Sana Mohammed had just given birth to her second daughter, and was barely surviving from nursing, when her husband asked her a question that stopped her in her tracks: Why aren’t you applying to business school?
The Director of Global Loyalty Strategy at McDonald’s Corp had always wanted an MBA, but she was just then a bit busy! Her husband said something then that Mohammed still comes back to whenever she finds herself questioning whether she has the time, perseverance, or energy to throw her name into a new opportunity: Why are you pretending you already got in?
“This single phrase made me realize I am my own biggest obstacle. I was saying no to my own application before I even give myself a chance,” says the Class of 2022 Best & Brightest EMBA Candidate from Northwestern University (Kellogg).
“So, to anyone considering applying, give yourself a chance. Let someone else say no, if they must, and only make a decision when you have an offer in front of you. Choose to be your own cheerleader, not an obstacle.”
TOP ADVICE FROM TOP BUSINESS GRADUATES
For Gina Calder, a Best & Brightest EMBA from Yale School of Management, the best piece of advice she got for business school came from her stepsister, who completed her graduate degree while working full time.
“She advised me to reserve one day a week for myself where I was not doing anything EMBA-related. This was the best advice ever! Following her advice required me to be organized and purposeful in managing my time and productivity. It allowed me a much-needed day to rest, decompress, and spend time with my family and friends so I could refuel for the days ahead,” Calder says.
Each year, P&Q honors 100 EMBA candidates among the Best & Brightest EMBA Candidates of their class. As part of the nomination, these students answer the following question: What advice would you give to current EMBA candidates or those thinking of applying?
We scored those answers for the 10 best pieces of advice from the Class of 2022. Read them below.
1. Manage your expectations
“Don’t underestimate the amount of time and energy required. Make sure you have your family and manager support going into this program as they are the people who can make it or break it. Managing expectations and having transparent dialogue with your ‘key stakeholders,’ whether at work or at home, is imperative for sustainable performance in an Executive MBA program.” –Max Silin, University of Cambridge (Judge)
2. Roll with adversity
“Be prepared to deal with adversity in your personal and professional life, in addition to your experience in school. Life, and all that comes with it, will not simply stop while you undertake this program. With a majority of the coursework done in teams, your and your classmates’ life or work events will at times need to take precedence. Afford yourself and your teammates the good grace to balance ever shifting priorities and be prepared to support your teammates in whatever way you can.” – Sam Raimist, Cornell University (Johnson)
3. Integrate work and school projects
“Don’t be afraid to integrate work projects into your school projects. I had the opportunity to do this during my Business, Government, and the Global Economy class, which I took at a time when the plight of the Uyghurs in China was receiving increased attention. My group and I decided to make the issue of addressing inputs using forced labor in the solar panel industry the focus of our research. Additionally, having the diversity of experience and backgrounds within our group added to my learning experience in a way that would have likely been missing had I taken on this research alone in my work capacity.” – Julia Kim, Georgetown University (McDonough)
NEXT PAGE: More advice from top EMBA candidates
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