Why I chose Johnson
I chose Johnson because of its reputation, the quality of their professors, and caliber of students in the program. The team aspect of the program allows me to work on both my professional and personal growth.
Distinctions and Awards
January 20 2016
Why You Shouldn’t Make Assumptions
One of my favorite books that I reference often is, “The Four Agreements,” by Don Miguel Ruiz. It offers a simple way of looking at life through four basic policies, that when applied, help you live a simplified and fulfilling life. Throughout my experience in the Cornell Executive MBA Americas program, I’ve learned that the most valuable lesson from this book is the principle of not making assumptions, (articulated as the third agreement). Like many of us, I had a tendency of making assumptions based upon people’s experience, age, etc., when I entered the program. Rather than asking questions, I made assumptions. I felt that certain team members would be better versed on subject matter based upon their occupation and experience. I sometimes felt there were areas where I excelled and others that were unattainable. Becoming more aware of these biased assumptions has made me realize I have been applying them for more than 30 years.
I vividly recall being upset that someone else on my team was assigned to lead our first assignment without my knowledge. In that moment, I assumed that I had more experience and a better grasp of this particular topic than my peers. After a discussion, my teammates agreed to allow me to lead the assignment. Although we did well, I later realized that we would have done well regardless of who took the lead. It became very clear that we are all smart, capable, experienced professionals and that we work effectively together. Regardless of what I knew about my ability, I now understood this was a baseless assumption. My key takeaway? I have learned to trust and respect the ability of my team in order to excel as a cohort.
Another assumption I made was that I am not a quant person. Possessed with a lifelong fear of math, I was terrified to think about the quantitative portion of my studies. However, part of the reason I decided to secure an MBA was to overcome these “stories,” face my fears, and dispel inaccuracies. Through my experience, I have discovered that I am actually quite good at math now that I have mastered the art of Microsoft Excel. Two of my favorite classes are Finance and Business Decision Modeling, which I initially dreaded.
These are simply examples of how, once an assumption is formed, we continue to build upon it and jump to conclusions. One of the greatest assumptions we make as human beings is that everyone sees life the same way we do. We rarely try to understand why we developed the assumption, instead of forming judgements based out of it. Since adopting this principle, I am able to seek the truth, not what I think is the truth. As you may imagine, this has completely transformed my experience in this program, relationships with teammates, and my overall spirit in business and in life. I converted from a place of misunderstandings to one of clarity, and Johnson was a large part of that change. This would not have happened to me if it wasn’t for this program and the values it instills in us as individuals.
My purpose for pursuing an MBA was to grow professionally and personally, both are equally important to me. I have come a long way and look forward to being a better, more enlightened person when I graduate. With the support of my amazing team, classmates, coaches, professors and faculty at Cornell, I have no doubt that I will emerge from this program a much better individual. That is not an assumption…it is a fact!