Knowing she needed an MBA to compete in the job market and land her dream job, Gina Calorico, PMBA ’16, began her search for a program that would allow her to work full time and graduate quickly while maintaining work-life balance.
What she didn’t know at the time, however, was that just four years after graduation, she would be giving current students advice on how to land their own dream jobs, just as she did.
Before selecting the University at Buffalo Professional MBA program, Calorico spent six years at the same company, in the same position, unhappy with her opportunities for growth.
“I knew I needed to get an MBA to compete in the market,” she said.
Calorico had to continue working full time while earning her degree. She wanted a program that would allow her to earn her degree and secure a new position as quickly as possible.
“I selected the UB PMBA because I still needed to work and pay for the house that I had just purchased,” she said. “The program allowed me to work full time and still get my MBA within three years. Other programs didn’t offer those options.”
Like many other working professionals, Calorico had concerns about going back to school, even within a program that fit her needs so well.
“I wasn’t sure if I could keep up with the schoolwork and maintaining a social life with my family and friends,” she said. “I also wondered if I could handle the schoolwork since I had been out of college for 14 years.”
Calorico’s concerns were quickly alleviated as she found she only needed to make a few adjustments to strike the balance she was looking for.
“ I had to reprioritize a bit, but it was only for a short time and that time flew by,” she said.
Of course, earning a graduate degree is not without some challenges. Calorico found she could rely on her classmates, both in and outside of her team, for support with material or subjects in which she was having difficulty.
“I was lucky to have a class of great students,” she said. “We all worked together even if we weren’t on the same team. We knew who was good at what and used all our talents and knowledge to help each other.”
Striking a balance wasn’t the only advantage of Calorico’s newfound professional network. That same network of students helped her achieve her dream only a month after graduation.
“During my MBA experience, I made a lot of connections and made it known I was looking for new career opportunities,” she said. “We graduated in May and by August I had my job with a new company…exactly what I went to get my MBA for! One of my connections in the program was a huge help in getting me an interview.”
Additionally, Calorico was able to apply what she learned in the classroom in her daily work, since the classes heavily emphasize the importance of understanding and adapting to uncertainty in the business world.
After earning her MBA and spending four years at her new job, Calorico noted how the program has helped her better understand her coworkers and manage difficult challenges. She’s also noticed significant development within her key skills.
“Not everyone works the same, and this program taught me how to handle difficult personalities and challenges,” she said. “I try to look at situations from everyone’s perspective now. Additionally, my professional writing, Excel and negotiation skills have improved immensely.”
“I don’t know if there is ever ‘a right time’ to pursue your MBA,” Calorico says. “There are always going to be things happening in your life or your career that cause you to put it off, so for me, it was best just to do it. I enrolled while I had experience in the work force and could use that to relate to what I was learning in the classroom.”
Attend a virtual information session or visit a class to get an inside look at the Professional MBA classroom experience.