SMU Cox Alumna Offers Advice for MBA Applicants
Kari Strickland, an alumna from the Southern Methodist University – Cox School of Business, discussed her MBA experience on aMBAssador, the official blog of TheMBATour.com.
Originally from Dallas, TX, Strickland currently works as a Global Consumer Insights Associate at General Mills. In a profile from TheMBATour.com, Strickland discusses her experience at SMU Cox and her choice to pursue an MBA.
“There were a number of factors which originally attracted me to SMU’s program,” Strickland said. “The first was the wide variety of extracurricular programs the school offered.” According to Strickland, programs such as lunchtime and evening seminars from the school’s Business Leadership Center, a free two-week long study abroad program, and Cox’s Executive Mentor program which pairs students with local business leaders.
Despite these remarkable programs, Strickland says it was her experience speaking directly with the staff and current students of the school which helped to solidify her choice of Cox. “…while extracurriculars, placement rate, and strength of the academic program were all factors which attracted me to SMU, the best advice I can give to other students is to choose the program in which they feel they would excel, based on their experience interacting with current students, faculty and administration,” Strickland says.
Earning an MBA was also an important step for Kari as she looked to shift her career path- from non-profit to for-profit and from administration to marketing. Although her prior non-profit experience was extensive, she worried about her ability to make her prior experience relevant to her new career goals. Throughout the course of her MBA program, however, Kari realized that the program itself would help teach her to become an expert in her new field, rather than expect perfection when applying. “Instead,” she says, “they’re looking for people who have shown intelligence and motivation in their past work, and who are self-reflective enough about their current skills and abilities to sell themselves to employers.”
In advice for future MBA applicants, Kari recommends preparing for classes before they start, both in regards to content knowledge and time management skills. For someone looking to change career paths, it is also important that they self-reflect and research. “Try to get a sense of what career you’re aiming for after the MBA,” Strickland says. “The More goal focused you can be on day one of the program, the better you’ll be at prioritizing classwork, club involvement, and job search.”