I always knew I wanted to earn my Master of Business Administration (M.B.A.). I loved my economics courses at Hamilton, and I was excited to deepen my business acumen and build my network while studying at NYU Stern. Three factors led to my decision to pursue a part-time program while continuing to work full-time. The first was that my employer, Willis Towers Watson, heavily subsidized my part-time education. In assessing the opportunity of a full-time MBA, I decided that I couldn’t turn down the prospect of receiving financial support while continuing to earn my salary. Secondly, I really enjoyed my role in Health & Benefits consulting at Willis Towers Watson and wasn’t necessarily seeking a career change, but rather wanted to utilize my M.B.A. to excel at my current organization and to provide flexibility for my future. This mindset was similar to many of my peers in the part-time program, though some did make significant professional changes. Lastly, I wanted to immediately apply the knowledge I gained in my classes to my job and vice versa. The instant real-world application was one of the greatest benefits of the part-time program. For example, if I was struggling to manage an employee, I could raise the scenario in my leadership class and obtain advice from my professor and peers that I could apply at work the next day.
It was certainly a challenging three years. Events that seemed out of my control, including numerous N.J. Transit train power outages and delays were the norm and really tested my resiliency. Balancing work, school, and personal life was not easy, and I learned that I could not give 100% to all facets of my life and to regularly assess how I managed my time. If I had a big client deliverable, work took priority, and maybe I couldn’t revise an essay for school to perfection. If I had a final exam the next day, work took a temporary backseat. To best optimize my time, I developed a habit of taking advantage of my commute. Rather than mindlessly scrolling through Instagram, I’d finish up a problem set, send a work email, or read a business case. I also learned to step back, pause, and be present, and even found ways to take a couple of weeks off work and study abroad in countries including Israel and Panama. Ultimately, my part-time M.B.A. has enabled my personal growth, leadership skills, and ability to solve complex challenges.