MBA applicants considering business school want professional transformation; to take the next step in their careers, break glass ceilings, and make an impact.
For Olawunmi Thomas-Quarcoo, the Global MBA program at Temple University’s Fox School of Business did just that.
Coming from a non-traditional MBA background working as a social worker in Philadelphia, Olawunmi chose Fox with a long-term vision to become a social entrepreneur.
Fox has a commitment to social impact at its core. The Fox Board Fellows program places MBA students on the boards of Philadelphia-based non-profits as active, working members for an entire academic year.
The Global MBA program also includes two global immersions, taking MBA students on two-week international trips—to India, China, and countries in Latin America, and Africa—where they visit companies like Coca-Cola, Deloitte, and Microsoft, and engage in real-life consulting projects for real firms.
Fox’s career department, led by the charismatic Janis Campbell, is the hallmark of the school’s success. Fox’s director of graduate professional development placed 100% of actively seeking MBA graduates into jobs in 2016.
Since graduating in 2017, Olawunmi has taken the first steps on the road to social entrepreneurship. Before starting her own business, she’s getting more work experience first. Through Fox, she landed an HR internship at a food services firm in Philadelphia, and now a full-time job at a leading North American bank, based in New Jersey.
Why did you decide to pursue an MBA?
Originally, I wanted to become a social entrepreneur. At the time, I had professional experience as a social worker, but knew I would need to develop some business acumen. I never wanted to abandon my social work skills; I just wanted to leverage them to start a business.
Once I began the program, I realized I wanted to get corporate experience before becoming an entrepreneur, so an MBA still seemed to fit the plan.
I attended information sessions at a few other schools, but Fox stood out to me. Among the full-time programs that I looked at, Fox was the only one that offered a Global MBA. We live in a global economy, so I wanted the opportunity to learn about and visit emerging markets to understand how business operates in those parts of the world.
Also, I had the privilege of attending Discovery Day and Decision Day, which are both opportunities to learn more about the various programs at Fox, meet faculty, administration and current students, and sit in on sample classes. I was intrigued by the classes and by hearing about the students' experiences in the program.
The job placement rate after graduation was also a deciding factor because I learned that over 80% of student land a job within the first three months after graduation. This showed Fox's emphasis on career development.
How have you profited from your Fox MBA experience?
The person I am today is not the same person I was when I started the program in 2015. I've developed a confidence and self-awareness that did not completely exist before the program and my summer internship.
Janis was a crucial part of my positive experience. She helped me leverage my transferable social work skills into a new career in human resources. I was offered a full-time job before I graduated and that’s in part due to Janis constantly working with me to hone in on my skills and capabilities.
I had a lot of the pieces to be successful before Fox School of Business, but the program added the missing pieces such as business acumen, strategic and critical thinking, and leadership development. The leadership development that was embedded throughout the program is still something that I lean on at work.
The network I built is invaluable and especially strong with a few of my classmates. We know each other's strengths and opportunities for growth, and continue to support each other professionally.
What should applicants think about when deciding to do an MBA?
You will only get out what you put in. Most programs have the components for students to be successful, but individual effort is just as important. You have to learn how to focus on academics as well as your career—studying for an exam is just as important as attending a networking event.
When selecting a school, you have to make sure it’s the right fit. Does it have the area you want to focus on academically? Do the companies you want to work for recruit at the school? Are the faculty members industry leaders? What is the alumni network like? How is the job placement rate? Those questions are just some of the things to consider when choosing an MBA program.