“Freely ye received, freely give”
This is the Pepperdine motto, tied closely to its religious roots and yet, completely non-religious, non-denominational at the same time. In our educational pursuits, receiving freely of other’s time, energy, dedication to our learning, and collaborative, sometimes selfless, efforts; we are reminded of this motto, of the energy we freely received. With that in mind, it feels like it is part of the MBA responsibility to give back, freely accepting our responsibility to our Pepperdine community and the surrounding public.
One such obvious occasion is clearly portrayed by Challenge 4 Charity. This MBA-student led organization raises money and accumulates volunteer hours for three local charities: Special Olympics Santa Clarita, UCLA Mattel Children’s Hospital, and Children’s Lifesaving Foundation. Pepperdine’s chapter has been working all year in the pursuit of giving, culminating in the “Run the Waves 5k” on Zuma Beach on March 12th. The best part about being a part of this event is that, unlike a normal charity where the overhead takes a huge chunk out of the proceeds, because the staff is 100% volunteers, there is little fundraising that does not benefit these charities.
In an effort to raise awareness for this special part of the Pepperdine experience, I urge students and faculty to volunteer, run the race, give to Challenge4Charity, or attend future events. It is clear that upon being alumni of Pepperdine, corporate social responsibility and community involvement are important parts of the learned psyche going forward. It starts here and it starts with small moments where you can experience the joy of giving. At a recent panel, an alumni spoke to the networking experience and said “Give to give, don’t give to get.” This resonated for me as a member of the Pepperdine community because even in our human interactions, to maintain strong relationships, we are taught to give to give and respect the cycle of reciprocity that comes from these interactions.
Business school is one of the few places where the overachiever is no longer the teacher’s pet. We become the “popular kids.” This seems very high school in its simplicity but it’s true. The second year students who are most noticeable and have a positive reputation are those who are mentors, club leaders and have attained exceptional internships. There are already whispers of who completes their work and who doesn’t. It greatly effects group dynamic and truly impresses, IF the rumors are good.
This leads me to one very clear dilemma. In addition to being instantly appreciated for a quality that may have earned you the term “OCD” or “overachiever” or “the girl who asks too many questions”, you are also slammed with a million decisions on how to spread out your time equally between clubs, socializing, homework, and networking for internships/jobs.
I have decided to join 5 clubs actively. I am a part of the National Association for Women MBAs, Consulting Club, Entrepreneurship Club, Challenge4Charity, and Values-Centered Leadership Lab. While I hope to attend other events sponsored by other clubs, this involvement is more then enough. It took a great deal of soul searching to narrow this down and figure out what I was truly willing to designate time toward. It’s important to realize it’s not just about interests but existing leadership. I definitely applied for leadership roles within the clubs where I knew I could collaborate with the leaders on a regular basis. In addition, I followed my passion. I did not expect to be as excited about Challenge4Charity as I am, but somehow, through persuasive existing leadership and a genuine part of me that loves philanthropic endeavors, I found my passion. “Overachieving”can only be successful and prevent burnout when you know how to manage your time properly. Part of that management has to be the motivation to keep up. I so badly want to be a part of all these clubs that I will find a way to manage my time.
I already know that NAWMBA will be a club lower on my priority list if only because it doesn’t ignite my enthusiasm the way some of the others do. Also, while entertainment is an interest (and previous job) of mine, I realized that the club goals did not necessarily gel with my current career focus. I still intend to check out some of the events but it didn’t end up being something that I can throw myself into.
It is very overwhelming but also a little awesome. I feel appreciated for my eccentricities and my natural leadership response seems to fit into business school just perfectly. It’s a matter of balance, and I hope I can achieve it throughout school. I think it’s also important to be open to the possibility that my passions, expectations and interests might change a thousand times before I settle into a rhythm that makes sense for me and for success.