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An MBA Can Help Accelerate Your Career

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Joe Alexander

I wanted to identify my strengths and weaknesses and develop my leadership style.

Joseph Alexander is a full-time MBA student at the University of Minnesota's Carlson School of Management.

Hi, I'm Joe Alexander. I was born and raised in India. During my undergraduate degree in business I led impact investing and social entrepreneurship projects through the Enactus chapter at my school. Leading these projects was a turning point in my life wherein I developed a huge passion to improve business processes and scale up organizations, and this is what I have been striving to do thereafter. Completing the Chartered Accountancy course (equivalent of the CPA) and being constrained by working more on improving process around finance and financial reporting, I decided to do my MBA to learn more about strategy and marketing, and the Carlson MBA was my perfect fit! Outside my profession shell, I love to ride my motor bike, play badminton, swim, try new cuisines, listen to music, binge watch, play pranks on friends and family, and go outdoors!

Dream career: 

Set up my own business incubator. 

Why business school?

I have a background in finance and operations and wanted to learn more about strategy and marketing. More importantly, I wanted to identify my strengths and weaknesses and develop my leadership style to set myself up for continuous learning and success in the corporate world.

Best GMAT study tip?

Have a highly motivated study group and ONLY follow the official materials.

Before business school, I was:

Working in product management, operations excellence, and internal audit roles with a start-up and tech companies in India.

When I’m not in class, you’ll find me:

In some restaurant or café around school, at the library, or binge watching TV shows.

Advice for anyone thinking about b-school?

Most business schools are structured around helping you identify your strengths and weaknesses, and to gain academic knowledge. However, each school is uniquely positioned with relationships with different employers. Identify whether alumni with your background and experience have jobs in roles in companies that excite you. Also, since most students change their mind about their careers once in b-school, check if the roles and companies in which alumni with your background and experience excite you. Join the school where you find this overlap a lot. If a school does not have this overlap, then perhaps that school is not a good program for you and you should apply to other schools that have that overlap in your favor.

My remedy for pre-test nerves:

Taking the GMAT is a daunting experience. Though a deal changer, remember that the GMAT is a small component of the MBA application process and your life. It is a deal changer but not a deal breaker to achieve your goals! An MBA is not the only way to attain your goals, and so don’t give up!

On the day before your exam, you should:

RELAX! I watched WWE WrestleMania for three hours and had dinner with my friends and went to bed early. On the day of the test, I went listening to music that got me excited and reaching the center early. I took a short nap to get up relaxed to take the test!

How did you fit studying for the GMAT exam into your busy schedule?

It was absolutely not easy, and being a workaholic, I hated it. I was blessed with good managers who understood my need to take some time off to study for the test. It is important to have a systematic study plan. Having a group of students studying together would push you to prepare better.

How well-prepared for business school do you feel, after studying for the GMAT exam?

Preparing for the GMAT helps you learn time management and choosing the battles you want to lose while winning the war. These are two very important skills to have at Business School. The GMAT also teaches you the process of elimination, this is something that we use a lot in strategy cases and decision making.

An MBA Can Help Accelerate Your Career

"The MBA program is the one-stop shop where you will be able to evaluate different career opportunities by interacting with tons and tons of people..."

Full transcript

"Hello everyone, my name is Joseph. I’m a first-year MBA student at the Carlson School of Management. In this video, I’m going to talk to you about how the MBA program has helped me advance my career. On a quick background note, before the MBA program I was working in internal audit and operations improvement work and one of my dreams in coming to the MBA program was to work in functions broader than finance and internal audit and I’m happy to inform you that I will be interning as a product management intern at Amazon this summer. So, I think the MBA program has some significant resources that wouldn’t be available apart from being a part of an MBA program. First, I was able to visit some of the headquarters of the most popular companies in the world through the career tracks that the school is organizing. I was able to visit amazon, Facebook, Microsoft, LinkedIn, Zynga, Bing, McKinsey and other companies through which I was able to understand what a day in the life of each of these employers look like and understand how they work and what they do, and this helped me a lot in terms of understanding whether this was really a career that I was passionate about and interested in, and also helped me refine my stories when I was talking to these people during my interview. The second important resource that any MBA program has is a career center. So, I was working very closely with these career coaches who helped me practice my interview answers and helped me finalize my resume and gave me tons of advice in terms of how to navigate through the process. Without this help I wouldn’t be able to attain the success that I have. I think the third most important resource that all MBA programs put together really well is in terms of the really diverse and talented set of students in the classroom. Talking to students from very different backgrounds, nationalities, work experiences, I have been able to better understand and pick up more advice, and this has certainly brought a lot more depth and value of the conversations that I’ve been having with people. So, I think the MBA program has a lot of advantages and can help advance your career because the MBA program is the one-stop shop where you would be able to evaluate different career opportunities by interacting with tons and tons of people and making the right decision about where you’d like to work post your MBA."