Briana Flynn, MBA'18, is taking over our Instagram account this week as she prepares to graduate from the D'Amore-McKim School of Business MBA program. We asked Flynn to reflect on her time in the program, her corporate residency experiences, and all the friendships she's made along the way.
Be sure to follow Flynn's Instagram takeover beginning August 27, 2018 on @damoremckim.
Q Why did you decide to get an MBA and why at the D'Amore-McKim School of Business?
I worked for four years after my undergraduate degree and was feeling burnt out. I then looked at the leaders above me and realized I did not want any of their roles. I had then decided it was time to go back to school. I chose D'Amore-McKim for many reasons. As a career changer, I felt I could benefit from the 6-month corporate residency, which turned into over a year of experience in a new field. I also thought I belonged there on my first visit; the staff and students made me feel right at home. Lastly, both my sisters and their husbands all went to Northeastern University and couldn't be happier in their careers.
Q:What was your cohort experience like and how did it enhance your academic experience?
I loved the cohort experience. It mirrors the workplace where you will see the same people almost every day and where you will need to work on teams to get anything done. It also teaches you how to work with people from different backgrounds and experiences and find what motivates them. I think the soft skills are sometimes overlooked in business school, but the most successful leaders are the ones who understand their importance. I like that D'Amore-McKim puts an emphasis on soft skills with the cohort experience.
Q: Tell us about your senior financial analyst corporate residency at Watson Health IBM.
My corporate residency at Watson Health taught me that I have a passion for the role that technology can play in disrupting the healthcare industry. When I first saw the Watson Health immersion tour, I thought about how futuristic the idea was, but it's here and now. These are real solutions to solve pain points across an industry that is outdated and in need of change. I feel proud to be part of this movement and have found a passion in advocating for the use of cognitive tools in healthcare and other industries.
I had no financial background before this role, but it has helped me become more confident in my ability to solve complex problems and present them in a way that is easily understandable and clear. It made clear to me the idea that just reporting numbers is not good enough, what is the story these numbers are telling and what implications does this have on the business?
I also joined Women of Watson Health which brings together over 2,700 women from across the globe and has become a model for women's resources groups at IBM. I've never seen so many strong, intelligent women in one room!
Q: What was your Global Consulting Project experience like?
The Global Consulting Project was my favorite part of the full-time MBA program. It was a month-long project that consisted of virtual client meetings, 10 days in a country at the client's office, and a web-based final presentation. My group was consulting for General Electric (GE) in Delhi, India, on a project in an industry none of us were familiar with, and it was a steep learning curve.
I was the team leader and liaison between GE and Northeastern. In the beginning, I felt overwhelmed at the magnitude of information and trying to understand each piece. I thought it was an impossible task, but then I took a step back, broke the project down, and used the concepts we were taught in our first year, and applied them to this project. In the end we were successful, but even more important, I have used these concepts and frameworks to manage projects on my corporate residency, and know these skills are transferable to any job, industry, or problem.
Q: Reflecting back on your time at D'Amore-McKim, what moment sticks out the most and why?
There are so many, I do not know how to pick one! A few highlights are the people I've met, the places I've traveled, and the projects I've completed, especially the ones that I thought at first were impossible. I think back to our orientation week and how some of my best friends are the people I sat next to that first day! One moment that sticks out was traveling to India for our Global Consulting Project. I never would have imagined working on a project for GE less than a year after starting classes. The last moment was having the opportunity to give back in my own community through a class called Becoming a Global Leader. I was able to tutor a woman in English who had just arrived from Colombia and I could not believe how this experience truly shaped my time at D’Amore-McKim.
Q: What will you miss most when you graduate?
I will miss my classmates and friends! There is something about being able to see them every day even if it's to work on a project, study or just hang out. Being with a high performing group of people inspires you to work harder and be a better person.
Q: What will you be doing after graduation?
After graduation, I am entering IBM's Sales Summit Program. I will be training for a few months with a cohort of MBAs and undergraduates, then I will take a role as a Senior Client Relationship Representative. I am incredibly excited to take on this role, and I know that my time at Northeastern and my corporate residency at Watson Health will help me excel in my career.
Q: What advice would you give students just starting the program?
A theme I've noticed over the last two years, in school, in my corporate residency, and in life is to not be afraid to take a risk. When starting the program remember this. Be outgoing, try new things, have new experiences, get out of your comfort zone! Don't be afraid to try something and fail, because you'll learn from that failure.