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Make the Most of the Meantime: A Letter to the Class of 2017 from Student Government President Brittan Berry

Welcome, Class of 2017!

 I write this on the road leaving New Orleans, where I, along with three of my Yale SOM classmates, worked with the first grocery to open in the Lower 9th Ward since Hurricane Katrina. Even though I am not in New Haven this week, I still wanted to welcome you to Yale SOM. I hope you enjoy orientation!

One of the biggest concepts I have questioned since coming to business school is the idea of "the meantime,” which is the period between two intentional actions or moments: "I'll go to the meeting tonight, but in the meantime I'll just look over these notes," or "I'm going to call my friend, but in the meantime I am going to watch some TV." Often, “the meantime" is seemingly empty, less important, or even inconsequential: "I will have my dream job someday, but in the meantime I'll just go back to school to figure some stuff out." But don't let your MBA become a "meantime" moment. The memories and experiences in this meantime can make impressions that last for a lifetime. Make this time count.

During my marketing internship this summer, I learned a few things about brand management that can also be applied to take advantage of the "meantime" that we spend at SOM:

1.     Be brave: Brave decisions aren't always big decisions. At work, it was just questioning why things are done the way they are. In the classroom, sometimes it’s just raising your hand.

2.     Insights always win: We come with such diverse experiences and unique insights—use them. People appreciate and support firsthand experience and data. If you don't have the insight, ask around the school. With a student body as diverse as SOM’s, you’ll undoubtedly find someone with firsthand experience.

3.     Relationships matter: You'll learn a lot of new skills, but you’ll also meet many new people, from peers to professors. Make sure to create meaningful relationships—from those with the woman on your learning team to the man making your coffee in the café—because these last long after graduation.

4.     It’s all in the delivery: Sometimes the impact is all in how you deliver. Take the time to brush up on public speaking, and push yourself to get in front of your classmates. There are so many opportunities at SOM to extend yourself and learn about connecting with people when delivering a message.

5.     Emotion is universal: As different as we are, emotion is fundamental across cultures. You will quickly learn it is not about us, our work, or our skills; it is about people. Before you learn how to influence stakeholders or start the next big business, learn kindness and vulnerability in a safe place where we will pick you back up if you fall.

Today, I want to encourage you to not rush the meantime. So many of us are really passionate about getting through the meantime: "I can't wait until I have that job," or "I can't wait to graduate." But SOM is a special place where you will build new relationships, try new things, and be challenged to think differently. All of these things will prepare you for the future. Plan what you want to get out of this experience.

The legacy of your lifetime will be determined in the meantime.

So what are you doing in the meantime?

I can't wait to meet all of you in a few weeks! Enjoy orientation!


Brittan Berry
Yale SOM Student Government President