Guess what happened this week? They paid me money! Presumably for the past two weeks’ worth of work – and WOW, does it feel good to get a paycheck again. Someone should call and warn all area TJ Maxx stores….

Now that all 5 of us interns are here and settled, I can’t help but play the “what do YOU know?” game. It’s only natural to be curious about the education and experiences offered at other schools, right? Of course, they all know more about Excel than I do (shocker, but I did learn how to do a V-lookup, swoon!). One common thread from most Second Years coming back from internships last year: they all told me that I’d find myself better-prepared than my peers from other schools for the summer internship/professional environment. While no one has ‘fessed up yet as to how prepared or unprepared they feel for the work Summer Employer throws at us (come on, it’s me and 4 dudes – I’m guessing they’d rather take a dull fork to the eyeballs than talk about their feelings with me), I do feel pretty darn prepared.

Prepared or not, my colleagues seem to think we MBAs have sexy brains. It’s a bit disconcerting – people will say things like “let’s ask the MBAs … well, what do you think?” While some people thrive in an environment where you’re expected to produce brilliant insights on command, for me it’s kind of nerve-wracking. Oh, the pressure! It’s enough to make me want to carry around a decorative, monogrammed bucket full of spare great ideas written on index cards for those moments. Kind of like a MBA Magic 8 Ball. Instead, I find myself automatically applying solutions from my previous professional life to problems here. This is good thing and a bad thing. It’s probably natural for all of us working after a year of academia to apply our prior professional experiences to our current summertime employment. Certainly Summer Employer saw my resume before hiring me and must have considered 8 years of thriving at a gigantic, Six Sigma-process-oriented Fortune 50 company as a plus. But falling back on proven, perfectly successful old solutions to new problems doesn’t give my Darden training any credit. I know that one year at Darden has given me killer problem-solving and analytical skills, along with heaps of new perspective.

The question is, why am I afraid to trust my new tricks? I’ve paid quite dearly for them in terms of time and money, not to mention frustration and ego bruises.  After all that, it’s ironic how my biggest challenge isn’t as much technical, mathematic or knowledge-based, but having enough faith in myself and my education to perform well. I mean, I’ve never been where I am right now – with 1 year of MBA training under my belt, how do I know if this stuff works or not? They’re famous at Darden for telling us to “trust the process” but no one ever coached me to “trust your education.” Maybe most people already do? All I know is that I really want to shine this summer and get an offer.  Something tells me it’ll take a bucketful of bravening up and trusting my Darden-trained brain.

Just add brave!

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