There are so many ways to invest in your career success. For Dawn Wilson, MBA ’02 and Ciocia Patel, MBA ’15, one of those investments was pursuing their Part-Time MBA from the Fox School of Business.
Though both Patel and Wilson went through the program at different points in their careers, what they learned has offered them guidance as they move through their career journey.
“The MBA gives you a holistic view of business,” says Patel. “You are working with a lot of case studies, looking at different industries. You are learning from other people’s success, their failures. I think the MBA helped my career and the way I approach work on a day-to-day basis—I think it also promotes lifelong learning. It helps me to know where to search when I have questions. I know how to better approach problems.”
Patel began her professional career at Temple University’s Small Business Development Center at the Fox School, where she worked as a training coordinator and then a business manager, spearheading financial planning and analysis for sponsored projects and program revenue. Once she realized she wanted to pivot her career into healthcare, after she received her MBA she joined the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and now serves as senior venture and innovation project manager.
“My MBA has definitely helped me with business planning and looking at new innovations from a commercial standpoint,” she says.
In 2006, Dawn Wilson founded her own nature photography and writing company. In addition to that work, Wilson recently took on a position in the marketing department at Pivot Strategies, a public relations and communications firm.
Pursuing an MBA gave Wilson the skills and know-how that she needed to get a business off the ground and hone her offerings. “I don’t have employees, but I work with a lot of freelancers, so there are all kinds of skills that you learn over the course of running a business and I rely on a lot of that MBA education to help me through.”
Wilson is also the president of the North American Nature Photography Association, which requires leadership skills that she honed during her time at the Fox School, and through getting involved with centers such as the Center for Student Professional Development (CSPD).
“Both my participation in the association and the MBA were investments in networking and learning how the industry works, so I always recommend to people: get involved,” she says. “There is always some sort of industry organization to join. That’s something that I learned during my MBA—I was part of the student association there. Getting involved with organizations or with CSPD allows you to build the skills to network, so you carry them into your career.”
The Part-Time Fox MBA gave both women the flexibility necessary to manage both a career and coursework. In an MBA program, which can be a particular male-dominated space, the support they found in their classmates and families was essential.
“Women are pulled in so many different directions,” says Patel. “It is important to have conversations with your family about what you’re going to need when you pursue graduate school, because a master’s program takes effort and time, on top of having a career. Make sure you’ve got a good support system.”
Wilson found support not only in her community outside of class but with the women going through the program with her.
“As a woman in an MBA program, it can feel heavily oriented towards men but I’ve always felt good support. To this day, there are still several women that I keep in touch with. It’s been phenomenal to watch their careers blossom,” she says. “One person is actually running her own catering business in the Philadelphia suburbs now, which has been fun to watch grow.”