ow can Wharton’s EMBA program impact a career in 12 months? We asked Monique, the acting deputy assistant secretary for the Office of Capital Markets in the U.S. Department of Treasury, to share her Wharton story and thoughts on career impact:
After majoring in international relations and economics, I spent a decade at Goldman Sachs, mostly as part of the firm’s financing advisory team. During the 2008 financial crisis, I became increasingly interested in policy work and transitioned to the U.S. Department of Treasury in 2011. While I had a background in finance, I still felt like something was missing in terms of a broader business perspective. I wanted to learn more about marketing, operations and management strategy to round out my business acumen. I’d been thinking about getting an MBA, but there was never a great time to take a break in my career. The Wharton executive MBA format was appealing because I could do both at the same time.
I wanted to come to Wharton’s EMBA program because of the fantastic faculty and the quality of students. When I came for a visit during the application process, I found a diverse, international community of really smart people working in a variety of fields. Some of the local programs in Washington D.C. that I considered seemed comprised mostly of people in government and consulting. I really wanted that broader community to expand my network and challenge me more in the classroom.
The WEMBA classroom environment has been tremendous. It’s fun to be back in school. We just finished our core classes and are now starting electives. In the core, there were classes that enhanced my finance background as well as brand new experiences like the Total Leadership class. That was a unique opportunity for students to reflect on their career trajectories and the other stakeholders (employer, family, community) in their lives, and how they can align their own expectations with those of their stakeholders. I’ve also found lessons from classes like Management Strategy very useful in my day-to-day job, as I think about growing an organization, managing teams, and facing adversity.
As for the challenges, there have been many because this is a very rigorous program. In addition, my first child was born at the end of finals in April. While that is a lot to juggle, I have the confidence to make this work because of my newly enhanced organization skills. The WEMBA experience has taught me how to make my life more efficient and become a lot more productive. That said, this program isn’t for everyone. Your family has to be fully supportive. (I am so grateful to mine.) You have to dedicate yourself to school because it is a significant time commitment and the curriculum is hard. It’s worth the reward, but it’s not to be taken lightly.
Because I’m still in the program, my career impact so far has been more intangible. I have gained more responsibility since I started, but at this point the benefits are more about how I view my work. In addition to becoming more organized and productive, I believe I’m now also a better manager. I’m using what I’ve learned in classes on leadership and strategic thinking to hone my decision making. I’m also more confident; that confidence makes me feel like a better and more capable professional, which will bring rewards down the road.
While there is a lot to be said for the rich personal experience you’ll have at Wharton, coming here is like turbocharging your career. You are in an intense program combined with a challenging work environment. That really helps you to grow in a short period of time in remarkable ways.