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Real Humans of MBA Students: Boston College Carroll MBA Class of 2023

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boston mba class of 2023Christopher Bassett, Boston College Carroll MBA Class of 2023

Age: 29
Hometown: Southborough, MA
Undergraduate Institution and Major: Santa Clara University – Finance and Entrepreneurship, Class of 2014
Pre-MBA Work Experience (years, industry): For the past six years I have been working for Fidelity Investments in Private Wealth Management. My roles ranged from being a trader, to managing relationships with our high net worth clients, and most recently as a Financial Advisor. 

Why did you make the decision to attend business school? Why now? 
After spending six wonderful years with Fidelity, I came to the realization that my greatest passion in life was the automotive industry, and I was ready to make a career pivot. With a strong background in financial services, I felt the need to take a step back and cultivate skills in business in the broader sense before pursuing my dream of working for a major automotive manufacturer. I had been specializing in one area for many years and business school seemed like the right place to discover new areas of interest, sharpen my skills and learn new ones. 

Why did you choose Carroll School of Management? What factors figured most prominently into your decision of where to attend?
Boston College was an easy decision for me. As a native New Englander, I’ve always been aware of the strength of the BC network. Both my parents and both older siblings attended BC and are proud alumni to this day. The community takes care of its members and the alumni go above and beyond to support students and each other. When looking at schools, I reached out to various alumni through the graduate offices and directly on LinkedIn. The alumni I contacted through BC were by far the most passionate and eager to help. The program also offers small class sizes, which has allowed me to form connections with my fellow cohort members and professors very quickly.

What do you think is your most valuable or differentiating contribution to the Class of 2023?
Having spent six years with Fidelity Investments, I developed a strong skill set in finance and relationship management, and was able to be part of a fantastic community at one of Boston’s most respected financial firms. Many of my cohort members are looking to get into that area of business and I am eager to share my experiences over the next two years both in the classroom and outside of school. 

Tell us a fun fact that didn’t get included on your application: 
This summer I completed the first level of the Porsche Track School in Birmingham, Alabama, and am working towards my professional racing license (something I hope to pursue outside of work in the years to come!)

Post-MBA career interests:
My passion for the Automotive industry is why I decided to pursue an MBA. My goal is to couple my skills in finance with the new skills I’m learning at Boston College and turn that into a career in corporate finance or brand management for a major auto manufacturer. 

Advice for Current Prospective Applicants:
–What is one thing you would absolutely do again as part of your application process?      
Talk to as many current students and recent alumni as possible. Every conversation led to a new connection and was a perfect example of the alumni network eager to help any way they could

–What is one thing you would change or do differently?      
Don’t be afraid to contact anyone. If you feel they can offer insight into the program you are considering or the career you want, go for it. When I first started the process, I felt uncomfortable contacting people that seemed “too important” at certain companies. The worst that can happen is they don’t have time to talk, but more often than not I found people very eager to talk about their experiences 

–What is one part you would have skipped if you could—and what helped you get through it?       
Some of the schools required the GMAT and some did not. I ended up taking it for some schools and not needing it for others.  Boston College offered a waiver for those with relevant work experience and undergraduate work in business. Not having to commit all that time to the test would have been nice to skip all together. 

What is your initial impression of the Carroll School of Management students/culture/community? 
I am thrilled to say that my fellow classmates are as driven and community focused as I had hoped. The graduate admissions team really did a great job of bringing together a cohesive group of people with diverse backgrounds, but similar aspirations and curiosity.  I feel like I’ve known these people a lot longer than the 1 month we’ve spent together. 

What is one thing you have learned about Carroll School of Management that has surprised you? 
I knew the alumni network was strong, but I’ve been very impressed/surprised by the schools ability to get the alumni involved in the classroom, through guest lecturers and case studies, etc. 

Has the COVID-19 pandemic affected your personal application or admissions process in any way? If so, how? 
I feel very fortunate to say that Covid-19 has not negatively impacted my experience so far. Boston College is doing a great job managing this process and has been able to get the entire community vaccinated. This has allowed for in person classes. My interviews for the program did have to be remote and we weren’t able to come tour before starting, but with my personal connection to the school I didn’t feel like I had missed out. 

What is one thing you are most anxious about in your first year?
Managing the balance of class work and relationship building. While it is important to do well in the classes, it’s really about building the relationships with your cohort and learning from each other. I need to remind myself of this and not let the stress of classes prevent me from developing those connections.

What is one thing you are most excited about in your first year?
Making over 100 new friends/connections in my cohort and interviewing for a summer internship in my dream industry!

Lauren Wakal
Lauren Wakal has been covering the MBA admissions space for more than a decade, from in-depth business school profiles to weekly breaking news and more.