Tuesday, December 9, 2014

What inspired my transition from corporate work to Full-Time MBA student

Jonlee Andrews, Camille Shawley and Ray Luther
at the Class of 2016 CMA Induction ceremony
By Camille Shawley, MBA'16

While navigating my career from real estate consulting to corporate retail, I realized I wanted to go beyond measuring the needle to moving the needle.  I had a passion for marketing and understanding why consumers do the things they do. 

But I was surrounded by PhD mathematicians, as well as MBAs, PMPs, CFAs—you name it, any credential you can add to a person’s name—and although I had a strong work background and education, I was constantly demanding myself to be as innovative as possible to be viewed as a trusted expert in anything I spoke about.

I knew an MBA would not only add to and sharpen my business acumen; it would allow me to feel even more deserving of a seat at the table.

If you are considering a career and lifestyle change with a full time MBA, I’d encourage you to ask yourself a series of questions to see how an MBA will aid in a transition. This was an exercise a mentor had me complete. With each question, ask if an MBA would be important in each situation:

  1. You won the lottery. What will do you with your time? How will you remain passionate, excited and curious?
  2. You did not win the lottery and you are ready for a new challenge. Can you pursue it at your current employer?
  3. You did not win the lottery and you are ready for a new challenge. Can you pursue it at a new employer?

What gave me the final push to transition from corporate work to a full-time MBA program were a series of uncomfortable moments at work. Those moments where I knew I could create change and add value, although my thoughts and ideas typically met doom. Facing high turnover within the firm, ideas often were repeated and hit roadblocks when, instead, there needed to be innovation and collaboration.

I have always been inclined to grow and learn and had always wanted to pursue a second degree.  I knew I would end up in school again—I was just waiting for a passion that I could leverage to work towards a new career goal.Fast forward one year from applying to Kelley, I am in the consumer marketing academy, CMA, and am closer to my career goal of marketing strategy and building lasting emotional connections between customers and brands.  The CMA allows me to grow my professional network with alumni in the industries and roles I am interested in.  The academy provides exposure to real business to consumer marketing successes and failures by way of discussion and case studies with working professionals (both those who visit Kelley and during Academy week when we tour corporate headquarters).  While the process to apply to an MBA program took a few years after undergrad, I am confident I am exactly where I need to be here at Kelley.


  1. A great inspirational story. Even my accounts professor Aloke Ghosh always told me to go for MBA but I had some doubts and he often quoted Kelly’s to go for MBA. I think I will enroll for course next year.

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