Ever wish you had a guidance counselor to help you get into business school? Danielle Hall found that assistance in Forté MBALaunch, a comprehensive program that provides a structured road map through the MBA application process.
“It was even more impactful than a guidance counselor. It wasn’t just the support you were getting, but the resources as well, so you’re better positioned for admission into a top-tier MBA program,” she says.
As an undergrad at Emory University, Danielle focused on women’s studies and sociology, but she also took the core business classes. Even back then, her goal lists and vision boards included an MBA — and 10 years later, she knew in her heart that it was still something she wanted to pursue.
Danielle is interested in C-suite roles, and as she looked around at people in those positions, she noticed that most of them had an MBA. She says, “I felt that it was a necessity for me to be able to continue to go up the ladder.” When she received an email from Forté about MBALaunch, she applied to participate.
How Danielle Found Her MBA Path
Initially, Danielle intended to enroll in a full-time MBA program, but she says, “As I continued to progress in my career, it just didn’t make sense for me to take the time out.” She appreciated that the MBALaunch program offered insight on part-time and professional MBAs as well.
She considered evening programs, but preferred the schedule of the Executive MBA program at Georgia Tech (Scheller College of Business), where she will earn her degree in December 2023. She says, “One of the pieces that made my program more attractive to me is that I can still have the majority of my evenings during the week with my family.”
As part of the 2020 MBALaunch cohort, Danielle has fond memories of meeting the other Launchers face-to-face at the kickoff event. She says, “It made everything a little bit more real, being in this room with all of these women that are trying to go through the same process of applying for business school.” The rest of the program was held online, due to the pandemic, but in her cohort, Danielle found a network of women with different perspectives and from different industries. She says, “It’s stressful preparing for your MBA applications and preparing for tests, so it helps to have that peer group that you know supports you — and that everyone is working toward a common goal.”
She also found MBALaunch useful as a preview of what her schedule might look like as a working professional enrolled in business school. She says, “Having that structure, having that cadence of meetings, and committing time toward pursuing an MBA with the MBALaunch program helped me prepare for the MBA program that I’m in now.”
Advice on Making the Most of MBALaunch
Danielle believes MBALaunch is especially valuable for women who don’t have other people with MBAs in their immediate network, because they’ll get the answers and resources they need from the program. She says, “They connect you with peers and MBALaunch alumni that are a sounding board for you, as well as professionals in the space that are focused on preparing applicants for their MBA applications.”
The experts you meet in the program will help you communicate the nuances of your personal story, she explains. For example, if you’ve had a gap year, how do you talk about it? Or if you have work experience, but you’re trying to switch careers, how do you present that in a positive way? She says, “There are people who support you in being able to craft your best self in your application, so that you’re able to bring the person that you are now, as well as the person that you’re trying to become through the program.”
Overall, she found MBALaunch so helpful that she says, “I would tell any woman that’s interested in pursuing an MBA that they should also strongly consider applying for the MBALaunch program.”
If you’ve already been accepted into the next MBALaunch cohort, Danielle has some advice for you, too: “Come in with fresh eyes, and be a sponge for all of the information that’s going to be shared with you. Attend all the webinars you can, and if you miss something, definitely go back and look at the recording.”
She also emphasized the benefits of connecting with the other participants. She says, “Take advantage of building a network with the other women in the cohort, so that you can have that safe space during a stressful time to be able to keep your sanity and stay on track to get to the end goal of becoming a Forté Launcher and going to business school.”
Find Your MBA Path Too
Forté can help you take the next step on your MBA journey — start with Forté MBALaunch. Sign up to learn more and be notified of upcoming deadlines.
This story was originally published on the Forté Foundation’s Business 360 blog.