One year ago Elise Drakes was happily immersed in her career as project coordinator for an architectural firm and busy with philanthropy projects. Pursuing an MBA had always been tempting, but it was starting to feel like there wasn’t room in her life.
“You get into a routine of working full time and then life takes over. I didn’t know if I could take on an MBA at the time,” Drakes says.
But that was then. Now Drakes is well on her way to earning her graduate degree through the Flex MBA program at Chapman University’s Argyros School of Business and Economics, thanks to the support of the Tomorrow’s Leaders MBA scholarship, offered in partnership with OC METRO. Drakes says she is glad she went back for the MBA, finds the flexible scheduling workable and the coursework immediately helpful.
“I’ve definitely already learned a lot more since I’ve been at Chapman,” the Newport Beach resident says. “The MBA opens your eyes is what it does. When you’re in the work mode for a while, working for one company or with one project, it’s just natural that you start to look down only one road. I feel like I’m a lot more inquisitive and I’m not thinking of one solution to the question.”
Applications are being accepted now for the 2012 $62,500 scholarship, and anyone thinking about applying should take the leap, Drakes says.
“The opportunity is so great,” she says.
Leadership skills were almost immediately honed by the coursework, she says. Drakes and her classmates launched The MBA Project, a nonprofit program that will be handed off to each incoming class of Flex MBA students to manage. Each class will be free to choose a program it wishes to support. For the inaugural project, Drakes’ group created The Benefactor Foundation, which the students plan to use to fund a four-year college scholarship for an Orange County high school senior. Drakes said she was particularly interested in establishing a scholarship fund, knowing first-hand how valuable such assistance is.
Deadline to apply for the 2012 scholarship is April 6, and the application requires only the uploading of a resume at the scholarship website. Up to 15 finalists will be selected, and one will be chosen for the scholarship, with the others each receiving a $15,000 scholarship.