I was first interested in applying to graduate school after graduating from the University of Houston with a Bachelor of Science in Economics.
I thought that, naively, that I should be easily able to find a job with a marketable degree (as I assumed Economics was). Oh, how youthful I was! Remember any events in 2008 to 2010 that might have had an impact on the labor market? That dreadful downturn in the economy caused by the housing market crash with the subsequent bailouts of large corporations and the demise of two prestigious Wall Street investment banks.
The year was 2010 when I graduated.
What a bummer! It was beyond difficult finding a job during that period and I was in the unfortunate cycle of trying to submit resumes online with efforts to network myself into an interview. All my efforts were futile and my confidence was beginning to slip. Alas, I thought to myself, what a perfect opportunity to apply to graduate school for an MBA. And so I did. Funny how the world works though! As soon as I submitted my applications to Rice University and the University of Houston, I get a phone call with an interview for a business development role within the energy
After accepting the position in oil and gas, I cancel my applications to graduate school in an attempt to start my career and gain valuable experience in industry. At the time, I had two job offers – one from BBVA Compass and one from Champion Technologies – both of which offered drastically different amounts of compensation. Naturally, I followed the money in oil and gas and declined BBVA’s offer.
I was on my way!
After working a year and being constantly transferred from small town USA to another small town, I decided that I needed a change. I was offered a job managing a startup juice company where I developed a passion for helping people regain their healthy lifestyle. After working a couple of years for the Juice Spot, I decided that I enjoyed helping people much more than I enjoyed being a managing partner of a business thus I decided to focus on helping individuals to achieve their hopes and dreams with a focus on improving their quality of life.
After this realization, I worked for a nonprofit in Austin, Texas, and the main focus of the organization was providing mental health services to lower SES residents in Travis County. This is where I realized that a graduate education was necessary.
I noticed that all managerial positions were held by those who had a master’s degree or higher while all of the entry to mid-level jobs were reserved for those with just an undergraduate degree. Thus begins my journey to attaining an MBA. I realized that I was only limited in mobility within the organization with just a bachelor’s degree so I mustered up the courage and began the application process for graduate school.
Although the economy today is not as bad as it was in 2010, the labor market definitely favors the corporations doing the hiring and they are looking for potential candidates with a graduate degree. Looking back, I am grateful that I did not directly enter graduate school but rather gained vital experience working different jobs in varying sectors of the economy.
If I did not have that moment of clarity and noticed that all managerial jobs were held by those with MBAs or MDs, I would have never applied to graduate school and I would have missed an opportunity to grow educationally while also missing out on meeting all of the most inspiring colleagues within the MBA program.