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Story of Stories – by Haley R. Isaac

By far the most rewarding part of my job in the MBA program is getting to see the personal and professional stories of our MBA students develop, unfold, and change over the 27 months they are sitting in the student seat at CBU. I get to meet, hear the background of what brings candidates to the decision to pursue their MBA, and see the various faces of the fear of the unknown. I was there too and, believe me, I completely relate.

I had my own ideas of what an MBA should look, act and sound like before starting the MBA program in 2009. The Polished Professional figure was happiest in a pencil skirt, throwing around business jargon, and rising to the top; she didn’t look a THING like me in 2009. Knowing I was the youngest student in my cohort, feeling like the hall monitor for the University, I walked in to Business Ethics with a chip on my shoulder. However, trying to fit that mold didn’t last long. The beautiful thing about the cohort program is that everyone is there for the same reason: improve oneself personally and professionally. Once I realized the true nature of a cohort wasn’t “survival of the fittest” or the one who fit the mold of Polished Professional, but more so “survival by learning from one another” the MBA program was much more enjoyable and rewarding. I was truly blessed to find myself among leaders, accountants, artists, sales persons, HR managers, engineers—a body of diverse Memphians—who have the stories I can learn from and who may be able to learn something from me, the 24 year old newlywed and freshly minted marketing undergraduate major. It was enlightening.

Those 27 months were the best glimpse into business and life as a working professional I could have possibly asked for. I had the opportunity to be mentored by 15 impressive current and future leaders of the Mid-South. I cherish my time in the MBA Program. None of my classmates graduated with the same story, but I’m positive that we each will have much more to be written of the successes and thought provoking ideas generated by conversations and relationships built during our time at CBU.

The stories continue. I encourage you all share yours with a colleague, friend or mentee. Your story may be the inspiration that spurs them to start their rewarding next chapter.

Hayley R. Isaac


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