I enrolled at the Daniels College of Business having already gained professional experience, eager to get a leg-up on the competition in my field. After graduating from Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology in 2011, I worked for nearly five years as a MWD/WLD Field Engineer for Schlumberger, the world’s leading provider of technology for reservoir characterization, drilling, production and processing to the oil and gas industry. I decided to pursue my MBA because I found the engineering world restrictive in terms of how problems are approached; there is a lot of inertia to overcome with any new solutions that differ from the way things were previously done.

Top corporate recruiters are desperate for creative thinkers, strong performers and top-tier communicators who can adapt to a changing world. For me, this meant developing reputable, market-ready skills in order to satisfy these ever-changing needs. I chose the Denver MBA because I knew the program would combine the real world with the classroom. Most importantly, it’s a way to achieving my goal of having a rewarding career with latitude to be creative.

The Denver MBA program teaches students to tackle real world business problems through four action-based challenges—Enterprise, Social Good, Corporate and Global. During the Enterprise challenge, I worked as part of a team with Net Impact, a student group that consults for organizations and nonprofits that have a positive impact in the community, to develop a process for a business to bring a new tool to market. After my team completed the challenge, Net Impact asked us to stay on board and help create a pilot program. This is totally different from the way I learned in undergrad. It adds an invaluable context for what we learn in class.

Students have a revolutionary opportunity to combine their passions and aptitudes toward business in the Denver MBA program. I’m currently working to combine my love of travel and learning about other cultures with my aptitude for international business in the hopes of building a career in marketing analytics. Having this focus after graduation is invaluable, and a key element to making an effective transition from student to professional. Denver MBA students spend 20 months honing their quant and tech skills, and ultimately, crafting their edge on the competition, which will serve them the rest of their careers. The program has introduced me to professionals who I actually work and collaborate with. This is much more helpful than a simple meet and greet or a cocktail hour. It has allowed me to develop a powerful network rather than simply collect business cards.

Denver MBA students are proven performers. According to a GMAC 2015 Recruiter Survey, 92 percent of recruiters say proven performance is a top factor in hiring. By focusing on business challenges, not just business courses, the Denver MBA program positions students to perform successfully in today’s market.