Andrea Soto | Member since 2017:
After making the decision of leaving full time work to pursue the MBA, the second most challenging part of the MBA application process was reflecting on my desired career path. The possibilities and implications to consider with each path were overwhelming, specially hearing how clear the path seemed for other aspiring MBA‘s. I had a few elements I wanted my post-MBA professional life to contain: I wanted a role where I could gain international experience and where I would have the opportunity to influence big decisions. But how that role looked like and where that role would be, was a blur. The lack of clarity made me feel indecisive and uneasy.
After much thought and introspection, I finally reached the conclusion the most suitable role type for my aspiration was in Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). I researched on the career path and passionately wrote about it on my MBA essays. “Phew!”, sigh of relief. I felt I could now put myself on auto-pilot and achieve my goals. I was wrong.
I am thankful to look back at the days of confusion during the MBA. The energy and passion from my high-achieving classmates stimulated my thinking and desire to have a plan but to also not let the plan limit me or fully guide my path.
Early on my second year of the MBA I accidentally came upon the presentation of the Global Strategy Group (GSG) at Samsung, operating from the headquarters in Korea. I was surprised at how an opportunity that was totally off my radar checked off so many boxes in my list of post MBA career elements.
Fast forward to four years after my original decision to leave my full-time job for the MBA, I am a resident of Seoul, Korea. I decided to move to Korea for two years having never been in Asia. The surprises have been many. My colleagues at GSG are talented, international and most importantly, open minded (…or else they would not have embarked on this 2-year journey in Korea!). I have learned much about living in another country with a totally different culture from the Hispanic and American cultures I had grown up in. I am still struggling to pull myself out of the expat bubble, eat more kimchi and learn more Korean.
As part of my efforts to connect with the locals, I sometimes participate in MBA events and speak to aspiring Korean MBAs.
One of the most common concerns I hear is regarding what to write on their admissions essay. I tell them to write what is on their minds and hearts now; what is propelling them to go for the MBA. I also tell them that myself, a girl from the Dominican Republic, would be lying if she said that growing up or even only four years ago, she dreamed of living in Korea and working for Samsung.