When Zofia Wosinska, WG’14, applied to Wharton’s EMBA program, her main goal was to transition out of the lab and into a business role at Roche Diagnostics. However, it turned out that she didn’t need an MBA, as she landed a commercial role before the program began. “But that didn’t stop her from coming to Wharton. “I was excited about this program because I knew it would make me stronger in that new role, open up more opportunities, and expand my network,” said Zofia, who has a PhD in biochemistry.
An unexpected benefit of Wharton, Zofia noted, is that the EMBA program also made her “bolder.” She explained, “Halfway through the program, I started a social impact venture called ÉSTAINE, which is a high-end fashion company that helps, in a very unique way, raise awareness around early cancer detection. I also helped my husband grow an apparel design firm called AMB3R.com. We started off with $5,000 of our own money and AMB3R surpassed $10 million in revenue during the time I was onboard.”
Zofia “slowed things down” at ÉSTAINE as she dove into the role of chief financial officer at AMB3R.com and started a family. Today, Zofia has two sons who are 2 and 4, and ÉSTAINE is coming back to life with “exciting plans” for 2021.
She also pivoted back to the medical diagnostics industry, joining Leica Biosystems as commercial product leader for the Americas. “I loved working with my husband on the fashion ventures, but my passion and expertise is underlined by my science background. At Leica, I work with both the scientific and business sides to develop strategies to launch new products and ensure their commercial success,” she said.
Inspiring More Women to Pursue MBAs
Another passion, Zofia noted, is helping women in science to “be bold and to explore various paths for professional growth.” She recently launched a platform on LinkedIn called Becoming WISER, which stands for Women in Science and Engineering Rock, to give advice on topics like applying to top MBA programs, and share women’s stories about how they transitioned from technical to business roles.
Zofia said, “Women in science may feel siloed in their technical roles. I want to encourage them to come to top MBA programs to broaden their opportunities and have a voice on the business side. However, it is not an easy decision to invest the time, money, and energy to do this. I recommend asking yourself five questions before deciding if and what MBA program is right for you.”
1. Why Do You Want an MBA?
“First and foremost, think about why you want an MBA. Many people do not need an MBA to be successful. I’m a good example. I thought I needed it to pivot to a business role, but it turned out that I did that on my own. However, I’m really glad I came to this program because it has benefited me in so many other ways – I’m bolder, I have an amazing network, I think differently, and I’m a better business leader.”
2. Is This the Right Time to Get an MBA?
“Timing is an important consideration. Wharton’s EMBA program requires a substantial amount of time each week. How will you carve that out? This is particularly important if you have kids or are planning to start a family. There are plenty of moms in Wharton’s EMBA program, but it is important as an applicant to have all your stakeholders on board and the support you’ll need lined up in advance.
3. Which School is the Right Fit for You?
“Choosing an EMBA program is important because they are not all alike. Don’t just go by rankings. Research what makes each school unique. Is it the courses, faculty, global study options, classmates, or environment? What makes a program the right fit for you?”
4. Do you Want Rigor?
“Wharton is an academically challenging program. It stretched me in every way possible and it was exactly what I wanted in an EMBA program. However, if you are simply looking to improve in a particular area, a part-time online program or executive education program may be what you need. Wharton’s EMBA program is equivalent to the full-time MBA in terms of admissions requirements, hours, classes, and faculty. This is the real deal and not MBA-lite.”
5. What Kind of ROI Do you Want?
“While career trajectory and future salaries are important, don’t underestimate the value of the network. I learned from amazing classmates both in and out of the classroom. I made friends who will support me throughout the rest of my career, and I cannot put a price tag on that. The value of the Wharton network is invaluable.”
Zofia added, “Looking back, I would do this program again in a heartbeat. Those were two of the most valuable years of my life. It was challenging, but I grew so much, and I wouldn’t be the person I am today if I hadn’t gone to Wharton.”
Watch a video of Zofia about ÉSTAINE.
— By Meghan Laska
Posted: January 12, 2021