“Where do you belong?”
It’s a question I asked myself (many times) while considering MBA programs. I felt kind of like Goldilocks. Some programs felt too big or too small, some seemed to focus too little on my areas of interest and too much on things that weren’t relevant to me. Questions abounded in my quest to find a good fit. Would I be the only career transitioner? Will I be the only parent? What if there are no other women?
I was relieved (and excited) to receive an invitation to the Women & the MBA Symposium in December 2012. I realized that not only did the R. H. Smith School recognize the importance of women in their MBA programs; they also took the time to reach out to us in a way that was substantive and meaningful.
During the Women & the MBA Symposium I was not only able to connect with other prospective students, I also learned about the program from women who worked at the school and who had years of experience in the field of business.
The last speaker of the day was an R.H. Smith alumna with whom I’d attended college and hadn’t seen in over a decade. She spoke about her nontraditional path to the MBA and her experiences throughout the process. Hearing her speak helped me realize that R. H. Smith would be a good place for me.
And now, a year later, and well into my first semester, I feel even more strongly that I belong. The resources and network help all students toward their goals, regardless of how traditional or nontraditional their paths might have been. The message was clear. There WAS a place for me at Smith. There wasn’t just one box that students needed to fit in or one category required to be successful. It’s the combination of life experiences that make the learning environments so meaningful.
So the answer to my question was a resounding, “You belong at the R. H. Smith School of Business!”
Aline Anders is a School Counselor turned stay at home mom turned MBA student interested in social value consulting. She is a first year PT MBA student at Smith’s Shady Grove campus. Her interests include architectural photography, writing and her family.