Making the decision to go to graduate school is not an easy one. It is especially challenging if going to graduate school involves a completely new career change. This has been my personal experience, switching from mental health to business school.

To give some background, I have spent the past 7 years working in the mental health field. I received my license to work as a mental health counselor in NY State which is still one of the proudest moments in my life. But it was at my birthday last year that I really decided that I was truly not happy and it was time to make a change. This was a choice that had been building for about 4 years. I’ve worked in different psychological fields, ranging from substance abuse to private practice and medical clinics. But the same feelings kept coming up: dissatisfaction and unhappiness.

When I did ultimately make the decision to go back to graduate school and switch to the field of business, a lot of my family and friends had questions. Why should I change my field after I worked so hard to become licensed? Why make such a drastic change and “throw away” all my experience and education? But what I ultimately felt was that business, while very different from psychology, still deals with human relationships. If you want a successful company, you need employees that feel emotionally satisfied in different aspects of their job. Many of the terms I used in my previous work are often used in business as well. Extrinsic motivation, locus of control, and emotional intelligence are just a few that are commonly used.

The other question I got was why ISM. ISM is a global community, which is one of the biggest draws for many of its students. I felt it was important to study business on an international level and to see how different cultures interact and view a problem through their lenses. In today’s world, if you are immune to cultural sensitivities, it will prohibit your success in your business and limit your options to what you could learn. Many of my work in psychology was around those same issues. How can you connect and show respect to someone, even if you don’t necessarily agree with them? Part of that skill is truly listening to what someone else is telling you. I feel ISM works very hard to break down barriers for all students and to show how important global connections are.

While I am changing careers, I feel the skills I have learned in psychology will bring a unique way of thinking to business school, a career field that values innovation and thinking “outside the box.” I am sure many of you have had different career choices too, and I hope to hear all the different experiences you bring to the table as well!

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