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2017 Best MBAs: Katie Philippi, Boston College (Carroll)

Katie Philippi

Boston College, Carroll School of Management

“An inquisitive, driven, family-oriented extrovert who is passionate about children’s development and improving communities.”

Age: 31

Hometown: Cumberland, RI

Fun fact about yourself: I recently climbed two glaciers – one in Chile (Grey Glacier) and one in Argentina (Perito Moreno Glacier).  Both were amazing!

Undergraduate School and Degree: Hamilton College, B.A. in Government

Where did you work before enrolling in business school? I was an advertising account executive at MNI, a division of Time Inc. Specifically, I worked with advertising agencies and brands to develop and implement strategic advertising solutions through national magazines and digital platforms.

Where did you intern during the summer of 2016? I interned at Hasbro in Pawtucket, RI, in brand management.  I worked on the Transformers Global Brand Franchise Strategy & Development team.

Where will you be working after graduation? I will continue at Hasbro as an Associate Brand Manager in the Marketing Leadership Rotation Program on the Nerf team.

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School:

  • Board Fellow, Hands Across the Sea (local non-profit dedicated to raising literacy levels of children in Eastern Caribbean)
  • Co-President, Marketing Club
  • Diane Weiss Consulting Competition, member of the first place team
  • Admissions Fellow
  • Class of 2017 Representative, Carroll Distinguished Teaching Award Committee – one of two student representatives on the award committee.
  • Dean’s Scholarship Recipient

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? I am most proud of continuing my internship at Hasbro through December, while still being a full-time student at BC and a co-President of the Marketing Club.  BC’s schedule during students’ second year allowed me the flexibility to pursue this opportunity.  After I finished my internship this past summer, I was offered to stay on and continue on the Transformers team for 25 hours a week, working on a number of projects I had developed during my summer internship.  While the commute back and forth to Rhode Island wasn’t ideal, the experience I gained throughout the semester was invaluable.  I was able to lead the implementation of a new subscription initiative for Transformers.  The experience afforded me the opportunity to pitch and get buy-in from senior leadership and international markets. Although there were a number of internal hurdles I had to overcome (e.g. building a P&L from scratch and getting legal approval), the experience of launching of new initiative was definitely worthwhile!

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? Professionally, I am most proud of breaking my territory’s sales record during my time at MNI. I started at MNI as a marketing coordinator and had no interest in sales. About a year after I started, however, the sales position opened up in my office in San Diego. Previously, my company only hired experienced account executives with 2-3 years of sales experience, but I decided to raise my hand for the position. I had become complacent in my current coordinator role and thought the sales role would be a great way to challenge myself.  After some compelling interviews, my manager and senior executives decided to take a chance and promote me.

The territory I took over had been underdeveloped and hadn’t hit its sales goals in years so I had my work cut out for me. To turn things around, I implemented a branding campaign throughout my territory and developed a number of strategic relationships with key brands and agencies. These strategies helped me to not only able to hit the target sales goal in my first year, but also allowed me to break the territory’s sales record in my third year. It was one of the most challenging, but rewarding experiences thus far in my career. The entrepreneurial skills I learned were invaluable and I continue to use them today.

Who was your favorite MBA professor? My favorite professor is Jon Kerbs. He taught my marketing class during my first semester.  I really enjoyed the class because of his industry knowledge and insight (he previously worked for P&G).  It was clear that he was very passionate about marketing, which made the class that much more interesting and fun. Outside of the classroom, he provided guidance to students who were interested in a marketing career. I took advantage of his offer and used him as a resource during my internship search and interview process. He went out of his way to help me consider the pros and cons of each summer opportunity and even called me when I was conflicted about which internship to choose. I was and continue to be grateful for his help and guidance. I still check in with him every so often to use him as a sounding board.

Why did you choose this business school? I chose BC for a number of reasons. First, I met so many great people when I visited the school.  I instantly connected with the woman who brought me to class and I had great interactions with a number of other students I met while visiting. The students were down-to-earth and genuinely interested in getting to know me. When I came to BC, it was refreshing to find that my class was also filled with these same personable, authentic, and supportive people. Additionally, I chose BC because I wanted a small, tight-knit program, but also a strong and extensive alumni network. With BC, I was able to get both of these things. The strong BC alumni network helped me secure an internship and full-time job at Hasbro. While working at Hasbro this past summer, the BC alums went out of their way to support, mentor, and coach me throughout my internship. I am excited to continue the strong Eagle alumni tradition and mentor BC MBAs once I graduate.

What was the most surprising thing about business school for you? The most surprising thing about business school was the relationships I developed.  In the past year and a half, I’ve developed a number of significant friendships.  I didn’t realize that I would form such close relationships with my classmates so quickly. I think the first year of business school really lends to forming these connections. Between the classwork (especially all of those group projects!) and social activities, you are able to bond with people in a matter of weeks. It is a great feeling to graduate BC with so many people who I will continue to keep in touch with for years to come.

