To date, my greatest challenge as a Cornell Johnson MBA student was learning how to properly manage my time. During my first year of the Two-Year MBA program, I was overwhelmed by what Johnson had to offer, what was required of me to score my dream job, and how different life in Ithaca was from life in Israel. I hope this blog post will help you think about how you want to prioritize your student life before you start the MBA.
After Michal made me the happiest of men by agreeing to be my wife, we decided to fulfill each other’s dreams. Michal wished for a long honeymoon in remote places such as Vietnam, Thailand, India, and Singapore. My dream was to work in a corporate finance role at a large tech corporation, such as Amazon or Google. Since these firms were headquartered in the United States, pursuing an MBA was the most efficient way to get work authorization. After finalizing the details on how we wanted to pursue these dreams, we communicated it to our employers.
A day after we returned from our three-month-long honeymoon, in all the above mentioned countries, my dream began to materialize. Michal and I were repeatedly reading an email with the subject line “You’re in… now what?” I received an offer to join Johnson at the very last moment and was admitted from the waitlist only 21 days before the International Student Orientation was scheduled to start. Due to time constraints, we embarked on our joint journey unprepared but with a lot of excitement.
Once we arrived in Ithaca, we were struck with fear. We were suddenly in a new country, speaking a foreign language, and had no friends or family nearby. Since Michal doubted her English proficiency, she was not willing to converse or read without me around. Even the smallest of tasks, such as shopping for groceries at Wegmans (which is great by the way), was difficult. We did not recognize most brands, and the products with the brands we did know tasted different. When we finally decided to buy and try small quantities, we needed to convert weight and fluid capacity from pounds and ounces to kilograms and milliliters because Israel uses the metric system.
In the midst of trying to get used to life in the United States, school started. I needed to leave Michal at home alone for many hours and focus on other things. Before long, I had to balance my time among Michal, recruiting, social events, clubs, and class workload. I was neglecting recruiting, and Michal was unhappy. I kept wondering how could I effectively manage my time. What should I prioritize?
As an MBA student, it is important to be responsible and set limits (this is useful for your career as well). By scheduling time that is set in stone with Michal every week, I was able to keep her happy and enjoy our joint experience. By cutting down social events and minimizing my involvement to only two clubs (High Tech Club and Old Ezra Finance Club), I freed up enough time for recruiting.
I was able to not only enjoy my first year in Ithaca with Michal, but also fulfill my dream by interning as a senior financial analyst at Amazon.
Ran and his wife, Michal, at Homecoming 2016