Originally Posted: 12/4/2013 9:17 AM
The 2nd year at Johnson is when you really make the experience your own. Besides some standard university requirements, you are free to customize your graduate experience. The main thing this means, at least relative to the Core, is that things are much less structured and coordinated. With each person doing something different, it cannot be as perfectly organized as the Core. This gives rise to a few key things to keep in mind.
First, it means you take the classes that most interest you, both within and outside of Johnson. While other MBA programs may talk about people taking courses outside the school, at Johnson it is more common than not to have at least one class outside of the Johnson program; many people take several. This is easy to do because of the proximity to the other schools. There are several top-rated programs which are literally across the street from our building, Sage Hall. There is the Hotel School, Labor Relations, Engineering, Law, and a few more. It’s pretty amazing when you think about it.
Second, things get very busy very quickly. As opposed to the constant marathon of the 1st year experience, the 2nd year is a series of sprints. Sometimes several sprints all at once. Because each person is in different classes, there is no way to coordinate such that 2 or 3 classes won’t have a paper or project due on the same day. While time management was critical to getting through the Core, crunch-time management is critical to getting through 2nd year.
Lastly, as I alluded to in the prior paragraph, courses are much more project based. I would argue this is true even after the first semester of 1st year, but it is definitely reinforced 2nd year. Depending on your learning style this is either a blessing or a curse. Personally, I would like a bit more of a mix (disclaimer: it could just be the courses I’m taking). My semester is heavily dependent on papers and projects. In fact, I don’t have a single final. To 1st years currently going through the core this may sound fantastic, but I find that there are definite advantages. Finals ensure you know what the key points were from the course and “force” you to commit them to memory. Group projects are much more application based, but they may or may not reinforce the key concepts. You won’t even know if it was a swing and a miss until quite a bit after the course is over. There’s not time to go and re-learn it.
In just over a week everything will be turned in. I will be 3/4 done with my degree. I will enjoy a nice long winter break. I will return for my final semester – and a course load that I’m pretty excited about.
Good luck to all the 1st years who are in the process of submitting resumes for internships; good luck to all applicants who are in the process of starting their MBA journey!