As a current full-time student in Columbia Business School’s executive MBA program and a full-time online marketing maverick for Knewton.com, I often get asked this question: Are you completely nuts? How can you balance the demands of school and a career without sacrificing one for the other?
I usually make a bevy of random excuses: “Insanity runs in my family,” “Masochism is a hobby of mine,” or my personal fav, “The Columbia executive program provides hot catered meals and free Red Bulls.”Â But in all seriousness, going to business school while working for Knewton has actually been one of the best decisions of my life.
At Knewton, I work with some of the most talented, intelligent people I have met in my career.Â Their passion for bringing top-notch education to the laptops of students all over the world is incredible, and their drive and dedication keeps meÂ inspired and energized each day.
At school, top business leaders from all around the world are my classmates and friends. The highly distinguished Columbia faculty serves as my mentors and role models. Being surrounded by innovative, creative people in both facets of my life has definitely reshaped my professional (and personal) outlook, and I am thankful and humbled by both experiences. I work at a fast-paced, rapidly growing start-up that helps bring the industry’s best GMAT prep and LSAT prep to students everywhere. I also get to study in a top academic institution like Columbia and hone my skills so I can build value for consumers and corporations alike.
So at the end of the day, when I’m asked why I am pursuing both work and school, the answer is easy: Â How could I not?
As for that pesky question of whether one can truly excel in both areas, I can happily report that Knewton.com has seen tremendous success over the past year. Students from all over the world tell us wonderfulÂ stories about their score increases and how they got into the schools of their dreams. And maybe not so coincidentally, I’ve also made the Columbia Business School Dean’s list each semester since I’ve joined Knewton — so yes, this girl can have her cake and eat it too!