Going back to school can be challenging for anyone. If it’s later in life, as it is in my case, it can be even harder.
As you begin your MBA experience, you know you will be challenged to question your own beliefs and experiences, expose your weaknesses and understand your areas for improvement. If you’ve chosen a top-rated program like Kellogg, you’ll expect this to be the case, and in large part, it’s probably why you made the choice to apply to Kellogg.
My background can be classified as “non-traditional” to say the least. I spent the majority of my professional career without an undergraduate degree. In early 2010, my CEO asked me if I would be interested in one day pursuing my MBA and allowed me to attend an executive marketing course at Kellogg. As a Kellogg alum, he understood the value of the program. I’ll never forget what he told me before I left for Evanston.
“One of two things will happen when you go there,” he said. “Either you’ll find out you are in fact smarter than everyone else, or you’ll find out you don’t know anything and you’ll be ready to go back to school.”
I’m sure I don’t need to tell what my experience was. My Kellogg journey started that day.
When I returned home from the executive course, I immediately enrolled in summer classes at Boise State to start working on my undergrad degree. The Kellogg experience made me hungry for more—it was the catalyst that encouraged me to return to school.
Fast forward to December 2013. I have started the application process for Kellogg but have to wait for the last day of class at Boise State so I can submit my final grades and evidence that I have completed my BBA. The entire purpose behind my BBA is to qualify as a candidate at Kellogg.
The experience didn’t wait for the first day of school. The application process itself was the first tangible evidence that I was at the beginning of a once-in-a-lifetime journey. Reaching out to past mentors for references was a good way to reconnect with people. The essay questions were insightful and forced me to spend time reflecting on what exactly it was I was trying to accomplish. During my interview, I mentioned that even if I was not selected, the process up to that point had already been an invaluable exercise and that I was glad to have made effort.
In late August of 2014, it became very real when a box of books and materials landed on my porch. Excitement, nervousness and a little anxiety for the unknown best describes each day from that point until I arrived at the Allen Center for EMP100s first live-in week.
As I get ready for my 5th trip to Kellogg, I continue to be surprised at the impact the journey has had thus far. The experience is more than curriculum. It is the subtle, and sometimes not so subtle, exercises the program puts one through. The self evaluations, goal setting, time management, and the high expectations culminate in an overall experience that is hard to describe—but you know its happening. The best part is that the Journey is far from over.
Scott Dike is the general manager of Syringa Wireless and has been working in the technology sector for 19 years. Scott lives in Meridian, ID and commutes to the Evanston campus.