Yes, it is true; MBA programmes are typically associated with hard work, endless job searching, resume revisions (and revisions (and revisions)). But there’s one thing that being a student again is also typically associated with – four-week-long winter breaks.
Last year, I did what any normal college student does for winter break. I packed my bags and snowboard, boarded a flight to Park City and stayed with my best friend for three glorious weeks … and only saw the slopes a few times. Unlike my carefree undergraduate days, I spent my “free time” finally being productive – in other words, checking off items that had been slowly accumulating on my “to do” list since enrolling in business school (which mostly included a long, long list of summer internships I wanted to apply for).
This year, I decided to take a slightly different approach – I used my winter break to take a vacation. To Australia.
Ever since the post-undergraduate trip I took to Europe when I was 22, I simply cannot get enough of travelling. But when I was in the working world, finding the time to vacation abroad was tough to come by. So one promise I made to myself before enrolling in business school was to travel more during my time off.
Fortunately, that’s one promise I have kept. Since moving to Washington DC for my MBA, I’ve already been to Argentina (twice), Brazil, London, Amsterdam and now, Australia, and I hope to add at least a few more countries to that list before I jump back into the workforce full time (Ethiopia will join my list in March).
For me, travelling has been an important component of learning about cross-cultural business (and also a good way to get my mind off school for a bit!) Australia was amazing, and although I have a lot to catch up on, I am so glad I went.
If I can offer any one piece of advice to incoming MBA students, it is this – take your studies and job search seriously, but don’t forget to also take some time for yourself to do the things you’ve always wanted to do. Two years goes by quickly and soon enough you’ll be back in the workplace with only two-week-long vacations once again (at least, here in the US).
After all, launching an exceptional post-graduate career is only half the MBA story. The other half involves personal growth, and figuring out what you truly want to do.
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