Impact Stories

MBALaunch On Demand Gave Karen Rocha Verboski the “Biggest ROI” of Her Life

When Karen Rocha Verboski moved from Brazil to the U.S. five years ago, she had no idea where her career journey would take her. A graduate of Universidade Federal do Estado do Piauí, Karen earned a master’s degree in public administration in 2018. She assumed the level of education she’d attained and her impressive work history would translate to securing a great job in her new country.

In Brazil she’d interned for the Piauí State Public Defender’s Office. Upon graduation, Public Defender Andrea Melo de Carvalho (her mentor) appointed her to subcontract for the institution as an entry-level lawyer. She provided legal advice in divorce proceedings and an array of civil charges, such as debt collection, property disputes, landlord-tenant issues, and conservatorships for mental health patients.

In 2017, she and her husband, Dan, decided to move back to Fort Worth, where he’d lived most of his life. As soon as she received permanent resident status in the U.S., Karen started applying for jobs she thought she was perfectly qualified for. But she wasn’t getting any employment offers.

Possessing many of the skills employers valued and willing to work extra hours, she couldn’t understand why she was being overlooked. Then, she says, it clicked: “My Brazilian education and experience possibly wouldn’t be worth much at my current location.”

The Obvious Decision

Undeterred but realizing she may need a U.S. education, she immersed herself in the electrical sign manufacturing and installation business her husband had purchased in Tyler, Texas.

“It was everything he was looking for — a local staple in Tyler (in business since 1946). It already had thorough processes in place, financial soundness, and a solid ownership transition plan. It was hard to say no,” Karen remembers.

Karen managed the budding business and handled bookkeeping, payroll, and recruiting. Wearing multiple hats in a role that was new to her, Karen says she had to quickly adapt to learn industry-specific software and vocabulary; recruiting platforms; onboarding and training procedures; and payroll principles.

This unexpected detour revealed, to Karen’s surprise, that she enjoys business finances. “The combination of an already existing willingness to further my education with this newfound appreciation for business subjects made the MBA an obvious decision,” she says.

Prepare to Launch

As she embarked on the arduous b-school application process, she realized she needed help. That’s when she turned to Forté MBALaunch On Demand.

She says, “You don’t even know what you don’t know. And that was my initial focus: finding my blind spots and [accessing] what the people that could afford coaches would normally know. MBALaunch On Demand is all about … the best way to approach each step of the application.”

In addition, Karen appreciated the program’s self-paced approach to learning and her ability to temporarily pause throughout the process when life got hectic. She also found the videos on interview strategies, résumé writing, test-taking tips, and career guidance particularly helpful. MBALaunch On Demand also provided GMAT prep exams and a supportive community of peers.

“My goal from the beginning was to try to find as many resources as I could to help me work on my applications in a smart and accurate way,” she explains.

The tools and assistance Karen received from MBALaunch On Demand really paid off. She’s currently attending Rice University’s full-time MBA program and plans to graduate in 2024. She has her sights set on a financial analysis or general management position in technology or the aviation industry.

On top of that, Rice awarded Karen a Forté Fellowship that will help tremendously with the cost of her education. “Forte has provided the biggest ROI of my life so far,” she says.

While she prepared to take the next step in her education, Karen participated in some of Forté’s online webinars and attended the Forté MBA Women’s Leadership Conference. She’s pleased with the direction her life is headed and has some words of encouragement for aspiring MBA candidates.

“It is not a linear path but more of a winding road. Always keep the hope and dream alive, always have it on the back of your mind. Hold on to it and set a deadline for yourself. What you do in between is highly flexible,” she says.

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