Our Favorite MBAs Of 2015

Kenan-Flagler MBA candidate and magician Jared Molton

Kenan-Flagler MBA candidate and magician Jared Molton

9. Jared Molton, University of North Carolina Kenan-Flagler Business School

On paper, Jared Molton isn’t your “typical” MBA student. He doesn’t hold an undergraduate degree in business or economics or even marketing. It’s in journalism. Prior to beginning his MBA at North Carolina’s Kenan-Flagler Business School in 2013, he wasn’t on Wall Street or in tech. Molton left a magic shop called Louis Tannen on 34th Street in New York City, where he was general manager.

But there is no denying Molton’s business savvy—or magic prowess. The professional magician was the first full-time hire at Louis Tannen in more than a decade. He started as a sales manager but was promoted to general manager after three months on the job. From 2010 to 2013, he says he increased the store’s annual revenue by 100%.

After graduating last spring, Molton took a job with Amazon to continue on his retail path.

8. Michaela LeBlanc, Tuck School of Business

Tuck's Michaela LeBlanc

Tuck’s Michaela LeBlanc

Michaela LeBlanc launched her Wall Street career at the most inopportune time: She started on September 15, 2008—the same day Lehman Brothers filed for bankruptcy. “My first experience working on a trading floor was during a crisis,” she recalls of her first day with Bank of America. But LeBlanc is tough, disciplined and resilient.

She became adept at institutional equity sales and gobbled up any opportunity that came her way. Eventually, LeBlanc ended up in Hong Kong with JP Morgan. It is there she met some endurance-minded Tuckies. LeBlanc began training for half-marathons and triathlons with other finance professionals—the majority of which came from Tuck. Those experiences led her to the New Hampshire school’s MBA program and an Ironman triathlon.

The summer before beginning at Tuck, she finished the Lake Placid Ironman—completing all 112 miles on the bike, 26.2 miles running and 2.4 miles swimming in the icy waters of Lake Placid. After graduating last spring, LeBlanc landed a position with Goldman Sachs.

MIT Sloan School of Management MBA candidate Lisa Conn - Ethan Baron photo

MIT Sloan School of Management MBA candidate Lisa Conn – Ethan Baron photo

7. Lisa Conn, MIT Sloan School of Management

Mass shootings have dominated the news in the past year. Like the vast majority of other Americans, Lisa Conn was left infuriated and shocked by the tragedies. Unlike many Americans, Conn decided to to do something about it and set herself down a path to try to alleviate the problem.

Seeing a legislative failure to fix issues of violence and gun regulations, Conn turned to political interest, big data, tech and business to offer solutions. She began the full-time MBA program at MIT Sloan this past fall and is already involved with a project called Electome in the MIT Media Lab. The project analyzes communication surrounding the 2016 presidential election and is aimed at measuring how responsive media and politics are to issues the American people really care about—like how to alleviate the mass shooting epidemic.

6. Jeehae Lee, The Wharton School

Wharton MBA student Jeehae Lee

Wharton MBA student Jeehae Lee

Numerous college campuses across the United States have seen race-related protests. But before the outbreak of campus protests at the University of Missouri, Yale, Harvard and others, Wharton MBA Jeehae Lee was calling out fellow students for ignorant racist comments and actions.

“If there’s one type of race-based humor that’s commonly accepted on campus, it’s jokes targeting Asians and exploiting Asian stereotypes,” wrote Lee, a former professional golfer, in The Wharton Journal, the school’s student newspaper, last spring. The article cited multiple instances of blatantly racist remarks and actions from fellow Whartonites.

Lee makes our Favorite MBAs list for bravely (and publicly) standing up to those issues and bringing them to light.

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