Yale School of Management

EMBA Liftoff: Jillian Jweinat '16

How do you fit the MBA for Executives into your busy life? Four new EMBA students share their perspectives on transitioning to a new normal during the first month at Yale SOM.

On July 25th, the 52 members of the Yale School of Management Class of 2016 met each other to officially begin orientation and “boot camp.” Indeed, we are a “class of firsts” (as my classmate Marc Peterman so well-articulated in his recent blog post). By the last day of “boot camp” on August 8, the class coalesced, guards came down, and new friendships were formed. We would return to Evans Hall for class every 14 days for the next 21 months.

What is it like to share an MBA experience with attorneys who are triple booked in meetings throughout their workweek, management consultants who travel from city to city throughout their week, and surgeons who are in an operating room throughout their day? Exhilarating, in fact. But, I don’t think any of us, myself included, would be so daring to attempt to declare how to make this program work for someone else. However, we are all determined to make this program work in each of our own lives.  

It has become abundantly clear to me that the support of my classmates is one of the greatest assets of the program.

For me, I introduced an organizing schema, if you will, to get myself through the program most effectively. I manage my time with precision and blocked out “MBA time” on my calendar during late weekday evenings and weekends. I have a MBA “to-do” list that I refer to daily, which includes studying for exams, completing homework assignments, and reading. This may seem elementary, but it goes a long way because I already have a stack of other “to-do” lists for work, family, and – well – everything else in life!

I study with various classmates in New York and speak with classmates across the country during the weekends. It has become abundantly clear to me that the support of my classmates is one of the greatest assets of the program. (I also find it more enjoyable to tackle the demanding workload with others than to do it alone.) This organizing schema works for me but every single member of the Yale SOM Class of 2016 has a different approach to stitching together the various pieces of their lives – work, family, exercise, and school – to make it a tractable undertaking.

While we will no doubt face many obstacles along the way to earning our MBA, I do not think there is a single person in my class who does not consider themselves fortunate to be faced with such an intellectual heavy lift. We are all thirsty for knowledge, and our learning does not just come from our course readings and homework assignments, but through the knowledge transfer from our highly regarded professors and classmates.  

When my “to-do” lists get longer and longer and I find myself especially time-constrained, I often reflect back on our first Financial Accounting class in which Professor Kolev asked the class point-blank “why are you here?” The answer, which he wrote in capital letters on the board, was “to lead business and society”. And so, I firmly believe that adjusting to this “new normal,” individually and together as the YSOM Class of 2016, is worth every minor inconvenience in the short-term, because in the long-term we will be equipped to do exactly that.

About the author

Jillian Jweinat

MBA for Executives, 2016