Impact Stories
Molly Telford

Molly Telford Changed Her Career Trajectory with MBALaunch On Demand

In December 2020, Molly Telford was working in market research for a medical device company. She loved working in healthcare and wanted to deepen her knowledge of healthcare business strategy to advance into a leadership role. 

As she contemplated her career trajectory, she realized: “I was going to be that subject matter expert, doing the same job for the rest of my life, unless I changed something pretty dramatically.”

Molly had been considering an MBA for years but didn’t think she’d make a good candidate. Though she had achieved high grades while earning her B.A. at Loyola Marymount University and her MSc from London School of Economics, she had never taken a formal business class. She and her husband had young kids, and the idea of moving her family so that she could attend a full-time MBA program was daunting. After more than a decade of building her career, Molly wasn’t sure a two-year, full-time MBA program was the right fit, and she worried about missing family events with a part-time nights and weekend program. She also doubted she had enough work experience for an Executive MBA. Was any program right for her?

For her 2021 New Year’s resolution, Molly made a commitment to herself: She would decide whether or not to go to business school — and if she decided to go, she’d chart a path to make it happen. 

Finding Her Way to an MBA

That January, Molly discovered Forté MBALaunch, a comprehensive personal and professional development program for future MBA candidates. She was eager to participate, but had missed the deadline for the full program, so she enrolled in Forté MBALaunch On Demand, the self-paced version. She put herself on an accelerated schedule, completing up to three modules every weekend with occasional weekends off. She worked through the materials at her own pace and built in time for self-reflection. Because of the on-demand format, Molly was able to focus on the learning items most relevant to her needs: Self Discovery, Career Visioning, and Application Strategies. Molly’s accelerated schedule meant she was accepted to her first choice MBA program within five months of starting MBALaunch On Demand.

Before starting the program, she was self-conscious about her educational background. She had a weak quantitative background and was intimidated by the GMAT. She remembers wondering, “Why would I even be considered as a potential student? Why should I go through this process and just be rejected in the end?”

MBALaunch On Demand completely changed her outlook. Thinking back on the experience, she says, “The most important thing I took away was that my self-worth is greater than I thought it was.” The module homework assignments guided her through an internal deep-dive to figure out everything from her strengths and weaknesses, to her career goals, to the moments that have shaped her. During that process, she began to recognize her own value to MBA admissions, which guided her essay writing and interview prep.

The most important thing I took away was that my self-worth is greater than I thought it was.

She says, “There was so much personal questioning that I had to work through when I was going through MBALaunch On Demand. I didn’t even realize how many hang-ups I had until I was going through all this reflection.”

Molly’s post-MBA goal is to become a healthcare leader. MBALaunch On Demand helped her understand her priorities in identifying the schools where she would succeed: team-based, a strong alumni network, healthcare-focused, and an Executive MBA program with a flexible schedule. When she started researching schools, she learned that Duke University (The Fuqua School of Business) fit all of her key criteria. Duke’s Global Executive MBA, which combines distance learning with in-person international residencies, really appealed to her. 

By then, it was late February, and Duke’s applications were still open. She asked herself, “Do I want to wait a whole year and a half to start a program, or do I just apply?” She decided, “If they reject me, they reject me, and I can try again,” and went for it.

She says, “I only applied to Duke, and it was with the mindset of ‘I know who I am today and who I want to become.’” Without MBALaunch On Demand, she says, “I never would have had that confidence. I never would have applied to Duke — period. I didn’t think I was good enough, and I didn’t realize how well it matched my needs and hopes.” 

Molly was accepted and graduated from Duke’s Global Executive MBA program, where she was a Forté Fellow, in May 2023.

What I learned in MBALaunch On Demand is that I am in control of my future, and I can be empowered to make the best decisions based on my own values and my own goals.

Carrying Her Newfound Confidence Forward

MBALaunch On Demand changed how she felt about herself, and that didn’t end when she completed the program. She says, “Seeing my value, seeing my worth — that was great for my MBA application, but then I really internalized that.”

The self-discovery process that Molly went through as part of Forté’s MBALaunch On Demand program came in handy when she interviewed for a role at Johnson & Johnson, her dream company. She says, “I was prepared to talk about myself and my strengths, and my values.” That’s something the company looks for in employees, and she was hired.

“What I learned in MBALaunch On Demand is that I am in control of my future, and I can be empowered to make the best decisions based on my own values and my own goals,” she says. “I don’t have to follow what other people tell me is going to be the best career move. I should look inside myself because that’s how I’m going to be the most successful.”

She encourages anyone who’s considering an MBA to enroll in MBALaunch On Demand, because it will help you figure out what you want from your career — and if an MBA is part of that. She says, “It’s like this window into yourself, forcing you to question your priorities, and then helping you decide what steps to take to get there.”

Start Your MBA Journey with MBALaunch On Demand

If you’re getting ready to apply to business school, let Forté help you build your strongest application. Learn more and enroll in MBALaunch On Demand.

Want to hear more from Molly Telford? Watch our Ask Me Anything with MBALaunch On Demand Alumni information session. She’s one of the three program alumni featured in the video.

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