The MBA Boardroom

Many of us that enter MBA programs dream of someday being in the boardroom for a company– someday far, far off. But what if I told you the boardroom was a lot closer than you thought?

I’m talking about a MBA club boardroom, of course! Clubs are the hub of social life and many activities within the program. But somebody has to pick, organize, and run all of the events, and that’s where club boards come in. Students that are passionate about the mission of the club volunteer their time and efforts to create great events for their classmates.

But how do you get to be on a board? Most clubs at Tepper start the academic year by choosing a junior board made up of first-years. Interested students submit applications that the current board evaluates, and a team is selected. These junior boards work alongside the board to understand the inner workings of the club and begin to make their mark on the club. For clubs that don’t have an official junior board, there is still often an opportunity to get involved early on to prove interest and leadership ability.

This time of year  (Mini 3) is the next step: board transitions. Again, every club handles board transitions differently; some usher the junior board onto the board if they commit, but others ask junior board members to reapply in addition to the new applications. Applications could be evaluated by the board or by the entire population of the club. But in the end, a new President and board is in place around February.

That board then has a full year to impose their will on the club. Many clubs have events that happen every year due to a historical high success rate, but there’s always an opportunity to tweak existing events or add brand new ones. The boards keep Tepper’s various communities– professional, cultural, hobbyist, and more– alive despite the quick turnover of students by bridging second and first years through the board system.

I’ve had the opportunity to be selected for two club boards, the Marketing club and the Out & Allied club. The Marketing club is fairly intensive, being a professional club. We have a high number of events every mini, mixed between educational, corporate-sponsored, career-focused, and social. This acts as an awesome support system for those interested in marketing long-term, especially career-switchers that have little prior experience to lean on. Out & Allied, the LGBT+ organization, fits a different need. This group officially supports our LGBT+ students and their allies and unofficially throws some of the best parties around. O&A’s activities are of the same mix as marketing, but at a slightly smaller scale. Still, the programming is deeply important to the members and to the class at large, and it’s great seeing the connection and understanding that club fosters.

There’s more benefits to being on a board than executing cool events. You will develop great connections with classmates, companies, and more. You will have the opportunity to practice the leadership skills you’d like to focus on in a lower-risk setting. You will have a great line item to add to your resume and talk to in interviews. And– last but not least– you will hand down your role to the class below you with a sense of pride that you helped keep the Tepper community thriving.

Rebecca George | MBA 2019

Project Engineer (pre-MBA) at Whirlpool
Rebecca George joined Tepper in 2017 and finally, joyfully returned to her hometown of Pittsburgh, where she can once again freely wear black-and-gold sports jerseys any day of the week and use Pittsburghese like “slippy” and “jaggerbush.” She holds a degree in materials science and engineering from Purdue University and has four years of experience in product development and innovation. Creating products for consumers, improving their lives, and seeing the resultant smile on their face unlocked a new passion for marketing in Rebecca. She has brought this love of the consumer - as well as a love of leadership and teaming - to Tepper to pivot her career and enjoy an awesome two-year journey of growth with her cohort. At Tepper, she is a proud member of the junior boards of both the Out&Allied and Marketing clubs, as well as being a Forté Fellow. This past summer, Rebecca interned at General Mills as an Associate Brand Manager on the Old El Paso brand. In her spare time, Rebecca enjoys yoga, hockey (go Pens!), photography, creative writing, and music.
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