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An EMBA Drake Scholar Learns to Stop Saying “Never”

by Sadie Howes, EMBA 2020

Never say never.

I have said it quite a few times over the years and, as the old adage would suggest, some of my biggest “I’ll never X” and “Y will never happen” statements have turned into the most pivotal and rewarding moments of my life.

“I will never work in healthcare.”

This particular statement is where my Kellogg story starts. I began my career with a notion that healthcare marketing was “boring,” stifled by regulation and “just not for me.” As it turns out, taking a chance on healthcare, proved to be anything but boring. It was exactly “for me.” Switching industries uncovered my deepest passion: helping others. It launched a new trajectory for my career and brought me to South Florida. Unbeknownst to me it was also the first major step down the pathway to another significant “I will never…”

“I will never get admitted to Kellogg.”

During my undergraduate education, I haphazardly determined that the Kellogg MBA programs were “out of my league,” but as my career evolved, a quality degree became increasingly necessary. Ten years later, with a more experienced lens, in a new South Florida location, my research led me back to Kellogg. This time to the Executive MBA Program and Miami campus. Specifically, to an alumni and prospective student dinner in Fort Lauderdale. From my first interaction, the program fit like a glass slipper. The monthly schedule, high-caliber professionals, campus environment and overall culture felt too good to be true. The comfortable “never going to happen” narrative returned serving as my version of “evil stepsisters,” while “Prince Charming” resided in the incredible Kellogg admissions team and my personal and professional network. Collectively, those involved helped me to find the courage to step outside my comfortable, insecure narrative and apply to the EMBA Program — an entire year earlier than I had planned. Even as I hit “submit,” the voice inside still said, “It will never happen.” By the virtue of reading this, you know that is not how the story ended. The shoe did fit, and I’m proud to be a member of Kellogg’s EMBA 119 cohort. In only three months, the experience has been better than any fairytale.

“Scholarship? That will NEVER happen. N-E-V-E-R.”

If admission to Kellogg made it on my list of impossibilities, you might understand why scholarship resided on another dimension of possibilities I was not yet ready to accept. Kellogg has a broad variety of scholarship opportunities for students. The Drake Scholars Fund supports select female candidates and significantly reduces the cost of tuition. It helps to eliminate financial burden and boundaries that might otherwise hinder achievement. Just before Christmas and launch week, I was awarded this immense privilege and honor.

“If I ever say ‘never’…”

It will be to challenge myself. The Drake Scholars Fund has granted me the freedom to invest more deeply in the academic materials, my peers and the EMBA program. It demonstrates the importance of dreaming bigger, even when dreaming big is uncomfortable. It has opened the door to a higher level of possibility and achievement that I once would not have dared to consider. As I look to the remainder of my EMBA program and things to come, I welcome the thought of never driving innovation and meaningful change in healthcare.