MBA alumnus James Richards (middle) with his family after the 2015 Academic Hood Ceremony

Reflecting back on my two years in the full-time MBA program at the Daniels College of Business, I realized there were several things I wish I knew before I started my program. Overall, I do not regret my time at Daniels or the relationships I made. The experiences I was immersed in during the program equipped me to achieve my career goals today. However, I do believe in continuous improvement and I wish to share the things I learned.

(1) Get involved with student groups. I was active in many graduate student groups at Daniels, including the Graduate Student Ambassador Program, the Executive Mentorship Program and the DU Marketing Association. However, with my double concentration in marketing and business analytics, I felt like it would have been advantageous to join additional groups that aligned more directly with my career objectives as well as taking on more leadership roles in those groups. Student groups are a great way to learn more about business and leadership and they provide great opportunities to build your network. In addition, student groups will differentiate you from the competition, both on paper (through your resume) and during the interview process with potential employers.

(2) Meet with my academic advisor every quarter. Daniels makes it easy to sign up for classes, so I didn’t take full advantage of the opportunities I had to meet with my academic advisor every quarter. I didn’t meet with my advisor as often as I should have and it postponed my graduation by a quarter. Once I realized how beneficial it was to check in with my advisor before registering for classes each quarter, I got back on track. My advisor was a great resource in helping me choose the right classes that met the program requirements while also finding classes that would help me reach my career goals.

(3) Take advantage of the resources offered by Career Services. I didn’t realize how unique it was to have a full team of staff members dedicated to helping me and my fellow classmates discover and connect with potential employers. I mean, when in my life will I ever have that kind of resource at my disposal? Career Services offers everything from career fairs to employer meet-and-greets to mock interviews and so much more. I met with my career advisor and attended some events (and they were extremely beneficial) but I wish I had taken full advantage of all the opportunities by attending more career fairs, meeting with more employers on campus (even if I wasn’t initially interested in working for them) and participating in more of the workshops.

Overall, I know choosing the right graduate program and business school is a difficult decision and I hope I have provided some insights for those who are currently making the choice or for those who are now enrolled in a graduate program. Getting my MBA at Daniels was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made and I wouldn’t be where I am in my career had I not pursued this degree. I only wish I had taken advantage of all the resources that were available to me. Here’s hoping that you all make the absolute most of your graduate school experiences.

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