Pamela Wilson (EMBA’23) on Why Taking Risks is Key to Professional and Personal Fulfillment
As the spring semester comes to a close, Georgetown McDonough is pleased to commemorate the accomplishments of the Class of 2023. This year’s graduating class demonstrated immense commitment, discipline, and determination to reach this milestone, and we are proud to recognize their achievements as they embark on their next chapter as Hoya alumni. To celebrate, we’re spotlighting several of the exceptional students in the Class of 2023 as they share their personal stories, reflect on their time on the Hilltop, and preview what the future holds after commencement.
For Pamela Wilson (EMBA’23), enrolling in the Executive MBA program (EMBA) was a risk well worth the effort. From conducting research on market entry strategies in Brazil to applying new business concepts in class to growing her professional network, Wilson has been able to utilize the new skills gained in class to make critical judgments and decisions in her executive leadership roles.
Here, Wilson outlines why the Global Business Experience is one of her favorite memories at Georgetown, the importance of taking risks and investing in yourself, and some of the lessons she’s taken away from the past few years as an EMBA student.
What is your favorite memory or proudest moment from your time at Georgetown?
One of my favorite, and proudest, recollections from the EMBA program is the Global Business Experience from year one. My team was responsible for devising a market entry strategy for a Brazilian mineral mining company looking to expand into North America. Our team was composed of five people with no prior experience in minerals, mining, market expansion, or with Brazilian clients. At the onset, we found it challenging to simply grasp the product’s utility, let alone ascertain the market appetite and entry point.
Throughout the semester, we engaged in exhaustive research and conducted interviews with private and public sector experts. Drawing on the frameworks we had learned in class, we mapped out the North American market, identified key customers and geographic regions, and crafted a comprehensive entry strategy. Armed with our plan, we traveled to Brazil, uncertain whether we would hit the bullseye or miss the mark entirely.
We spent a day at the mine with the executive team in Goiania, and at the end of the week, we presented a detailed recommendation to their board. Our clients were more than impressed; they followed up with us in the subsequent weeks to inform us that discussions with industry experts had validated our recommendations, and they were keen to execute on it.
This experience helped me realize that I possess the skills required to tackle complex projects involving new and unfamiliar subject matters. Furthermore, it instilled in me the confidence to take on such challenges in the future.
How do you plan to apply the skills you have learned at Georgetown in the next phase of your career?
One of the great things about the EMBA program was that I was able to begin incorporating the skills I was learning into my work fairly immediately. However, I think the goal of the program, and how I plan to apply those skills, is more than just utilizing lessons from the classroom to achieve an objective. It’s about drawing on them to make critical judgements and difficult decisions as an executive leader, and in doing so, creating value for myself, my team, and my organization. To that end, I plan to apply the knowledge and frameworks I gained in the program to inform and execute long-term strategy and objectives to drive growth, improve operational efficiency, and foster innovative solutions.
What is one of the most important lessons you have learned while at Georgetown?
One of the most important lessons I’ve learned at Georgetown is the value of taking risks. While it may sound like a cliché, it’s true that you miss out on 100% of the opportunities you don’t pursue. It was a risk to apply to the EMBA program and I was initially reluctant. The time, effort, and financial commitments involved require significant sacrifice and a strong support network. However, I ultimately decided to take the leap and apply, and I’m so glad I did.
Throughout my time at Georgetown, I’ve been reminded time and time again of the importance of pushing beyond my comfort zone and taking calculated risks. Whether powering through a challenging course, taking on a new project at work, or simply putting myself out there and networking with new people. As a result, I’ve gained valuable skills and knowledge, expanded my professional network, and grown both personally and professionally. It has taught me that taking risks is a key ingredient to achieving both personal and professional fulfillment, and I plan to continue to embrace this mindset throughout my career.
Is there a particular person in the Georgetown community that has been instrumental to your success?
Without a doubt, my mother, Margot Wilson (JD’03), has been the most instrumental person in my success here at Georgetown. As a working mother of four, she earned her second law degree from Georgetown, which was an incredible accomplishment that continues to inspire me. From encouraging me to apply to Georgetown to supporting me throughout my EMBA journey, she has been a constant source of motivation. I am truly grateful for her unwavering support and encouragement. Thank you, Mom!