Today on the blog, we catch up Executive MBA format gradaute, Erin Breitzka, ’18. This is part of an ongoing series of interviews with members of our Class of 2018 on how the executive formats of the Darden MBA impacted their careers, so be sure to check out our earlier interviews with Global Executive MBA (GEMBA) format graduates, Jess Ching, ’18, and Chris Barchet, ’18.

What have you been up to since graduation?

I joined the Enterprise Improvement team at AlixPartners as a Consultant shortly after graduation. So far, I’ve had the opportunity to help shape the future for two multi-billion dollar companies. My first project was for a company going through a digital transformation, and now I am helping a client with their product to market process. I just returned from a great business trip to Italy. I can’t wait to see what is next. Personally, my free nights and weekends have been spent preparing for my wedding in a couple of months!

How do you feel like your Darden experience prepared you for what you are currently doing?

I used to believe that the only way to get a job was to check off all of the required experience. Darden taught me I was wrong – There isn’t enough time in the world to experience everything yourself. You need to supplement your personal experiences with classes, informational interviews, books, articles, industry groups, case studies, company briefings, research, etc.

In my current role, because I’m working across many different industries and functions, I have to get up to speed on things very quickly, and this lesson has been invaluable. I have leveraged my network and industry resources over and over again to ensure I have the expertise needed to do a great job for my clients.

For you, what was the biggest takeaway from the program?

Darden taught me how to prioritize what was really important in my life. Managing a full-time job, a busy class schedule, potentially a job search and a personal life is really challenging. However, classes like Connie Dunlop’s Professional Advancement class, helped me navigate through it. She taught us a process that helped envision a 5-10 year plan that was genuine. We aligned our priorities to our plan (family, location, job, etc) and learned it’s okay to realign as often as needed!

Now that you are out of school, what do you miss the most about the program?

I miss the energy in the classroom! No matter how well-prepared I was for class, there was always a classmate that challenged my thinking or broadened my perspective.

What is your best advice for prospective students?

Be open as you go through this experience. Allow your classmates, professors and experiences to help shape the next chapter of your life – you’ll be better for it!