6 Surprising Things I’ve Learned In Business School

As you guys know I’m currently in grad school studying marketing.

I’ve had an interesting journey in grad school, to say the least. A few months ago I questioned my decision to even go to business school in the first place. I was frustrated and disappointed with the curriculum and pretty close to dropping out.

I wouldn’t say I’ve make a full, 180 degree, transformation since. But I’m now 4 courses away from finishing my Masters in Social Media and Mobile Marketing. At this point I like to believe I’ve survived the worst (or at least I hope that’s the case!) and I can make it through this final push.

When people ask me about my experience in grad school, I’m never sure what to say. Have I learned the things I went to business school to learn? Not really. But I’m insanely grateful for what I have learned. And strongly believe these things will heavily influence my career choices after I graduate. So, what I have really learned in business school?

what I've learned in business school

What I’ve Really Learned in Business School

You are so much smarter than you think you are.

I spent much of my first semester feeling like the Elle Woods of business school. My undergraduate degree is in theater, VERY different than business. I felt like a fish out of water wearing yoga pants in a sea of business suits. A part of me questioned that I was even smart enough to keep up with my classmates who came from analytical and accounting backgrounds.

Math may never be my strongest suit, nor a passion of mine, but in being forced to take a statistics class I realized I am SO much smarter than I think I am. I can learn hard things and I can do hard things. It might take me longer to figure it out, but I’ll get there eventually.


Let your freak flag fly.

Speaking of being the Elle Woods of business school, hoo boy did I feel like a WEIRDO my first semester. I was self-conscious of who I was outside of business school and what I wanted to do with my degree.

I’ve learned to let my freak flag fly and be authentically, unapologetically, Kayla. Even in the uptight, business school setting.

I wear yoga pants because that’s who I am — and literally what I do as a yoga teacher and wellness blogger. I shamelessly talk about my career ambitions and desire to grow my brand beyond what it currently is using what I’ve learned in school. And you know what I realized? In being open about who I am I’ve actually been able to make some friends in school that way. I’ve found some peeps that are also into wellness.

So yeah, I’m a weirdo, but that’s okay.


The people you surround yourself with make ALL the difference.

Oh man, ain’t that the truth in life too?

This semester didn’t suck and that is largely thanks to the people I paired up with for group projects in class. Having a support system to bitch about school with was oddly comforting. And having a group of people that came through on group projects of course makes the process a little less sucky.


The person you are today isn’t the person you were yesterday.

My role in group projects in grad school is VERY different than in undergrad. In undergrad I was timid and afraid a lot of the time. I struggled with self-confidence and was forever afraid that my ideas were not good enough.

In grad school I’ve assumed the role of head bitch team leader more often than not. It’s funny how I never saw myself as a leader in undergrad. I saw myself as an actor and just wanted to be bossed around by a director. In running my own businesses, both Kayla in the City and Holistic Happening, I’ve been able to hone my confidence. And this has definitely come through during group projects — for better or for worse.


The busier you are, the more productive you’ll be.

Isn’t it weird how this works?

My busiest semester was also my most productive. Because I had to be. I didn’t have time to waste and was very productive during the little downtime I did have.

Granted, I don’t want to relive that semester. It was rough at times and eventually my did body crap out from lack of sleep (Additional grad school lesson: Sleep is GOOD!)

But the lesson remains, sometimes ya need to be busy to get shit done! It’s something I’m not-so-kindly reminded of every summer when I can’t seem to motivate do anything remotely productive.


The learning is in the process, not always the substance

I’ll admit I went to grad school because I wanted to learn things. The initial goal was to be a freelance social media strategist. I wanted to learn how to get ALL the instagram followers. And learn how to write ALL the viral blog posts.

I have been taught none of the above. Nor do I feel anymore prepared to be a social media strategist than I already did pre-grad school.

Most of the learning has been in the process. Realizing I like being head bitch in charge during group projects. Hm, I should probably seek career opportunities that let me continue to be the bossy bitch I truly am. Confirming that I excel at writing tasks and flail anytime I’m asked to do math.

Even realizing how strong my work ethic *really* is. Ya should see the crazy nutcase I turn into while studying. I’m INTENSE.

So there ya have it, business school ain’t about learning marketing jargon but more what ya learn while learning that jargon. Or at least that’s my experience.


What surprising lessons did you learn in grad school / undergrad?

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  • omg i had such a similar thing with the difference in group work from undergrad to grad school! i never ever would’ve taken a leadership role, but in grad school i sort of just ended up being the person who kept us on track and put together deliverables…i think that’s such a cool thing to realize though. we’ve grown a lot!!! and congrats on being SO CLOSE to graduating!!!!