Congratulations on getting into business school! I remember how exciting (and nerve-racking) this time was for me last year. You spend months – or even years – preparing to submit applications, and then suddenly, it’s all over. You pick one, and you’re done! Or so you think… After committing to attend Rice University for my MBA, I immediately began preparing for a diversity conference for Consortium Fellows called Orientation Program, or OP. My preparation included company, industry, and function research, as well as attending pre-conference webinars hosted by companies with which I was interested in recruiting. At work, my job was far from over. During my five year tenure at the school, I had started a mentoring program, an alumni program, and a service-year volunteer program, and most of the details were in my head. Therefore, I spent my last few months on the job detailing my responsibilities for each program so that my successor would not have to reinvent the wheel. Fortunately, I was part of a tight-knit work community which was extremely open to employees leaving to return to school. My coworkers and managers were very supportive and always available to talk through my options with me. They were excited to learn that I’d be attending Rice nearby. Likewise, my other friends and family, who knew I’d been very busy over the past year but didn’t fully understand the process, were pleased to know that I wasn’t going too far. I was fortunate to be a part of two MBA prep organizations: Management Leadership for Tomorrow (MLT) and Forté MBALaunch. My friends from both organizations understood exactly what I had experienced because they had experienced it, too, and we had many celebrations of our collective achievements. In May, I began looking for apartments close to campus. While I already lived in the Houston area, I was a bit farther out in the suburbs and wanted something just a short distance from Rice, where I knew I’d be spending a lot of my time. After a couple of weeks of searching, I signed a lease to move into a complex just ten minutes away from the business school. I decided to mentally prepare for business school by leaving my job one month before school started. This allowed me time to transition from being a working adult to being a full-time student again. As you will soon see, the weeks leading up to starting your MBA program will be full of preparing documents like resumes and vaccination records, as well as completing online modules for various program offices. Fast-forward to my first day of school: it was a whirlwind, to say the least. At Rice Business, we begin the MBA program with two weeks of an immersion program called Launch, each day beginning at 7:30am and ending at 5pm. Some days are even longer – like day 1, which ended at 7pm. Going from 9am-5pm summer hours at work to not going to work at all made twelve hour days seem never-ending. However, while the days were long, they were filled with learning new things and making new friends. I was excited to officially begin my MBA journey and see what business school has in store for me. Again, congratulations on making it to the finish line, and best wishes in b-school! Ashley John, born and raised in Missouri City, Texas, earned her B.A. in Urban Studies from Stanford University and was a program manager for education and youth development nonprofits prior to business school. She is currently a first-year MBA student at Rice University’s Jones Graduate School of Business and will be a Commercial Marketing Intern at Dell this summer. Are you headed to business school this fall? Join us at the Forté MBA Conference for Women or the Forté Financial Services FAST Track.