After spending four tax seasons working six (and sometimes) seven days a week, I decided to make a career change. When I decided to end my public accounting career this past summer, I was weighing two vastly different options: travel the world for a year or go for my MBA full-time. Being a big planner, I decided to go for a full-time Suffolk University MBA program. I recently finished my first semester at Suffolk University in Boston, MA and can say it was absolutely the right decision. I definitely still have dreams to travel the world, but in a different way. The Suffolk MBA program has given me so many opportunities and ideas.
When I first started the semester, I was extremely overwhelmed. For the first month I broke out like when I first hit puberty. I was anxious; akin to the start of tax season. I felt lost, confused and worried I would never figure out my next step. But, lo and behold, through my classes, my awesome professors, and the great people I met in classes I started to find my way. I decided not to plan my next career move and decided to not declare a concentration. If anyone knows me, this is NOT me at all. I always have a plan in place, and a back-up plan, and usually a back-up plan to my back-up plan!
In the past semester, I have explored a degree in healthcare administration, attended a project management networking event where I didn’t know anyone, and decided to start my own business. I came up with my business idea in a four-week class module for a new course style introduced this semester. I presented two innovative and collaborative business ideas to two Boston executives for finals. I’ve gone back to what I’ve missed doing for years: LEARN. I was certainly learning in my public accounting career, but it was limited to taxes. At Suffolk I’m learning about start-ups, virtual and augmented reality, and the future of entrepreneurship.
Furthermore, I’ve learned more about myself and what I want and desire. I’ve learned I need and want a diversified career – I don’t want to be doing tax returns everyday. I want to be in meetings, interacting with people from different backgrounds and with different ideas. I want to feel as if I am contributing to society and making an impact on people’s life. And lastly, I really, really want to be able to forge my own career path and not fit a mold. I have no desire to be a CFO of a large corporation and make billions of dollars (although the money would be nice!). I do have a desire, though, to learn from my work, and to be able to work from anywhere in the world and on my own time. The Suffolk MBA has given me the tools to figure out how to do so.
I finished my last final on Thursday, and instead of immediately going home and relaxing, I went straight to work on projects (after a three hour nap and a celebratory Indian lunch). I spent two days working on freelance bookkeeping, I started the path to becoming an online Quickbooks ProAdvisor, I met with a lawyer to register my business, and I continued working on this blog. I did research on Hong Kong and Brazil (two places I get to visit next year), and I also did research on Iceland, Burning Man, summer internships and networking events. And the best part about all this “work”? it didn’t feel like work at all! Instead, it felt productive, stimulating and contributory. I’m making my way to the life I want to live, and it feels GREAT.
So, do I regret not taking a year off to travel? In September when I was breaking out and overwhelmed, I probably would have said yes. But now I am so glad I chose the MBA route. I am able to create a path and a life which will allow me to travel, not just for a year, but long-term. And whether I decide to travel forever, move overseas, or not at all, the MBA at Suffolk University has given me the opportunity to CHOOSE. So for now, I will continue working on my projects and learning as much as I possibly can while in school full-time. And for anyone out there who is feeling lost and a little hopeless, I encourage you to investigate an MBA program. It’s a degree that enables you to learn, grow and expand.