Well…where do I begin? It’s been a long time since I’ve posted (surprise, surprise, I’m really sorry y’all), and a lot has happened. Most importantly (for the purposes of this blog), I graduated! It was an amazing day, far beyond what I could have ever imagined. The University has a truly beautiful commencement ceremony and my family flying over from the States to share that moment with me was more than I could have asked for. And, of course, it was amazing to see my classmates again – I had missed them dearly since the program technically ended in September and our graduation wasn’t until April 2016! Here are just a few pictures from the day.
I wanted to write this post about something different though. It’s been tough to put the metaphorical pen to paper and get this down. After finishing up the MBA program, I really wanted to stay in London. Really wanted. I ended up taking on a 4-month contract with an amazing adtech start-up, working as a Brand Strategist (and also doing some pretty cool marketing stuff). Unfortunately, the visa situation didn’t work out so I was unable to stay on full-time, and I had to make a decision. I ended up coming back home, and that was really hard. For the first time in a long time, I felt like I’d failed miserably. But apparently that was only the beginning of what was going to become a very real life lesson.
For me, the MBA was never about making more money. If I’d only wanted a 6-figure salary, I would have stayed put at my old job, put in the work and gotten there eventually. I wanted an MBA specifically to switch industries, so when I moved back home, I got to work applying to jobs in the media industry. But I soon found out that this was easier said than done….I sent out tons of applications and in most cases, heard nothing back. First I was frustrated, then annoyed, and finally I became really sad. I thought, “why me?” It seemed my classmates were doing exceptionally well, and I was truly happy for them because they are all awesome people who made my experience unforgettable. But I couldn’t help but feel a little sorry for myself. If it ever felt like I was unavailable or distant, this is why. I’ve lived away from home since the age of 14, and all of a sudden, I was back home with no clear direction, even though I had this very strong degree. What was even harder to swallow was the lack of actionable feedback I did receive. Coffee date after coffee date, it was the same thing: you’re amazing, you have great overall experience – call us when you’ve worked in the media industry for a few years. A vicious cycle. So what next?
Do what makes you happy. Breathe in, breath out, repeat.
I’ve always been pretty stubborn, so I figured, if no one will hire me because they still see me as a finance person, I’ll have to create a job for myself. And that’s pretty much what I did. I knew I had the skills to have real impact on companies who’d take a chance, and what better risk-takers than entrepreneurs? I started pitching my services to start-ups along the East Coast. There were a lot of awkward emails, video conferences, phone calls and in-person meet-ups, but after a fairly short amount of time, I had clients! 7 months later, I’ve had the pleasure to work with some pretty amazing people. Some of my clients include Black Girls Rock! and mybestbox. Most recently, I’ve joined Travel Noire on a contract basis, a brand I’ve been following for the past 2 years.
All of this is to say, it’s been quite the roller coaster. In the past, I’ve usually done things that would make others proud, namely, my family. That can be a lot of pressure. Going to Cambridge and pursuing the career that I want…this is the first time I’m doing something for myself. Every day is a struggle – a lot of my family members don’t get it. It’d be “easier” to go for a big job at a big name company (not to say that it’s easy, because it’s not, and also not to say that I won’t ever try again, because I very well might), but that’s not what I want in this moment. I love having my hands in different projects throughout the day, and I especially love working from home! I’ve since moved into a new apartment (yay!), I’m writing again and hopefully some music and poetry will soon follow. I’m feeling more and more like myself and really, it’s because in those moments of uncertainty, I went back to what I knew (God, family, music).
Doing what makes me happy. Travel. Music. Hustle. Also – seeing some classmates in NYC!
I wanted to write this post to give everyone a final update in my MBA story, and the update is, I have no idea what I’m doing next. Will I try to freelance full-time? Will I try again for a more steady job in the media industry? Will I write a hit song for a Ghanaian superstar and kick-off my music career?! 😉 I have no idea…but what matters most to me is that I’m excited again. I have my feet planted and I’m hustling hard to make something beautiful happen. I guess I’ll sign off by saying even though parts of this may have been unexpected, I wouldn’t change not a single day of my Cambridge MBA experience. What I’ve gone through post-MBA is just as important as what I learned while I was there. It’s pushed me and I know it’s pushed a lot of my classmates as well. It may take me a little longer to reap all the benefits of this experience, but I have a lifetime to watch that happen and I’m going to do my best to live it to my best potential. As always, a big thank you to everyone who’s ever read this blog; I hope you enjoyed reading as much as I’ve enjoyed writing.
Signing off (from here, anyway),