What is your best advice to an applicant hoping to get into your school’s MBA program? Be yourself. It is important to clearly articulate why you fit in the BC Community and how you will uniquely contribute to it. BC highly values its small, tight-knit, and collaborative community and wants students who genuinely want to be a part of it.

What is the biggest myth about your school? The biggest myth about BC is that everyone specializes in finance.  While finance is a popular concentration, I would say there are a variety of industries that BC students are interested in including marketing, data analytics, operations, non-profit, tech, etc.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? I admire Cici (Xi) Chen the most for a number of reasons.  First, Cici is an international student from China and came to Boston knowing no one. I think that is a pretty impressive and courageous decision – I am not sure I would have the courage to embark on my MBA experience in a foreign country and culture. Second, although Cici’s primary language is not English, she never hesitated to contribute in class, groups, or clubs. She was willing to be vulnerable and would admit when she did not understand the professor or needed the group to slow down. Her contributions were always meaningful and beneficial, and it demonstrated to me how important it is to have the courage to speak up when you are in an unfamiliar or foreign group.  Last, Cici’s courage and conviction motivated others to break out of their own insecurities  –  which I believe led to more meaningful and diverse discussions.

I knew I wanted to go to business school when…I decided to forgo law school for a marketing job.  After graduating from undergrad, I was certain I wanted to go to law school, but after spending a year working crazy hours at a large firm in NYC, I started to question the path I was heading towards.  I still decided to apply to law school, but I moved to San Diego for a change of scenery. In the interim, I took a marketing coordinator role to pay the bills; however, after a few months, I loved it and deferred law school for a year.  Eventually, I decided to forgo law altogether and pursue marketing.  I loved being able to utilize my creativity, but also be strategic and analytical at the same time. I realized that in order to succeed in the industry, I needed to go to back to school to broaden my knowledge base and business school would be the best option to help me achieve this.”

If I hadn’t gone to business school, I would be…backpacking across the world trying to figure out what to do with my life.  Well, actually, I don’t think it would be that interesting. I would probably just be still working in advertising sales.”

What is your ultimate long-term professional goal?  When I was in San Diego, my passion outside of work was volunteering to help foster children better their lives through mentoring and support programs. Working with and helping children remains a passion of mine and I hope to one day be a chief marketing officer at a company whose mission is related to positively influencing the lives of children.

Who would you most want to thank for your success? My husband and my family who have encouraged and supported every step of MBA journey.  My husband is also getting his MBA (although at a different school) so we’ve been through the whole GMAT, core curriculum, interview prep and intern craziness together. He spent hours practicing behavioral interview questions with me and was a great sounding board as I developed my final internship presentation. Through it all, he pushed me to be the best version of myself, and assured me it would all work out. I can’t thank him enough. Secondly, my family has also been a great support system through everything – always encouraging me to push myself outside my comfort zone and work toward my goals. They are my biggest cheerleaders and I couldn’t be more grateful.

In one sentence, how would you like your peers to remember you? I hope my peers remember me as a passionate, dependable, and driven classmate who would do anything to help others.

Favorite book: I love a good romance novel (yes, I’m not afraid to admit this) so my recent favorite is First Comes Love by Emily Giffin.

Favorite movie or television show: Narcos

Favorite musical performer: Kenny Chesney

Favorite vacation spot: Nantucket

Hobbies? Self-proclaimed foodie, spin enthusiast, Golden Retriever lover, avid soccer player, and amateur half-marathon runner.

What made Katie such an invaluable addition to the class of 2017?

“Katie is the perfect example of a student who came to business school with a professional purpose and a focus on the MBA program that would help her achieve her career goals. Boston College was the ideal fit for Katie as she looked to transition from an agency background to brand management.

Katie brings a tireless work ethic and skillfully balances multiple demands for her time as she is highly involved in not only her studies, but also in leadership roles as she serves as co-president of the marketing club and class of 2017 representative to the Carroll School Distinguished Teaching Award Committee. She also acts as an admissions fellow, and board fellow with Hands Across the Sea (a Boston-based non-profit dedicated to raising literacy levels of children in Eastern Caribbean).

Katie spent her summer internship with Hasbro, where she worked on the Transformers Global Brand Franchise Strategy & Development team. In addition to earning a full time offer from this highly competitive program, based on the quality of her work and contributions, she was asked to continue with Hasbro in an academic year internship. The next step in Katie’s career is as an Associate Brand Manager on the Nerf team in the Marketing Leadership Rotational Program with Hasbro in Pawtucket, RI.”

Marilyn Eckelman
Associate Dean for Graduate Programs and Career Development

DON’T MISS: THE COMPLETE HONOR ROLL: BEST & BRIGHTEST MBAS OF 2017