MBA for those without a business background

Friday, May 19, 2017

I studied biology in undergrad with plans to work a couple years before going back to school to become a Physician Assistant. A few months after graduation I landed a job in laboratory sales, fell in love with the business, and never looked back. After four years of working as an inside then outside sales rep, I felt it was time to develop my business skills, so I started the part-time MBA program. The first few weeks of classes were overwhelming since many of my peers studied business in undergrad and seemed to be years ahead of me. I had never heard of Porter’s 5 Forces or the purchasing funnel didn’t know what a balance sheet was, and couldn’t tell you the difference between accounting and finance. If you can relate to this feeling, read on! 

For the first few months, I nodded while secretly googling concepts on my phone. Finally, after being so lost that I could no longer pretend, I surrendered and told my group members that I had no previous business education and needed help. I prepared for sighs, eye rolls, and pessimism but, to my surprise, I was met with nonchalance and responses such as, “What do you have questions about?” and “How can we help?” I realized that MBA students are just as eager to learn as they are to teach others and (honestly speaking) show off their knowledge. 

At Carlson, you will be surrounded by some of the most stellar individuals, scholarly, professionally, and personally. Your classmates will be some of the greatest resources, and it is so important to take advantage of the opportunity to learn from such a diverse group of individuals. Because I didn’t have any formal business education, I assumed I was dragging down the group. In reality, I brought a unique perspective that could help make my group stand out from the rest. So, rather than thinking of your non-business major as a limitation that needs to be hidden, be proud of it and think of it as your competitive advantage.