Alumni Spotlight: Joel Amata

Lake Effects Blog

Friday, August 28, 2015

Class of 2015 alum Jose Daniel Amata (Joel) shared some of the trepidation and adversity he experienced when he first applied for his MBA at Lake Forest Graduate School of Management in his valedictorian speech. In the end, he says this hard decision had a serious pay-off. We asked Jose to share his inspirational story with us.

What made you decide to pursue your Masters of Business Administration?        

In his speech, Joel recalled that he had received an email regarding an essay competition and information about a scholarship opportunity. Unemployed at the time and looking for new opportunities, Joel inquired about the School and learned he qualified for the scholarship. He soon commenced his MBA studies.

“At that time, I took it as a sign that perhaps I should be looking for a job rather than starting my MBA.  But when I was contacted, I understood that this was the direction my career needed to take, even though it was a little intimidating starting my MBA while I was unemployed.”

Do you think you have expanded your professional network as a result of completing your MBA at Lake Forest Graduate School of Management?

“Yes. I was definitely one of the skeptics. I have read through every cost benefit analysis and read about the return on investment for completing my MBA. It’s definitely something I thought about before I started and all the way through. But for me, when I started the program I was in career transition and it was actually through some of my contacts at Lake Forest Graduate School of Management that I learned about an opportunity at a company.

“I successfully interviewed for a role, and when I started to work with my new employer, I found that Blue Cross Blue Shield had an on-site program for MBA study, affiliated with Lake Forest. Again, I took that as a sign because the coincidence was really extraordinary. I knew that I was on the right track, and exactly where I needed to be for my career.

“Through the cohort with Blue Cross Blue Shield, I have been able to meet so many other professionals and enjoyed sharing our experience. The networking is definitely one of the most valuable aspects of attaining your MBA from Lake Forest Graduate School of Management.”

What transferrable skills have you directly applied from your MBA to benefit your organization and your team at Blue Cross Blue Shield?

“The ability to speak my mind is really the skill that was most improved and impacted by my MBA studies. I used to be quite shy, and through the group work and collaborating with other professionals as well as leadership material and coaching, I am now able to very effectively express within a business environment and share my ideas.”

Joel shared that the number of presentations required during the MBA program provided him with the opportunity to become confident in his business to peer, and later his business to business, communications.

What advice would you give to other professionals who are waiting to start their MBA?

“There is no better time than now. It’s really a carpe diem situation where you have to dive in. You have to look at what you might be losing by putting off your MBA… You have to ask yourself what your career is missing without this important credential. There will always be reasons and excuses to delay starting your MBA studies, and it is not an easy process, but it is worth it.”

As Joel began his MBA with help from one of our scholarship programs, he wants to challenge and encourage his peers and other alumni to generously support the School’s scholarship initiatives. LFGSM is a non-profit institution and 100% of financial gifts are allocated towards scholarship funds. Please consider giving today.

Read Joel’s comments and insights in excerpts from the June 2015 commencement ceremony “Congratulations to Our Lake Forest Graduates“.


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