By Marisa Moran, MBA’23
Happy Women’s History Month! This month in the Kelley MBA program, we celebrate the many accomplishments of women in business and the Women of Kelley. This sparked my desire to share the MBA experience through the lens of one woman pursuing their MBA.
Many start their MBA journey with a clear vision of their path ahead, but I didn’t know where to start. I started my research by attending a Forté MBA Fair, where I found a program designed to solve that problem. The Forté MBA Launch program was an 8-month road map to walk you along the path through the GMAT, application, and interview process. Going through that program in 2020 helped me hold on to my sanity by surrounding me with other women who had aligned goals and visions for the future. That community followed me all the way to Kelley.
I first met Kelley through a Forté virtual conference where I connected with the Kelley Women of Business president. From the onset, they set the tone that the women of Kelley support each other for success. I don’t think it’s a shock to anyone that women are underrepresented in the MBA, and only 6.6% of Fortune 500 CEOs are women, but that is changing. It changes through supporting each other and encouraging the next class of women to pursue their career goals.
There is something magnetic about having commonalities. During Jump Start, our one-week skills primer, we meet a hundred new people before another hundred people arrive the following week. Even at 29, something is intimidating about going in cold and making new friends. But the women at Kelley made it easy. We could talk about our goals and fears uninhibited; it helped wash away that new on-campus imposter syndrome. The ambition and vulnerability were real. During coffee chats for prospective students, someone will inevitably say, “I know this all seems fake, but we do genuinely care about each other.” We mocked interviews together, danced on top of booths, and held an iconic Galentine’s Day. The people you meet in your MBA are not just your network for life; they are friends for life.
In our core semester, we are in teams of 4 or 5 that challenge us to think and contribute in new ways. As the only woman on my team, I was not just able to add a women’s voice to the conversation, but I thought differently than my teammates. I came from a marketing and creative background and had the opportunity to work with a group of men with experience in operations and finance. We each had something unique to contribute from different industries, nationalities, and backgrounds. We valued each other’s thoughts and opinions. The men of my cohort are some of my biggest supporters and friends
I don’t think it’s ever been a better time for a woman in their career. Yes, there are still a lot of uphill battles, but the conversations are happening. Companies are seeking to balance their workforce and challenge the status quo. This has created a lot of opportunities for women during recruiting. The misconception is that the measuring stick moves; it does not. It just opens some doors. I worked incredibly hard to prepare for recruiting season with weekly meetings with my career coach and mass volumes of networking calls. My coach told me ten plus times to have confidence in my abilities and expertise. But I didn’t believe it. The upside of being afraid was that I put in the work. I honed my interviewing style with rounds of feedback from all of my peers, and the message eventually sunk in that I did deserve these incredible jobs. I walked away with my pick of internships and confidence that my actions would define my career.
I am blown away when I look at the woman around me from where we started eight months ago. We have an impressive roster of internships from P&G, Deloitte, Nestle, PWC, Danone, Amazon, General Mills, and more. We are leading clubs, curriculum councils, and sporting events. I could not be more impressed with my class and excited to see the second years successfully forge on into their careers. If you have any questions about the Kelley MBA, please feel free to reach out to the Hoosier Hosts or a Kelley Woman in Business!