Be Comfortable with the Uncomfortable
RBS MBA Class of 2015
To be honest, I thought everything should be much easier.
From summer 2015, I have been preparing applying MAM program. It took me 6 six months to collect documentations, taking GMAT exams, writing essays and everything. Back then, I just landed on my dream job, enjoying the fulfillment the work brought to me. I had hesitations whether it was a so-called “wise” choice to give up a workplace I loved so much. Whether I could survive in the fierce competition, and whether the MAM experience would bring new value to my life. All those questions in my head made me think, “Maybe this program was not for me at all.” Same as other candidates, going to Yale was a lifelong dream, I knew no matter the outcome, it was worth trying!
When receiving the letter of admission, I was so thrilled and excited, bursting into tears. I thought the hardest part was over. It was a big task accomplished. Until week 1-orientation, I realized I was wrong, it just got started.
Barrier No. 1- Language
As an undergraduate majored in Linguistics (Japanese), I fully trusted my talent in language. I considered myself an intermediate level English speaker in China. Since I landed on the U.S., every moment reminded me how terrible my English was. The sentences I use, the wording I chose, the phrases I told, turned out to be 100% Chin-glish. When seeing “drifting away” expressions on Americans’ faces, I knew they were lost in my Chin-glish. For a period, I was silent, totally lost the confidence speaking English, avoided communication and social occasions. I locked myself in my dorm, only showed up in the classes. Until one day, I saw another international student from Chile, struggling to clearly express himself in the class, with his broken English sentences and words. He was nervous and shaking, red in the face, but insisting on talking. I found the reaction from other students changed. They seemed impatient at first, distracted a little bit. After sensing his persistence and courage, they listened carefully with respects. From that moment, I know Yale, School of Management, is the safe environment that I should push myself harder to see how far I can go. Once I stepped out, things got better and better.
Barrier No.2- Culture
Same as other business school, here in SOM, you have a lot of resources to help you better prepared for jobs. There are different events, such as mixer, network nights, mock interviews and panels to give students practices and skills to handle job hunting process. Chinese students like me, always surprised by the form of “cold calls” and “cold mails”, they are means used in the U.S. to reach out alumni even strangers in your target companies/organizations to obtain information. through these informational communication. The final goal is their internal referral for your dream job, which plays a great role to get an offer. We Chinese are so bad at talking to strangers, always feel uncomfortable reaching out to someone you never know. It was quite different and difficult experience.
Barrier No.3- Skillset
Speaking of resume, Chinese style will put all relevant information, including age, marital status, picture, even heights, weights on it. American styled resume will forbid all personal information to avoid discrimination and other causes of unfair competition. They also make students to simplify their resumes into just ONE PAGE with specified size and fond of words. You need to streamline your experience by using bullets to keep all important information on this limited space. That is a huge challenge for Chinese students. Another interesting fact is about Power Point making, in Yale SOM, the trend is using visual tools (pictures, videos) to showcase your idea. You will find few words even no words on the PPT. Students are so good at telling stories instead of reading words on the PPT. Public speaking and presentation will be a main skills practiced a lot here.
It is just the beginning of my second and also the last semester, I wish I can share with you more next time. My experiences here in Yale SOM was all about conquering your fear and uncertainty. Life is never easy. Be comfortable to be uncomfortable.