When Your MBA Program Goes Online During a Pandemic, Take the Advice of a Pizza Craftsman. (Really.)

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It is no secret that I, a full-time Master of Business Administration (MBA) candidate at the Smith School of Business, love Neapolitan pizza. I have used the promise of pizza as motivation through challenges big and small in my life, from long runs to medical care to tough days at work. So, when a wrinkle was added to life as a full-time MBA in March, I immediately thought of my old pal, pizza.

Before the pandemic, I traveled frequently from Washington, D.C., to Chicago. Which is to say, I traveled a lot before Saturday, March 14, when it began to look like a very bad idea for me to step on a plane. The COVID-19 pandemic has changed a lot in a very short span of time. I am counting and, so far, 47 days have passed. Some days, it is tough to feel motivated when trapped at home. 

But, in Chicago, there is an important piece of advice waiting.

Jonathan Goldsmith is the owner of a Neapolitan pizza restaurant, Spacca Napoli, in Chicago’s Ravenswood neighborhood. Asked what drives the long-term success of his pizzeria by RedEye Chicago in 2017, this restaurant owner said something profound.

“My interest is the same as it was in the beginning. I’m still asking the same questions I was 12 years ago. What’s the best cheese? What’s the best flour? During the Renaissance, artists entered the guild. They spent years learning about the brushes or laying out pigments. It’s only after a lifetime you become a master when you’re 60 or 70. We don’t know everything and that’s what keeps us going.”

Goldsmith reminds me that there is so much left to discover. I must continually reevaluate my fundamentals to become a master of any subject. And when it comes to achieving a master’s degree the same maxim holds true. Stay motivated. Keep learning. Adapt to the unexpected.

–By Miranda Taylor. Taylor is a 2020 MBA candidate. She is originally from Minneapolis, and worked as a science writer and digital content strategist in the health industry before coming to Maryland Smith to pursue an MBA.

Photo credit: Prateek Katyal via Unsplash

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