For one executive, cross country travel is a means to an end for her MBA
By Amanda Chawla ’23 Executive MBA, chief supply chain officer at Stanford Medicine
As a successful leader at the pinnacle of my career and creating national impacts, I received puzzled looks when I announced I would be attending the Executive MBA Program at Kellogg.
The first question (of many) was, “why do you need an MBA? Don’t you already have a master’s degree? You are already an executive leader!” While these statements are factual, it is equally true that I am still learning after 20+ years in leadership and will always continue to learn. It is about our commitment to our profession as leaders and lifelong learners. I believe that we must be curious, sharpen our pencils, learn from the experiences of others and explore new models and principles. So why an MBA? My narrow lens has focused on healthcare. I have had leadership roles across the spectrum, from a small, for-profit, and non-profit organizations to large academic medical centers; however, my experience to date is limited within the healthcare industry.
To advance and make a difference, curiosity, and learning across dozens of industries and models will equip me to be that differentiated leader innovating and disrupting the way in which we lead to have long-lasting impacts. I wonder about what legacy I will leave to my children, this world, and the lives I touch.
So why Kellogg; why not elsewhere? The answer is simple; it is straightforward and grounded in the school’s motto – “High Impact – Low Ego.” If I was going to get an MBA, it was only going to be at the very best institution with like-minded individuals from diverse backgrounds who share a common purpose of contributing and learning from one another. To learn from the best faculty in the world. Kellogg has a special sauce in their admission process where they select those that genuinely exemplify and embody the Kellogg values. Kellogg has consistently met their reputation for academic excellence and their ability to demonstrate practical, real-world business applications. As a result, the learning environment is rich in lifelong friendships and an unparalleled experience that is bar none. The flexibility that Kellogg has offered in its once-a-month option allows me to adjust and balance the various aspects of life.
It is not easy when my two-, five-, or six-year-olds give me a puzzled look with tears flowing down their faces saying, “Don’t leave, mommy.” The temporary guilt I experience leaving my children behind for five days with my partner quickly dissipates as soon as I step foot on campus. I take the time to talk to my kids about the why and the value of education, and I firmly believe that through actions, they will also embody the importance of becoming life-long learners at a young age.
Going to Kellogg requires a huge commitment, especially as I travel from the San Francisco Bay area across the country to Miami once a month. The five-hour flight is hugely productive (or at least sometimes) where I can completely disconnect and catch up on readings or work, so that when I am on campus, it is all in; when I reach home, it is all about my family; when I’m at work, it’s all about the mission and the team.
My study group meets weekly, and we have committed to meeting regularly to connect, collaborate support and hold each other accountable for our homework and readings. Going back to school for an executive MBA requires a strong support structure at home and within your organization. I am fortunate to be working for an amazing and supportive organization and have one of the best teams I have had the privilege of ever serving. The once-a-month option at Kellogg allows me to manage my career, family, and school to balance my commitments and priorities.