B-School: Learning vs. Grades

Ryan's business school experience seems similar to mine a few years back. There is not nearly enough time to complete all your work at a high level of quality, and when you factor in interviews, networking, etc., the schoolwork barely gets done on time even if it is mediocre. I think Ryan figures out what is important, though.

I would argue that learning matters, although it's easy to mistake learning for studying. I've found in any school environment that learning and studying sometimes overlap, but they often don't. Learning happens when you're interested in a topic or activity and pursue it without any expectation of reward. When you're learning, you've lose track of time because your curiosity — rather than your fear of failure — is driving you. I've had to really nurture the desire to learn from my classes, because it is so easy to be taken hostage by the short-term needs of studying and "getting stuff done".

Another thing I'd add to the importance of learning is the importance of forming and developing relationships, which is an extension of learning. Friendships need to go beyond the classroom and beyond mutual needs. True friendship and true networking, like true learning, exist when there is no expectation of external reward. Not everyone will award you an "A" for your efforts to reach out, but reaching out offers a satisfaction of its own.

Curiosity. Learning. These are two things you will rarely be asked about in a job interview, but that can lead to revolutionary ideas when acknowledged, encouraged, and nurtured.