She couldn’t have anticipated that, three years later, she would land a coveted spot on a rotational development program at pharma firm Bristol Myers Squibb in the context of the pandemic—a time of uncertainty for the healthcare industry and MBA job prospects.
Flexible MBA programs like Georgetown’s, that allow students to combine studying part-time with full-time work, are helping professionals future-proof their careers in times of uncertainty.
In 2021, 47% of Georgetown Flex MBA students reported a change in function since they started the program, and 45% reported an increase in seniority.
Georgetown Flex MBA helps students explore new career paths
The Georgetown Flex MBA is taught by the same faculty, follows the same core courses, and confers the same degree as the traditional two-year, full-time MBA, but students complete the degree in anywhere between 26 and 60 months. They study part-time, combining in-person, online, and hybrid learning formats.
At the start of her MBA, Abra was working as a sales and marketing specialist for the General Services Administration (GSA), an independent agency of the United States government.
She didn’t dislike her job, but she wasn’t inspired by it either, so she used her time during the Georgetown Flex MBA to explore other avenues.
“I knew healthcare was an industry I was interested in. On some of our projects throughout the program we were able to choose the industry or companies we were focusing on, so I tried to choose healthcare, biotech, and pharmaceutical companies,” she says.
Students on the Flex MBA also study the same curriculum as their full-time counterparts and there is no need to pick a concentration ahead of time; instead students are free to follow their interests as they develop over the course of the program.
Abra’s explorations soon confirmed that healthcare was her desired industry, however she did not yet have a professional network in healthcare. Her inspiration for how to build one came from an unexpected place.
“During my second year, I met Professor Eric Koester, who was leading a project to get MBAs to write and publish books,” she recalls.
“His thinking was that you can use a book as a way to dive deeper into something you’re really interested in, and it can help you build expertise and a network in that area.”
Abra had been driven toward healthcare by her own experience being treated for a rare disease at John Hopkins Hospital and the recent loss of a loved one to cancer.
She decided to write a book on the future of biopharmaceuticals from the perspective of a patient, and the process allowed her to build a network of contacts in her desired industry.
Abra (second left) with her Georgetown MBA colleagues
Georgetown Flex MBA students are prepped to land promotions and new jobs
It was an unusual method, but Georgetown Flex MBA students learn to expect the unexpected, Abra says.
Abra levelled up twice in her role at GSA while pursuing her MBA: first into a tech role and then into finance, both of which she would never have imagined working in before. She then transitioned into healthcare post-graduation.
“I got my role in the rotational program at Bristol Myers Squibb by attending one of the fall recruiting fairs in my last year of business school, and I went into that really prepared,” she says.
Before applying for the role, Abra worked with McDonough's MBA Career Center to improve her interviewing skills and resume, and they even recommended a specific summer internship to fill a gap in her biopharma experience. The effect by recruiting season was impressive.
“I couldn’t have got to where I am today without the MBA,” Abra says. “It gave me confidence and a robust toolkit that I could apply in a lot of powerful ways.
“I could speak the language of the businesses [thanks to my classes], and I could speak with confidence because I’d spent a lot of time with the careers center.”
How can you future-proof your career with a Flex MBA?
Maureen Cleary, assistant dean of the Georgetown McDonough careers center, says that Abra’s journey isn’t as unusual as it seems.
“Many Flex MBA students are pursuing an MBA to enhance their degree and are not looking to switch jobs when they start the program.
“This changes through the course of their time at McDonough as they become more aware of potential career options.”
The best way to future-proof your career with a part-time MBA is to think about your desired career outcomes from early on—even if they’re constantly changing—and to seize as many opportunities as possible in line with them, Maureen says.
Abra agrees: “Take advantage of the Georgetown network and understand how powerful that is,” she recommends.
“Whether they wanted to make a significant career change or break into a new industry with no prior experience, every one of my classmates who did that achieved their goals. I wasn’t the only one.”
Georgetown: McDonough School of Business
GWU - excellent investment for future
George Washington University is a good respected institution with strong programs in various studies, including project management, international affairs, politics, medicine and etc. The university provides students with good opportunities for internships and networking. GWU has a diverse student body and a reputation for academic excellence.
