The Heller School is community-oriented, an environment that leans towards collaboration over competition. Graduate school is understandably a huge decision for someone and one that any person would want to get the full value from. Admittedly, I was uncertain I would attend Brandeis when I was deciding where to go to graduate school. I applied to 8 different schools and was weighing my options. There are so many factors that go into making such a crucial decision, especially one that will enhance one’s career. I ultimately chose The Heller School because I was able to combine my interest in obtaining technical business skills with a social impact lens in addition to continuing to work within a global scope. The combined dual Social Impact MBA/MA in Sustainable International Development was the best program offering for my interests and career trajectory. Now that I have graduated I can reflect on what made my experience significant and how you can get the most from your studies.
Tips and insights from a recent graduate:
- Connect: Developing relationships with professors, administrators, TA’s, and staff is a great way to connect with the greater Heller community. Professors are very friendly and approachable, if you have specific research and or career interest in mind make sure to reach out to relevant individuals that may be able to connect you with networking opportunities and resources in the future. Although I was quite shy during my studies I realize the positive impact introducing yourself to professors and staff can have. It’s also a great way to engage more in the classroom and seek out help when needed.
- Get Involved: Getting involved with working groups, on-campus jobs, speaker series, and other extracurricular activities is a great opportunity to get to know your peers better. I took advantage of the following extracurricular activities at Heller: Heller Board Fellows, Heller Startup Challenge, Brandeis Innovation’s Spark Incubator Program, and The Social Impact Case Collection. Getting involved with a program outside of the classroom helped develop my leadership skills and most importantly created a great sense of community and purpose as a graduate student.
- Take initiative: If you have a specific passion or interest that you want to explore there is always room to apply them to your studies. For example, at Heller, a majority of course assignments and projects are completed as a team and with your topic of interest. The advantage to this format is that you can tailor the majority of your studies to your passion and something you want to transfer to your career. Secondly, working under a common interest for example; housing justice, financial literacy, agricultural livelihoods, etc. allows you to bond through collaboration with other students. Lastly, The Heller Student Enrichment Funds and the Graduate Student Affairs are two great resources for students to subsidize or fund conference or research projects.
- Network: Informational interviews with Heller alumni is a great way to learn more about the job market and what type of career pursuits you may want to take advantage of upon graduation. Boston is a city with cutting-edge industries and innovation, explore the city and attend city-wide events for young professionals and students!
Most importantly, have fun, and best of luck!