Meet Rachel, a current student in our Evening MBA program at our Shady Grove campus in Rockville!
Where do you work?
University of Maryland College Park (at the Shady Grove Campus), Coordinator
Why did you choose Smith’s PT MBA program
I chose Smith’s PT MBA program for a lot of reasons. I’m addicted to learning and I am truly motivated to better myself. Prior to the MBA, I saw a need to hone my business skills, especially leadership and management. I’d spent all these years learning to be a writer, but acquiring business skills is essential to whatever field you pursue, especially if you want to grow within your organization.
Initially, I moved to Maryland for my Master’s of Fine Arts in Poetry (writing) in 2011. I’d lived in Rochester, NY, Panama City, Panama, and Uppsala, Sweden, but moving to Maryland felt just as far from home as those international cities. I’ve been employed by UMD since my 1st year in that program. Initially, I wanted to work in a field where I would get to share knowledge, and help create a space where students actually enjoy poetry or art. When that happens, it is pretty amazing.
I love UMD. There are always exciting speakers and extra curricular events happening on campus or near by. I’ve had some truly amazing experiences because of UMD. When I was pursuing the MFA, I interned at the Library of Congress’s Poetry and Literature Center. I had won a travel grant and spent a summer traveling through Turkey, Hungary, Austria, and Lithuania, ending at a Writer’s Seminar in Vilnius. I worked as a grant writer for the Art Gallery and ended up doing a lot of gallery preparation, meeting lots of artists and spending time with amazing Arts Administrators. I sold pasta at the farmer’s market. I taught Academic Writing and Creative Writing in the Department of English. I’m less interested in the traditional teaching role now. Grading papers is the absolute worst. I still work in higher education, now in a role where I have direct contact with students without any of the grading. I essentially run a program, which really means having strong project management skills, clear communication, and just good business skills. Smith gave me an opportunity to acquire those skills when I get out of work by literally walking about 200 feet from my office. Acquiring business skills is essential to whatever field you pursue. I hadn’t realized that until I’d been working for a while, and it became especially apparent when I became a supervisor.
What has been your favorite part of the PT MBA program so far?
Learning! We are constantly being challenged, and a lot of what we do really pushes me outside of my comfort zone. Second to learning, I really love hanging out with the people in my cohort. We had an especially fun game night last semester that involved a lot of pecan whiskey and Cards Against Humanity.
What is your best tip for juggling the work/life/MBA balance?
After the first semester, figure out how much time you need to allocate to self-care and maintaining your friendships, getting your homework done, and to not be an exhausted disaster at work. Then take on a class load that makes sense for that mix.
What does your typical work/class day look like?
I wake up, shower, dress, go to work, study between work and class, go to class, call my boyfriend, go to sleep. Repeat. Days without class I spend the time I would be in class studying, every day. First semester that included literally waking up and doing homework/studying all day Saturday and Sunday.
What is your goal for earning your MBA?
Career advancement. If my career doesn’t advance (no promotion) within the next year, I’ll make a career switch.
If they made a movie of your life, who would you want to star as you?
That’s hard. Emma Watson, especially if it meant I could hang out with her.
What is your favorite book?
Meadowlands, by Louise Gluck
Do you have a favorite movie?
No favorite movie. When I was in high school I watched Breakfast Club all the time.
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?
Do it! I waited until the very last minute to apply. I was really worried about the GMAT, especially because I’d taken the GRE more than 5 years prior.