Amal Mehic earned her MBA from Whitman School of Management at Syracuse University after coming from a civil engineering background.
Name: Amal Mehic
School: MBA, The Martin J. Whitman School of Management, Syracuse University
Profession: Energy & Sustainability Engineer, Novelis, Oswego, New York
What are some activities you were involved with outside of class? How did you balance your time?
During my time at Syracuse University’s Whitman School I was an executive board member of the Whitman Women in Business, a member of the Whitman Consulting Club, and a team member of the school’s social media team. There were many events, projects, and assignments in which I was able to take part in through these activities. I balanced my time through prioritization. Every day, I would look at my to-do list and activities and think to myself, which will matter the most in 10 years.
What were the biggest challenges of pursuing your MBA?
I feel like most people would say time management, but I would go a step further and say priority management was my biggest challenge. Classes, group meetings, and homework are a full-time job. However, you will also find yourself wanting to participate in organizations, have a part-time job, spend time with family and friends, and most importantly find time to research and apply for internships and full-time jobs. Everything is a priority, but if you have to choose between reading 100 pages for a class or meeting an internship application deadline, you will quickly learn how to manage your priorities.
When did you decide you wanted to pursue an MBA? What inspired you?
After working with my civil engineering degree for four years, two years of government work and two years of private industrial work, I found that I was yearning for roles that had a more wholesome range of responsibilities that would allow me to have a broader insight into the work I was given. For example, if I was designing a structure and the company wanted time to do it a certain way for “business reasons” I wanted to be able to know why. I knew I needed to have more business acumen and that I would not be able to have the knowledge or training that I needed to develop that acumen if I continued my career the way it was going. After lots of research, I decided to pursue a full-time MBA so that I could dedicate all of my energy to it and get the most out of it.
When it came time to look for jobs, did you find yourself interested in a new career that you hadn’t considered before doing your MBA?
Coming from an engineering background and being introduced to a cornucopia of fascinating business subjects and industries, it was not difficult for me to develop interests in many different career paths. One industry that I continue to be interested in is analytics. There is so much data that is being gathered and even more that can still be gathered, but it means nothing if it is not analyzed for interpretation and action. I’m interested to see how analytics can fit within nontraditional data oriented settings, such as a civil engineering firm or manufacturing plant.
Advice for Future Applicants
What is the one thing you wish someone had told you before you started the MBA application process?
Rankings matter… a lot. Getting an MBA is all about the alumni network you build and join, as well as the quality of classroom experiences, internships and full-time jobs that are made available to you. All of these things rely heavily on the school’s reputation and rankings. Be patient and invest wisely.
Did you come from a non-business background? If so, how did you highlight your achievements and tell your story when applying.
My background is in civil engineering. I obtained my bachelor’s degree in civil engineering and worked in that capacity for four years after graduation. To be honest, coming from such a technical field, I was not accustomed to highlighting my own achievements. I wanted to attend a program that saw my professional development potential. I did not want to attend a program that based its decision on what I needed to bring to the table beforehand. I was very candid throughout the application process.
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