10 takeaways from the first 100 days of my MBA
Jonathan Chu | MBA Class of 2021 | Student Experience
It’s been 100 days since I embarked on this journey called the “MBA” at Asia School of Business. Life has been a constant roller coaster, and I have been deeply challenged to rethink the way I work and engage with others.
In just 100 days, my perspectives about leadership, friendship, teamwork, culture and strategy have shifted. Here are 10 key takeaways that have impacted me the most:
1. It’s not about me, but the team.
The work will only be as strong as the team, so invest heavily in building trust and understanding within the team. Take extra effort to understand your teammates, as understanding fosters trust, and trust creates results.
2. I don’t need to always be right.
I am among talented people who have abundant knowledge and experience. What I bring to the table is only a fraction of our combined talent. I need to be ready to put aside my ego and experience, to listen and to follow.
3. Ask, even if it makes me look like a fool.
I would rather ask my burning question and be a fool for a day than remain silent and be a fool forever.
4. There is a bigger game, and it’s not about the grades.
Sure, grades can be an indication of how much I have been learning. However, there are other skills more difficult to attain than going through my professors’ slides and textbooks. Skills like communication, leadership, teamwork, building a strong team through culture, listening, developing empathy and executive presence, networking, building friendships, and so forth. Focus on those.
5. Be okay with feeling average and mediocre.
If I am not the smartest one in the room, that means I have a lot more room to learn and grow, and isn’t that a wonderful place to be?
6. It’s okay to not be the hero.
I don’t need to be the one with the best idea. I don’t even need to be the one in the limelight. Not having the best idea or being in the limelight does not diminish my worth or my strengths in any way.
7. Be unapologetic about rest and do what recharges me.
There will always be more articles to read, emails to send, parties to attend and group discussions to have. Nobody will die or catch fire if I do not immediately attend to any of them. I need to prioritize my rest and recharge because that is something only I can do for myself. My effectiveness in resting determines my effectiveness in my work.
8. Be militant about how I deploy my energy and focus.
The only currency I have is energy. It is perishable and can never be regained if I were to waste it. With how scarce energy is, I need to ensure I maximize it. I aim to find balance and be careful about how I spend my energy and focus.
9. Spend time with people who tell you the truth and build you up.
Not everyone is interested in that. One of the key purposes of doing an MBA is to find comrades who are aligned and willing to give honest (and sometimes painful) feedback. They ask good, piercing questions with the intent of supporting, building and developing me. They are interested in understanding my intentions and perspectives. They are quick to encourage but slow to criticize, quick to provide honest feedback and slow to express anger and impatience.
It’s not the end of the world. Find joy in every situation. Be ever-ready to lean back and laugh. Take a chill pill; no one is going to die. Enjoy the journey and savor every moment.
This is just the first 100 days. Who knows what else is in store? I can’t wait to see how life unfolds, the kinds of friendships that will form and deep conversations that will take place. So come at me, life. I welcome you with open arms.
Here’s to exponential growth and transformation!