Why I Say Yes to Certain Opportunities While Saying no to Others

In my first post, I described the catalyst on why graduate school was an integral part of progressing through my career such that I realized that my progression in my career was limited by only having a bachelor’s degree.

Now that I am a month into my MBA degree, I am feeling overwhelmed with the massive amount of course work in addition to commitments to finding an internship while staying plugged into student and other professional organizations. In this blog post, I want to describe the reasons why I say yes to certain opportunities while saying no to others. I will also discuss the importance of knowing what is personally important while also having a clear objective as a student and job candidate.

During orientation week, our MBA cohort was heavily told to get started early on with networking, finding possible sites for internships, and the power of student organizations. At first, I was very committed to spending as much time as possible focusing on enhancing my professional network and volunteering for student organizations.

As I kept saying yes to commitment after commitment, I found myself struggling with allocating enough time to spend on course work. I eventually found myself being resentful at myself for agreeing to take on additional responsibilities even though I wanted to help. I was instilled as a young adult to always say yes when asked to join a professional organization or when a colleague asked for help on a project because this was a way to get ahead and to stand out from others. As I transitioned back to school, I wanted to take advantage of all the opportunities that are available to MBA students in hope of making myself a better candidate for employment post-graduation.

One reason that I wanted to get more involved with student organizations and networking events was that I failed to do so as an undergraduate student which hurt my job opportunities post-graduation. But as the semester progresses and there are ever more events to attend, I decided to pause and take inventory of what my goal is post-MBA and identify the necessary steps to achieve that goal. And what I learned was that I did not need to say yes to every opportunity that presents itself.

While saying no is important to certain opportunities, I also want to highlight that committing yourself to extra circulars such as networking events, career fairs, and student organizations are immensely important to finding a job placement post-graduation.

I have learned that I need to say yes to those events or student organizations that align with my objective for business school. For example, I am a finance concentration so I will definitely commit myself to those student organizations that promote finance while saying no to student organizations such as real estate that do not typically support my objectives. Saying yes to opportunities means that I am committing one hundred percent of my attention and energy toward that enterprise so it is very important that I choose my commitments wisely and not spread myself across too many commitments such that my focus and energy is not minimized.

This topic has presented itself throughout my first semester and generally throughout my career as well. Thus, I think it is important to sit down with yourself and explore what your goal is for your career, your education, or any other situation where you might commit time such that you know what matters most to you and you can focus on those certain important events that help achieve those goals instead of committing haphazardly.

After all, time is the most valuable commodity. We must use our time strategically and this rests on the power of being able to identify when it is acceptable to say no while also knowing when it is best to say yes. Mastering this awareness will be beneficial to your overall wellbeing while also maximizing your effectiveness to those causes you deem important either educationally or professionally.  

Stephen Bachman