The Challenges of an MBA Program
Looking back at what I went through during my MBA program, I am surprised at how many times I came across to a situation when I saw no solution in the beginning and then somehow found a solution in the end. Sometimes I felt depressed, often stressed, and then stronger and stronger along the way after overcoming seemingly impossible assignments, stretching my limits, going beyond my imagination, using skills I never imagined I had. And this spiral-like process started right from the start of the MBA program at ESMT, and is going to continue till its end.
Just when the program started, we had an outdoor team-building event for two days. Team-building sounds a very nice and friendly word. In practice, this nice and friendly team-building was achieved through very challenging activities, when the group of MBA students was divided into several teams which were left in the hills and forests and had to find a way to a specific place till the end of the day. Several hours of walking in the forest and fields in a very cold weather, under the rain with no sign of human being in eyeshot was funny first, but after a while when it got dark, and we had no more strength to walk, it was scary and frustrating. That was the first moment when I felt “What if we don’t find the place we needed? What if we had to spend the night in the dark forest? What if I can’t do this.”, and then another voice inside me told “You can. You are strong”. I started to sing with my new MBA friends and, we encouraged each other. And we did it. This was the start.
After that very first experiment, I had many other days and nights, when I had to deliver on tasks despite not knowing where to begin. But then I and my teammates did it somehow. I came to understand that necessity really drives creativity, and an MBA gives you a chance to experience all the creativity you have, to develop skills through constantly trying new things. And even though you feel a strange and awkward helplessness at first, over time this feeling becomes less and less salient, and you develop immunity, and you become stronger.
Advice for New MBA Students
So the most difficult part is the first few months of the MBA program. Here you start being faced with all types of challenges, and here you experience and learn how to stretch yourself. My advice to people who just started their MBA, or want to start it, will be “Try to exercise self-control and believe in you all the time no matter the circumstances. You will be surprised how stronger you become over time and how easy it becomes to handle things that seemed impossible to you before.” Besides, it will be very helpful to gain new friendships and expand networks. Your school alumni usually can give you huge advice and even just talking to them sometimes makes you feel that you are not alone in your MBA “problems”, and that they had those “problems” and overcome them in the past. This was in my case, when one of our MBA 2011 graduates - Iurie helped me a lot with his moral support.
About Sona Rostomyan
Sona Rostomyan is a full-time MBA student at ESMT who was nominated as one of the Kofi Annan Fellows this year. Prior to joining ESMT as an MBA student, she started her career at one of the most rapidly growing banks in Armenia (Ameriabank CJSC) working first in the customer service department and then in the back office. She has more than four of years experience in the banking industry (including customer transactions formalization, and account management). She enjoys solving mathematical puzzles, reading books and has a passion for photography.