by doing practice problems and reviewing concepts.

aileen-capo26:30 pm: Wrap up, and walk back to my car, and drive home to this amazing dog face.

7:00 pm: Then it’s time to go on our evening walk! Afterwards, I eat dinner (this is usually leftovers from cooking over the weekend).

8:30 pm: Networking emails, school emails, and planning for the next day. Then homework. Every day, this is different—sometimes I will be reading case studies and writing papers, or other times, I’ll be modeling a business problem in excel. Whatever I do, the time passes fast because there is so much.

10:30 pm: Pack my backpack and my lunch for tomorrow, get ready for bed, and go to sleep!

For the Fall Quarter, I am taking five classes and networking to lock down my summer internship. It is the most packed schedule I will have during my two years at Simon Business, and even though it can be tough—the learning process is rewarding, fulfilling, and 100% worth it.

Aileen Maria-Ritchie, Forté Fellow
MBA 2017, University of Rochester, Simon School of Business

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