Last weekend, I attended the welcome event for the newly admitted students of the class of 2025 at Tepper School of Business. One question frequently arose during conversations with prospective students, juniors, and classmates: “How has your MBA experience been so far?” As I pondered this question, I realized that my time at Tepper had profoundly impacted my personal growth. As someone who grew up as a first-generation college student in rural India, every stage of life has been a significant shift in culture, experience, and expectations. Transitioning to Tepper has been the most significant shift in my life. I moved across the world, got accustomed to different cultures, and had a 360-degree shift in the professional journey in both internship and full-time. Changes came with an opportunity to learn and grow through experience. In this blog post, I’ll delve into the key takeaways from my MBA journey and how they have shaped my personal and professional development.
Cultivating a Growth Mindset:
Though a full-time MBA spans two years, many significant decisions have to be made pretty early in the course, such as the choice of which industry to pursue a summer internship in, what professional clubs to participate in, and what leadership roles one wants to follow. Many such opportunities make one embrace toolkits, approach the problems systematically, and make decisions that benefit best for themselves. In the process, many times, failures are inevitable. For example, when I decided to experiment with my interest in an industry that I needed to familiarize myself with, failure to secure an internship/full-time in a new industry/function was a challenge. However, the MBA ecosystem provides a support system to take risks and learn from failure. Such an ecosystem helped me gain a persistence attitude, cultivating a growth mindset.
Throughout my time at Tepper, I gained invaluable insights into my strengths, weaknesses, values, and aspirations. This self-awareness was fostered through various activities, such as engaging in introspective case studies in Ethics class and participating in thought-provoking simulations in the Managing Leadership class. Moreover, interacting with my diverse cohort provided exposure to new perspectives, enabling me to refine my values and expand my worldview.
Never in my life before Google Calendar has ever dictated me when I can shower, eat, or workout. The intense pace of the MBA program forced me to become proficient in the art of prioritization. Juggling academic responsibilities, club involvement, networking events, and personal life required me to make difficult choices and develop a keen sense of time management. Overcoming the FOMO and learning to make intentional decisions about where to invest my time and energy have been essential skills I’ll carry with me beyond Tepper.
Developing Leadership and Communication Skills:
Tepper’s MBA program offered many opportunities to hone my leadership and communication skills. The Accelerated Leadership Center (ALC) provided tailored coaching to help me improve these vital competencies, while my involvement in clubs, group projects, and events offered ample practice. As a result, I have grown more confident and effective in my ability to lead and communicate, preparing me for success in the corporate world.
Networking and Relationship Building:
There is a popular saying that MBA is a two years expensive networking event. It is largely true. Networking plays a central role in most activities in B-School. Be it participating in case competitions or hanging out with classmates on bar nights or b**rs evenings, networking is an intentional part. At Tepper, I had the privilege of connecting with students from various cohorts, alums, and peers from other institutions. These relationships not only expanded my professional network but also enriched my personal life as I learned from others’ experiences and perspectives.
Reflecting on my MBA journey at Tepper, it’s evident that the experience has been transformative in terms of personal growth. The program’s rigorous curriculum, diverse opportunities, and supportive environment have fostered a growth mindset, increased self-awareness, taught me the art of prioritization, and helped me develop essential leadership and communication skills. Additionally, the networking opportunities have been invaluable in forging meaningful relationships that I’ll cherish throughout my life.
As I continue my journey beyond Tepper, I am confident that the lessons learned and experiences gained during my MBA will serve as a strong foundation for both personal and professional success. To those considering embarking on their own MBA journey, I highly recommend embracing the transformative power of this experience and seizing every opportunity to learn, grow, and evolve.