I never thought I would be saying this, but I’m on the brink of turning 30 years old and going back to school in August. I’ll be doing a two year program at Tulane University in New Orleans to get my MBA (Masters of Business Administration) with a focus on entrepreneurship. Yes, it’s a crazy time to be making big life changes, but it’s also sort of a good time if you think about it. The economy is about to be in bad shape and job security is basically nonexistent at this point.
I never thought getting my masters was something I’d be doing. My argument against it was always that in my industry, experience goes way further than education. A masters in public relations or communications didn’t seem to make sense for me. I’m sure for some it does, for example those wanting to become educators. However, I had never thought about a masters in another area of study until I decided getting my MBA was the next step for me. Here’s why I ultimately decided to make this (not small) decision.
I have been working in public relations since finishing my undergrad more than six years ago. I’ve worked at three different agencies where I’ve met amazing people, done super cool work and learned a ton. I regret none of these years. On paper, my career has been going in a positive trajectory. I’ve continued to move on to bigger and better opportunities and more than doubled my salary since I started working. But like many a few years into their careers, I started to feel burnt out and question the meaning of the work I was doing. I also began to feel bored and not challenged by my work. While burnout in itself or even hating your job isn’t a solid reason to go back to school, it could be a factor.
Wanting more for my future
I have always been a dreamer and an entrepreneur of sorts. Since I was a little girl, I’ve been known for starting various “business ventures” from selling jewelry and flower bouquets on the side of the road to starting “Surfer Girls Salon” in my room as a pre-teen (nerd alert). With that said, even as an adult, I’ve always dreamed of working for myself. Of course, this is something a lot of people want, but it’s a scary idea and one that I, like many, have never really known how to fully take the next step toward. I realized that I couldn’t just wait around for that next step to come, I needed to figure out what it was. While I have lots of experience in the marketing and public relations aspects of running a business, I am lacking when it comes to some of the other skills needed such as accounting and finance, things that you learn in business school! I’ll add that, creating and running this blog with my best friend has been the most rewarding part of the past few years of my career. The experience has given me the extra validation I needed to realize that being able to create something that’s your own and have it thrive and bring something to other people is what truly fulfills me.
To be challenged and learn
I mentioned earlier that I haven’t felt challenged in the last years of my career. Believe me, there were definitely points where I have been VERY challenged, but toward the end I felt a lack of room for myself to learn and grow. That’s not to say that I couldn’t have made a better effort to foster challenges for myself in my career, but the motivation to do so simply wasn’t there, which felt like a problem. I never thought I’d say this either, but I actually miss learning, whether that be in a school setting or the thrill that comes with perfecting a new skill. I’m really excited to have my mind stimulated again and to see how far I can push myself. Yes, it will be frustrating at times, but there’s a quote that I heard at a yoga retreat I went on a couple of years ago that’s stuck with me: “If it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you.” I feel like this can apply in so many areas of life.
If it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you.
Speaking of change, I truly believe that change is good for people, and society for that matter. It’s something that we often shy away from at first, but once we embrace it, we are only made into better, more well-rounded individuals. One thing I love about my generation is our acceptance of change. We don’t live in a world anymore where working at one company for your entire career is the standard. Not that there’s anything wrong with that if it’s what makes you happy, but as I mentioned earlier, I’m grateful for the variety of experiences I’ve had in my short career thus far. I believe they have shaped me and led me to better understand the world around me. My mom has often emphasized to me that you never figure it all out, that you continue developing and seeking happiness every day of your life. It might feel a little stressful to realize you are never going to wake up and think “this is it, my life is perfect,” but how boring would that be? The world as well as individuals are constantly changing so the more equipped we are to handle that, I say the better.
Going back to school is definitely going to be a big life change. If you are thinking about it, make sure to weigh all of your options first and be sure it’s the right decision for you. Of course there are lots of other factors to consider as well including your financial situation. There are lots of options and ways to do it such as a Professional MBA that can be completed while continuing to work. If you decide you want to apply for an MBA, start to look around at schools and programs that you think would be a fit for you and want you want for your future. Then, decide whether you are going to take the GRE or the GMAT and start studying even if it’s slowly. The process of studying for the entrance exam took me a while bc i had to essentially start from square one especially when it came to the quant (math) sections with concepts I hadn’t seen in years. Don’t forget to hit up your existing network! Check your LinkedIn connections and ask around to find out if there’s anyone you may know who went to graduate school that you can meet with for coffee to pick their brain about their experience. Of course if you have questions for me related to this, email them to firstname.lastname@example.org.