The Best Career Advice I Received Isn’t Found On My Resume

I will never forget the day when I was accepted into the 2014 Forte MBALaunch program.

It was December 2013. I was sitting at my desk validating regulatory reporting information for one of the largest banks in the world.

I received an email notification that made me glow with excitement.

“Congratulations, Charlene! You have been accepted into the Class of 2014 Forte MBALaunch!”

Wow! I really wanted to jump up and start doing the Nae-Nae. Seriously. 

Do you know what my acceptance meant? Do you really know?

Gaining access to Forte meant that I would be one step closer to living my career dreams and designing a life that I loved.

Forté MBALaunch is a 10-month program for career – focused women who want to take their leadership skills to the next level by pursuing an MBA. You’ll gain access to a supportive network of women leaders, learn gmat test taking tips and strategies, receive MBA application resources, and attend events that will showcase various career opportunities available post-MBA. After completing this structured program with other like-minded women, you’ll be able to expand your career possibilities and create a path that aligns with the core of who you are.

How cool is that?

Well, what I didn’t know was that Forte MBALaunch would lead to insights that would not only change my professional life, but cause me to reevaluate my personal life.

Yikes! Ain’t nobody trying to get personal during the MBA process. 

But that’s exactly what happened during a Forte MBA event that I attended with my bestie (Forte helped her to graduate her MBA program at the top of her class!).

I walked into a crowded room full of millennial women eager to hear million dollar career advice from a panel of MBAs who graduated from the top business schools in the world.

I had my notebook and pen ready to go.

It was my time. I had a strong feeling that the information presented at this event would prepare me to be a top MBA candidate.

Bring on the good stuff! 

This is what the panelists had to say:


So the GMAT is a non-negotiable. You can’t get the lowest score on earth and expect your stellar grades, certification, and essays to save you if you want to qualify for scholarships.

Invest in a tutor to make sure you have a competitive score.

Got it!


Know why you are pursuing your MBA and what separates you from the next candidate with your same professional background. Let your personality shine.

Got it!


That’s a part of the Pre-MBA process. Talk to others in different fields to know what you really want to do. You may hear about a career that you never even considered. Explore the possibilities and then go for what you want.

Got it!


Say what? Rewind.

I was taking copious notes and had to look up when the speaker mentioned marriage.

What the heck does my personal life have to do with my professional life?


The speaker said, “Who you decide to marry is the most important career decision you will ever make.”

Wowzers. I was speechless.

I wasn’t expecting that.

I couldn’t write anymore after hearing that statement. I wanted more.

After the panel discussion, I approached the speaker and told her how much her words impacted me.We discussed how who you marry will impact every other decision you make in your life. It will determine what company you work for, where you work, how long you work, and how far you climb. Who you decide to marry will set the tone for the type of life you want to live.

Wow! This is serious.

Do I need to alter how I think about my career? Is my career success more than the accomplishments I have outlined on my resume?


So Career Goddess, while you are at work breaking records and getting promotions, don’t neglect your personal life.

You are a combination of the people you surround yourself with the most. It’s not your MBA that will help you to land the “CEO of the Year” award; it’s the relationships that you choose to invest in that will determine your success as a leader.

And the relationships that form a piece of your identity are the ones that you must really evaluate to determine if it will delay your dreams or drive you to the highest levels of success that you can imagine.

Update: Three years after completing Forte MBALaunch, I co-founded with an amazing man who pushes me to dream bigger every single day. We created Black Couple Travels for all couples who want to bridge the gap between romance and finance. We teach investing webinars so that everyone can continue to have access to opportunities and live the life of their dreams. Join our next investing webinar where we will be talking about one of the most popular cryptocurrencies in the world – Bitcoin!

Start investing today by opening a Coinbase account with $100. If you open your account using this referral link, you will get $10 free bitcoin when you purchase at least $100 of bitcoin.

Follow Black Couple Travels on instagram @blackcoupletravels!

Start investing today by opening a Coinbase account with $100. If you open your account using this referral link, you will get $10 free bitcoin when you purchase at least $100 of bitcoin.

Charlene Rhinehart

I’m Charlene - International Speaker, Published Writer, & Career Strategist. I help women skip the most common career mistakes, move from fear to confidence, and enhance their professional profile so that they can create a life that is better than their dreams.

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