2015 Best MBAs: Stephanie Landry

Stephanie Landry - Wharton-PoetsAndQuants

Stephanie Landry


The Wharton School

For Stephanie Landry, the MBA was a ticket out of a finance life that consumed her evenings and weekends and put in jeopardy her health and happiness. At the Wharton School, Landry moved comfortably into the tech industry, heading up the acclaimed Wharton’s People Analytics Conference, doubling its attendance to some 450 people and attracting some of the biggest names in technology and academia. In addition, Landry served as the class marshal and received the O. Anderson Petty III Fellowship Award for outstanding academic and professional accomplishments, exceptional character, integrity and leadership. Not surprisingly, she landed one of the plum jobs of the Class of 2015 at Apple on the company’s iPhone business development team.

Age: 29

Hometown: Seattle, WA

Undergraduate School: NYU Stern School of Business

Undergraduate Degree: BS in Finance and Economics, Minor in Math

Where did you work before enrolling in business school? Bridgewater Associates; Fixed Income and Citadel Asset Management; Global Equities

Where did you intern during the summer of 2014? Apple; Cupertino, CA

Where will you be working after graduation? Apple, iPhone Business Development

“I knew I wanted to go to business school when…Honestly, it took a lot of convincing before I decided to go back to school. Coming out of undergrad, I had no plans of ever going back. I wanted to run a trading desk someday, and was determined to do it. However, now more than ever, I am cognizant of the fact that it’s really hard to understand what a career path is truly like until you are actually in it. For me, it was the realization that the lifestyle I had while working in finance was not one that would allow me to be happy and healthy in the long term. That resulted in the realization that I needed to go back. It was a really scary decision to make at the time. I had no idea what I wanted to do outside of finance, and it was a huge risk to leave a “good” job with no sense of what my alternatives would look like. Today I am very glad to say that it was one of the best risks I have ever taken.”

“If I hadn’t gone to business school, I would be…without a job that makes me eager to get into the office every morning (even on weekends!), without so many new amazing friends, without numerous new stamps on my passport to places I would have never visited otherwise, and without a very long photo stream of some of the best memories of my life.”

What are your long-term professional goals? I am going to answer this vaguely because of what I said before – it is impossible to fully understand what a career or a job is really like until you are actually doing it. What I do know is that I want my career to excite me every day (duh!). I want it to allow me to think about meaningful and challenging questions, and to enjoy the epiphany of finding a clever solution to them. I want it to allow me to stay healthy and to allow me to explore cool experiences outside of the office.”

Favorite Courses: Applied Probability Models in Marketing, Managerial Decision Making, and Microeconomics for Managers

Which academic or professional achievements are you most proud of? Being involved in Wharton’s People Analytics Conference has been so fulfilling. It was founded last year by my classmate, Lisa Donchak (WG’15), and I joined her team as the sponsorship chair. The inaugural event hosted 250 industry professionals and academics, and was the first (and continues to be the only) event that brought together the leading minds in the field to share best practices, discuss cutting-edge research, and to work together to put the field in a better place at the end of the conference than it was before the conference.

This year, I was the conference chair, and my team and I put together a two-day, 450-person event that again attracted the best minds in the field. Over the last two years, I think our work has put Wharton at the forefront of the people analytics movement, which is a very rewarding thing to think about. Going forward, a student team and our two faculty advisers, Cade Massey and Adam Grant, will not only be continuing to develop the conference, but they are also working on a broader people analytics “Initiative” at the school, making Wharton a hub for cutting-edge research and practice.

Who would you most want to thank for your success? My parents for making every opportunity available to me and my boyfriend for being my rock, and for pushing me to continue to make my life and myself better.

Why did you choose this business school? When I got into Wharton, I originally thought I would accept an offer I had received from another school (which I will not name). I even bought the t-shirt! I was hooked. However, I still committed to going to Welcome Weekend for both schools. Wharton’s was first, and I was blown away by the energy, enthusiasm and camaraderie among the students.

The Welcome Committee stood in front of us and recited their favorite memories from the last year, and you could see how happy they were to be at Wharton and how strong the community was. Additionally, the students I met were simultaneously extremely humble and extremely hungry – it took weeks for me to get a sense of what everyone’s background was because no one felt the need to prove themselves. When I went to Welcome Weekend for the other school, I left half-way through the first day. The experience was the polar-opposite of what I had just experienced at Wharton. That’s when I knew Wharton was where I wanted to live out my business school experience, and I could not be happier about the decision I made.

What did you enjoy most about business school? That’s such an impossible question to answer!! It has been the best two years of my life, so by definition a lot of incredibly enjoyable things have happened! I will say that the common thread across all of these experiences has been that they have involved amazing people. The worst part about leaving business school is, hands down, the fact that I will not get to see them every day.

What is your most memorable moment from business school? I think the moment that I will remember most occurred at the People Analytics Conference, a conference I had been working on essentially since I came to business school. I remember the moment right before I walked on stage to give opening remarks, and looking out into the audience of 450 people, each of whom were the top thinkers and practitioners in people analytics from industry and academia.  People like Laszlo Bock from Google, Jeff Ma of the MIT Blackjack Team fame, former NBA star Shane Battier, author Dan Pink, and Harvard economist Sendhil Mullainathan, had all decided to dedicate two days of their lives to attend this conference that we, a bunch of twenty-something MBAs, had put together. The other very cool thing about that moment was the view I had of my team who had dedicated that last year of their MBA experience to helping put on this event – they were all so excited and so proud, and it was very rewarding to get to see that in them.

Fun fact about yourself: I can do a backflip (I used to be a competitive gymnast, and still love to play around on the grass/beach when I can).

Favorite vacation spot: Anywhere with sunshine, and drinks with umbrellas in them.

What are your hobbies? I’m sort of a fitness freak – it’s super important to me to stay in shape.  I learned the hard way that my fitness/health is something that I can never compromise if I want to be happy, no matter what that means for my career. It has become a rule of mine, and I think it’s something that is important for people to think about generally. Especially after completing an MBA program, there are so many great career opportunities that allow you to live the life you want to live and still be successful. The opportunity cost of simply following the traditional post-MBA career paths is higher than ever these days. I think my greatest piece of advice for people would be to have the guts to take “smart” risks in terms of the lifestyle you decide to pursue.

Twitter Handle: @im_slandry

Best of 2015

The Story: Class of 2015: The World’s Best & Brightest MBAs

The Complete List: The 50 Most Exceptional MBAs of 2015


Katie Benintende: Making A Difference At UC-Berkeley’s Haas School

Questions about this article? Email us or leave a comment below.