For Maria Susi, a desire to change careers drew her to the part-time MBA program at DePaul University’s Kellstadt Graduate School of Business. She transitioned into marketing and is now set to graduate this spring with a focus on brand management and consumer insights. Her biggest takeaway from the program has been the connections she has formed with fellow students—including the network she built by joining groups such as DePaul’s Graduate Women in Business. Susi, now serving as GWB president, explains how DePaul brought her new perspectives.

How did you choose DePaul?

Maria Susi: Choosing DePaul for my MBA basically came down to two factors: location and value. DePaul’s Kellstadt Graduate School of Business is centrally located in the Chicago Loop and easily accessible by CTA. I also view my MBA as an investment, so I wanted a school that would provide a quality education and offer a shorter return.

I chose the part-time MBA program because I wanted to continue to take on real-life work situations and apply what I learn in school to those situations. I also felt that I could gain more from attending classes with other students who share their work experiences. Working full-time and going to school part-time is not the easiest balancing act, but it has been worth it. My classmates have given me fresh perspective and I have learned a great deal from the work experience they brought to the classroom.

What has been your experience as a student at Kellstadt?  

Being a career changer, from accounting to marketing, I was really excited before I started my MBA to get into my concentration classes and learn about marketing. However, I ended up taking something away from every class I have been in at Kellstadt, core and concentration classes alike. I feel as though I will be graduating with a well-rounded education. 

What made you join DePaul Graduate Women in Business, and how do you feel it helps women at DePaul?  

I knew I wanted to get involved early on to get the most out of my MBA experience, so I joined the MBA Association, Kellstadt Marketing Group and Graduate Women in Business (GWB) right away. What I really liked most about GWB is that it is a smaller group, so when I started to attend events it was less intimidating and much easier to get to know other students. Women face a very unique set of challenges when working in business and it is important for them to have a support network with which they can discuss those challenges as they arise. GWB helps female MBAs form those support networks.

What is the best aspect of being a graduate student at DePaul?

The best aspect of being a graduate student at DePaul is the people you meet. You get out of your MBA what you put into it, so my advice is to put yourself out there, chat up your classmates, get involved and build your network.

Read more about DePaul’s part-time MBA program.