Scott Miller, JD/MBA’2020
I have a confession, for most of my life, I never knew what an MBA was. I had heard the letters strewn together before, knew that it was an upper-level degree, I had even taken some courses at the Carlson School of Business while getting my Bachelor’s in Sport Management from the University of Minnesota. I did not fully understand (or so I thought) what an MBA degree was and what it could do for me until I was in my first year at Mauer (Indiana University, School of Law) and I made a friend enrolled in the joint JD/MBA program. I then spoke with some other friends in the law school who had considered going to get an MBA and were considering the joint program. I heard that getting an MBA would be punching your ticket to management level in business, that I better get comfortable talking to anyone about anything at any time (a.k.a. networking), and that it was going to be a lot of work.
Yes, having the initials “MBA” after your name will usually mean that you have been deemed eligible to lead others, but only because most top-programs will only accept you if you have already been a part of the workforce (i.e. 5+ years work experience) before applying.
Yes, there is a lot of networking going on in business school—with your classmates, your professors, and recruiters from company after company that you would love to work at. Although every company knows you are shopping around for the best fit, you should still treat each networking encounter and interview as if they are your #1—you never know who you will meet, intentionally or unintentionally, at b-school events.
Now that I have been through a year of B-school I can confidently say that I know what an MBA is. It’s a lot of hard work, it is more group meetings than you can count, a lot of late nights studying, while eating plenty of junk food, and it is an opportunity to realize what your potential is and who you want to be for the next chapter of your life.
For those of you contemplating a graduate degree, I would like to leave you with a few tips. Do not be afraid to be yourself; there can be a lot of pressure to mold yourself into someone you feel you are expected to be—do not succumb and remember who you are. Work hard, in everything, and you will get so many opportunities to lead, network, and to learn from your peers—take every one that you feel you can manage successfully. Lastly, please have some fun. While your future employers will appreciate that you know how to run a regression and that you understand what the words “market penetration” and “vertical integration” mean, they will also appreciate someone they can stand to work with for 40+ hours a week, so do not forget how to have a good time!
*Scott is currently interning for Walmart in the Merchandise Operations Department.