A Girls Guide to Surviving an MBA

Posted with permission from Catalina Miguel

Girls MBA
I have been wanting to do an MBA since completing my Graduate Diploma in Business nine years ago. Unfortunately, there was a little thing called “real world managerial experience” which meant I had to be patient. Now that I have ticked all the pre-requisite boxes and have had the honour of accepting a place in the University of Auckland’s MBA Cohort #48, I am super excited for all the learning and challenges ahead of me.

What excites me the most is that the country is in a great time of change – our prime minister is a 38-year-old pregnant female (not to mention also featured in Vogue)! What is more is that my cohort has an excellent representation of a diverse mix of women. Ranging from a 27-year-old entrepreneur to a mid-forty-year-old on several boards. And that is what I love about my MBA experience so far – meeting people from all walks of life who all have the same goal of further advancing themselves. What they might not realise, is that all these women are a part of challenging the norm of what it takes to be a leader in New Zealand. What a time to be alive!

Jacinda Ardern Vogue March 2018

Image Source: Vogue

So far, the two subjects we have studied in Quarter One have been hectic. “Managing Organisations & People” opened our minds to new ways of management over two essays. One on “Anticipating the Machine Age” and the other on “Using Reframing Analysis for Management”. We also had two group presentations covering the “Search for the Most Future Focused NZ Business” and one on the “Symbolic Frame”. Meanwhile, my patience for algebra and statistics were tested in “Modelling & Analysis for Management” which featured two assignments and two tests on Optimisation, Regression, Estimation and Hypothesis Testing.

It will be an unimpossible two years – possible in some way, even if not yet clear now. To set us up for success, I have asked the lovely and talented females of my cohort to share their top tips on how to not just survive, but to thrive!

University of Auckland MBA Girls of Cohort 48
Dhara Shyamal, Entrepreneur, 27 
What helped me the most might sound cliché but is to say “No” and prioritise yourself. As women, it is instilled in us to prioritise others over us, whether it’s kids, work, house duties or social commitments. We have to remember our priorities. And don’t forget why we decided to do an MBA in the first place.

Josephine Chang, Financial Controller, 34
Excellent time management is crucial. Being a Financial Controller at Fusion Networks Ltd, owning two businesses of my own (Explore Pacific Ltd and The Lunchroom) and being a single mum to a 4-year-old boy, time management is extremely crucial for me. I need to juggle between office, businesses, Uni, day-care drop/picks and home duties every day! I am thrilled we are one quarter down! Look forward to a good 3-week break and thereafter Quarter Two!

Niina Suhonen, Business Consultant, 40
Believe in oneself; we are all very capable, and we have a lot of knowledge to share with others! Don’t concentrate on the grades too much and enjoy the journey.

Rachel Blair, Head of Retail Property, 30-ish 

  • Remember your purpose for doing your MBA.
  • Surround yourself with supportive people
  • Exercise and healthy eating is a must!
  • Remember to celebrate the wins along the way and have fun!

University of Auckland MBA Girls of Cohort 48
Lorraine Thomson, Company director 

  • Don’t be afraid to speak out in class, even if it means not agreeing with a male view.
  • Prioritise everything you do.
  • Women are good at multitasking, but when doing MBA you need just to focus on one thing at a time.

Gina Gao, Customer Service Manager, 36 

  • Get yourself well prepared mentally and physically for MBA as it will need lots of energy and concentration. You must have a fully pumped mind and body for it!
  • Never think it is easy. MBA is an executive course. It is not just about the material; it is also about the learning process. Make friends with teaching staffs, classmates and any supportive people, you will get lots of help. Then it will not be hard!

Adel Megdyatova, Analytics Manager, 31

  • Use all the resources the university provides. Get all the help you need. It will make your life easier. Discuss assessments with your cohort colleagues and learn from their experiences, approaches and ideas.
  • Don’t forget that it is an academic journey and applying theory to practice. Not just concentrating on your practical experience is what will get you there.
  • Take it one day and one assignment at a time. Stay calm and you will be ok.
  • Self-care is key. Don’t let the stress get to you. You are in for a long haul and not a sprint.

Nikki Marchant-Ludlow, General Manager, 48

  • Particularly for those who may not have studied for a while. If you are thinking about it, do it! Don’t get overwhelmed by the volume of work. Yes, it is busy but break it down into chunks, and it will be manageable.
  • Don’t panic and don’t focus on the grades (hard if you are a high achiever) but instead embrace and enjoy the learning journey.

Rachel M, 47
Start early!! And be prepared that you may not achieve your best work – I think our skills will get better fast. I certainly didn’t pass time management this time around!

Thanks ladies! Can’t wait to see how we go!

2018-08-19T13:53:12+00:00