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Graduate Spotlight Q&A: Chelsea

Book open Reading time: 2 mins
Name: Chelsea Gardner
Studied: MBA, ‘20, UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School

How did you decide an MBA was the right path for you?

When I talked to mentors, advisors, and other trusted people in my life, an MBA just kept coming up. In my first job after undergrad,
I worked in PR and communications, where

I started to work closely with folks in brand management and became really interested in the business aspects of their role, as well as the cross functional work they did to make the brand come to life. I did research and realized an MBA was the path to that career that made the most sense from a return on investment standpoint.

How did your MBA experience lead you to your current job?

Networking was so important. For me, it was going to the Consortium conference and meeting with company partners. Through that, I was able to secure my internship with Colgate-Palmolive before I even stepped foot on campus. Then at UNC, I got an incredible perspective on how to answer for myself, “What is it that I want to do, and where do I want to do it?”

The whole MBA experience gave me the confidence to really consider how I could fit at an organization, and to not only go into an internship or interview thinking that they’re evaluating me, but that I’m evaluating them, too. That was a powerful shift in perspective.

What piece of advice would you give people considering applying to business school?

Don’t rush into the process. Take the time to think through what value you add to the school and how you want to articulate that. If you take the time to figure out exactly what you bring to the table, it can help combat imposter syndrome, and so when you get nervous about an interview or visiting a school, you can be more confident and not rule yourself out.