Amy Smith helping fellow faculty.At heart, I am a “people person.” As a high school graduate, I was confident I wanted to work in a profession that involved helping others. The counseling field appeared to be the perfect fit for someone of my skillset. My ability to empathize, listen actively and engage with those who needed assistance or advice seemed to come naturally.

Years later, I finally graduated with a degree in counseling. I was suited and ready to get started working in the mental health field in an agency setting. As my job search began, I discovered two things:

  1. Limiting my search to one or two particular settings was just that – limiting.
  2. There were a wide variety of ways to apply my expertise that I wasn’t even considering.

I started to broaden my perspective and think about what I wanted most in my career. I wanted to help people and I wanted to ensure each individual I assisted was set up for a brighter future and a better quality of life. Surely, there were numerous fields, industries and businesses that would allow me to live out my passion and purpose, as long as I kept an open mind.

Finding Answers with an MBA

I continued to educate myself on how to best move forward as a professional. In the spirit of not limiting myself, I looked for a master’s degree program that would give me the flexibility and bandwidth to serve others, while presenting a clear path for advancement. I then gave some serious thought to going in to management. In a leadership role, I would be granted the opportunity to not only manage and supervise people I believed in and cared about, but also to ensure each of my team members achieved their goals as professionals.

After surveying all the possibilities a management position could offer, I enrolled in an MBA program. My personal and professional aspirations had still not changed much since I decided on a helping profession. My knack for empathizing and problem solving would be critical as I strived for a career in administration.

Empowering Myself and Others
Who would have thought that a degree in business was not just about “business”? I wasn’t interested in starting my own company or “crunching numbers,” so to speak.  As I learned, though, those are only some aspects of the study of business. I needed to once again look beyond my self-imposed assumptions and limitations to find a productive way forward. Grantham University captured my attention and continued to engage me with its dynamic, relatable and relevant curriculum. Lessons on organizational behavior, the formation of groups and the morals and ethics of business all tied back to the proficiencies I studied and acquired as a counselor.

Earning my MBA armed me with a powerful new credential. The degree allowed me to pursue my goal of leading a highly effective team … and with passion. Now, I spend my days interacting with my team and empowering each member to strive for whatever they want to achieve in their lives. In every sense, I am right where I intended to be – in a career field that focuses on helping others achieve their goals, so they can experience a better quality of life inside and outside of work.

I found my “happy place” by getting beyond my misperceptions and objectively putting together a recipe for success. Making the choice to pursue a degree in business was hard and a little intimidating at first. However, earning that credential unlocked an opportunity for growth, development, empowerment and contentment. As I stated before, I am not one to “crunch the numbers.” But being fulfilled in my life’s work … that is priceless.

Amy SmithAbout Amy Smith

Associate Chair of Grantham’s Foundations Faculty Program Amy Smith earned her bachelor’s degree and worked in social services, before joining the University in 2013, later earning her Master of Business Administration. She’s a strong believer in motivation as a key to success, for herself and her students.

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