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MBA serves-up new direction for top athlete

28 May 2018

At age 11 Laura Reinhart became an elite volleyball player in the US. She’s now channeling those skills into the MBA programme, and the next stage of her life.

Visualisation came easily to Laura Reinhart. She grew up on the rigorous discipline of the sport and her many coaches’ mantra – ‘if you see it, you’ll be it’ – became her own. Laura laid out her plans for adulthood as a teenager: get into college on a full sports scholarship, get the right internship and then land a great job.

She followed that through. Her first graduate position was in eCommerce, with home goods and wellbeing brands. Many of the skills she’d developed in sport came into play: she was able to focus on goals, work as a team player and manage expectations.

But something wasn’t quite right: ‘I checked all of those boxes but one morning I woke up and realised something was missing’, says Laura. ‘I had a strong desire to develop myself professionally, but deep down I was also looking for personal development. I lived next door to some great schools in New York City, but that’s not what I was after. I wanted to get out of my comfort zone and could see Edinburgh offered an experience that I wasn’t getting in the US’.

Staying true to your goals isn’t always the easiest of journeys. Laura has a sign on her door that reminds her why she came to Edinburgh. It keeps her focused whenever she needs it. It features words like possibilities, change, creation, self-discovery, education and appreciation. It works. ‘Writing down my purpose and posting it where I can see it every day gives me real clarity. It’s helped with quitting my job and leaving my life behind to start this new experience’, she says.

What she’s getting from the MBA is beyond what she expected. ‘I have learnt from fellow classmates who come from many different cultures and sectors. I have worked on consulting projects such as a digital marketing plan for a recruiting firm and an investigation into social business practice for Johnson & Johnson. I’ve grown with my classmates as much as I have from these projects. Outside the classroom and big life decisions, I have a new family away from home who will be friends and colleagues for life. To say I’m lucky doesn’t even begin to describe it.’

Laura no longer has a grand plan. Instead of feeling anxious or scared about it though, she is hopeful: ‘I’m excited for the rest of my journey and a career where I can apply what I’ve discovered as an athlete, professional experience and my MBA. Perhaps I will accept a strategic role in marketing. Perhaps I will volunteer in a developing country. Perhaps I will create the next start-up that changes everything. I don’t know what lies ahead. But as my favourite author John Green says ‘I go to seek a great perhaps.’


Laura Reinhart is a full time MBA student at University of Edinburgh Business School. An original version of this blog appeared on the Association of MBAs

 

 

Images courtesy of Laura Reinhart