Monday, April 16, 2012

Getting a Jumpstart on Your MBA: A Special Note from Forté Fellow, Justina Lee

Choosing to pursue an MBA is a big step, as it requires significant time and energy, let alone the financial aspect of your investment. Committing to your business school of choice requires (almost) a leap of faith, as you are not quite sure where the next few years will take you, or if it will even be a better situation than your current one.

As a Forté Fellow, I quickly learned of the various events offered by the Forté Foundation, specifically the Financial Services FAST Track Conference and MBA Women’s Conference, which were both held in New York City last year. As someone who wanted to soak up as much information as I could and explore all the potential career opportunities for MBA students, I applied and registered for both conferences.

The conferences occurred early in the summer, which gave me a jumpstart on my recruiting process as I updated my resume, prepared an elevator pitch and developed “stories” that I would tell others to give them an opportunity to learn more about me. I can honestly say that the hard work paid off! At both conferences, I heard from many amazing women who have illustrious careers in their respective professions, and spoke with women who are a few steps ahead of me in their careers and could share some insight. I also met many other MBA women from many schools across the country, who could relate to what I was experiencing. The best part was that throughout the fall recruiting process, I saw many familiar faces and will even see some of them during my summer internship!

By speaking with recruiters from different companies and functions, I gained a greater understanding of what firms were looking for and the different types of opportunities I could pursue. These conversations, combined with the panel sessions, helped me further identify my own strengths and weaknesses, as well as which functions and companies I wanted to continue to network with over the next months.

Overall, these conferences were not only providing a chance to network with other MBA women or professionals, but more importantly, these conferences allowed me to take the time and invest in myself. Not only did I learn how to better network, how to negotiate future situations (like asking for a raise…to all the women out there, if you don’t ask, you won’t get it!), and many other skills, but also more about the various career paths within the financial services industry. I strongly believe this self-assessment is something that everyone beginning the MBA journey can benefit from.

By Justina Lee, Forté Fellow, MBA Class of 2013
Tepper School of Business, Carnegie Mellon University

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