In 2020, Forté MBALaunch guided 701 women through the process of applying for business school. About 85% of MBALaunch participants submit business school applications within a year of completing the program, and Erika Lawrence was one of them. Erika spoke with Forté about her experiences in the 2020 MBALaunch program, and what she hopes to accomplish as part of the MBA Class of 2023 at the University of Pennsylvania (The Wharton School). Back in 2018, Erika was working at General Motors and looking for ways to advance in her career. She says, "I had always wanted to ascend to a high-ranking position in business, partly because I wanted to try and create pathways for women and minorities that I wasn't currently seeing." When her sponsor suggested it might help to have a comma behind her name, Erika started considering business school. A friend recommended Forté MBALaunch, but the application deadline had just passed. Erika says, “I wanted to be part of the program to learn from my peers and align myself with Forté’s mission to get more women into leadership positions. I put off applying to business school for a year just so I could participate in MBALaunch.” She applied in 2019, and recalls, "When I got accepted, to me, it solidified the fact that I was going to business school." Making the Most of the MBALaunch Experience Because applying for business school is complex and time-consuming, it can be difficult to manage without help. Erika acknowledges finding the process stressful, but says, “Being involved in a program that not only supports you through activities, workshops, and mentorship, but also offers a sense of belonging and a bigger mission, is very powerful." It's like the standard was already set for the type of applicant that we were, simply by being affiliated with the program. After hearing about people who spent thousands of dollars on admissions consultants, she was impressed that MBALaunch offered so much value — from weekly webinars to GMAT prep classes to roundtables with previous Launchers — at an affordable price. She says, "MBALaunch provided me with all of the tools that I needed to be successful, and it shows because I ended up getting into business school." Erika was interested in Wharton before starting MBALaunch, but she credits the program with helping her round out her list of potential business schools. Through MBALaunch, she was able to speak with admissions officers from various schools. She says, "That helped me really understand the school's culture, what they were looking for, what kind of academic program they had, and whether or not it aligned with what I was looking for." Because the admissions officers were familiar with MBALaunch, she says, "It's like the standard was already set for the type of applicant that we were, simply by being affiliated with the program." Networking Starts Now MBALaunch introduced Erika to a cohort of like-minded women, and she welcomed their support as she began her MBA journey. She says, “Having that group of people who are struggling alongside you, cheering you on, and championing you isn't something that can be replicated by doing this on your own.” MBALaunch provided me with all of the tools that I needed to be successful, and it shows because I ended up getting into business school. Another program highlight? Participating in roundtable discussions with previous Launchers. Erika says, “We could ask them any type of question, understand the steps that they took to be successful, and hear about what they're doing now on campus. It's like building a network with people that are at these future schools before you even step foot on campus.” This summer, she returned to MBALaunch to share her own admissions experience with current participants. She says, “I love being able to pay it forward to the ones that are coming next.” Today, Erika is making the most of her time at Wharton, but she’s also looking forward to her post-MBA career: "It's my hope to ascend to the C-suite and drive overall strategy from a marketing and user-experience perspective, and also try and create those diverse teams that I haven't been able to be a part of." Want to learn more about Forté MBALaunch and be notified of upcoming deadlines? Sign up for updates.