Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Where to get my MBA?

2017 started off a much higher note!

I thought about attending Columbia for my undergraduate degree but cost and location were prohibitive so I decided to a state school closer to home, a decision that I could not have made me happier.  I met some amazing women, I was close enough to home when my grandmother passed away freshman year and my wonderful parents footing the bill allowed me the opportunity to be financially stable. My lack of student loans allowed me the luxury of moving to NYC in 2007 to live in a classic 200 square foot walk up studio on the Upper East Side.

My career in television became my passion in high school during a video production class and I fell deeper in love during college. I loved that every day was different, technology constantly changed and I knew I would never just sit at a desk all day doing the same thing every day. Television has evolved greatly over the past decade as has my position. I transitioned to dealing with various forms of media as well as long term projects instead of live news.

Last year I helmed a major transformation, learning more about the business side of media and piquing my interest in additional schooling. I started researching MBA programs but knew I did not want to quit my job, I was pleasantly surprised and pleased to learn I was actually qualified for an executive program at most schools. To get full return on my MBA investment I only looked at brick and mortar programs because I felt my learning style and networking would be better served in person.

Deciding which MBA program works for you is a very personal one but I will go into my big decision factors:

1) Class schedule. It was extremely important to me to not step back from my career so I needed something that allowed for class immersion outside work hours. This made an executive program extremely attractive.

2) Well known university. I wanted an established program with proven success and one of the biggest draws of an MBA is the relationship building and alumni network which lead me straight to Columbia.

3) Cost. MBA programs are extremely expensive and you must make sure that the returns are worth the investment.  Columbia goes out of their way to ensure the success of their executive MBA students.

4) Entrance Requirements. Some programs require the GMAT which requires months of studying and can be a daunting process.  I was intrigued by the Executive Assessment requirement which involved a much shorter test that was billed as more intuitive.  I still studied since it had been so long since I'd taken a standardized test but the length of studying was definitely shorter and the test itself did seem more user friendly.

5) Proximity. I wanted a school in NYC to make fitting school into my life less challenging than commuting to another city every weekend or even every other weekend.

I was thrilled to accept admission to the Columbia class of 2019 and I'm just counting down until orientation in April!

Wow, where did 2016 go?

After years of blogging consistently I fell off the bandwagon, frankly I also fell off the workout wagon and despite many attempts to get back on most of 2016 was a blur.  As I sat to write I felt pretty unaccomplished in 2016 but in reality I did accomplish a lot just not anything that involved a shiny medal.

The year started off in the throes of a HUGE project at work, actually perhaps project doesn't do it justice. It was a Program, multiple projects touching many areas of the business in a vastly accelerated timeline. This was unlike anything I had ever set out to accomplish before and I learned so much throughout the process but it was the result of many late nights and weekends spent working.

In May after many months of burning the candle at both ends I had a bit of a health issue which landed me in the hospital for several days. After months of tests and feeling less than 100% it was determined I had contracted a delightful parasite during our Jamaica trip in March likely from undercooked bacon. I spent most of the summer recovering with virtually no extra workout energy as I launched my work program.

By late fall I still wasn't feeling myself and started down the path of more doctors to determine the issue to no avail.  The biggest lesson I learned is I hate doctors and you must be your own advocate connecting symptoms and pushing when the doctors will not listen to you. It wasn't until 2017 that I finally found a cause for the exhaustion.

It was also a year of personal growth for me, I guess they all are really!

In the fall after much debate and weighing of options I gained the confidence to take a leap and apply to the executive MBA program at Columbia.  I attended an information session in September was even more energized to get my application filed as soon as possible for rolling early admission.  I had to deal with my standardized test nightmares and take the Executive Assessment test which is a fairly new test, a 90 minute version of the GMAT with an integrated reasoning section instead of a writing component.

The year ended on an exciting note as I took my mom on a cruise just the two of us to celebrate her retirement.  We spent seven days touring islands in the Caribbean, relaxing and enjoying each others company.