At Georgia Tech's Scheller College of Business, Angela viewed her MBA experience as a learning experience both inside and outside the classroom. She shares how she leveraged on campus opportunities, learned to love networking, and successfully positioned herself for career success.
Name: Angela Behnken
School: MBA, Georgia Tech, Scheller College of Business
Did you come from a non-business background? If so, how did this effect how you approached the application process and how did you highlight your achievements to tell your personal narrative?
Prior to getting my MBA, I worked in various design agencies first as a graphic designer and later as a project manager. Along with my undergraduate degree in Industrial Design, I was not your typical MBA applicant. However, because I was so passionate about branding, I approached my application as a way to brand who I was and what I would bring to the programme. Instead of trying to force my experiences into fitting the typical mold, I instead used my creativity blended with a business perspective to tell a story that was genuine and spoke to my strengths.
What do you think is/was your program's greatest asset?
For me, the biggest asset of the Scheller College of Business is a tiebreaker between its size and its career services support. We became a tight-knit team supporting one another through all the challenges of obtaining your MBA – from balancing personal and class demands to helping each other as we pursued our dream jobs. Our career services team has deep industry experience which means they know the job market, and they also know their students and how to work with us individually to help us nail that job interview.
What is something that you learned that was unexpected?
After a few years of post-MBA experience, I realized that the most important thing I learned was actually not from the lessons in the classroom, but instead from my classmates outside of the classroom. I learned that its best to surround yourself with diverse backgrounds and ways of thinking as there’s typically no one right answer or approach to a problem in the business world. While I may not have known it at the time, it was working on projects with my teammates that taught me how to better deal with conflicting ideas, how to navigate the complications of different schedules and how to build to a consensus, all of which are key to my role today.
What resources and support did your school offer you through the career search?
As I was looking to change my career, I placed a heavy emphasis on finding a programme with a very supportive team of career advisors. I was pleased that at Scheller, the career services team began working with students before the first day of class in order to get to know us individually and to understand our goals and aspirations. From practicing case and behavioural interviews to guiding us on how to position ourselves in the market, our advisors work with students on a 1:1 basis to ensure that we are all successful in our job placement. The support our advisors offer also extends beyond searching for internships and our first MBA position as they are also a resource for the duration of our careers.
How much are you in touch with the alumni network? Are they helpful in making connections with companies?
My school’s alumni played a large role in helping me during my full-time job search. Knowing exactly which company I wanted to join, I asked a few alumni who worked at the company for any advice they would offer, including recommendations on who to talk to in order to learn more about the company and its people. Through their introductions, I met many people who happened to be involved in the recruiting process, ensuring that I was on their radar. Through the process I learned that my fellow Alumni all want to help one another succeed, and it starts with simply asking for help and advice, which lead to great opportunities.
Advice for Future Applicants
What is the one thing you wish someone had told you before you started the MBA application process?
My biggest hurdle in the MBA application process was the exam. While I had the undergraduate grades and letters of recommendation to support my application, I knew I needed to focus on achieving my target school’s desired score range. However, I realized after my first attempt that I over-focused on the test’s content. In order to achieve my desired score, I needed to study how to take the exam. I definitely wish someone had told me that knowing how to take the exam would be as important as studying all the concepts!