After 20 years in teaching, Invited MBA alumna Gina Curran pursued a part-time, mini MBA because she wanted to move from the classroom to corporate.
Based in New York City, she had a business that grew from one-on-one tutoring to curriculum-based classes, tests, and multiple learning locations. But when Covid-19 shut down her business in 2020, she found herself contemplating what she wanted to do next.
“I taught for over 20 years,” she said. “It was running fabulously well until Covid. I knew I could pick up and get a running start going into 2022 (as things opened up again). But even before Covid hit, I knew I wanted to make a career change. I’ve always had an interest in medicine, pharma, and animal science. It wouldn’t be fair to myself if I didn’t try to enter a world I’ve always been fascinated by.”
Because she already had a Masters and countless college credits, Gina decided she didn’t want to pursue an additional degree. She just needed more business acumen and the tools on how to change industries.
“(Hearing about the Invited MBA) spoke to me, especially the feeling of imposter syndrome and wanting to start something new,” she said. “It wasn’t your traditional MBA where I had to commit to a two year program…. I just needed a little bit of everything: Finance, leadership, and marketing. And that’s exactly what the Invited MBA is.”
Gina applied and was accepted into the Fall 2021 Invited MBA cohort. She was most excited to meet and interact with members of her cohort from all over the world. After connecting with some of the other students, she felt a lot more comfortable because they were all in similar stages of life.
“I’ve never had an opportunity in my life to work with people living in different countries, different time zones, from all ages. And we are all from different industries. We aren’t all teachers, but a lot are career changers from all walks of life,” she said. “To have 40 other people (in my cohort) going through something similar in their careers makes it less scary. The whole process is easier knowing there’s other people out there going through it too.”
As a teacher, Gina has always lived by the motto “See it, hear it, do it.” For her, the mantra describes the importance of teaching through experiential learning. Before joining the fall cohort, she had heard about the Invited MBA’s simulations, but was still surprised by their impact on her experience.
“It felt at first like a video game…. I could see how you could actually (experience the scenarios) in real life. There have been moments in my life where I had to act decisively and quickly, just like in the simulation. You don’t always have the luxury of time,” she said.
“Unless you see it, hear it, do it … you don’t learn in a way you will remember for the future when you actually need to apply those skills. The Invited MBA program did that.”
The finance and enterprise challenges specifically expanded upon Gina’s skill sets and forced her out of her comfort zone. But she credits the hardest moments of the program with having the most impact, realizing how applicable the virtual simulations are to real business scenarios.
“Working with other students to make quick decisions, then doing it and seeing the result each quarter in the simulation tied all the things together,” she said. “These are things you have to do not only in a job, but in real life. Especially when you’re in a remote environment. It brought it all to life.”
Outside of the virtual Invited MBA classroom, Gina scheduled coffee with other members of her cohort in the New York Area and invested time learning about the careers of her program facilitators.
“The Invited MBA was a safe place to put yourself out there, realizing you don’t know what you’re doing. But I wanted to learn. It wasn’t easy, but it was what I needed to do.” she said.
Now a graduate of the program, Gina feels confident in her ability to make a shift in industries. Surrounded by a full range of furry friends at home, including multiple dogs, a rabbit, and a horse, Gina is continually reminded of her passion for animals and medicine. She plans to make the transition from teaching to corporate or medical science by expanding her network and making connections both virtually and in person. The Invited MBA increased her business acumen and gave her experiences she can discuss in future interviews to link to her transferable skills.
She said, “I learned so much. Even the way I talk about what my next steps are going to be, I have a focus and concentration. Four months ago, I couldn’t even communicate that. I was afraid at the thought of being in corporate, and I didn’t know if I could get there. Now I know that I will.”
Though the future is still a little hazy, Gina is confident in her options and capabilities to level up her career. She encourages others looking to make a career shift to consider a mini MBA.