Women today are making professional strides at an unprecedented level. Women are starting businesses at 1.5 times the national average, a 20 percent increase over the last decade. Women are also pursuing higher education in record numbers; women now hold more bachelors and graduate degrees than men.
Being in an MBA program from a top-ranked school while pursuing a career adds complexity to your life — there is no getting around that. Time management becomes more important than ever, and maintaining balance while you juggle schoolwork, your career and your personal life becomes more challenging.
Legendary UNC-Chapel Hill basketball coach Dean Smith first coined the words “The Carolina Way” to reflect the spirit of the university. The Carolina Way means something slightly different to every Carolina student and alum, but underpinning every definition is a belief in excellence. This excellence drew me to Carolina as both an undergrad and graduate student, and it’s what attracts so many students from around the world.
I decided to pursue an MBA because my responsibilities and oversight in the IT project management arena escalated, as did the necessity for integrating other functions across the business. I sought the managerial competence to ensure our technology priorities met the far-reaching needs of the organization as a whole. While I felt highly confident within the confines of my IT world, I lacked the business knowledge to advocate effectively at a broader, visionary level.
Business leaders need to be outstanding communicators, innovators, decision makers, change agents and critical thinkers. They must be able to handle ambiguity, to promote teamwork and collaboration, and to be the best coach and mentor they can be. It is a tall order. Improv can offer a safe, creative atmosphere for business leaders to develop these skills.
As I began the MBA@UNC program, I received questions from colleagues, friends and mentors. They had a lot of interest in the online format, the integrity of the degree, and the time and financial commitment. When they asked why I picked MBA@UNC, my answer was, “I would have liked to quit my job and go to Stanford full time, but that just wasn’t a reality, so I picked the best school that had the accessibility I needed.”