2017 Best MBAs: Katy Mixter, Yale SOM

Katy Mixter

Yale School Of Management

“Enthusiastic, striving to embrace complexity, persevering with optimism & living with gratitude.”  

Age: 30

Hometown: Weston, MA

Fun fact about yourself: I have rowed gondolas in Venice, Viking boats in Denmark, crew boats in Boston, dragon boats in the Philippines and rafts through the Grand Canyon.

Undergraduate School and Degree: Vassar College, B.A. in Environmental Studies and Economics

Concurrent with my MBA at Yale School of Management, I am pursuing my Master of Environmental Management at Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies.

Where did you work before enrolling in business school? I worked for Citigroup as an Associate Vice President on the Corporate Sustainability Team. It was an incredible role where the team thought creatively about how to partner with Citi’s businesses around the world to create financial products, strategies, policies, and programs to improve the environmental impact of the bank and its clients.

Previous to that, I worked at ICF International, and served as a consultant to U.S. EPA for the ENERGY STAR project (setting energy efficiency standards for sexy appliances like commercial deep fryers and geothermal heat pumps). Before returning to school, I worked in the Philippines with Gawad Kalinga, a community building foundation, to develop disaster preparedness training for 250,000 beneficiaries in the wake of Typhoon Yolanda.

Where did you intern during the summer of 2016? This past summer, I had two internships: First, I worked as an intern at the UN Development Program (UNDP) office in Kingston, Jamaica. Then I spent the second half of my summer as a consultant at the Boston Consulting Group in Sydney, Australia. In summer of 2015, I interned at the Connecticut Green Bank supporting renewable energy transactions.

Where will you be working after graduation? Boston Consulting Group in Melbourne, Australia, as a consultant

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School: I am most proud of my leadership roles that have helped support and shape the community at SOM, including my role as leader of the Net Impact’s Career Accountability Groups, leader for Yale GreenLight, co-chair of the Women in Management Admissions Committee, participation on the SOM Community and Inclusion Council, and as a leader of the Ski and Snowboard Club.

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? I am most proud of my work as a co-lead of Women in Management’s (WIM) Admissions Committee. During my first year at SOM, I worked closely with the school’s Community and Inclusion Council to revise our diversity statement and re-develop our vision for the school. I was looking for an opportunity to become more proactive, so my WIM co-lead and I designed a five-part strategy to address the five places that we saw women struggling in the MBA pipeline. We crafted practical programs to support applicants at each of the points, and we worked with a team of first year students to make these plans a reality. I am incredibly proud of the accomplishments of our team, and our contribution to this year’s 3% jump in female enrollment at SOM, an all-time high.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? I love being on and building teams, and I am most proud of my development of Citi’s Green Team Network. I worked at Citi because I believe there is a need for the financial sector to become more conscious of environmental implications from investments. With over 250,000 employees spread out over 100+ countries, I had to make the environmental message relevant across cultures. That said Citi has a high percentage of employees who care deeply about the environment and want to work with their colleagues to mitigate climate change. So, I worked with legal, human resources, operations, communications and other teams to determine a structure that would allow teams to formally form local Citi Green Teams that could set their own agendas, but also coordinate with teams globally as a network. I also developed several platforms for team leaders to cultivate and share best practices with each other around the world. By the second year, it was extremely rewarding to see our work come to fruition; that year 18 formalized teams collectively sent out over 400 environmentally-focused communications, hosted 65 volunteer events worth over $55,000 in volunteer hours, planted over 6000 trees, restored 53 acres of land, and recycled 440,000 metric tons of waste.

Who was your favorite MBA professor? Sharon Oster is my favorite professor, and as her Teaching Assistant this fall, I watched her lead the “Strategic Management of Nonprofits “course for the second year in a row. When Sharon walks into the first class, she knows the names and backgrounds of all of the students in the room. While providing powerful insights, she challenges her students to think critically about how to apply concepts like competitive strategy to topics like nonprofit fundraising and talent management. Full disclosure: one of my greatest SOM moments was when she asked me to dress up as Superwoman with her and her co-professor, Judy Chevalier, for our Halloween class this year.

