When looking around at the leaders that I admired the most…my mentors, bosses and peers… I found a single common thread among the group…an MBA. It seemed like the people that taught me the most, whether it was hard skills like marketing analytics or soft skills like presentation delivery, they always had a certain authority and finesse which came from spending 2 years on their craft as an MBA. I realized that in order to emulate them and be the leader that I wanted to be in my career, it was pivotal for me to take the time and get my MBA.
That being said, it was very difficult to determine when I would take 2 years off from my full time job to get my degree. After waffling back and forth, one of my mentors said, “There’s never a good time to get an MBA, you just have to do it.” So that’s what I did. I spent a little less than a year preparing for my GMAT and learning about different business school offerings.
When evaluating different business schools, I prioritized four different factors. First, I wanted a school that would allow me to focus on brand management and to have a network that supported my goal of entering the Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) industry. Second, I wanted a place where I didn’t feel like just a number in line for a job. I wanted to have a community of staff and alumni that supported my academic, personal and professional life. Third, in order for me to leave my family in Atlanta, it was necessary for me to find a place where I can have a “family” in a sense. I wanted to be around classmates that focused on the relationships instead of being competitive with one another. My hope was that I would be able to find friends that I would keep for a lifetime instead of a brief moment in my life. Lastly, I wanted a place that would allow me to graduate without the burden of significant debt. When looking at these four factors against business schools across the United States, I found Wisconsin to not only meet but exceed expectations.
The Wisconsin School of Business really showcased all they had to offer in a visit prior to me turning in my application. During the visit the admissions staff, Libby Davis and Betsy Kacizak especially, took the time to get to know me personally first. After finding a good personality fit, they then took the time to understand my goals and connect me with key staff and alumni that could help me accomplish my goals. From there I was introduced to the current students where I was able to get full details of their day to day experience at UW. This was all before I even applied! The time that I spent with the current students and staff sealed the deal for me and I haven’t looked back since.