Others intend to pursue more subtle and spiritual endeavors. Christopher Gomez Blank, who worked in immigration outreach and family defense before spending three years with Sesame Street, hopes to “meet and have at least one meaningful conversation with every member of my graduating class [at Georgetown].” And HEC Paris’ Veronica Tisera, a Procter & Gamble vet from Venezuela, hopes to give something back to her classmates. “If I graduate knowing that I had even the smallest influence in my peer’s MBA experience, accomplishment and personal change, I will feel successful,” she says.
Many plan to create something of their own, choosing entrepreneurship over lucrative corporate gigs. “Following my MBA I want to start my own company,” writes Christina Mackay, an Ernst & Young consultant who studied law at the University of Birmingham before being accepted into Cambridge University’s Judge Business School. “I have about 10 business ideas at present. So before I graduate, I’d like to think through these ideas with my fellow students and hopefully meet some business partners to put at least one idea into practice.”
Richard Leon Laroue, however, is determined to use what he learns at UCLA’s Anderson School of Management to give back to his community. “I would like to create a mentorship program in East Los Angeles so that undergraduate students from local universities could partner with poorly resourced middle schools and high schools to mentor students and coach them in college preparation. I was fortunate to be a part of a similar program while at UC Berkeley, so I’ve seen first hand the transformative power that these programs have.”
A TIME TO FIND THEMSELVES
Most consider an MBA education to be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and the Class of 2017 plans to squeeze the most out of their experience. Wharton’s Aayush Tapuriah, an engineer-turned-entrepreneur from India, hopes to be exposed to people and places he wouldn’t otherwise know. “I want to make friends with and learn from people around the world,” he says. “I also want to travel around South America and Africa, two continents I have never been to which are also places where I see tremendous scope for sourcing organic products.”
“After my MBA, I really want to be able to say ‘I don’t have any regrets,’’’ writes INSEAD’s Benjamin Lu, who is transitioning from banking to consulting. Cambridge’s Daniel Owens, who re-located from Los Angeles to Cambridge to enroll at Judge, sums up the Millennial FOMO sentiment best: “I don’t want to look back on my MBA and think “What if?” or feel that I could have done more.”
And doing more means taking risks, admits Wharton’s Ashley Kang, who studied sociology as a Harvard undergrad. “Business school is potentially the most “safe” environment to take risks, so I would like to look back in two years and genuinely believe that I took full advantage of being in such an environment. I hope to take many smart risks, fail numerous times, and gain more perspective as a result.”
The Latin phrase for “learn” is “Percipio Percepi,” which can mean to gain or understand. That, in essence, is the heart of a successful MBA experience, and students such as HEC Paris’ Stephen Prsa are embracing this chance to break away and start anew. “My friends and family keep telling me: ‘Steve, you’re going to come back a completely different person! At the end of the day, that’s my goal.’”
Watch for our series profiling the most promising members of 2017 class at profiles (along with these students’ advice on studying for the GMAT, writing standout applications, and why they chose particular schools).
DON’T MISS: MEET KELLOGG’S CLASS OF 2017