Safety on campus
I have had an amazing experience at Georgetown University. The classes are enjoyable, the professors are exceptional, and I feel like I am receiving a worthwhile education. The people and faculty at this institution are extraordinary, and I have discovered my true self while being here. Additionally, I always feel secure on campus, as it is the safest place in town.
Georgetown is on top!
I've been enjoying this school so far. I wouldn't alter it, despite the fact that the school is on a hill and that it requires a lot of walking to get around it. For minority and first-generation students, there are a ton of services available. Even though the usual dorm rooms are modest, there is still plenty of area for storage. We have a ton of alternatives every day in the dining halls since they provide so many different dishes from so many different cultures
Physical and mental health
Georgetown is my second home. The pre-professional counselors are incredibly helpful, and I feel supported and inspired to pursue my aspirations. We are certainly ranked as the top research university in the nation. They place a high priority on the development of the students as well as their physical and mental well-being.
Georgetown University is wonderful. The school's amazing diversity is one of its greatest strengths. The athletes are extremely committed to their sport, and the campus is amazing. The dorms are excellent! They are comfortable and spacious. If you ever find yourself bored on campus, you can always go off campus; it's fantastic. You'll never get bored dining in the cafeteria because the food is so delicious on campus.
The university's academics are what really set it apart; the lecturers are kind and motivating. Although it can be challenging to connect with the majority of students because they are so intense and competitive, social life and student life are what you make of them. It is undoubtedly a very difficult four years that are challenging to get through. But in the end, it strengthens you and provides you with a wealth of knowledge and incredible prospects.
Georgetown university is a Fantastic university. The professors are outstanding, there are lots of ways to participate in campus life, and there are numerous groups and organizations where students can get involved. The campus is lovely and always kept clean, and there are people are willing to assist you 24 hours a day whenever you need help.
Review of Georgetown university
Being at Georgetown university has been one of my best experiences. The Professors are knowledgeable, approachable, and very helpful. You will fall in love with Georgetown because of its daily activities, the vibrant students you will encounter, the food served on campus, and the lush surroundings. The housing and dorms are fantastic. There is no better place than Georgetown University if you’re looking to study, discover new things, make lifelong friends, and have fun!
Academically challenging institution
Georgetown University is certainly an academically challenging institution, however, if you ask for assistance when you need it, the workload can be managed. Students are happy to assist one another, and most Professor want you to succeed. Student life is vibrant, the location is excellent and everyone here is friendly and welcoming.
4 Years as an Expat at Georgetown University
Georgetown University provided an exceptional environment for my academic journey as an expat from Italy. As someone who initially felt apprehensive about moving to a new country, Georgetown quickly alleviated my concerns and made my transition incredibly smooth. One of the standout features of Georgetown is its diverse and welcoming community, particularly for international students. The campus is teeming with students from various corners of the globe, fostering a rich cultural tapestry that made me feel right at home. The vibrant campus life and numerous extracurricular activities offered ample opportunities to connect with fellow students, ensuring a well-rounded and fulfilling university experience. Georgetown's unique setting within the heart of Washington, DC, adds another layer to its charm. While the university is situated in the bustling city, the campus in the historic area of Georgetown provides a distinct and almost intimate atmosphere. This blend creates a truly unique feel and contributes to an unforgettable educational experience. Initially enrolled in the College with a desire to major in Linguistics and minor in Art & Journalism, I appreciated the flexibility and openness of the Georgetown education system. After my freshman year, I discovered my true passion lay in Marketing and International Business. The university's seamless transfer process allowed me to transition to the McDonough Business School, where I found the perfect fit for my academic aspirations. Georgetown's commitment to helping students explore and find their academic niche is indeed one of its most commendable qualities. The ability to explore various subjects before settling on a major is a testament to the university's dedication to fostering individual growth and success. The journey from Linguistics to Marketing & International Business exemplifies the beauty of a Georgetown education — a dynamic and supportive environment where students can discover and pursue their true passions. In conclusion, Georgetown University provided not only a top-notch academic education but also a transformative and enriching experience. From the welcoming international community to the unique campus setting and the flexibility to explore diverse academic paths, Georgetown stands out as a beacon of higher education that truly caters to the individual journey of each student.