The most valuable preparation, I believe, was participating in Deloitte's Consulting Immersion Program. My background is heavy on Research and Development, but I was interested in consulting as a career because I have always loved solving problems and puzzles. I am almost through my first year of business school and I still consider my 3 days at Deloitte University as one of the best experiences of the journey.
Imagine my surprise, when what I learned in the classroom was EXACTLY what I needed at my job.
If you've been admitted to Carlson's Class of 2015, then congratulations to you! As you prepare to leave your workplaces in the next few months, here are a few pieces of advice from my own experience.
I find the varying backgrounds of the students very interesting. There are stay-at-home moms and dads, teachers, veterans, engineers, people from fortune 500s, people from companies with 3 employees, business owners, etc. The list goes on. The reasons people are in the course, also, vary quite a bit from not knowing what they will use the degree for to career advancement to everything in between.
When I expressed my intention to attend business school, I was met with justified resistance. I had, in fact, already attended law school and managed to call myself an attorney, although I never practiced. I studied what I wanted to as an undergrad (theatre) and took on considerable debt to study what I didn't want to in law school (the law) and wound up with a job I generally enjoyed that barely utilized my JD (producing commercials). Therefore, it was understandable when my husband questioned my motives, my parents rolled their eyes and my friends joked that med school was inevitable.
Growing up in northeast Kansas never did I think my rural upbringing would land me an incredible career in the construction industry and eventually lead me to attending one of the top-10 part-time MBA programs in the country, the Carlson School of Management. Click to read more about my story from Kansas to Minnesota, a journey which ultimately led me to Carlson.
If you've been researching Carlson, then you've probably picked up on the "community" theme. That sense of a shared bond and the mutual support it entails was important to me when I was considering business schools. I expected students to have the kind of trust and collegiality that enables them to take risks and to challenge each other in the classroom. I also expected alumni to talk about how their business school networks opened doors for them later in their careers. What I didn't consider, though, was how that sense of community would impact the experience of interviewing for internships.
It has been said that innovation is at the heart of entrepreneurial careers. But, can anyone with enough imagination and perseverance be that person who can clear the way in uncharted territory? Do you have to go to engineering or business school to become an innovator? How do you come up with an idea? What kind of innovation do we need nowadays?
Wherever you are in your MBA experience -- just starting to consider B-School, have already submitted applications, or are a current student -- the value of an MBA degree is likely at the forefront of your mind. How will your personal and professional life change? What will your post-MBA finances look like? Ultimately, what will this investment return for you?