“What do you want to be when you grow up?” That daunting question is asked of us as early as we can speak. As a child, it would come naturally for me to respond with a movie star or celebrity. As I grew older and realized my lack of acting talent, my answers began to mold to complement my skill set, such as a lawyer or a CEO. In the grand scheme of things, none of that matters unless you know your “why.”
In May, I proudly represented the illustrious Spelman College at the Summer Institute for Emerging Managers and Leaders (SIEML) at UC Riverside’s A. Gary Anderson School of Management. Annually, the institute offers an all-expenses-paid immersive business and career leadership experience for undergraduate students currently enrolled in their sophomore or junior year at an HBCU (Historically Black College and University) or HSI (Hispanic-serving Institution). SIEML alumni are eligible to receive a minimum one-year full fee and tuition fellowship at any of the University of California graduate business schools.
Throughout my matriculation at the No. 1 HBCU in the country, I have grown both personally and professionally. I admire the SIEML’s initiative to increase diversity in graduate business schools. It is essential to have different races and ethnicities represented in all spaces, and this program prioritizes just that.
Let’s Talk Business
The institute is dedicated to ensuring that students make the most out of this experience. Workshops and lectures from esteemed faculty and administrators from the six University of California business schools stressed the importance of networking, personal development, and preparation for life after graduation. I have gained analytical, technical, and management skills that all play an intentional role as I pursue a graduate degree in business. Along with this, there are a plethora of other benefits of this program:
- Two-year Fellowship for Full-time MBA
SIEML alumni who are admitted to the full-time MBA program at UC San Diego will receive the Anthony Portantino Fellowship—a two-year, full fee and tuition fellowship.
- One-year Fellowship to a UC Graduate Business School
SIEML alumni admitted to any UC graduate business program will receive a fellowship that covers one year of their tuition and fees. This includes the MBA and other business master’s degree programs in innovation and entrepreneurship, finance, business analytics, accounting, and financial engineering. This also applies to the Ph.D. with a different funding model.
- UC Graduate Business School Application Fee Waiver
When SIEML alumni are ready to apply to UC graduate business programs, they will not have to worry about the additional cost of application fees, which can quickly add up, especially if you apply to more than one program.
Your Journey Is Your Journey
From the outside looking in, it may seem like your peers have everything together. It is important to remember that your journey is unique to you and only you. The definition of success varies from person to person. I would be storytelling if I said that it will be easy, but discovering your path is all about trial and error. It is OK to change your mind or venture off from the original plan, as long as you are learning from it.
During the SIEML workshop presented by the UC Irvine Paul Merage School of Business, we used the CliftonStrengths assessment to discover our strengths and improve on areas where we are not as strong. Personal development is crucial, especially when applying for programs and preparing for job interviews. Taking assessments to learn your soft skills and strengths is key to building your personal brand.
As I approach graduation and I ponder what I want to be when I “grow up,” my answer is simple: a change-maker.
At the SIEML, I learned that I do not need to have all of the answers now, but rather focus on why. My “why” is answered by my passion in life to serve my community. I yearn to make a positive impact on many lives, whether that is through my service, entrepreneurship, or educational background. I want to act as a role model for the Black and Brown children who may not believe that their voices matter. I want to provide them with the resources and knowledge they need to achieve their goals and realize aspirations. I want to see them thrive.
This invaluable program fostered my growth both personally and professionally. It encouraged me to focus on my “why” and aid in the preparation for obtaining my MBA. I am humbly elated to share my story and experience with future HBCU and HSI students.