Amanda Olar Allegheny College, Neuroscience, 2010 Tepper School of Business, Class of 2015 Hometown: Pittsburgh, PA Pre-MBA Work Experience: Development Officer, Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh Foundation Why did you decide to pursue an MBA? Getting an MBA was important to me because I come from a science background and then worked in the nonprofit sector, where I really felt a lack of foundational business strategy. I have always wanted to make an impact and be prepared to do the best job possible. When I decided to not enter the medical and/or science fields, I felt in order for me to succeed in any career moving forward, I would need a better basic understanding of how the private sector operates. What advice do you have for women who are considering business school? Do your research. Make sure business school is right for you, at this time, and get an understanding of where you see yourself in 5 years. Once you understand what business school can offer you, find a handful of programs that align with your values. There are so many great schools out there that are seeking intelligent and driven women. Just know that you are not only qualified to be at the school you’re going after, but they want you to join them! What's the most surprising thing you learned about business school during the application process? The most surprising thing I learned while applying to b-school was how unique each school has made their program. The best way to learn about a program is to reach out to the students there and see what they like about the program and why they decided to go there. It’s true everyone is different, but hearing about other people’s work experience and their interests will not only teach you about the type of students in each of these programs, but also what kind of culture the school embodies. These should be important decision criteria for you on your journey to b-school! Do you feel prepared for business school? Yes…No…Yes! I would argue the best way to prepare yourself for business school is to do some soul-searching and reflecting on what it is you want to get out of it before you start the program. Because once you start school, time moves faster every day and you don’t have a ton of time to think through several potential career options. So before you commit to business school, be sure you’ve done some deep thinking about your goals in the future. You don’t need a step-by-step plan of how you’re going to get there, but just have an idea of what is most important to you on the priority list. This will allow you to take full advantage of all the great resources business school has to offer! What do you do in your free time? Hmm… free time. Not much of that at the moment… but I do enjoy kickboxing to relieve stress and golfing when it’s nice in Pittsburgh! What would you tell your younger self about the MBA application process and being an MBA student? You can do it. Stop doubting yourself. You are capable of the workload and dedicated to the end goal so keep believing in yourself! No excuses. Please share something about your experience with Forté. Forté was such a great resource for me during the application process last year because I was able to learn about women who had successfully done what I was trying to do. The Fellows are an incredible group of women that are doing such amazing things in this world – it encouraged me to believe in my application and reinforced my reasoning for going to school. Before graduating from Allegheny College, I was accepted into several medical schools. I thought I knew exactly what I wanted. But I learned that medical school was not in my path and was fortunate enough to find a place where I feel confident in my next steps after school. No matter what your background is – there are undoubtedly transferable skills that will make you a great leader in the classroom and boardroom. Be true to yourself.