MBA Applicant Voice: Non-Profit Chief Hopes MBA Will Break Her Into The C-Suite

Joy Crook wants to fly the flag for women in business. She plans to apply to INSEAD, IE Business School and the University of Cape Town GSB for her MBA

Joy Crook is an American businesswoman with a philanthropic drive. She wants to break into the c-suite with an MBA. And hopes to encourage other women to do the same.

Throughout her early professional life, Joy has developed a thirst to live and work cross-culturally. She volunteered teaching English in Argentina for two years. She’s currently chief of staff of strategic engagement at World Relief, a non-profit organization which aids communities in need and offers support to refugees internationally.

And for her MBA, she’s aiming to cross the Atlantic to business schools like INSEAD, Spain’s IE Business School and the University of Cape Town’s Graduate School of Business in South Africa. Although she will consider flexible online programs.

Joy fits volunteering into her busy work schedule and preparation for GMAT. She feels an MBA will equip her with the leadership skills to advance her career. Moreover, she’s motivated by the idea that the business world will profit from proliferated numbers of women with MBAs. 

What are you looking to gain from an MBA?

As a self-proclaimed learning-addict, I’m honestly excited to keep learning and growing! 

An MBA will open doors to various career opportunities and allow me to bring in a greater set of skills and experience into my next role. Specifically, I want to continue to hone my operations skills and grow as a leader. I’m also eager to gain exposure to different areas of business.  

Paving the path for other women into the business world and even potentially the c-suite is a passion of mine. I’ve read that women make up approximately just 30% of MBA students and find this disequilibrium disheartening. I believe that if b-schools and foundations prioritize women’s’ business education, the entire business world will reap the positive benefits in the future. 

What are the most important factors to you when choosing a business school?

Cost-efficiency, a challenging program and supportive career networks.

I’m keeping my eye on mainly one-year international programs that begin in the winter or spring, rather than the fall. I’m eager to make the most of the year and then jump back into the workforce.

Specifically, I’m looking at INSEAD, IE Business School and the University of Cape Town’s Graduate School of Business. However, I’m open to pursuing a global program that’s done partially online. IE’s 15-month program intrigues me.

What has been the biggest challenge in the application process so far?

The biggest challenge thus far is writing the personal essays. Unlike studying for the GMAT, the essays require a different kind of thoughtfulness. After working a full day, it’s difficult to find the professional yet honest and introspective voice required.

How are you preparing for GMAT?

I’m preparing using the Official GMAT study guide. I study several times a week individually.

Have you considered taking the GRE?

I took the GRE about 7 years ago. I did well but scores expire after 5 years. I find that the GMAT’s a better choice as it’s universally accepted whereas the GRE is not.

What advice do you have for others considering an MBA?

MBAs are incredibly practical degrees for so many career paths. Pursue an MBA program in the way that fits with your goals and aspirations post-MBA and structure your application and studies around that.

What do you do for fun?

I love being outside and going on long runs and walks. I find the most joy in spending time with my family and close friends, and serving in my church with children with special needs.

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