• Miles To Go Before I Sleep

    Ah, September. We now have one full week of classes behind us and have officially bid adieu to the unofficial end of summer, also known as Labor Day weekend. Walking into Kogod yesterday, I immediately noticed the study lounges were full of students so it’s clear it’s time to put away the flip flops and bring out those textbooks.

    While I am sad to say goodbye to summer, I am happy fall is upon us. I have always been a fall person and there are a few things I especially love about this time of year: the relief from the sweltering heat, day trips out to the Shenandoah Valley to see the fall colors, not to mention stopping at a few wineries along the way, football (Go Packers!), everything pumpkin, and… the Marine Corps Marathon.

    For those of you who are unfamiliar with the Marine Corps Marathon, let me take a moment to tell you a bit about it. It’s the largest marathon in DC and the fourth largest in the United States. Starting near the Pentagon, the race course winds runners through 26.2 beautiful miles of Virginia and Washington, DC and eventually ends at the Iwo Jima Memorial. The race takes place the last Sunday of October and always promises a great day for runners and spectators alike. It’s one of my favorite days of the year.

    The Marine Corps Marathon starting line.

    The Marine Corps Marathon starting line.

    I am a five-time Marine Corps Marathon finisher and will hopefully be changing that to a “six-time” finisher come October 27. So it’s safe to say that running is important to me, which is why I’m surprised this specific realization came to me only yesterday after seeing runners on campus and students working away in the lounges: the first year of your MBA program is much like training for and completing your first marathon.

    • You commit to running the marathon and then register for the specific race, much like you apply to different MBA programs and make your final decision regarding where you will attend.
    • You set up a training schedule which takes place over several months, much like laying out the deliverables expected of you over the course of the semester after receiving the syllabuses for all of your classes.
    • You quickly learn how you best train – by yourself or in groups, much like figuring out if you like studying groups or studying on your own.
    • You figure out your best running outfit, much like picking out your best power suit for those internship interviews and industry days.
    • You also learn how to keep yourself fueled and energized on long runs – with running gels or sport jelly beans, much like you do in school – with copious amounts of coffee or pizza breaks.

    All of the work done over the months leading up to the marathon prepares you for the final push: race day. Or, in the case of an MBA student, finals.

    So to all of the first years: it’s now time to put on your best shoes and hit the ground running. All of the work being done now will ensure you are prepared once December rolls around. While you won’t get a medal after your last final, you should give yourself and your fellow classmates a high five for crossing that finish line. Now get to work!