This post is a part of my 10-day #Countdownto30 series. The series recaps important milestones from every year of my 20s. You can view all posts in this series at http://shellysaysso.com/tag/countdownto30/
I spent my entire last semester of college on the job hunt so that I would not end up back home with my parents. When GE let me know about a full-time opportunity, I was excited! My internship had paid off! But, the job was in Waukesha, Wisconsin. And life as a single Black woman in some small town in Wisconsin just did not sound like the bizness. So I reluctantly passed on that golden ticket and contacted some headhunters. With the GE leadership program and all my cum laudes and awards and all that jazz on my resume, they found plenty of companies who wanted to talk to me. When the headhunter called me with my final job offer, I was at work in the Dean’s office at Temple. When I went over the particulars of the salary negotiations and stock options and things with him, he proudly said, “Welcome to the middle class”.
I finished college a month after my 21st birthday and went straight to work for a small startup company. No break. I was in the workforce so quickly that when I accepted the job offer it was on the contingency that I have a day off immediately to attend Winter graduation. They obliged and there I was. Working for a startup was quite different than working for a huge behemoth company, but for a newbie it was awesome in every way. The scope of my responsibility was apparently unlimited. I could take risks. I could come up with new ideas and be given a budget to try them out. I could also be in meetings with the CEO and other executives on a regular basis.
With the company being so small, there weren’t many people fresh out of college. I soon realized that all of the folks above my entry level position had MBAs (Master of Business Administration). They used fancy MBA words and reminisced about their time b-school in meetings. I felt left out. I decided I would need one of these fancy business degrees in order to reach my full potential as the best damn marketer in the world. So, I started looking into part-time MBA programs. I learned that University of Maryland was by far the highest ranked program in the area. I’m not one to go after “good enough” or “average”, so for me it was UMD or bust.
My main problem was MBA programs didn’t like youngsters like me. Unlike an MS or MA, They want you to have a few years of work experience under your belt so that you have better context during business school. Fair enough. But I figured since I was obviously awesome in every other way, and also currently employed, I should have a shot. So I took the GMAT (which is like the SAT for Business School), filled out my application, and waited.
I was in. But it was going to cost me about $70,000 when all was said in done. $70,000 that I clearly did not have. More than TWICE as much as any other MBA program in the area (a good reputation will cost you). I asked my boss if the company had a tuition reimbursement program. They didn’t. But since I asked, they created one. Believe me, it NEVER hurts to ask.
At 21, I was the youngest person in University of Maryland’s MBA program.
#2005 #9daysto30 #wheniwas21