Trisha Fridrich University of Washington, Sociology with Chemistry Minor, 2004 Vanderbilt University Owen Graduate School of Business, 2016 Hometown: Seattle, WA Pre-MBA Work Experience: For ten years, I worked to grow an amphibious tour company from twenty to more than 120 employees. Q: What advice do you have for women starting the MBA application process? What worked well for you versus what barriers/challenges did you face? A: Forage your path towards success. What works for some, may not work for you. For me, applying to business school was a constant circle of research, evaluation and reflection. Frequently, I sought advice from others, but often, I reflected alone so that I knew my choices were exactly what I wanted and what I needed. Business school is a part of your own personal journey. Read what the schools publish and take a gut-check: Do I connect with this mantra? I listened to more opinions than I can count on MBAs, business school and alma maters and reflected whether I agreed and whether it applied to me. I read blogs, books and articles and then had conversations with friends and colleagues about how I fit into that picture. I needed a school where entrepreneurial spirit runs deep, where students support each other and where companies recruit nationally. I wanted a city with a theatre and a nearby Banana Republic. I found it at Vanderbilt Owen. Understand that business school - at its heart - is an investment in your career. Ask yourself: What do you really want to do for work? Look at the careers page on the school’s website. Find out who recruits on campus and think about your willingness to work there. Although there is more to life than money, look at the average salary for graduates. If you are absolutely certain that you want to be in healthcare or marketing, look for schools with great programs in those fields. Realize that while most schools will give you a great education, not every school will offer you the same opportunities in specific fields. No matter how much of an over-achiever, do-everything person you are, there are too many opportunities. You will never make the most of all of them. Capitalize on the experience by making conscious decisions about what it is that you really want. Both when you select where to send your application, where you ultimately choose to attend and what you do when you get there. Lastly, if you wore jeans every day at your last job, start shopping for business casual clothes, comfortable dress shoes and a great suit while you still have an income. Trust me.