When journalist Aditi Roy, who anchors and reports for NBC 10 New in Philadelphia, decided to pursue an MBA, she had one school in mind: Wharton. While the School’s global reputation made it her top pick, she admits to being anxious about its other reputation as a quant school. She also was a bit
nervous about how she would juggle her demanding broadcast schedule, which already required her to wake up at 2:00am every day, with the rigors of school.
Having graduated last May from Wharton’s executive MBA program in Philadelphia, we asked Aditi to share her experiences in the program, including how she conquered her math fears and managed her schedule. Here’s what she said:
“Even though I’ve always performed better on standardized math tests than verbal — and I actually do like math — I’ve been away from the quant world for more than 15 years. My line of work is intrinsically creative because I marry words with pictures to tell stories so I was rather intimidated about the quant part of Wharton’s EMBA program. But I wasn’t going to let it stand in my way of getting a good education. I realized that I was going to have to do something challenging and hard.
“I also prepared myself for the fact that I might not be at the top of all of my quant classes given that I didn’t know what an income statement or balance sheet was before the program began. In general,
letting go of anxieties about grades was a good survival skill. Most people have to do that in order to
get the most out of the program. You understand that you are there to learn and not to compete. After all, we all already have jobs. You soon find out that it’s OK to be better at some things than others. And you’ll find things you are better at than you ever realized.
“As for my schedule, I was constantly fighting sleep deprivation. On Fridays, I’d get up to do the morning news and then attend a full day of classes, followed by group study sessions. During exam times, we’d often study past midnight and then I’d wake up again at 4:00am to finish studying. And I wanted to experience all aspects of the EMBA program so I made sure to stay engaged socially with my classmates. But I also found it was important to carve out time to decompress and rest. The Sundays of class weekends eventually became my guilt-free rest days.
“This juggling was particularly difficult when I began filling in at the network bureau in New York. There were times when I’d get a call in the morning to cover a story in a different state, requiring me to take the next flight out. It created a lot of stress in terms of trying to finish school work. But that
is when my fellow students really stepped up and helped out. They were so supportive of me during those times.
“My classmates turn out to be my favorite part of the program. I met some of the smartest, most interesting and collaborative people at Wharton. And they were incredibly diverse. In my class, we had everyone from doctors to venture capitalists to bankers to lawyers. It made a tremendous difference in classes because of the diversity of perspectives.
“Now, when I’m reporting on a story or anchoring a newscast, I notice a significant difference in how I am able to view the world. The other day I was putting together a story about unemployment and when I interviewed an expert, my questions were much more sophisticated and I had a better grasp of the numbers than if I had approached the story two years ago. I now have a far more intricate and technical knowledge of issues underlying headlines in the news.”