Words of Advice If You Are Considering getting an MBA – Stick with what you want once you’ve arrived in the MBA program, even if it is not a traditional MBA track. Don’t worry about what everyone else thinks you should do.
Because I had the investment banking background, and finance careers are such a large percentage of the interests of MBAs, there was constant tendency to fall back to what I knew already—to get invited to interview, etc.
Nontraditional MBAs really have to create their own job and interview schedules. The career office at your MBA school can help with strategy and some of the network, but you have to make it happen.
With an interest in education, I found my professors at Rice to be great resources, and it is through a professor that I found out about the executive director position I now have.
What I Did Before This (Including Pre-MBA and Post-MBA Jobs)
I started my career at Chase Bank as an analyst in their training program. I moved into structured finance, which involved both corporate and investment banking, where I spent a total of three years. When I decided to make the move to California, I took the opportunity to switch careers and joined Achieva College Prep Services, a start-up education company in Palo Alto.
At Achieva, I was able to use my business skills as well as work directly with high school students in a college counseling capacity. During the year I was at Achieva, we went from 15 to 80 people. By the time we left California and I’d experienced such hyper growth in an entrepreneurial company, I thought that an MBA might be more useful, in terms of developing my entrepreneurial skills in the long run, than a master’s degree in education.
Educational Background (Undergraduate, MBA, Other)
- MBA, Rice University, Jones Graduate School of Management, 2012
- Bachelor of business administration, University of Texas at Austin, 2006
In MBA Programs, I’d Suggest You Look For…
Look for flexibility and a lot of course options in the MBA curriculum, including independent study options or non-profit electives—if this is your goal or if your undergraduate degree was also in business, as mine was. You don’t want to repeat a lot of topics. I chose the Jones School at Rice, where I could easily set up independent studies with the head of the Center for Teaching and Technology at Rice and in nonprofit and entrepreneurial topics, for example.
They were very willing to work with me. There was also the Rice Alliance for Entrepreneurship, which enabled current MBAs and alumni to meet with business leaders and get feedback on their business plans. It also can help to find professors with specific affiliations that interest you.
For me, small size was important in graduate school. I grew up going to small schools. Although I went to college at the University of Texas, the honors business program had only 45 students in it from my class. I learn well in that environment, so I ruled out some MBA programs because of their size.