When I started high school I remember learning that I wouldn't be able to do both theatre and soccer after school, and that I would have to choose. I was devastated. I loved them both and I couldn't imagine missing out on either activity or either group of friends. I am the kind of person who loves to do it all and, given proper notification, can find time for nearly anything. Tell me I can't and surely, I will. But these lessons in prioritizing and choosing are inevitable, and the first year of the MBA program has proven to be no different.
Coming in, I knew what I wanted from my career. I had given great thought to where I wanted to go and how I was going to get there. And I would advise that you give as much thought and preparation to this aspect as possible. It will make your career search, interview process and overall fall semester much easier.
However, I had given less thought to how I wanted to be involved. If you don't sign up and get involved in clubs early, you won't be in a place to make things happen the next year. My classmates are already building programming for next year: working on budgets, panels and events for the class of 2015. My best advice to you is to learn as much as you can about the groups and clubs at Carlson. Get thinking early about what you want your experience at Carlson to look like. Ultimately, you can't really do it all.
Are there ideas or events you want to see happen at Carlson? Why? How do they fit into your professional, personal or academic vision of your MBA experience?
Are you specifically driven to be a champion of a professional club or social club? How can those clubs better your experience and what can you do ensure your voice is heard?
Do you want to be a leader? Why? What do you hope to gain from it?
By understanding what you hope to gain from being a part of these clubs, you can more easily prioritize your responsibilities. As someone who hates to choose, I have opted to be on the board of several organizations next year, without being the President of any in particular. I like being involved in several upcoming activities and with all kinds of people. This, for me, is ideal. For some other students, championing one group like the Marketing Network or Consulting Club provides opportunities to network with local companies, focus on their goals, or gain experience in areas they want to grow. Social groups like the Outdoor Club or the Sports Management Club are great ways to just relax and have fun with your colleagues, participating in events that you feel passionate about.
More than anything: GET INVOLVED. And do it early. Students at Carlson are awesome. However, we are a relatively small class. Every voice really counts. So, think about what you want to do, who you want to become and then go do it! You'll find support for almost any idea around here, but we can't do it if we don't know you want it.
Ultimately, I ended up choosing to prioritize theatre and opted to play soccer at a less competitive level. It meant I spent 4-6 hours at school, after school ended, but it worked for me. I got what I wanted out of both activities and never regretted the choice.
If you take nothing else from this: KNOW WHAT YOU WANT, GET INVOLVED, & ASK FOR IT. You'll be surprised how much opportunity you have to shape your experience and the community at Carlson.