The motivation to obtain my Master of Business Administration (MBA) changed as I progressed in my career. At first, it was because I wanted to become a better manager and advance my business knowledge. Ultimately, I realized that I had a greater interest in the entrepreneurial and technology realms, with the lofty goal of working for an innovative technology company. With only my pharmacy experience, I knew an MBA from a reputable program was necessary to even consider this transition.
After some research, in the Fall of 2017, I began my journey with the Kelley Direct (KD) Online MBA program at Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business. KD provided not only an opportunity to gain my MBA, but also the ability for me to pursue a dual masters in Entrepreneurship and Innovation. I did not have to quit my job while pursuing this goal. Instead, I learned the business language and concepts and applied them to my then management position – assistant director of pharmacy – while slowly building my Kelley network to understand how to make the career switch that up until that point I could only dream about.
During the program, my career coach, Birgit Newman, worked closely with me to ensure that I felt comfortable with the process and what to expect – career switching is not easy! The business field was very new to me; everything felt different compared to healthcare. Together, we worked on multiple components of my job search, from understanding the job market to building rapport, resume review, interviewing, and connecting with alums. With preparation and coaching, I was able to transition from a traditional hospital setting into a healthcare startup to gain entrepreneurial experience. After graduation, I will be making my second transition; I will be joining Amazon. I would not have advanced and switched my career without the experience, business knowledge, and concepts that I learned from Kelley. Most importantly, I am grateful for the mentoring, preparation, and encouragement from Birgit and the Graduate Career Services team that has helped with my career transition.
Another aspect that sets KD apart are the amazing students from a wide variety of backgrounds. I have had classes with NFL players, engineers, and presidents and CEOs of many different companies. Such a diverse group of students allows for better class discussions and excellent teamwork. This was evident during our two Kelley Connect Weeks (KCW), during which we took part in domestic and global case competitions on the IU Bloomington campus. This experience enabled me to build memorable friendships with my teammates, build stronger bonds, and learn how to address different team dynamics.
During my second year of the program (you can take two to four years to complete it), I decided to participate in an international case competition event advertised by KD’s Consulting Student Leadership Association, one of ten dedicated online student associations available to KD students. With the experience we had gained during KCW and being able to work with diverse individuals (my teammates were in different states and time zones), we placed Top 10. I highly recommend joining a student organization, because it expands your opportunities to network, ask questions about different industries, and take part in a variety of fun challenges with other Kelleys.
My Kelley Direct experience has broadened my views about business, provided me with the skills to work for an innovative company, and given me friendships that will last a lifetime! I’m proud to be a Kelley!
Courtney’s story reflects a typical academic year in the Kelley Direct Online MBA program. The coronavirus pandemic could impact courses and experiences offered. You can always expect a high-quality, memorable experience that builds lasting momentum for your career.
Courtney Tam received her Doctor of Pharmacy degree from St. John’s University in 2010. She completed two years of postgraduate residency training, including specializing in Health-System Pharmacy Administration during her second year. She worked in various pharmacy management roles before transitioning into a healthcare startup. In 2020, she graduated from Indiana University Kelley School of Business with her MBA and a dual master’s degree in Entrepreneurship and Innovation. Since graduation, she has joined Amazon in their Pathways Leadership Program.
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