Student Panel Recap: “At TCU, there's a true sense of community.”

TCU Student Panelists

What challenges, opportunities and unique experiences can prospective MBAs expect to encounter at the Neeley School of Business? Several current TCU students recently offered their personal insights into these questions. Here are some of our favorite soundbites from their panel discussion.

The Panel

Trey Schonter, First-Year MBA
Prior Experience: Landman, Plains Exploration & Production
Education: Washington University in St. Louis, BA, History

Shirin Sajjadi, First-Year MBA
Prior Experience: Emergency Department, Baylor University Medical Center
Education: University of Texas at Austin, BS, Neuroscience

Blake Ericsson, First-Year MBA
Prior Experience: Financial Advisor, USAA 
Education: University of North Texas, BBA

Paige Sabo, Second-Year MBA
Prior Experience: Client Relations and Marketing Coordinator, Allegiant Athletics Agency
Education: University of Tennessee, Knoxville, BBA

Michael Swartz, First-Year MBA
Prior Experience: Youth & Family Engagement, Temple Emanu-El
Education: Tufts University, BA, English

Why Did You Choose to Pursue an MBA? 

While I enjoyed working with nonprofits, I never saw that career path as taking me where I wanted to go even five years from now. I wanted to pivot. And, although my experience with nonprofits helped me work on my soft skills, I needed to gain some hard skills in a short amount of time. That meant going back to school.

The oil and gas industry wasn’t working out for me. Just before I decided to go back to school, I witnessed a lot of layoffs. The time seemed right to make the move to an MBA program. While I knew I had a good business background, I realized I needed to get more in-depth education and experience in finance if I wanted to make the transition to a career in a different field. 

The mortgage industry can be extremely volatile. I knew an MBA would provide me with the hard skills I would need for many different kinds of jobs. Going back to school for me has been about making an investment in myself and doing what I can to make myself more invaluable. 

Why Did You Choose TCU?

The staff at TCU was extremely helpful and prioritized personalization and communication throughout the entire application process. I knew they were interested in me as a person from our first conversations. My experience in applying to other schools was that they did not acknowledge me  with me until my GMAT scores had been officially reported. 

After pivoting from a career in the healthcare industry, I realized I didn’t have a lot of business connections. So TCU’s network became a big selling point for me. My campus visit also had a big impact on my decision. As soon as I got here, it was very apparent that TCU puts a great deal of care and effort into working with prospective students.

At TCU, there's a true sense of community. I know I'm part of a supportive network in which I can shine. Plus, the smaller classes here are ideal — I feel confident that there's no way I might get lost in the shuffle. 

Neeley provides a personalized experience and enables people to get to know and care about you.

What About the TCU MBA Program Has Most Pleasantly Surprised You?

The resources at TCU are great and of consistently high quality. I even see how the undergrads have access to a ton of useful resources, and that TCU is committed to helping ensure their future success.

I can't believe the number of opportunities that have been given to me and the other first-year students — and just within the first week of classes. Seizing these opportunities is encouraged and is an integral part of the overall Neeley experience. Everything you do outside of the classroom, from networking with other students to attending special events, is just as important as the work you put into acquiring hard skills inside the classroom. 

The MBA program's opening night ceremonies were very memorable. I remember listening as all of the incoming students were introduced and learning about their individual backgrounds. I was surprised (in a good way) and impressed at all of the different levels and kinds of experience my colleagues were about to bring to the program.

TCU only admits about 50 students to their MBA cohort each year, but you couldn't find a more diverse student body anywhere, even in a program ten times the size of Neeley's. Everyone here comes from a different background and brings with them real-world experience from having worked various careers in a wide array of industries. A wide range of nationalities are also represented in the student body, and I really appreciate the age diversity within my class. I like that even someone ten years older (and wiser) than me is a fellow student.

Learn more about how TCU invests in the success of MBA students from day one by visiting the Neeley School of Business website.

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