Archive for August, 2011

Who Am I? Why Am I Here?

Contrary to what the title of this first post may convey, this blog will not be exploring man’s purpose on earth or the meaning of life or any other major philosophical topics (at least not in any great detail).  The role of this blog is much simpler than that, and I will get to that after a brief introduction.

My name is Matthew McConnell, and I am currently an MBA student at California State University, Fullerton’s Mihaylo College of Business and Economics (from here on out, simply called CSUF).  I work full-time and am currently taking classes at the university on a part-time schedule.  And those two previous sentences, to a degree, help to explain why I am writing this blog.

When I began researching MBA programs in the Fall of 2010, I wanted to ensure that I made the best choice for myself and would be attending a school that fit my needs.  I looked up the best business schools in the country, bought books describing 300-plus MBA programs, and spoke with colleagues who had attended various graduate programs.  I was not sure where I wanted to attend school yet, but I had lofty expectations for myself.   I was hoping I would eventually be choosing Wharton or Kellogg for my MBA, torn between which program would be a better fit for me.  Alas, that image in my head was not at all like how the process actually played out.

Needless to say, I did not score as well on the GMAT as I would have hoped and as a result narrowed my school selection down to three universities: Washington (in Seattle), Texas A&M, and CSUF.  Obviously, you know which I ended up choosing, but allow me a moment to explain how I made that decision.

I obtained my undergraduate degree in Business Administration from Chapman University in Orange, California.  I have worked for the last two years at a public agency in Orange County, and most of my family lives within one hour from me.  My roots are pretty well established in Orange County, and I knew I was going to need to get a lot of financial help if I were going to attend a school outside of California.  I had explored other schools in Southern California, but mainly due to cost issues I had crossed those schools off my list.  (If you cannot quite tell, cost was a major consideration for me when picking a program.  That requirement, and access to alumni and networking opportunities rounded out my three most important criteria for selecting a program).  Seattle and Texas seemed like new and interesting areas to explore, and those universities have strong alumni bases and were located in or near major corporate cities.  But narrowing my list down to those choices was challenging, and I found one aspect of my research particularly difficult.  I could not find much information about CSUF’s MBA program!  The school was high on my list because it was a great value from a cost perspective, and has over 50,000 alumni that I could potentially network with!  But I needed more information before I could decide if CSUF would be the right fit and I’d be getting my money’s worth from the program.

I attended information sessions at the university and explored the school’s website, but I was hoping to find some insider information from current students or a service that could provide me with a different perspective of the school (not the admission office’s perspective, which by design will more than likely always be an extremely positive perspective).  Which leads me back to the purpose of this blog – since I could not find a source of inside information about the CSUF MBA program, I decided I would be that inside source.  It is my hope that this blog serves as a valuable tool for prospective students curious about the MBA process (especially those who will be working full-time while earning the degree) and those that are specifically curious about CSUF’s program.  Through the blog, I will provide information about program events, courses and professors, activities outside the classroom, balancing work and school, general information about CSUF, MBA updates in the news, and possibly some interviews with fellow students.

My goal is to make this blog useful for prospective students, and I hope you find the topics covered and information I share to be insightful and meaningful.  Be sure to check back here in a couple days, because I plan on discussing the MBA Welcome Seminar in my next post!