Hi, I'm Regan R., an MBA, PM, BusOps, and Undergrad coach on Leland. I grew up in Houston, Texas, a city with thriving economy in the oil and gas industries. During college, I completed an internship at an oil company where I developed new gas cleaning facilities. I liked my manager and found the internship interesting. However, I knew that it wasn't for me when a well that had been built before I was born was described as "new"; I needed something that moved at a much faster pace.
Soon after, I found a job posting for a role in the technical sales rotational program at Texas Instruments. “Perfect,” I thought to myself, “They make great calculators!” Soon after joining the company, however, I learned that the gross majority of their revenue actually came from semiconductors. I spent the first eight months of my career there in three different parts of the organization before accepting a full-time, entry-level position as a marketing engineer at the headquarters in Dallas, Texas. For four years, I worked as the liaison between our internal semiconductor product lines and sellers, helping customers get the parts they needed within our portfolio. At some point, I realized that I wanted to be in a more decision-making role and to accelerate my professional development, so I decided to pursue an MBA.
Journey to an MBA
Before and during the application process, I considered what I wanted out of the MBA program. I knew I wanted a school with a national network, a teaching style based on discussion and involvement, general MBA degree options, and competitive post-degree career options. After reflecting on these factors, I narrowed down my desired schools, with Harvard Business School at the top of the list. After visiting HBS for the first time, my choice was confirmed with the immediate “I’m home” feeling that I felt while on campus.
The two years that I spent getting my MBA at HBS flew by. The first year was all about building relationships with peers and a foundation of business fundamentals. For the summer internship, I cast a wide net in my applications. I considered many different roles, including startups, consulting, and private equity. In the end, I was fortunate to receive a few offers, including from Google. I chose Google for its software focus, as it was different from the hardware I had worked with at Texas Instruments.
After my internship, I received and accepted an offer to work full-time at Google and I have been with them ever since. Google, like most tech companies, is just learning what people with MBA degrees can do for the company. Traditionally, those in the tech industry learn by trying, doing, and failing, but this is changing with the growing understanding of the value of a graduate business degree. Now, most of my team has an MBA and our focus has shifted to more strategic projects.
As I reflect on my path to full-time work, I am glad that I pursued opportunities outside of the tech world. Though it was exhausting, I became certain of the industries and roles that I didn’t want and was able to explain why. In my experience, learning what you don’t want to do is just as important as learning what you do want to do. Throughout the process of figuring that out, I grew in my self-awareness. I understood my strengths and weaknesses and what I enjoyed and didn’t enjoy doing.
In the end, I chose a company at which I could have a varied career while still utilizing my MBA. I have worked in strategy and operations, M&A, product operations, and other areas all in the same company. My primary takeaway is that there are good paths and there are better paths, but there are no wrong paths. Each path offers a unique opportunity to learn something about a role, industry, or yourself. For me, an MBA was a path that allowed me to open doors that otherwise wouldn’t have been accessible.
If you’re interested in personal MBA admissions coaching for one-on-one advice on the application process—including resume, essays, interviews, recommendations, waitlist strategy, and overall application strategy—you can view my profile here. I am passionate about helping candidates pursue their business degrees in a way that best suits their needs. Book a free intro call today to get started.
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