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Student Voices: Finding the Right MBA for an Engineer
I have spent the last decade of my life solving problems, from fundamental scientific questions to the more basic “how are we going to ship the order this week?” I enjoy my role as an engineer, solving problems and developing new products, but I have reached a point in my career where I want something more.
Previously, I interviewed for jobs in other areas in order to expand my career horizon, yet received feedback that I lacked experience and knowledge in the commercial and management fields. Given my personal commitments, I couldn’t afford to start at the bottom of those “ladders.” Therefore the best option available to me to solve the problem of expanding my knowledge to advance my career was to invest in myself by earning an MBA.
Much to my delight, shortly after completing my GMAT, I learned that UNC Kenan-Flagler would be offering a program for working professionals who are not located in Chapel Hill. Though I had other options, I chose to attend MBA@UNC, believing it would be the best education with the least impact on my ability to perform at work, and be a good father to my kids.
I am pleased to say that I have found the education to be excellent, and the fit within my life to be manageable. I won’t lie and tell you that it’s easy to work, take care of my family, and carve out 20 hours a week for school. There have been times when the juggling act has been difficult, but I already have been reaping the benefits of knowledge I’ve gained.
We in the inaugural class of students completed our first quarter classes in September. The class content certainly opened my eyes on numerous fronts, including why my company does so many of the things that, at surface level, haven’t always made sense to me. Providing greater understanding of the financial underpinnings of corporate decision-making has allowed me to more successfully navigate the political maze that is modern business.
I am surprised with the level of personal interaction, both with the professors and my fellow students. One of the unique features of this program format is our ability to actively engage with our professors. We have enjoyed a fairly small class size in each section group, which allows for a high degree of back and forth communication.
The student-to-student interaction is exceptional. For each of my classes we have been working with peer teams. The online format for group sessions is exactly like that of on-campus classes, and allows for great cooperation. One of my favorite parts of the program to date is meeting the other students in the online learning system. We share some of the same qualities (drive, intelligence, insightfulness) yet have remarkably different backgrounds, which make conversation quite interesting.
I have to stop here for today, as there are more fires I need to go put out. (It’s truly amazing how many little problems there are to fix everyday).
About Brian Edwards: Brian is a 32-year-old father of two, moonlighting as a materials engineer. When he is not at work or working on his MBA, he spends his free time playing with his children, relaxing with his wife, or doing yard work at his house. Brian works for a metals producer in the Charlotte, N.C., area. Previously he worked for a defense contractor in Arlington, Va., and the U.S. Army Research Laboratories in Aberdeen, Md.