Learn what inspired Jane Azzinaro to pursue her MBA at George Washington University School of Business, and read some dos and don'ts of the MBA application process.
Name: Jane Azzinaro
School: MBA, George Washington University School of Business
Hometown: East Brunswick, NJ
Employment: Seeking a job in the private sector doing strategic consulting.
What are some activities you are involved with outside of class? How do you balance your time?
I am involved with quite a bit and love it. I am the Executive Vice President of the MBA Association, serving all our MBA organizations as liaison to the MBAA Board and GWSB administration. I am a Forte Fellow and have an Innovation and Strategy-based internship for a consulting firm in Virginia this Spring. Last semester, I put together a team for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation MBA Case Competition and out of 105 submissions from 42 MBA programs, the Colonial Consultants took home 2nd place.
I am a part of the Mentoring & Immersion Program for Consulting (MIPC), a highly-competitive, 2-year program with employer mentors from firms including McKinsey, Deloitte, and IBM through which I am on a consulting engagement doing market entry and growth strategy for a prominent DC-area restaurant group. In addition, I am on two abroad consulting projects: Project Lead for our Operations & Tech Strategy engagement in Tbilisi, Georgia for a prominent insurance company and VP of Information Technology for our Foreign Direct Investment & Data Analysis engagement for Siemens in Vietnam. I will be visiting Georgia over Spring Break and spending 2 weeks in Vietnam in late May.
In addition to all of that, I volunteer for Alpha Kappa Psi Professional Business Fraternity. I serve as the Central Atlantic Regional Director, overseeing all our schools in DC, Maryland and Virginia. I serve over 1,200 students and have a team of 25+ alumni volunteers. I was appointed to this role by our Board of Directors in 2016.
That all being said- I manage my time by stressing my priorities and having open and honest communication with each one of my teams. We all have competing priorities for our time and energy and make decisions accordingly. By having empathy and understanding that we all have multiple and different teams, goals, home lives and live all over the DMV, our groups are able to establish norms and expectations. We also leverage technology, such as WebEx, to meet and work remotely.
How have your classmates influenced your MBA experience?
My classmates have greatly impacted and influenced my MBA experience. We have a very supportive group of people. We collaborate and believe in building each other up, as each person’s success helps the others. Even more than that, besides the knowledge sharing and encouragement, is the difference in perspectives and backgrounds. We have ~50% international students, dual-degree students pursuing law and information systems, along with those who have more or less experience than another. Backgrounds vary from engineering to sales, multi-national corporations to 10-people companies, with many using their MBA to pivot. The varied views on business, teams, and the world push each of us to think deeper and be more mindful and present in our MBAs. I am surrounded by so many smart, unique people with fantastic goals that continue to empower me to do better and more.
Advice for Future Applicants
What are some dos and don’ts in the MBA preparation process?
Do- Actually prepare. Sounds silly, but a lot of people don’t realize how involved getting an MBA is, or the fact that there is a lot less hand-holding throughout the process. Undergraduate programs spell everything out while MBA programs require more research on your part to make sure everything is completed on time. Attend events such as the MBATour to gather insight into the schools and individual processes. Build in time to study and/or be tutored going into the GMAT or GRE. Which ties into the financial piece of an MBA. It is expensive to study, take the exam(s), apply and then, when you are accepted, a deposit and then tuition. There is assistance out there but none of it is guaranteed. Prepare financially for the burden, research scholarship opportunities and 529 Plans. Once you’re in there are also additional costs of an MBA, such as career fair and industry events for networking and exposure to employers.
Don’t- Let anyone else make your decisions for you. If you want a full-time MBA program, don’t let others deter you from that goal. Don’t let applying for an MBA get in the way of a potential promotion. Don’t get the degree for someone else; do it for you. Don’t forget about your major achievements and accolades. Don’t be afraid to get outside your comfort zone and be open to being flexible. Don’t forget to file your FAFSA and get involved with any diversity groups that may be of assistance (Forte, Prospanica, ROMBA, The Consortium). Don’t be afraid to ask for help or information from those around you- about their experiences and perspectives. Finally, don’t limit yourself and create your own glass ceiling.
When did you decide you wanted to pursue an MBA? What inspired you? Did you pursue your MBA in order to switch careers?
I had promised myself that I would go back for my MBA within 5 years of graduation. Finding companies to pay for school was a challenge but I was determined to make it work. In addition to that, I wanted to learn more. I discovered that I enjoy more strategic roles than tactical and that I wasn’t learning anymore. I needed to take a step back and increase my breadth and depth of knowledge in business as it looks today, not 5 years ago. By leveraging my MBA, I seek to engage in activities that will enhance my learning and resume to set me up for a successful career. I also was inspired as an entrepreneur to build new, fruitful relationships and build out my personal business. I am switching focus from digital marketing in small to medium-sized companies to strategy in a larger company.
What resources are you planning to utilize when it comes time to look for an internship and/or fulltime position? Have you participated in any career fairs, seminars, workshops or other school led events that have helped prepare you for your job search?
There are a variety of resources I intend to use. Technology will play a large role- being on company listservs or job alerts, using Vault, Poets&Quants, and company websites to ensure I’m aware of all the opportunities out there. Our MBA class is also very supportive and collaborative and openly shares opportunities they run across that may be of interest to others, on listservs, chats and through club initiatives. Finally, it will come down to networking. I’ll seek out MIPC Mentors, 2nd Years and GW MBA Alumni, as well as attending the National Black MBA Association conference, local DC networking events and the Forte Foundation Conference.