Reflecting on My MBA Experience at Kellstadt

By Marisa Farella

To think that I am writing my last blog post as an MBA candidate and graduate assistant at Kellstadt is surreal. Just like that—graduation is here. Yes, I did all my assignments. Yes, I pulled numerous all-nighters. And yes, I successfully completed all my classes.

When it comes down to it, the Kellstadt Graduate School of Business gave me an MBA experience that exceeded any expectations I had when I was choosing a graduate school. From its numerous resources, large professional network and supportive peers, faculty and staff, the program helped me grow on so many levels. I’ll be walking away with more than just my degree when I graduate this Saturday, June 12, and I’d like to share a few of those things with you here in this post.

A More Confident Voice

Kellstadt is phenomenal with providing structure, direction and advising for both academics and career, but it will not all be handed to you on a silver platter. In the past, I personally faced challenges that dented my confidence and ability to speak up so that I was not reaching my utmost potential personally and professionally.

Kellstadt changed that.

From the very start of the application process to now on the week of my graduation, the faculty, students and staff at Kellstadt have always created a safe and secure place for me to be myself. They encouraged me to go out of my comfort zone and challenged me to speak up on my opinions and beliefs. Kellstadt gave me opportunities to not only speak, but to feel heard.

I’ve used my new-found voice everywhere within my program. I had weekly touch bases with professors. I networked. I got involved in various student organizations. Kellstadt helping me find safety and confidence in speaking up has been the greatest gift.

A Stronger Network

I put so much work and effort into expanding my network to the level it is today, and I did it all virtually. I sometimes think that the virtual setting pushed me that much harder. Nonetheless, I pride myself on staying consistent with networking because talking for me can be tiring.

How did I network?

I reached out to my professors prior to class, just to meet them individually and make sure they knew who I was and what their expectations were for the class. Every professor would ask about my career goals and past experiences, which helped them get a better understanding of my personality and set a foundation for the continuous advice, direction and possible advocation they provided to me.

Some conversations get further than others, but connecting with professors, advisers and colleagues is a valuable tactic that does nothing but develop and nurture opportunity. People want to help one another, so becoming strong enough to ask for advice is the best way to begin. Start with an email or Zoom introduction. Start talking. (And just like that, there’s that voice of yours developing already).

Had to make sure I stopped for that alumni baseball cap, of course!

Lessons Beyond the Classroom

The academic knowledge you will obtain at Kellstadt goes without saying. Be prepared with highlighters, notecards and a year’s supply of post-it notes. Kellstadt professors are the most intelligent and accomplished professionals I’ve ever met in my life. Each professor and staff adviser brought an interesting and intriguing twist to learning both in and out of the classroom. There were so many opportunities to learn a lesson outside of a textbook.

I learned from stories professors shared, banter with my classmates, class conversations and even from opportunities disguised as hardship. There’s no doubt in my mind that 20 years from now I will want to reference back to one of Professor Andy Clark’s incredible stories (he has many!) from his professional experiences in sports management. There was so much to absorb throughout the program that I feel I can apply these lessons both in my personal and professional life.

Meaningful Friendships

Honestly, I had zero expectations about making friends when I enrolled into my program. I had my eye set on one thing and one thing only—my degree. How could I forget that college and higher education are opportunities to meet like-minded people?

Being in the full-time MBA program, we are a cohort of approximately 60 students who have progressed through all core classes together. Little did I know on day one of our online orientation that many of those MBA students would grow to become some of my greatest and most supportive friends. We have laughed together and we have cried together. We have confided in one another about the smallest to the biggest things life has handed to us this past year.

At one point I realized I was talking to my cohort classmates more than my own family due to how engrossed I was in my student responsibilities. These classmates have become my friends, and those friends have become family. Lucky me to have 59 more brothers and sisters.

Thank You, Kellstadt

Choosing a graduate school is one of the most important decisions you will make in your career. When I was making my decision, I prayed for direction and trusted in my intuition. Today, I can truly and whole-heatedly say that choosing Kellstadt was the right choice for who I was yesterday, who I am today and who I will continue to become tomorrow. Here is home.

Thank you to Kellstadt and DePaul University for welcoming me into your world full of opportunity, education and growth. Last but not least, congratulations to the DePaul University and Kellstadt Graduate School of Business Class of 2021. Your hard work, resilience and education are things no one can ever take away from you.

You did it.
I did it.
We did it.


Marisa FaellaMarisa Farella is part of the graduating Class of 2021 in the Kellstadt Graduate School of Business and is proud to officially hold Double Demon status since she graduated from DePaul in 2018 with her BA in public relations and advertising. In addition to her MBA studies, Marisa has taken her love for writing and creativity a step further. She is the self-published author of her debut collection, “Truth or Dare: Poetry,” which is available on Amazon. 



Posted on

June 9, 2021