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May 30, 2013

Megan Brody: Spartan for life

May 30, 2013

Megan Brody graduated in May with an MBA from MSU and landed a job with Bayer Health Care Pharmaceuticals. While a student at MSU, she was tapped to write a blog about her experience at MSU for Bloomberg Businessweek. 

Spartan for Life

A sea of cardboard boxes filled with books, clothing, dishes and knick-knacks create a delicate maze to reach the exit of the cozy apartment that I have called home for two years while attending MSU for my MBA.  The road to the very end of this journey has been years in the making, filled with challenges and rewards that extended well beyond the classroom. One of my favorite professors, Jennifer Dunn, who taught Negotiations and Conflict, lectured on how a negotiation experience is recalled—the players tend to remember the high point and the end point. This recall methodology certainly applies to my MBA experience as well.

There were many high points of my MBA experience. The truly amazing part of the journey was the wonderful people I met—the Indian students who taught me about Diwali, samosas and how not to be a slave to the clock; the Michigan natives who took me duck hunting and understood my love of euchre; the girlfriends who shared manicures, margaritas and movies; the professors who took extra time to prep me for job interviews; my boss’ daughter, Alison, who created amazing artwork for my cubicle; not to mention the brainiacs, dreamers, schemers, future billionaires and world changers that I met along the way.

A Winning Team

As for a specific experience, winning the Broad vs. Broad case competition was truly special. Throughout the first year, I was a strong student, but I never received the highest score on an exam, produced amazing power points or wowed the class with my amazing oratory skills. Taking home first prize along with three of my classmates made me feel like I had finally arrived at Michigan State. Our team came up with a business solution very quickly, labored into the night to pull together the details and wowed the judges the next morning. After the win, our team high-fived with beaming smiles and promptly headed to Beggar’s Banquet for celebratory refreshment to reward a job well done.

Something Better

To celebrate the finale, the MBA Class of 2013 gathered at the Henry Center for a pre-graduation brunch. In addition to the graduates, family members and professors were on hand to acknowledge our accomplishments. In between posing for pictures and meeting my classmates’ families, I was able to steal a few minutes here and there with faculty and staff that I would no longer be able to pass in the halls of the Business College Complex or meet with during office hours.

As I chatted with one of my marketing professors, Dale Wilson, he asked me if this degree had changed my life. Without hesitation, I answered absolutely. I then took a moment to truly absorb the weightiness of my answer. In the past two years, I expanded my network by hundreds of individuals, made dozens of new friends that I will continue to stay in touch with, learned far more about business than I had in seven years of real-world experience and had the opportunity to work as part of one of the most talented and creative marketing teams as a graduate assistant for MSU’s Communications and Brand Strategy department. I was now leaving Michigan, not to return to my hometown of Chicago, but to embark on an entirely new path as an assistant brand manager with Bayer just outside of New York City. This degree has opened so many new doors for me and given me enormous confidence in my ability to lead and exact change in the business world.

The End of an Era

After the brunch, the Class of 2013 headed to the Breslin Center for the formal graduation. As I sat with my classmates, amongst the lively chats and last minute photo ops, I fully realized how proud I was of what I had accomplished. I have always been dedicated to my career but could never quite seem to get ahead. I often seriously questioned if I had the stamina and ability to finish the MBA program, which was nothing short of grueling at times. I endured several personal setbacks within the last year that made it difficult to continue. Despite all of these hurdles, here I sat, in cap and gown, waiting for my name to called, to shake MSU President Lou Anna K. Simon’s hand, to smile for the camera and to receive my diploma.

Just a few days later, I watch the movers meander through my Lansing, Mich. home, removing the last box to reveal a stark walls and a barren interior. As I close the door, and drive away from Michigan State University for the last time, I know that I am leaving behind something great, but I also know that I have set my sights on something new, something that would not have been possible without spending the past two years at MSU. I’m leaving with the heart of a Spartan.

Read Megan’s Businessweek blog>>