Nikki Bruce Tufts University 2008, Economics The University of Texas at Austin, McCombs School of Business, Class of 2015 Hometown: Dallas, TX Pre-MBA Work Experience: Manager of Talent Acquisition Strategy at Teach For America in NYC Why did you decide to pursue an MBA? My goal coming into business school was to learn how to apply business skills to social impact. After working at nonprofits for five years, I wanted to learn the language of business, stretch outside my nonprofit comfort zone, and learn how other industries tackle their big challenges. I’ll be a more effective change agent if I have a better understanding of the business world and how business and social impact can intersect. What advice do you have for women who are considering business school? Give yourself plenty of time for the process! Think about what you really want for your career and your MBA experience. Talk to different people at programs that interest you, and try to get a good sense of the program culture. The more you know about yourself and the program, the better you can demonstrate a genuine interest in the program. It takes a while to research schools, reflect on your goals and put together strong applications though, so make sure you plan ahead. Do you feel prepared for business school? I do! The academic aspect of business school is challenging, and it’s been a while since I was a student, but I’m confident I can climb the learning curve and hit my stride. The professors are excellent, really care about our success and are very willing to help anyone who needs it. The biggest challenge of business school is time management. There is always more to do and not enough time to do it. Learning how to prioritize and manage my time before business school has been incredibly helpful. What do you do in your free time? Explore Austin with classmates and stay active! I will eventually learn how to two-step. What would you tell your younger self about the MBA application process and being an MBA student? There are so many different perspectives in an MBA classroom and so many opportunities to stretch and grow. It’s good to have a plan coming into the program, but make sure to expect the unexpected. Give yourself space to explore and connect with people who have different stories. Please share something about your experience with Forté. Going to the Forté MBA Conference before school started was a great way to kick off my MBA experience. It was great to meet some of the amazing women I would be working with (not to mention network with some great companies early!). Business school (and the application process) is surprisingly personal. I didn’t expect that, and I found myself digging deep into what drives me, what I really envision for my future, and the kind of environment I thrive in. Being honest with myself allowed me to be authentic throughout the process and find the right fit. That said, remember that everyone has a different reason for applying and attending a certain program. It’s so hard not to compare yourself to other people and their successes. What works for someone may not be the best for you, and that’s ok! When you’re editing essays for the millionth time, waiting to hear back about interviews, or making tough decisions about which program to choose try to keep the big picture in mind and remember why you’re doing it in the first place. It will all work out!