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Priyanka Muttaraju, a student in the Opus College of Business Full-Time MBA program, in a group photo with her peers. 

Looking Beyond Her MBA Degree

Priyanka Muttaraju ’19, “broke through stereotypes” when she left India to study abroad in Minnesota. An impactful mentor and an interest in marketing inspired her to take a leap of faith and enroll in the Full-time MBA program at St. Thomas.

In the first year, Muttaraju and her cohort of fellow MBA students worked through the core curriculum together. They customize their degree with electives in their second year. So far she's gained real-world knowledge and skills through case studies, simulations, practical exercises and internships. 

One example is LINKs, a business simulation designed to mimic the real world. The project is a launching pad for students in the first semester and returns as a capstone experience in their final semester. Teams make weekly decisions about opportunities, product development, strategy, production and positioning in the global marketplace. Marketing professor Avinash Malshe plays the role of mentor.

“This activity has helped me develop critical thinking skills towards business and marketing,” said Muttaraju. “It’s provided me a view into the real-life challenges and decisions that business leaders face.”

Peer-to-peer leadership opportunities

She's also found value in faculty Ertugrul Tuzcu’s leadership development course. He facilitates individual and team exercises on self-awareness and emotional intelligence. Her cohort team has grown close in the process, engaging in meaningful conversations about life and school. “We act as each other’s support system, mentors, and teachers. It's helped us with both developing self-awareness and balance.”

An MBA is not just about a degree

At St. Thomas, many students share a common ambition of wanting to make a difference in the world. They develop deep and meaningful relationships in a short amount of time. Muttaraju has felt the impact deeply.

“Networking is still an alien concept back in India,” she said. “Although difficult at first, I can now proudly say I know over 40 people in the United States. My MBA journey has made me wiser and kinder. It’s not just about grades or degree, but the people around you.”