Q: How did you choose your MBA program? What are some of SMU Cox's greatest assets?
A: I ultimately chose to attend the Cox School of Business because of its strategic location, extensive curriculum, and strong alumni network. Dallas, TX has a great business economy, lots of corporate headquarters, and positive job growth which as an MBA student is advantageous for exploring different careers and industries. Another reason why I chose Cox is because of the curriculum. I was interested in both Finance and Strategy and the curriculum at Cox allows for students to take electives and complete a minor in multiple areas. The last great program asset I will mention is the awesome SMU Cox alumni network! Cox alums are so welcoming and open to meeting up with you, sharing professional advice, and connecting you to people in their network which I have even seen lead to job opportunities.
Q: What activities are you involved in outside of class?
A: While I am highly engaged and serve as an officer for student organizations (shout out to Net Impact and the Energy Club), I would like to highlight the Associate Board Mentoring Program and the Business Leadership Center as distinct outside the classroom programs offered at Cox. Through the Associate Board Mentoring program, I was paired with an executive-level mentor in Dallas which has been a wonderful connection, providing both valuable personal and professional advice.
The Business Leadership Center (BLC) offers seminars and executive speaker series covering a wide range of topics and industries. The speakers are very dynamic, and the seminars tend to be very conversational offering insight into the decisions made and challenges faced by managers. Some of my favorite sessions were with executives from Coca-Cola, Disney, Yum! Brands, just to name a few. I also worked on a non-profit consulting project through the BLC and was awarded the Cox Distinguished Business Leader award.
Q: What have been the biggest challenges of pursuing your MBA?
A: My biggest challenge has been realizing I cannot do it all. As a first-year student, there was an overwhelming amount of professional and networking events not to mention study groups, case studies to prepare for on top of your own personal life and responsibilities. It is important to have a laser focus on what your priorities are and schedule your time accordingly.
Q: How did you decide that an MBA was the next step for you?
A: The decision to get my MBA was straightforward since I was looking to transition careers. I wanted to obtain an MBA to be able to build a solid financial skill set as well as interact with other business students and professionals and grow my network.
Q: How do you fund your MBA? Can you offer any advice to students looking to finance their MBA?
A: My MBA is funded through loans, scholarships, and personal savings. I will admit that lack of finances almost held me back from getting my MBA but I am glad I was blessed to get a financial package that ultimately worked. I encourage everyone to remember that getting an MBA is an investment in yourself!
Q: Do you plan on having an internship during your MBA experience? How will this internship relate to your future career goals?
A: This summer I am interning at ExxonMobil in the Houston, TX area. I am working in their Controller’s group which is within the Finance organization. I am excited at the opportunity as it is aligned with my career goals of building my financial acumen and working in the Energy industry.
As you research different MBA programs, pay close attention to what careers and industries recent graduates are being hired into as that is a factor a lot of people neglect. For females, look into Forte sponsored schools (hint: SMU is one!). The Forte Foundation is a wonderful organization and they have a MBA Leadership Conference every year where you get to meet and interact with other women across the nation.