How Coaching Can Help You Navigate The Stresses Of An MBA

Students at Ohio State University’s Fisher College of Business are assigned a dedicated support team of coaching professionals during their MBA, providing both personal and career benefits

We all know that an MBA is an intensely stressful experience—but how are schools alleviating that stress?

As an MBA candidate, you’re probably looking for professional career support during your program, which typically takes the form of a dedicated career consultant.

The Ohio State University Max M. Fisher College of Business, however, is offering MBA students a unique support team of four personal and dedicated coaches, whose expertise spans more than just career preparation.

Thanks to a redesign of the MBA program, every student starting their MBA at Fisher in September 2019 will be provided with a professional development coach, a career consultant, an academic advisor, and a mentor.

Coaches will be available throughout the MBA program, ensuring that professional and personal support will always be on hand throughout a student's two-year journey.

Feedback from current students in a pilot coaching program at Fisher shows MBAs are already seeing massive benefits from this personal attention.


“My coach helps me to understand my motivations and strengths, as well as identify my areas of improvement so that I can venture on a career path that I want and am proud of.” - Andris Koh Konners, MBA ‘19


Cara Laviola (pictured) worked as a copywriter in insurance and financial services for five years before deciding that an MBA might be her ticket to a career change.

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The professional coaching she has received in her second year of her MBA at Fisher College of Business has helped her visualize her career goals and focus on her personal development.

“Within an MBA, you can kind of get distracted and forget about what really matters to you,” she explains. “Talking to my coach has been really beneficial, to think about how I can stay a little more well-rounded.

“Yes, it’s important to focus on the MBA, but what else is important to you? The best part about having a coach is he keeps me accountable to do things that I feel are personally of value to me.”

Cara has already accepted a full-time job offer for the spring but says that for those in her cohort who are still job hunting can benefit from working with a coach.

“A lot of my classmates are still working the grind, and that’s incredibly stressful—you have that plus class, plus whatever’s going on in your family life—and you need to find balance and stay centered,” she adds.

“Having someone else who’s gone through the program before, or understands from a coaching perspective, how to guide you through that—it’s a really beneficial relationship.”


Achieving your career goals

Katie Abdellatif (pictured) is pursuing an MBA in order to transition back into the nonprofit sector, which she discovered a passion for after her undergraduate degree in international studies and Spanish.

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“The benefit for me has been a better understanding of my strengths, and maintaining authenticity in myself, which has helped me to better contribute in classes and have more impactful conversations with future employers too," Katie says.

“It’s nice to have a commitment to my core strengths and capabilities, and maintaining that as a thread throughout the conversations I’m having with organizations.” 

Overall, Katie says that the experience of having a constant coach will impact her future career, wherever she lands.

“The coaching is in the form of leadership self-reflection—figuring out who I am as a leader and owning up to that. And knowing and trusting in my strengths and abilities will definitely help me to be a more effective leader in the future.”

“Overall it’s been a great experience to take more time for guided self-reflection. I’m excited to see in the redesign that this will happen a little bit earlier for future MBA students,” Katie adds. “I think my MBA at Fisher College of Business would look different without this experience—a little less personalized, and less tailored to me.”