Maria Orlova is a busy student at Pace University in New York studying toward an MBA. She also works full-time in addition to her studies. Orlova earned a BBA in finance as an undergrad and is now a graduate student who remains very involved in the Pace graduate marketing community. Orlova gave GradSchools.com a chance to ask her some questions about what it is like to be a graduate marketing student.
GradSchools: Did your bachelor's degree help prepare you for your graduate studies?
My Bachelors degree provided a great foundation for my graduate studies. While the courses I took in the MBA program resembled the material taught at the undergraduate level, the MBA program explores the various topics in greater depth.
GradSchools: What is the most difficult aspect of the program/field? Most rewarding?
The most difficult obstacle I have faced has been to balance between my career goals and academic pursuits. My work ethic is to give 100 percent to everything I do, but this has been difficult to accomplish because I am faced with limited amount of time and many conflicting deadlines.
There are many aspects of the program I find rewarding. I truly enjoy learning and experiencing a sense of accomplishment and pride when my projects are completed. Also, being a student in an MBA program has allowed me to meet many interesting people. There are many international students at Pace University. This has allowed me to meet many students with diverse backgrounds--interacting with them has taught me a lot about other cultures. I have also learned about various companies and industries through cases studies, class presentations and correspondence with my classmates. This has allowed me to explore many career options.
GradSchools: What advice would you give students considering the field?
Obtaining an MBA degree takes time, commitment and perseverance. Make sure you are ready to dedicate yourself and follow your passion when deciding a major. I found that once a student recognizes the value of an M.B.A. from Pace, and embraces the opportunity, it will be a more rewarding experience for them.
GradSchools: What do you expect to get out of the MBA. program?
I want to be an expert in my field. After the courses I have taken, I already see the change in my thought process. I have become much more strategic and creative. Having almost completed the program, I am happy to help guide others in taking the next steps in their academic pursuit.
GradSchools: How do you view your future given your education choices? How will your degree figure in?
My degree will certainly open doors and provide me with many more options. So far, it has exposed me to skills and areas of knowledge that I would have not obtained had I not attended business school. I’ve also developed great relationships, and the opportunity to network with the distinguished alumni and other professionals in the Pace community. My degree has also provided a solid foundation in the field of marketing, which will put me a step ahead of others in the field.
GradSchools: What interdisciplinary electives do you think enhance your education?
No business can avoid the international factor--the world is becoming smaller. I took a number of courses in international business to better understand the demands of a business executive from a global perspective. These classes have taught me things I have never considered. As companies grow, they need to understand the economic impact to their bottom line as well as the people they serve.
GradSchools: What is your biggest regret regarding your education?
My biggest regret is that I did not participate in a study abroad program. Given that business is an international field, it would have provided me with firsthand experience to understand the multicultural environment we are living in.
GradSchools: Does involvement outside of the classroom enhance your learning?
Learning material is great, but applying the knowledge is what helps you comprehend and truly understand the material. Currently, I am the president of the Lubin Graduate Society (LGS). LGS consists of all graduate students enrolled in the Lubin Graduate School of Business (MBA and MS programs) at Pace University. LGS’s mission is to provide a forum that promotes leadership.
It fosters career advancement and professional equity; invokes innovation, diversity and creativity; and builds friendships, networks and togetherness among our graduate students. Being a part of this group has provided me with hands-on experience in various management roles such as account management, conflict resolution and many other functions.
GradSchools: How much does geography figure into the study of marketing?
One of the reasons I chose Pace University was its convenient and superb location. Pace is located in downtown Manhattan, literally steps away from the Brooklyn Bridge and City Hall, and close to Wall Street. Attending a school close to the financial capital allowed me to work on Wall Street while pursuing my degree. Also, the location facilitates a strong interaction with the business world. Due to the location, I was exposed to the business environment early on.
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