Why did you choose this business school? I chose Yale SOM because of their strong joint degree program with the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies along with its focus on international business. Coming in, I knew that I wanted to work abroad after school, and I knew I’d be well prepared given the many opportunities on campus. For example, half of the incoming students in my class are international. Additionally, I was able to take a class on inclusive business models through the GNAM network that was taught out of Indian Institute of Management in Bangalore, India, and I went on study abroad trips to Brazil and Indonesia with a development economics professor to study deforestation.

What did you enjoy most about business school in general? I have most enjoyed learning how to facilitate participatory creative brainstorming through the use of design thinking. I have been impressed at how these processes can be used to bring in and raise up new voices and ideas in ideation sessions, and how much more effectively a user’s needs can be identified and met than with many standard strategy processes. This year, I am a leader of Yale GreenLight, hosting innovation sessions for companies like GE on their toughest sustainability challenges such as how to mainstream lifecycle thinking into processes across the company. At the end of February, a peer and I also undertook a project to explore the concept of Adaptive Financing by hosting an innovation session with participants from organizations as varied as the World Bank, Citibank and 100 Resilient Cities to generate new ideas for financial solutions that could meet the needs of small businesses after disasters.

What was the most surprising thing about business school for you? The joint degree community between FES and SOM is much closer and stronger than I could have ever imagined. We generically call ourselves “The Joints,” which isn’t quite fair as Yale SOM has 9 joint degree programs. We have a tight- knit community and a fun line of traditions that are fostered by the collection of 60 amazing people simultaneously pursuing a MBA and graduate degree at the School of Forestry and Environmental Studies.

What was your biggest regret in business school? That I didn’t play SOM intramural hockey sooner!

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? I hate this question because I can’t isolate just one—I have so many amazing peers who are launching startups, supporting the arts, founding new schools, supporting new technology development, etc., that I just can’t say.

I knew I wanted to go to business school when…I went study business at the Danish Institute for Study Abroad and learned how many Danish companies were thoughtfully creating sustainable solutions, supported by strategic business models, to solve Denmark’s energy, water, waste and other environmental challenges.”

If I hadn’t gone to business school, I would be…still at Citi. My job there was fascinating and I was working with an incredible team that I was constantly challenged, learning and growing from. Plus, there is a lot that still needs to be done to improve the options for financing sustainable and resilient investments and I’d hopefully be working to develop new opportunities in this space.”

What is your ultimate long-term professional goal? With climate change, the frequency of natural disasters is increasing, driving a huge wave of new development globally. I want to coordinate strategic and innovative reconstruction after natural disasters, empowering impacted communities to rebuild in ways that improve their long-term sustainability and resiliency.

Who would you most want to thank for your success?  While I have a village to thank for where and who I am, I would most thank my mom for her nudges. Countless times I have set an intention, worked tirelessly towards that goal, and at some point questioned myself and tried to turn back… only to be greeted with a firm motherly nudge. That support has propelled me into the most important adventures of my life and inspired me to similarly support others in their pursuits of their best selves.

In one sentence, how would you like your peers to remember you? I would like my peers to say, “She really saw me, heard me and cared.”

Favorite book: Kiersey Temperament Sorter

Favorite movie or television show: Gilmore Girls

Favorite musical performer: Prince Rama

Favorite vacation spot: The marshes of Cape Cod

Hobbies? Painting, meditation, skiing, crew, sailing & biking

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

“Katy Mixter is a joint degree student with the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies. The demands of pivoting between two degree programs can be very challenging and Katy has distinguished herself in both programs. Her interest and engagement with interdisciplinary academic study bring benefits to all of those who interact with Katy. Her professional background has included residencies in the Philippines, Jamaica and Australia. She also participated in a school projects in Indonesia and Japan. Her determination to pursue global competencies serves to elevate educational objectives as future leaders need to work across cultures and across political boundaries. Upon graduation Katy will join the Boston Consulting Group in Australia.”

Sherilyn Scully
Assistant Dean, Academic Affairs and Student Life

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