Adapting to student life, impact of community at Goizueta

Going back to college and adapting to student life after 10 years is a big challenge at first, but over time it gradually becomes a normal part of your life. Here are the top things that I have learned on my journey over the last 14 months in Goizueta’s EMBA program:

  1. Learning to become a student again
    Since it had been 10 years since my last exam, I truly thought that those days were behind me. But the draw of Goizueta proved too much and last September I had to remind myself how to sit exams all over again! Muscle memory came back eventually but it’s like reliving the first day of school, only as an established professional. You are full of nervous excitement, conscious to impress lecturers and fellow classmates with your work and life experiences. Forming new teams with high performing colleagues and learning how to effectively manage conflict in teams was another defining moment. But the program office does a great job preparing you for these experiences and letting you know what to expect as you work through the program. 
  2. Relationships with academics and alumni
    This was an unexpected huge positive from the MBA for working professionals. You become part of the Goizueta family. And what an impressive community that is. Not only are you provided with access to the hugely successful executives with the alumni network, but also with a dynamic and experienced faculty who have relationships with many large organizations across the globe. This is a group of seasoned professionals you can learn much from, develop relationships with and that provides another great example of the numerous benefits provided by the program. 
  3. Balancing student life with work
    One of biggest challenges encountered at Goizueta is that ever-elusive search for balance, especially when it comes to work and school commitments. We were educated numerous times at Goizueta that multitasking just doesn’t work effectively. So my solution was simple, complete focus to the task at hand. When I was in work, I was completely focused there, and similarly, when I was in Emory, I tried to not let work distract me from the projects being completed. There are days when this is and continues to be challenging, but this intentional focus really helps you to perform at a high level across both codes. 
  4. Building a community within the cohort
    As the EMBA class social chair, I wanted to do something unique that would bring the class closer together. My idea was a “Take 5 Series” where each classmate shared five minutes about their life journey so far. What followed was slide deck after slide deck, photo after photo, of classmates’ lives all across the world. Each person stepped up to tell a deeper and more compelling life story. Classmates shared tragic events along with numerous success stories. The experience has bonded the group together, and I hope future cohorts can reap the same benefits as we all continue our life journeys in the many years to come. 
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Brian Boland

Brian Boland 19WEMBA, originally from Ireland, is Director for Analytics & Insights at CRH Americas Materials, part of the CRH group, the second largest building materials company globally with over $30bn annual revenue, 90,000 employees, across 31 countries. He is the founding President of Irish Network Atlanta and in 2016 was recognized in the Irish Top 40 under 40 in the US. He is currently pursuing his Executive MBA at Emory Goizueta Business School.

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