Everyone’s LSU Flores MBA Experience is different. It will be what you make of it. There are some things that are universal to all of us as LSU Flores MBAs, however, and I was glad that the program’s staff gave me a great indication of what was in store from start to finish. It was an exciting two years and now, diploma in hand, I’m happy to give you a taste of what you can expect.
During Launch, I met most everyone I was entering the Flores MBA Program with and got to know everyone in my cohort. I also attended a welcome brunch hosted by the LSU chapter of the National Association of Women MBAs before Launch week began, and it was nice to see some familiar faces. Launch week is fun because it isn’t all about being in the classroom.
We learned about teamwork, cooperation, and other business essentials through activities and participated in great socials and networking opportunities.
My professors previewed what we would be covering during the upcoming semester and certainly made it sound like it would be intense. During the week, I also worked with the LSU Flores MBA Program’s staff on improving my résumé. Many larger companies visited campus early in the fall, as they normally do, and some of my top picks for companies to work for scheduled interviews early in September.
The Saturday prior to the start of classes I went tubing down a river with the Flores MBA Association. It was fun meeting second-year students and getting great advice about the first semester.
The first few weeks of class were really difficult, and transitioning from undergraduate to graduate school was more work than I initially thought it would be. I had taken a few accounting classes as an undergrad, so I thought I would breeze through Understanding Financial Information. This accounting class, however, was from a perspective unlike any other I had taken before.
On top of my school work I also worked with the LSU Flores MBA staff to find an internship for the summer. Even though I had only been in school for three weeks officially, recruiters from the big companies were already visiting campus.
I met with my classmates almost every weeknight to work on different presentations. My group members were from a variety of different academic backgrounds. Some had graduated from their undergraduate programs recently, and some brought with them a handful of years from being in the workforce. It was great to interact with such a diverse group.
After the first couple of months I grew accustomed to what my new life entailed. The MBAA events held on the weekends were really fun, and I was able to bond with my classmates. Outside of the MBAA, I attended every home football game that I could. There is nothing like a Saturday night in Death Valley (a.k.a. Tiger Stadium). Tailgating and learning all of the cheers along with my classmates were a blast as well.
I felt much more comfortable at the start of my second semester than I did at the beginning of my first. A new year had begun, literally, and being in the program truly felt like a fully integrated part of my life. In my classes, I was reunited with my cohort, and the familiarity of having recognizable faces in my next slate of classes was comforting.
We went to Brazil as part of the college and program’s emphasis on globalization. The country has such a rich culture and continues to be an important emerging market for American businesses. The experience was amazing.
Even without football in the mix, the semester flew by. The classwork was challenging but manageable, and I definitely felt my professional skills were developed further in those few months. The fall could not get here soon enough for me, but it would have to wait until my busy summer was over.
As if Brazil had not been incredible enough, I had the opportunity to squeeze in the program’s annual twoweek study trip to China before beginning my summer internship. The experience was packed with outings to various businesses and cultural events. I learned a great deal about doing business in China and was inspired to pursue opportunities with multinational corporations that have interests there.
My internship was with a Fortune 500 company headquartered in Texas, but my duties for the company took me to Virginia. Many of my classmates accepted internships all over the U.S., including Baton Rouge, but a few went overseas. It was great to apply what I had learned my first two semesters in a real-world setting, and I could not have asked for a better experience.
Repeatedly my company coworkers and bosses told me how impressed they were with me, and I was very hopeful my internship would lead to a full-time offer.
One year down, one year to go.
I returned for Launch and even helped the program staff organize some aspects of it. It was exciting to meet the incoming students and to catch up with my classmates and find out what their internships were like. Imagining that just one year ago I was in the same place as the new first-year students was difficult, especially when I took into account everything I had learned since I first stepped foot on campus and how much I had developed professionally.
My focus that semester was two-fold. I was trying to find a job while concentrating on my classes. Certainly it was a bit of a juggling act, but I knew it would be best to start applying early to help ensure I had a job before graduating in the spring.
Of course the fall meant another season of LSU Football, and a perk of being a second-year MBA student is that you get to sit with your classmates in a reserved section in the stadium to cheer the Tigers on to victory. Besides the fun I had learning even more with my cohort, I really enjoyed getting to know many of the first-year students.
After a mild winter, spring returned to Baton Rouge. The weather was beautiful, and that only added to keeping me busy. The MBAA hosted its annual charity golf tournament, and the local NAWMBA chapter hosted its annual 5K run to help fund a memorial scholarship. I participated in both.
That final semester was really devoted to my specialization and going through my last few elective classes. All of my electives taught me so much about my field of study. Additionally, that final semester presented me with a life changing decision to make. The company I had interned with the previous summer offered me a position in its home office, and I accepted.
Thankfully, the program’s Student Services staff aided me greatly when it came time for me to negotiate a salary with my new employer. For the final two months of the program I found myself looking forward to starting my new position, but my classes were still engaging and kept me grounded in the present.
April and May of that year flew by. Honestly, the two years of the program flew by. It was an enjoyable experience, I made wonderful friends, and I know I can count on the program to be there for me even though I am no longer a student. Keeping in touch with what is going on back in Baton Rouge is easy thanks to the college's Web site, Facebook, and Twitter. Many of my cohorts and fellow LSU Flores MBAs are even on LinkedIn. Additionally, there are even MBA Alumni Association chapters in some cities that get together often for various events.