This is the first of several posts in our Women of the EMBA series, celebrating the many strong and active women enrolled in the Texas Executive MBA program working to advance their education, build solid leadership skills and open themselves to new opportunities in the world of business. Each post will feature an interview with one of these women, focusing on what led her to the Texas Executive MBA program and highlighting her experience in the program thus far.
Recently I was able to catch up with Crystal Morado, a first-year MBA student from San Antonio who currently serves as a Special Agent in the Air Force Office of Special Investigations as part of the U.S. Air Force Reserves. Crystal comes from a strong military background; she was in ROTC in college at Texas State University and has been in the military for seven years. Crystal was drawn to the military because it offered the opportunity to travel and be exposed to new things and new people, and said that military experience has helped her prepare for future goals by giving her invaluable work experience and the confidence to feel comfortable pursuing an MBA.
Below are some questions and responses from my interview with Crystal.
How long has it been since you were last taking classes? How does it feel?
I last completed graduate courses in a program with a different emphasis about three years ago. This feels so much different because I believe what I’m doing at UT will directly impact my ability to achieve personal goals.
Why did you decide to pursue an MBA at this time? Were you always planning on coming back to school?
I decided to pursue an MBA because I wanted to transition out of my current career and start my own business centered on child safety products. I always intended on coming back to school but it wasn’t until recently that I really focused on what I wanted that degree to mean for me. Prior to that I always thought of continuing my education within the organizational management arena.
Has owning your own business been a goal of yours for a while? If so, have you always wanted to center it around child safety products, or has that changed from something else?
I didn’t consider owning my own business until the birth of my son. When he came along I wanted the best of both worlds which for me means a fufilling career and the flexibility to nurture my family on my terms. The emphasis on child safety products was also a direct result of the experiences my husband and I shared as new parents. We are both Special Agents and we’re extremely protective of our son especially because of our work experience. We were also extremely busy and found it difficult to find products/services that provided the peace of mind we needed to leave our son.
What made the Texas Executive MBA program the right fit for you?
The Texas Executive MBA Program was the right fit for me because it allows me to learn from my peers. The executive program also allows me to continue to contribute to my organization while pursuing personal goals and nurturing my family.
What has been your biggest surprise since starting the Texas MBA program?
Hands down the biggest surprise for me is the generosity of my peers. For example people have stayed during their lunch breaks or carved time out of their weekday just to make sure I have the necessary tools to academically succeed! I’ve even had someone pay for my parking and check in just to make sure my week is going well. Having this caliber of support was unexpected and is sincerely refreshing.
Do you find it challenging to balance class with other aspects of your life, such as your career, family, hobbies, and so on?
I’m extremely fortunate that my career is in a place that allows me to focus on school and my upper management has supported me throughout this process. I’m also lucky that my family was able to relocate to our hometown where all my relatives live. I can’t say that I’m exactly where I want to be in terms of life balance but I know I’m headed in the right direction.
How do you feel you have grown as a leader since you started the program? Are there certain things that have contributed to your growth or any big accomplishments/learning moments you can highlight?
Prior to participating in this program, I had grown very comfortable and complacent in my leadership role. This program has revived my sense of curiosity and willingness to look at things from new perspectives.
We wish Crystal continued success as she pursues her academic and business goals. Can you picture yourself sitting in a classroom filled with talented professionals like Crystal? If so, you can learn more about our Executive MBA program by visiting www.mccombs.utexas.edu/mba/EMBA.