Expectation vs. reality in Goizueta’s WEMBA program

It’s been exactly one month since we started Term 1, and what a whirlwind it has been! Every class we learn new perspectives on strategy, techniques to improve team dynamics and manage business financials. It’s been an exciting month, but also a month of readjustment, both in my personal life and professionally. I’m happy to report that some of the things I did to prepare myself have helped, but there is nothing like getting into it and doing it.

Here are a few things I’ve learned about the reality of being in the program:

  1. Expect to read differently: Everyone tells you there’s a lot of reading and you should expect that, but what I wasn’t prepared for was HOW to read. It sounds silly, but part of the biggest challenge has been learning how to read and digest relevant information about our cases. It’s also about quality reading, not just “did I read the words on the page?” which makes the difference when participating in class and in my team. As I go through this program, I’m learning how to read with intent, meaning I read to be able to have a position about a case backed by data, and while I might be wrong, at least I am wrong with “gusto.”
  1. Expect teamwork outside of group projects: To my earlier point about team participation, your team will become an integral part of your grad school life. I am really lucky that my Term 1 team is supportive and engaged, and challenges my thought process. Something I did not expect was the weekly calls and meetings to prepare us for our cases even if there was no “team” assignment. My weekly team meeting is something I look forward to because we are able to discuss our thought process together which has made all the difference in my understanding of the topic.
  1. Expect to be challenged: If you join a group with about 50 other people, they can expect to be challenged. However, what you might not know is that your cohort is a safe space where you can take a little bit more risk, be a little bit bolder and speak a little bit more loudly. It’s easy to let your id get a hold of you and tell you not to speak up because you’re afraid, but your thoughts are important and your questions do add value, so speak up. We want to hear you but certainly be ready to be challenged.

As I continue on this journey, I am excited to know that the reality is even better than my expectations and that there’s so much growth opportunity. Having the support of my team, learning how to be better prepared and being challenged by my cohort in a safe space is already making a difference personally and professionally. One month down, 19 more to go!

Barbara Klein Gooding

Barbara Klein Gooding

Barbara Klein Gooding is a branch and premier bank strategist at SunTrust Bank focused on strategic development and implementation of consumer banking strategies. Previously, Barbara worked as a consultant for Deloitte and helped open a new controller office in Mexico City. In addition, Barbara has a strong project management background implementing large scale technology and regulatory changes. Barbara has a finance degree from Georgia State University. Outside of work, Barbara spends her time with her friends and family testing recipes in the kitchen.

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