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Alumni Application Tips: “exotic” students more than welcome!

July 15, 2016

Elisabeth Kreuzhuber was determined to stick to her goal

Have you ever thought an MBA was only for stylish, managers in suits with identical backgrounds? Think again: When business schools say that they promote diversity among their students, they sincerely mean it, as I can tell you from experience.

From the arts to management

Before applying for the Professional MBA Marketing & Sales, I was wondering whether I should take on this challenge. As a humanities graduate with years of experience in the art business, I arguably did not meet the profile that many associate with the typical MBA candidate.

Nonetheless, I was determined to stick to my goal of acquiring in-depth management knowledge for my gallery, and it was during the interview that the program manager put to rest any lingering doubts about my decision: She assured me that each application would be assessed individually, with special emphasis being placed on student diversity and new perspectives.

A win-win situation

In hindsight, I can say that studying for an MBA degree was truly a win-win situation—for me and, hopefully, also for everybody else involved: In the course of the program, I immersed myself in a whole new way of thinking and acquired a wealth of know-how. This has not only given me a better understanding of the complexities of business but also helped me in the process of reviewing—and ultimately abandoning—my gallery business model. Thanks to my new knowledge it was easy for me to make a disruptive mid-career move but continue working in the industry I am familiar with.

The rest of the class also benefited from "exotic" students like me; we were asking unusual questions, and our new perspectives brought a breath of fresh air to the program. Because of our group's heterogeneity in terms of backgrounds and approaches, group assignments and discussions with lecturers often produced particularly impressive results.

I would thus encourage you to apply for an MBA program—even if, career-wise, you do not seem to fit the mold of the "typical MBA student"! Be proud that you are different, and show it. Also, it is important to remember that in some areas you will be required to work extra hard, as you will have no prior knowledge to build on. The other students will appreciate having you as a colleague, and you will benefit from the MBA experience across the board. Just like the rest of the class, you will be pushed to the limit of your abilities during the program, but the things you learn will be of direct benefit to you in your "exotic" career. You will for sure broaden your repertoire; your thinking will become more creative and solution-oriented, and you will definitely adopt new approaches, thereby adding value to your "exotic" field.

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