Sit Back, Relax, and Get Comfortable. Not a Chance.


By Jeremy Kiger

When you start business school, there’s one thing people always tell you: “You need to get comfortable with being uncomfortable.”


Awesome ExecMAP project in Hong Kong #MichiganRoss #GoBlue

A photo posted by @jdkiger on

Sounds ridiculous, I know.  

But I’ve quickly learned that living and thriving outside of a comfort zone is an essential skill for any successful business leader. For me, juggling a demanding career, family life, and personal commitments all while attending the rigorous and challenging Ross Executive MBA program has definitely been outside of my comfort zone.

Case in point: My ExecMAP team was asked to travel to Hong Kong to develop a market entry strategy into China for Virtual Instruments.

Now the team, which included Jason Burk, Jim McCloud, and Kshitij Sharma, had quite a diverse set of professional experiences — from marketing and consulting to healthcare diagnostics and Major League Baseball. But none of us had ever developed a market entry plan into China for a software company.

But that’s what so interesting and compelling about ExecMAP; even though each of us has a deep level of experience in our respective fields, the project stretched our abilities and encouraged us to think in new and different ways.

Meeting with stakeholders from China, Hong Kong, the UK, New Zealand, and beyond, everyone had their own perspective on global business and U.S. companies.

To be successful, we cannot lean completely on our past experiences — we have to apply everything we’ve learned in our time at Ross from our professors and our classmates.

The time I’ve spent at Ross has allowed me to synthesize my professional and academic experiences and channel that into many things — successfully developing a Chinese market entry strategy is just one of them. And as the team and I move on from this project into our last semester at Ross and toward the future, I know that our time invested here will continue to pay off.

I’m set to graduate in May, and already everyone is telling me it’s time to relax and get comfortable.  

Comfortable? No thanks — I think I’ll pass.

Jeremy Kiger is a student in the Ross Executive MBA Program and a Marketing Manager at Roche Diagnostics. He’s set to graduate in May 2015.

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Jeremy Kiger
Executive MBA, '15