Success in an MBA program: A Self-directed Journey

A few weeks back, a prospective MBA student asked, “What really determines success in an MBA program?”  That got me thinking about how I would define success here at Fisher.

Most Fisher MBA students have very different backgrounds. That includes financial services, consulting, dance, education, engineering, auditing and many more. We all join the program with our own objectives in mind, which are similar but very different. And, we’ll no doubt go on to have many more distinctive experiences following the program.  To successfully get to that point though, each of us has to focus on our personal and professional objectives and allow those goals to shape the activities and opportunities in which we involve ourselves as students. Those activities definitely start in the classroom, but experiential learning is a huge part of the MBA program as well.  There are three specific aspects of the program that come to mind as things that shape the MBA experience and help determine success:

Coursework: In the first year of the program, MBA students take a variety of coursework in every functional area of business. That includes some that you might be extremely interested and ones that allow you to build on areas where you are not as strong. The reasoning behind that is you want to be a well-rounded leader and have a breadth of knowledge about business.  In your second year of the program, the courses that you choose should continue to strengthen areas of weakness.

Professional and Leadership Development: Staying true to you in this area is incredibly important.  We each have different sets of developmental opportunities that we need to identify and strengthen.  There are many formal and informal ways to do that at Fisher. There are over 30 student organizations, a corporate mentor program and a host of experiential learning opportunities such as business case competitions.

Internship: The internship between the first and second year of the program allow you to experience what its really like in your desired career. I really enjoyed my internship experience this past summer as and Associate Brand Manager at Abbott Nutrition and it definitely makes me excited about a career in that field. Not everyone had same experience; others have decided to refocus on a different functional area of business after interning this past summer. The internship is great for that reason; we have an experience that helps shape the final year of the MBA program in term of choosing a specialization and long-term career goals.

How well those things are executed really determines success in the MBA program. Ultimately, success in the program will mean something a little different for everyone. The great part about it is that Fisher has incredible career advisors, faculty and mentors to help along the way.