Monica Chellam, MBA ’14: An Education in Self-Awareness

She came to Stanford to learn about business. She came away with a better understanding of herself, and of her role in society.

April 25, 2014

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Monica Chellam, MBA ’14 | ToniBird Photography

This series features our students’ reflections on their aspirations, learnings, challenges, and joys. Here, Monica candidly reveals how her time at Stanford GSB did much more than teach her about business: It transformed her.

Stanford GSB is more than a graduate curriculum; it’s a transformative experience. I don’t know that I was fully prepared for that reality. I come from a government and nonprofit background, and my motivation for coming to business school was primarily to learn business. And there has certainly been some of that, but the biggest change I’ve experienced in the last year and a half has been in my own self-awareness.

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I am armed with a better understanding of myself and, as such, feel equipped to find my place in the world.

Through classes like Interpersonal Dynamics (aka “Touchy-Feely”), relationships with my classmates, the mentorship of my leadership coach, and experiences like leading a social innovation study trip, I’ve come away with a better understanding of what motivates me and what drives me crazy, where I have unique skills and where I need a partner to help me.

Thanks to my time at Stanford GSB, I am armed with a better understanding of myself and so feel equipped to find my place in the world. I understand that I am among the lucky ones, and thus I feel a sense of responsibility to use this experience not only for my own benefit but also for the benefit of the less fortunate.

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