2017 MBAs To Watch: Ginny Parker, Georgetown (McDonough)

Ginny Parker

Georgetown University, McDonough School of Business

“Intellectually curious, serial over-committer with a passion for creativity and love of problem solving.”

 Age: 29

Hometown: Nashville, TN

Fun fact about yourself: I do calligraphy work on the side and last year Kerry Washington, also known as Olivia Pope from Scandal, posted a photo of something I wrote for the Kennedy Center Honors on Instagram.

 Undergraduate School and Degree: Washington University in St. Louis, BA with Dual Major in Drama and Organization/Human Resources Management

 Where did you work before enrolling in business school?

John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Special Events Coordinator

National Museum of Women in the Arts, Development Events Coordinator

 Where did you intern during the summer of 2016?

Deloitte Consulting, Summer Associate in Federal Strategy and Operations (Arlington, VA)

 Where will you be working after graduation?

Deloitte Consulting, Senior Consultant in Federal Strategy and Operations (Arlington, VA)

 Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School: 

  • Executive Vice President and Hoya Cohort Representative, MBA Student Government Association
  • Core Honors (Top 10% of MBA Class)
  • Forté Fellow
  • Active Member of Georgetown Consulting Club, Graduate Women in Business, and Business and Government Alliance
  • Graduate Assistant for Leadership Communication and Management Consulting

 Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? I am extremely proud of the work our 2016 Student Government Board accomplished last year from deepening alumni relations to launching McDonough’s first service trek to facilitating welcome weekends and orientation for the Class of 2018. Peer leadership is one of the most challenging and rewarding things you can do and our board rose to the occasion.

In my role as Executive Vice President of the board, one of my key responsibilities was leading the team that planned and executed McDonough Cup, an annual tradition in which the first years, second years, and evening program students compete in events ranging from a grill-off to kickball, all for the chance to take home the coveted McDonough Cup trophy. Historically, student giving had always been a component of the Cup, largely to get the second years excited about giving back to McDonough before graduation, but participation was inconsistent. Coming from a background in fundraising, I knew I’d be able to add some value here and worked closely our Office of Advancement to formalize the campaign. We added a giveaway – sunglasses – as an incentive to donate and displayed a thermometer chart throughout the week to add some friendly competition. For the fiscal year ending in 2016, McDonough saw its highest overall full-time student participation with 44% of students participating.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? After undergrad, I joined the National Museum of Women in the Arts as the sole event manager. A few months into the job, I was tasked with driving a $500K fundraising event and auction – the largest since the museum’s inception. With little historical data on how to manage the event due to high turnover in the position, I had to develop the event budget, auction database, and logistics, marketing, and outreach plan from the ground up. I also had to overcome the challenge of navigating differing opinions as to how the event was to be executed. While this event surpassed our goal, I am most proud of developing procedures and processes that laid the groundwork for future events that will provide vital funding for the museum’s exhibitions and educational programs.

 Who was your favorite MBA professor? I came to business school having never seen a 10-K and I certainly did not know how to discount cash flows. Fortunately, our core professors Allison Koester and Lee Pinkowitz, teaching financial accounting and finance respectively, have an innate ability to teach the material in such a way that no matter your background, you’re able to understand. Both professors genuinely care about student success and are often found holding additional office hours or creating an endless number of practice problems to help students prepare for exams and quizzes. Most importantly, Professors Koester and Pinkowitz are actively involved in the greater McDonough community from taking time to have lunch with students to judging last year’s first annual Gingerbread House contest.

What was your favorite MBA Course and what was the biggest insight you gained about business from it? One of my favorite classes was Understanding Social Innovation taught by Melissa Bradley. Throughout this course, we not only learned the principles of social innovation but also spent time reflecting on our role as future business leaders in the betterment of the larger community. The class culminated in a weekend-long innovation lab in which teams had just over two days to develop a social innovation and present their plan to a panel of social luminaries here in DC. This course was unlike any other course I have taken at McDonough because it allowed us take what we learned in the classroom and immediately apply it to a real-world problem. My biggest takeaway from the weekend was the importance of actively engaging the people whose problems you are trying to solve. Many of our team’s initial hypotheses, in working to create an affordable childcare solution for parents in DC, were disproved when speaking to parents in the DC area struggling to find appropriate childcare.

 Why did you choose this business school? I chose Georgetown for the community. My husband started Georgetown’s Evening Program in 2014. I had the opportunity to attend a number of events with him as a partner, from orientation to Spring Formal, and to meet members of the Georgetown community. In the way that he interacted with his classmates and team members, I saw that Georgetown students were collaborative and supportive. More importantly, they were people that I wanted to learn from and learn with. Now, having crafted my own Georgetown experience, I can say that I have learned more from my Georgetown peers than I ever expected from how to master linear regression to the value of a spontaneous trip across the globe.

 What did you enjoy most about business school in general? Coming to business school from a career that was no longer intellectually stimulating, I genuinely enjoyed learning something new every day surrounded by other intellectually curious, smart, and driven individuals. However, the learning did not just happen in the classroom. Some of the most thought-provoking and reflective conversations I had in business school started informally when I was just sitting around a table with my peers.

 What was the most surprising thing about business school for you? An MBA program is just as much a lesson in time management as it is about finance, accounting, and operations. As a serial over-committer, I wanted to get involved in everything I could from the moment I stepped foot on campus. However, after just a few weeks of racing from one meeting to the next, I realized I was sacrificing quality for quantity. I needed to be more selective about how I spent my time and learn to say “no.” As soon as I was elected Executive Vice President of our Student Government, I removed my name from the running to become an Admissions Ambassador and a Peer Advisor because I knew I needed to devote my time to serving our class and community in this role.

What is your best piece advice to an applicant hoping to get into your school’s MBA program? As cliché as it may sound, be authentic. When I first applied to business school, I thought that I needed to downplay my theater major or background working in the arts because those qualities did not meet a “typical” MBA profile. In reality, there is no typical MBA profile. Georgetown seeks to build a well-rounded class when making admissions decisions and my classmates come from a variety of backgrounds – there are even a few other arts majors. My arts background set me apart from other candidates and has allowed me to bring a unique perspective to the classroom.

 What is the biggest myth about your school? While not Georgetown-specific, I think one of the biggest business school myths is that it is hard to be a double career switcher (changing both industry and functions) but I am proud to say that I have done it. Making a switch from an event coordinator at a non-profit institution to a strategy consultant was by no means easy, but by consistently meeting with career coaches and peer advisors, establishing a network, and learning how to market my skills, I am about to start a career that will allow me to use my work and business school experience to help clients solve their most complex problems and fulfill their organizational mission.

What was your biggest regret in business school?  Before I started business school, someone told me that the difference between a good business school experience and a great business school experience is about $10,000. Now that business school is coming to an end, and the reality of client work and limited vacation time is on the horizon, one of my biggest regrets is not taking the opportunity to travel as much as some of my peers who explored places ranging from Australia to Cuba during their time at McDonough.

 Which MBA classmate do you most admire? I most admire our 2016 Student Government President, Charlotte Valentine. Charlotte did not come to Georgetown with a desire to get involved in student government, but saw a need in our community that she thought she could fill. She always says she came to business school to take risks and throwing her name into the hat to lead our school – plus taking a chance to partner with someone she had known for just a few weeks – was a quite a risk. As President, she inspired our classmates to take on both formal and informal leadership roles and to start their own initiatives. Now that she has transitioned out of the role, she continues to look for opportunities to bring our community together to overcome challenges and celebrate accomplishments.

I knew I wanted to go to business school when…I discovered I was more interested in creating revenue projections for my events at Kennedy Center or finding ways to streamline event processes rather than planning the actual events.”

If I hadn’t gone to business school, I would be…still working at the Kennedy Center. It was hard to leave, but I knew it was the best decision for my career.”

 If you were a dean for a day, what one thing would you change about the MBA experience? If I were dean for a day, I would give first year students an opportunity to take an elective course (with the proper prerequisites, of course) in the fall of their first year. There are a number of electives that I have taken and thought “this would have been really useful before my internship interviews.”

 What is your ultimate long-term professional goal? While it is hard to say where I’ll be in the next 10, 15, or 20 years, I know that I want to be in a leadership role that brings new challenges every day. I have been – and continue to be – inspired by so many strong, intelligent female role models that have paved the way for women in business. Whether I end up as a partner at Deloitte or an executive in the arts, I hope to be one such role model for the younger generation of female leaders.

 Who would you most want to thank for your success? I owe my success to my husband. He started the part-time Georgetown MBA program the summer before I applied and encouraged me to start my own MBA journey, reassuring me that, yes, I was smart enough to get in and yes, we would figure out how to pay for it. He cheered me on as I studied for and took the GMAT, not once, but twice. He proofread all of my admissions essays and helped me prepare for my interviews. After I started classes at Georgetown, he became my study partner, finance tutor, and team member. Without his constant encouragement and support (and reminders than no one cares what I got on that valuation quiz), I would not be where I am today.

 In one sentence, how would you like your peers to remember you? I hope my peers remember me as an easily approachable, dependable team player who they could count on to solve a problem, find an answer, or listen to a concern.

Favorite book: The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion

Favorite movie or television show: Scandal, Madam Secretary, and Gilmore Girls

Favorite musical performer: Any Broadway cast

Favorite vacation spot: Peter Island, BVI

Hobbies? I love to travel, explore new restaurants, and stay active through barre, yoga, and running.

 What made Virginia such an invaluable member of the Class of 2017?

“Describing why Virginia (Ginny) Page Parker is such an invaluable addition to the Class of 2017 is easy. She exemplifies the type of person that McDonough wants representing us as a student and as an alumnus. Ginny’s academic performance, professional accomplishments, and leadership positions are all exceptional, but what makes her shine above others is her energy, creativity, emotional intelligence, and generosity.

Ginny has an undergraduate degree in Drama and Organization and Human Resource Management. As more of a “poet,” the core MBA curriculum was new material. Despite her lack of quantitative background, Ginny excelled in her coursework and is on track to graduate in the top 5% of the class.

In addition to her academic achievements, Ginny took on several key leadership roles at McDonough. She was chosen as her cohort representative for all four semesters serving as a liaison between students, faculty, and the administration. Most notably, she was elected as the Executive Vice President for the Student Government Association. In this critical leadership role, she worked side by side with the president and was able to effectively engage and guide other student leaders. A few initiatives that she was critically involved in include deepening engagements between students and alumni, strengthening relationships between first- and second-year students, and increasing student giving. As a Forte’ Fellow, she engaged in initiatives to support women in business. These accomplishments speak to Ginny’s commitment to building the McDonough community and supporting its members.

Ginny also was an active member of the Graduate Consulting Club, Graduate Women in Business, Graduate Marketing Association, Business and Government Alliance, and the Wine Society. She supported faculty and students in her role as a Graduate Assistant for both Leadership Communications and Management Consulting.

Ginny completed her internship as a Summer Associate at Deloitte Consulting in the Federal Strategy and Operations Practice and is excited to return to Deloitte after graduation as a Senior Consultant.

Many students juggle numerous commitments while in business school. What sets Ginny apart is that she does it all with kindness, efficiency, and humility. Ginny has the trust and respect of classmates, faculty, and the administration. Her generosity and capacity to make meaningful change in the world make her a true leader. I am honored that she chose to complete her MBA at Georgetown McDonough.”

Kerry Pace
Associate Dean of MBA Programs

DON’T MISS: MBAS TO WATCH: THE STORIES OF 100 EXTRAORDINARY GRADUATES FROM THE CLASS OF 2017