QS Community Scholarship Winner: Mike Stephan | TopMBA.com

QS Community Scholarship Winner: Mike Stephan

By Julia G

Updated August 2, 2018 Updated August 2, 2018

Mike StephanWe’re pleased to announce that Mike Stephan is one of this year’s recipients of the QS Community Scholarship. The QS Community Scholarship is awarded to five recipients, MBA applicants who demonstrate exceptional levels of socially-responsible leadership and an ability to motivate others. The scholarship is worth US$2,000.

Mike will be undertaking his MBA at Vanderbilt University’s Owen Graduate School of Management. Working in finance, studying for an MBA has long been a part of Mike’s career goals, to assist him in his long-term aim of working in corporate development.

He chose Vanderbilt for his MBA as he was attracted to their curriculum, learning environment and leadership development program. He’s looking forward to being able to surround himself with other talented students from a range of different industries, “for a mutually beneficial collaborative environment where we can all learn from each other”. Especially important for Mike is that Vanderbilt offers a community where his family, including his young daughter, can thrive.

Prior to his decision to undertake an MBA, Mike has been working for CH2M (now Jacobs) in a variety of roles, including Compensation in HR to Financial Planning & Analysis, culminating in his current role as Finance Manager in Talent Acquisition. He says his experience in acquisition sparked an interest in how companies “with different cultures and processes can be properly integrated.

“I anticipate studying an MBA will help further solidify the skills needed to pursue ascending roles in corporate development, so that I can be an integral part of identifying profitable acquisition targets and integrating them efficiently.”

After completing his MBA, Mike hopes to pursue a position in a corporate development group, where his professional experience and the skills he’ll develop on his MBA will allow him to “make a positive impact through effectively identifying companies to acquire that offer financial upside as well as cultural and service fit”.

Mike attended a QS event in Denver, an experience he found helpful by engaging with numerous MBA programs from the US and globally, saying it was a “one-stop shop” that allowed him to gather information to make an informed choice on the best program for him. He shares some useful advice for future attendees of a QS event:

“My recommendation is to have a plan before you step foot in the building. Before I went in, I knew exactly which program representatives I wanted to speak with (and why), and I didn’t allow myself to waver from the plan.”

Mike admits he initially found the scholarship application process “a bit overwhelming”, selectively targeting five to 10 options through both Vanderbilt and externally that he felt he had the best chance of receiving. However, he enthuses about the difference the QS Community Scholarship will make to his MBA experience, especially as he has financial obligations for both school and his family: “It gives me the gift of one less thing to worry about and will allow me to focus more fully on the MBA study”.

Advice for other applicants

“First, know that there are a number of scholarship options out there. Make sure to selectively put effort into those that you have the best chances of receiving. Also, be sure your message has a compelling story. Your words need to show your passion for the topic you are writing about to connect with the reader.”

This article was originally published in August 2018 .

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Julia is a writer for TopMBA.com, publishing articles for business students and graduates across the world. A native Londoner, she holds an MSc in Marketing Strategy & Innovation from Cass Business School and a BA in Classical Studies & English from Newcastle University.

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