By Rekha Jagadish, MBA’23
I’m a firm believer that growth occurs outside of our comfort zone. I had more than 10 years of progressive experience in audit, risk, and compliance before joining the Kelley MBA program. Stepping out of my comfort zone to become a student challenged me, but I was ready! I envisioned the long-term benefits to my professional life, instead of taking a short-sighted view of the challenges of life as a student again. I decided to pursue an MBA now before I hit the glass ceiling in a few years. With this, I joined Kelley, my dream school.
The past year has been a 360-degree change for me—moving countries, becoming a student again, and making a massive career shift. I have grown more as a person in this one year than I did for years in my comfort zone. This whole journey gave me a real perspective of my capabilities and helped me understand myself better. If anyone asks me if I would do anything differently, my answer is No! The Kelley MBA was the best thing that happened to me, and I am grateful for the opportunities that I may never have explored otherwise.
Keeping an open mind
During my core semester, the massive support of my core team helped me comfortably settle into being a student again. I spent time networking with my classmates, second years, and alumni and I constantly leveraged the knowledge of my Graduate Career Services coach, Suzanne Fodor, and Strategic Finance Academy Director, Neil Powell. I truly enjoyed my work before coming to Kelley, and planned to leverage the MBA to get myself into higher roles, along with exploring global opportunities in my field. But as my discussions and networking continued, I decided to keep an open mind. I had two choices—continue in my line of work or make a pivot! Though my decision was confusing and challenging, I took the leap and accepted an internship with Amazon. I knew that my learnings and previous experience would not be lost, and I was eager to apply those in a new environment.
I spent the summer in Seattle for my internship with Amazon. Not only was I blessed with a great team and a great manager, but I also had some of my Kelley family in the city. I was given a project very different from anything I had done. I realized I had an uphill climb ahead of me, but I also knew that I could achieve anything if I put my heart and soul into it. Instead of letting the project overwhelm me, I decided to take it a day at a time. What really worked for me was investing significant time in understanding the organization and the work that we do (instead of diving straight into the problem and solution), breaking the project deliverables down into manageable chunks, learning and unlearning, and networking with my extended teams to understand their work. My biggest success was continuous feedback that I actively sought from my managers and other teammates. With a combination of these, I was able to successfully navigate my internship.
The sky is the limit—for you, too
For anyone reading this article, my primary advice would be to keep an open mind and have the willingness to adapt and change. Limitations are mostly in our minds and once we break that, the sky is the limit for countless possibilities!