Lauren Hunter, Alumna from Syracuse University Whitman School of Management, provides advice for applicants on how to choose the right program, how to transition back to school, and how to facilitate time management in business school.
What are some activities you were involved with outside of class? How did you balance your time?
In addition to completing coursework for the joint degree program, I founded the Whitman Women in Business student organization and served as its President for two years. The organization seeks to foster women’s involvement in the business community and required me to devote time to organizing events and speaker series. I led monthly leadership meetings to organize such events so was able to dedicate a couple of hours per week to club management.
To effectively balance my time outside of class I carved out dedicated hours for group work, studying and extracurricular activities and made sure to maintain an up-to-date Outlook calendar.
What is it like to transition back to school after being out for a few years? What advice can you offer students transitioning back?
My biggest challenge was learning how to take exams (besides the GMAT) again. I was an undergraduate film major at Vassar College and most of my collegiate assessments were written assignments in subjects unrelated to finance or accounting. As such, the hardest part of the transition was mastering a new discipline and preparing for the corresponding examinations. The best advice I can give in this regard is to put in the long hours at critical points throughout the semesters devoting time and commitment to information retention and test preparation. Additionally, be willing to forego some extra hours of sleep!
Why did you choose your MBA program? Do you have advice to students on how to make a decision?
Syracuse University offers a joint MBA/MS in Media Management degree program. I was compelled by the opportunity to complete two Masters degree programs in 2 years but was most drawn to the uniqueness of the program structure and coursework which aligned with my interests in marketing and media. Prior to application, I had tailored my school search to my personal interests and post-MBA career pursuits; and would advise others to consider the same.
Have your interests and passions changed since beginning your MBA program?
When I started my MBA program, I thought that I would return to the entertainment industry. However, after starting the MBA program, my interests and passions broadened to marketing and communications in general (industry agnostic). At Whitman, I had the opportunity to study the impact that marketers can have on any business. Therefore, my interests changed and I decided to pursue a career as a financial services marketing professional. Today, I confidently consider myself a marketer thanks largely to one of my MBA professors.