Meet Michelle, a current student in our DC Weekend Part Time MBA program!
Where do you work?
I am the Managing Director of Cross-Cultural Communications in Columbia, MD. We train bilingual or multilingual individuals to work as interpreters in hospitals, clinics, social services and school systems. Our clients include individual interpreters, language service providers, nonprofit organizations and local, state and federal government agencies. I direct our business operations, strategic planning and marketing efforts.
Why did you choose Smith’s PT MBA program?
I chose Smith based on the recommendation of a friend from undergrad. An English major who paid for his undergraduate education by serving in the Army, he loved how an MBA gave him the practical knowledge and skills to advance his career in the Federal Government. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed being taught by a world-class faculty who are, at the same time, approachable and eager to share their knowledge.
What has been your favorite part of the PT MBA program so far?
More than anything else, I’ve greatly enjoyed working with and learning from such a wonderful group of people, in particular, my fabulous cohort! Most classes include a significant amount of group work, enabling you to learn from your colleagues’ diverse backgrounds and skill sets. I’ve learned how to lead – and how to follow – in different groups, as well as how to build a great team in the first place. I’ve directly applied leadership and management skills I’ve learned from classes to my current role as we hire more employees and build a collaborative company culture.
Do you belong to any Smith clubs?
In addition to be being a Track Rep for my cohort, I served as the Vice President of Marketing & Communications on the PTMBAA (Part-Time MBA Association) Board in 2015-2016.
What is your best tip for juggling the work/life/MBA balance?
Be disciplined yet reward yourself! The last thing you want to do on a Sunday after being in class all day Saturday is homework. Yet, that is precisely what you should do in order to get a jump on the week ahead. It’s better to do a little bit of homework everyday instead of hitting the books the night before class. However, acknowledge that you’re human and deserve a break. I incentivize myself by looking forward to get-togethers with family and friends – and yoga!
What does your typical work/class day look like?
I work 45-50 hours a week plus one business trip per month. Work is pretty consuming so I’m fiercely protective of my ‘free time’ in the evenings to do schoolwork and exercise. Schoolwork takes up about 10-15 hours and in-class time an average of 4.5 hours per week.
What is your goal for earning your MBA?
For the moment, I love being able to apply everything I’ve learned in the program to my role as the director of a small business. Eventually, I’d like to transition to a management and/or marketing role in a larger company, and then perhaps start my own business.
If they made a movie of your life, who would you want to star as you?
Even though we look nothing alike, I’d love to be played by Jennifer Lawrence. In addition to being a fantastic actress, I love how she’s brought out the issue of gender pay inequality among actors in Hollywood. Equal pay for equal work!
What is your favorite book?
The Blue Sword by Robin McKinley.
Do you have a favorite movie?
The Last Unicorn. Based on the classic fantasy novel of the same name. Although this is an animated film, it’s definitely not for children!
What piece of advice would you give to yourself if you could go back in time to when you applied for Smith’s PT MBA program?
Take a statistics class before starting the MBA program! I believe I’m in the minority but I’d never taken a statistics class in grade school or at university. That knowledge would have helped me a great deal in some of the program’s core classes. On a lighter note, I probably would have read more books for pleasure had I known my brain would be taken up by business reading for the next two years of my life!