The following is a letter written from Michelle Ross (formally Wright), a 2011 graduate of Patrick Henry College. She details how the leadership and learning skills she learned at PHC led her to one of the best schools for business in the nation.
"I graduated from PHC with a degree in Government, specializing in International Politics. During my senior year, I completed my internship credits by working on medical policy reform in rural India for 7 months. This experience ignited my interest in developing leadership skills that can transform organizations.
When I graduated in 2011, I wasn’t exactly sure how to channel my leadership passion; after applying for a broad range of jobs, I decided to become a 7th-grade math teacher with Teach for America. Teaching led me to a two-year relational leadership program with Apple. Apple led to two years of working on a special project, funded by McKinsey & Co., called Generation. With Generation, I developed training programs for unemployed young people around the world, preparing them for roles with companies needing to quickly fill talent gaps. This project helped me realize that I wanted an MBA. The program design was interesting work, but I really wanted to run, manage, and grow an organization.
I attended the Kellogg School of Management from 2017 to 2019. I loved my MBA experience. In addition to learning accounting, finance, modeling, and business strategy for the first time, I got to engage in a range of Kellogg-sponsored consulting projects. At the end of my second year, I took a part-time internship at a venture capital fund. All of this prepared me for my current role in Finance & Strategy at a 40-person start-up in Denver. In addition to planning/managing our finances, I spend weekly time with my CEO planning and executing our company’s growth strategy. This is exactly what I’ve been wanting to do for the last 10 years!
As I think back on my 4 years at PHC and the 9 years since, I’m so grateful for each season’s skills and experience. PHC taught me to think critically and write as quickly as anyone I know. The first few weeks of my MBA program felt overwhelming due to the sheer volume of new content. But I quickly found myself tapping into the biggest gift I received from PHC—the skill of learning how to learn.
PHC’s academic model teaches students to absorb information, reason sound conclusions, and articulate a winsome perspective. These skills are transferable to any industry, but are especially valuable in the business world where compelling executive leadership skills are critical. Best of all, I got to complete my MBA with one of my former PHC classmates—a true friend-for-life. We’ve been friends since my freshman year at PHC, but there is something profound about sharing a journey through undergrad, a top MBA program, and countless life-milestones in-between."
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