You won’t be the same person after an MBA

When it comes to an MBA, there are never any guarantees - not with your career, not with your salary, not with your network. But, according to Erin O’Brien, Chief Enrolment and Marketing Officer at the University at Buffalo School of Management, there’s one thing that an MBA can definitely do for you…

In short

What makes the University at Buffalo MBA unique?

It’s getting harder and harder to choose between the thousands of MBA programs that are out there. As the number of programs grows every year, business schools have to do more to provide a unique offering to students. The University at Buffalo School of Management MBA is one program you can genuinely say is unique.

Erin O’Brien is the school’s Chief Enrolment and Marketing Officer. She explained the one feature of their full-time program which she believes makes it different from the rest.

“A significant portion (30-40%) of our full-time MBA class, which I think is unique to our program, are also doing degrees in other professional schools on campus,” she says. “So, when we build teams within our full-time MBA program, you’re just as likely to have an MD-MBA, or a JD-MBA, or an engineer MBA, as you are a single degree student.” (01:30)

“Some of our single degree students who have the most flexibility within their programs might take one, two or even three concentrations, whereas a dual degree student who doesn’t have as much room in the credits of their program might only be able to do one concentration, or just follow a generalized path,” she tells us. (02:10)

What do dual degree students bring to the MBA program?

Many students cite the diversity of their cohort as a key selling point. At Buffalo, their diversity comes from their dual degree students. Although Erin says this philosophy means their MBA students have less work experience than your average MBA cohort, she believes it’s a trade worth making.

“It definitely skews our work experience profile down because many of those students have not had post-baccalaureate work experience. However, we’ve made a conscious trade-off on that because what our dual-degree students bring to our cohort is far more interesting than what two years of post-baccalaureate experience brings on any given day,” she explains. (04:47)

Hailing from fields such as medicine, law, and engineering, Buffalo’s dual-degree students bring fresh ideas to the MBA classroom. It means the school can offer students a diversity of perspectives that you’re unlikely to find elsewhere.

“I think what these dual degree students bring is interest, is ideas, that perhaps a single degree student with post-baccalaureate work experience can’t even think of,” Erin adds. (06:14)

The Buffalo MBA application process

Another area where Buffalo differs is its application process. Erin is on the interviewing committee at the school, and she says it’s probably nothing like your typical MBA interview.

“Our process is really relationship-based, so I want to know who you are,” she says. “When we sit down for an interview, it’s probably not going to be the same interview you would have with another school, because I’m genuinely interested in knowing who you are.” (14:47)

Erin adds, “I want you to tell me if you failed, and what you learned. If you succeeded, tell me what you learned. If you were a great teammate, tell me what you learned. If you led a team to success, tell me. I’m looking for the clues that will tell me whether or not you’re going to be a strong member of our cohort.” (16:35)

It’s clear that Buffalo’s diversity is more than a buzzword. It’s a real thing that infuses every stage of their MBA admissions process.

What the UB MBA can do for you

Any MBA is a huge investment of both time and money, which will always come with its own risks, but Erin believes their students would say it was worth it. Although she doesn’t want to over-promise, she says the UB MBA can guarantee you one thing.

“Here’s the guarantee. The MBA is a transformational experience, and I tell MBAs every single August when we’re in orientation: You’re going to get out of this what you put in. If you throw all of your effort in, if you re-prioritize your world and throw every ounce of energy you have into this program, that’s exactly what you’re going to get back from it. You’re going to get back a huge pay-off,” she says. (23:24)

“When it’s hot and uncomfortable and you’re in a place where you want to quit, that’s where the transformation is happening,” she continues. “That’s when you have to stick it out and keep going. That’s when you have to realize that the person you were when you started the MBA program is not the same person who is graduating.” (24:39)

The benefits of an MBA are widely advertised: a boost in salary, a change of career, an expanded list of contacts. But the personal benefits are perhaps sometimes overlooked. If you listen to Erin’s advice and throw everything you’ve got into the program, you’ll see a huge change in yourself. Focus on that personal transformation, and you will surely be a changed person after your MBA.

Share this article: