1. No matter what, an MBA will open up doors. Regardless of what job I pursue, it will teach me how to manage PEOPLE and RESOURCES. If I ended up working at a school, it would help. If I ended up directing a non-profit, it would help. If, somehow, I end up in Corporate America, well. Let’s just say I’d have one more thing to chat about over lunch in addition to college basketball.
2. I’ve been working at my company for three years, four when I apply. I’ve had some amazing experiences, but it will be much much harder to leave when I’m older. Not to mention there’s a ton I want to do before settling down and starting a family.
3. I miss school. I miss learning, meeting people, exploring ideas, everything that comes with being in school. I’m an experiential learner, while I love to study and abstract concepts, I learn by action, projects and doing. I want to meet equally enthusiastic people who have big dreams of how they will shape the world. I want to travel the world with classmates, have summer internships again, learn about entrepreneurship, and maybe even attend the occasional theme party (they have those right?) To be given a problem and be asked to find a solution. This all sounds a bit idealistic..but well that’s me!
So in the 1.5 hour plane ride, during which a half hour was spent reading over the case study for the mock class, jotting down notes in the margins and highlighting (oh highlighter my dear, I’ve missed you so!) I came to a realization. It was a mini-epiphany, one of many I had on the trip. California is only 1.5 hours away. It is in the same time zone as my current city. I could even drive my belongings down, and I would have no excuse to call my mother or friends. In short, it was really, not that far or distant!
Now who knows where I will end up. For all I know I could end up on the East Coast or in the Midwest, or even Singapore/France. If my job has taught me anything, it is that flying is really really quick in the grand scheme of things. I could be asked to fly out to Asia, book my tickets the next day, and be there two days later (this exact same thing happened a few months ago). While I may be leaving my dear city in the PNW, it’s the same thing I’ve been used to doing on my trips, only this venture would be a bit longer (1 year, 51 weeks to be exact).
The other mini-epiphany I had, in addition to wow, Alaska Airlines is really punctual compared to United and wow, their snack cracker mix is kind of addicting was that I missed, dare I say, studying. The case was okay – modeled after an Indian tech company. But the issue at hand–how to retain their talented employees was fascinating. I felt a curiosity spark running through, and I couldn’t wait for the class.
There were many other mini-epiphanies throughout that visit that culminated in one grand, awesome feeling that I still can’t shake. The realization that having an MBA would open the door to many wonderful opportunities. It would give me an extensive network of like-minded people, who apparently also like to get married (they recounted stories of attending lots of each others’ weddings as the one thing that makes GSB unique). Random coincidences relating to my undergrad alma-mater which made me wonder if this was a sign. Understanding at a much more heightened level what such programs could offer me, and what I could offer them in return. In short, I came to understand that people who apply and are accepted into top MBA programs will still do amazingly well on their own. No doubt about it, they already have! Having such a degree and experience just accelerates that trajectory of success, and makes it so much more intense.
Sometimes I chide myself in being impulsive, in buying that crazy pair of shoes because they are marked 85% off and because they could be fun to wear in a few months when it’s warm out; in ordering something without knowing exactly what kind of meat (or substance is in it) but because I like the way it smells, and in choosing my cat from the shelter without evaluating all the other options. But this was one impulse decision (booking the last-minute ticket) that was really not that impulsive after all, but a wonderful build-up of events, and perhaps a slight nudging from somewhere (thanks for listening to my prayers, God!!) that will motivate me to get serious about this journey!
Mango is a consultant in the Pacific Northwest who is applying to business schools so she would graduate in the Class of 2014. This report is adapted from her blog posts at Por qué MBA? One Girl’s MBA Application Journey!
Her previous posts on Poets&Quants: