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Christine Chang, MBA '15

Christine Chang, MBA '15

Apr 25

Generosity of Spirit

I am writing this past midnight from a Marriott in NYC, in the midst of the Strategic Marketing Immersion trek. Second semester has been such a whirlwind! I can’t believe it’s almost over and I’ll soon be halfway through my MBA experience.

Our admitted students’ weekend, Destination Johnson (DJ), happened not too long ago. Talking to all the incoming students made me reflect back on when I was at this stage and why I chose Johnson.

My situation is a little unique - the only business school I applied to was Johnson. I’d been debating between getting an MBA and a masters in HR, but knew that I’d have FOMO (Google it) no matter which I chose – so when I discovered the MBA/MILR dual degree here at a Cornell, I knew that it was this program or bust. FOMO prevention for the win!

I know, not terribly interesting right? But it’s the plain truth. However, after being here for almost a year, I can confidently say that out of the almost countless reasons to become part of the Johnson family, the defining characteristic that stands out most in my mind is: Generosity. Three brief(ish) illustrations:

1. Generosity to the Greater Johnson Community: I got an email from an incoming student who had some questions about how to get started early on her career transition (smart move) and she closed her email with: “I was at DJ about a week ago and was overwhelmed by how giving and open the first-years are...” Yup, those are my classmates!

2. Generosity to the Greater Ithaca Community: We have an annual Charity Auction here at Johnson, where administrators, professors, fellow students, and community members put up items for auction. All proceeds go to local non-profits, and this year, we raised almost $12,000. People donated all kinds of awesome items, from home-cooked dinners to dance lessons to paintings. I bid on six things and swiftly got outbid on all of them. I better save up some of that summer internship money and roll in with deeper pockets next year!

3. Generosity to the insignificant Christine Chang (um, that’s me): I was part of a committee that worked on the first ever Johnson Women in Technology conference and I was beyond nervous that not enough people would come for my particular area of responsibility (scheduled for very early on a Friday morning, four hours away from school). I cannot express how much it meant to me that many of my friends came – some of who 1) aren’t women and 2) aren't interested in technology careers! To see my friends give of their time, money, and sleep to show up for a conference unrelated to their personals interests and to hear their encouragement before, during, and after the conference was so heartening.

My list doesn't even account for the generosity of 2nd years who have given of their time to pay-it-forward and help us 1st years, or the generosity of the alumni who keep coming back to recruit, speak, and advise. There's a lot of both of those around here.

So as I sit here in the dark and try not to whack my keyboard noisily lest I wake my hotel roommates before our 6 AM wake-up time, I’m thinking about how lucky I am to be surrounded by genuine, giving people who are looking out for the institution, the community at large, and for each other. I can only hope to succeed in being just as generous in giving back to my friends, classmates, and the community. Let me know if there’s something I can do for you – I'm happy to help. After all, I have great role models.

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