Natalie Juronoc, MBA '21
Natalie Juronoc first thought about pursuing an MBA while finishing her undergraduate degree in marketing. It crossed her mind again early in her career at an advertising agency. As Natalie advanced in her career, the benefits of getting an MBA became more clear; having an MBA would provide her with a holistic understanding of the work she was doing and give her insight on how best to meet clients' needs. “I didn't want to take a step back in my career and I wasn’t looking to pivot industries or career paths. Also, it was important to be able to continue working while earning my MBA.”
She realized a part-time MBA program would be her best option. While that didn’t deter Natalie, it limited her options for what she was seeking in a program. As she researched more MBA opportunities, she found that the Michigan Ross Weekend MBA fit all the criteria she was looking for -- she could work full time, while getting that “full college experience” of being on campus in Ann Arbor. The program met every other weekend, and would allow her to apply her leadership skills outside the classroom in real time.
Once at Michigan Ross, Natalie dove in headfirst. She was able to take her leadership skills to the next level as president of the Part-Time MBA Student Association. In this role, she worked with fellow board members to make sure part-time students were getting the full MBA experience. And despite the COVID-19 pandemic, Natalie and the PTMBA board found ways to bring their part-time cohort together. They set up virtual speaker and educational events, social events like trivia and happy hour, as well as community specific events such as a virtual blood drive, a PPE donation drive, and collecting back-to-school supplies for local organizations in Ann Arbor.
We've tried really hard to find ways to bring together the community and give back during this time of tremendous uncertainty ... my peers on the board are truly inspiring to partner with.
Along with their efforts to keep the cohort connected during the pandemic, the board made strides to create social change in their community. The group began having conscious conversations about the LGBTQ+ community, being Black in corporate America, and tackling an array of difficult subjects that some may not get to have in their professional lives. “As business professionals and current or future leaders of organizations, we think it's important to have open dialogue with one another,” Natalie said. “We've found ways, even in the virtual world that we're in, to stay connected and make a difference.”
Beyond her extracurricular efforts, Natalie strived to expand her skills in the classroom. She highlighted her MAP experience as a pivotal part of her time with Ross; during MAP, students work full-time with fellow classmates to tackle a real business challenge for a sponsor company. For Natalie, that meant partnering with the NFL to help them engage with their female audience more effectively. She was able to conduct research, fly to their LA office, and work alongside a team of MBA students from various backgrounds. “MAP is a great way to either go deeper in a track of work you’re passionate about or completely pivot and learn about something that you are excited by,” Natalie said.
It's been amazing to actually see some of the work you've done as an MBA consultant come to life.
Natalie saw how her MAP project not only helped her advance professionally, but gave her the tools to see from her clients' point of view. “I think it's made me a more eloquent professional. I am so much more aware of the challenges a massive organization like the NFL faces, and I think it's also given me a renewed sense of why I love working in marketing.”
Natalie has some advice for people applying: “Don’t be afraid of taking on the additional workload. Even though I have a full-time job, am in school part-time, and take on extra-curriculars like club positions and case competitions, it still feels like I have time for me,” she said. The ability to work alongside a group of people — all of whom are also juggling work, home lives, and school — showed Natalie how dedicated everyone in the program is and inspires her to put forth the best version of herself. “If you’re most concerned about the application process and doing the work necessary to show you’re capable, work with the admissions team at Ross to make sure your application is where it needs to be and seek their help if you feel like you're not strong in an area. The staff at Ross is unrivaled.”