Happiness During First Year of Business School

The first year of business school is filled with ups and downs. Everyone starts out very happy, as they’re excited they got into school and look forward to meeting their new classmates and friends. But the last few weeks I’ve noticed a disparity in the way that different people are feeling. Some students feel like they’re on top of the world because they’ve done well in classes or they’ve recently landed the job of their dreams. But there is another group of students that hasn’t had quite the same luck. At least not yet.

To quantify some of those ups and downs I decided to sketch out a graph the reflect an approximation of the average level of “happiness”. I did that by listing a few of the noteworthy events from Kellogg on the X-axis, and rating each event from 1-10 based on what the average student might be feeling at that point and time.

The graph starts at CIM week (ie orientation week) where students are still happy they’ve gotten into school and were able to quit their jobs early to revel abroad for the past few weeks. They arrived in Evanston from all over the country ready not only to make lots of new friends but also ready to take over the world and become tycoons in their respective industries. But then things like midterms, finals, recruiting, and winter snowstorms hit and things got a lot tougher. Fortunately, things like Ski Trip, TG, and job offers (for some) mitigated some of those downs. The goal was to have the graph capture some of those changes.

But more  important than the actual ratings, I think the graph highlights the trend of ups and downs that students tend to go through during the first year at business school. Not only will some students agree with the trends of the graph, but I suspect most will be able to relate pretty well with it. Hopefully most of my classmates and fellow MBAs are navigating the process and making their way back to the upper levels of the 10 point scale.

For the record, the graph is not meant be comprehensive. Likewise, it’s not meant to be a representation of my experience nor any of my specific classmates. Instead, it’s simply meant to highlight the trend of ups and downs, and reflect some of the sentiments of the average MBA student, not only at Kellogg but a majority of top business schools.

Have something to add? Please feel free to share your thoughts and ideas.

Monday, February 21st, 2011 Careers

7 Comments to Happiness During First Year of Business School

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Rick
February 21, 2011

As always, your posts are very insightful!

If I’m reading the graph properly, it looks as if MORS was one of the times where happiness was lower. If this is correct, could you share a little more insight into why that is?

Chris
February 21, 2011

As always, your posts are very insightful!

If I’m reading the graph properly, it looks as if MORS was one of the times where happiness was lower. If this is correct, could you share a little more insight into why that is?

Jeremy C Wilson
February 21, 2011

@Chris
Thanks for your comment. I think there are two things that will help to interpret the graph.

First, is that MORS is not rated as low as you think. In the graph above, MORS is currently rated an 8, even though it might look lower. As it turns out, the real ranking is in between the 3rd and 4th hash marks, not the actual 4th hash mark. The 4th mark with a rating of 3 represents the MORS final exam. That was the first final exam for most students at Kellogg.

Second, even though a lot of people really enjoyed MORS, I still couldn’t rate it with a score of 10. After taking part in KWEST and then in CIM, lots of students were tired, so a 10 rating was out of the question.

Hope this helps.
Jeremy

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The contents of this blog are mine personally and do not reflect the views or position of Kellogg, Northwestern Law, the JD-MBA program, or any firm that I work for. I only offer my own perspective on all issues.
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