2016 Best MBAs: Kristin Horvath, University of Michigan

Kristin Horvath Michigan

Kristin Horvath

University of Michigan, Ross School of Business

“One of the biggest commonalities I’ve noticed among my classmates is passion. I have classmates passionate about improving healthcare in emerging markets, developing top rated adult sports leagues in Texas, and helping revitalize Detroit through impact investing to name a few. This passion fuels the Ross experience.”

Age: 26

Hometown: Shoreview, MN

Education: University of Minnesota, Bachelor of Science Mechanical Engineering

Where did you work before enrolling in business school? Eaton Corporation, Senior Product Engineer in Hydraulic Pump New Product Development

Where did you intern during the summer of 2015? Land O’Lakes, Arden Hills Minnesota

Where will you be working after graduation? Land O’Lakes, Associate Marketing Manager

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School

  • Co-President of the Marketing Club at Ross
  • Co-Chair of 35 person student planning committee for Go Blue Rendezvous, Ross’s admitted student weekend
  • Teaching assistant for Statistics, Economics and Sensory Marketing classes
  • Student Ambassador
  • Admissions Interviewer

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? When I came to visit Ross for the first time as a prospective student, I met with one of the co-presidents of Marketing Club, Brandon Potter. Brandon told me about an initiative the club was working on to bring more action based learning opportunities to students interested in marketing to better prepare them for internship and full time roles.

When I was elected to be co-president of Marketing Club last spring, I was tasked with continuing the search and negotiations for software to provide those opportunities to students. I am so proud to say that in the past year, my co-president Emery Volz and I have spearheaded partnerships with Nielsen and Tracx to provide these tools to current students. Working with Ross administration, we have been able to provide cutting edge access to Nielsen point of sale scanner data that is not available at any other program to the best of my knowledge. We brought on a four person team of Marketing Club members to develop workshops to give students training with these tools. I just completed a four session Nielsen boot camp that has helped prepare me for day one of my full time role, along with 80 of my classmates. I’m really proud of this achievement because it will have a positive, lasting impact on the Ross Community moving forward.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? My summer internship project at Land O’Lakes was developing a strategy to grow revenue in Purina flock feed. I was able to re-analyze historical data with a fresh lens and pull insights about how to succeed in an underserved market. I developed a plan to improve distribution and better connect with customers in the most promising markets. This created a multi-million dollar incremental profit opportunity for the brand and has been adopted by management to implement in 2016. I’m proud of this achievement because it helped my brand support broader strategic goals for Purina and made me feel more confident that my time in business school has led to a career that I will love.

Favorite MBA Courses? Pricing Strategy and Tactics, Employment Law for Managers, Business Leadership in Changing Times, Big Data Analytics, Leadership Coaching Practicum, and Financial Statement Analysis

Why did you choose this business school? I knew when applying to school that I wanted to make a career switch into marketing management. I talked with many people working at the companies I was interested in and heard over and over that Ross is a top recruiting focus. That made me very confident that I would be successful in my career transition. From there, I evaluated the curriculum and loved Ross’s focus on action based learning. I know that I learn best when I have the chance to apply material in real time so that was a fit. Finally, I wanted to be at a school with a strong student community who would support me while also pushing me to grow as a leader and saw that at Ross.

What did you enjoy most about business school? Business school has been an amazing opportunity to learn from the experiences of all of my classmates. I have thoroughly enjoyed finding out more about the prior experiences of my class as well as the incredible work each person has been involved in while at school. It has added so much color to classroom discussions and group work to find out more about how these topics are used in the workplace. On top of adding to my academic experience, my classmates have become fantastic friends that I look forward to working with for life.

What was the most surprising thing about business school? I was very surprised by how much I enjoyed classes outside of my focus area. For my electives, I’ve taken classes in advanced accounting, financial trading, and programming that I never would have expected coming into school. However, by getting an introduction to these subjects through the core, I realized that these subjects are very cool and learning more would prepare me to better communicate with cross functional team members in the future.

What was the hardest part of business school? Time management. There are so many opportunities to get involved, spend time with classmates, volunteer, or attend talks by inspiring alumni. I’ve had many weeks where my calendar looks like a game of Tetris and as a result I’m not able to fully engage in all of the activities. I’ve found that it is not realistic to do it all, but am constantly working on prioritizing events that fit with my goals for school.

What’s your best advice to an applicant to your school? One of the biggest commonalities I’ve noticed among my classmates is passion. I have classmates passionate about improving healthcare in emerging markets, developing top rated adult sports leagues in Texas, and helping revitalize Detroit through impact investing to name a few. This passion fuels the Ross experience. In your application, make sure to highlight what makes you tick and how your time here can help you better achieve that goal.

I knew I wanted to go to business school when…I was working in new product development and found myself far more interested in the marketing tasks than the engineering work I was in charge of. I wanted to know how they decided which products we should develop and knew that business school would prepare me for those types of strategic decisions.”

If I hadn’t gone to business school, I would be…working as a project manager for industrial products aiming to shift into marketing in the future.”

What are your long-term professional goals? Leverage marketing to help companies evolve with the quickly changing marketplace.

Who would you most want to thank for your success? I’d like to thank my parents and my husband. My mom and dad have encouraged education throughout my life, from working through multiplication flashcards with me at breakfast as a child to never failing to ask what I learned at school during dinner. They’ve always supported me and my four siblings and encouraged us to pursue our dreams. My husband Brett has also been an amazing supporter. We were on our honeymoon when I found out that I got into Michigan which we both knew meant we would be embarking on two years of long distance marriage. He has been incredibly supportive through the stressful recruiting process, helped me work through leadership challenges I’ve faced in extracurricular groups, and has traveled out for big events so that he can meet my classmates. I believe that I would not be where I am today without Ross and I would not be at Ross without the support of my family.

Fun fact about yourself: My first trip to Ann Arbor was for the Big 10 Regatta when I was a rower for the Golden Gophers. My boat won a bronze medal!

Favorite book: Tuesdays with Morrie

Favorite movie: Legally Blonde

Favorite musical performer: I love country music

Favorite television show: Friends

Favorite vacation spot: Florence Italy

Hobbies? Golfing, decorating custom cakes, cooking comfort food, paper crafting, downhill skiing, and playing board games

What made Kristin such an invaluable addition to the class of 2016?

“Kristin stood out as a student because of her positive attitude, great energy, and ability to always stay on top of things. She was involved in many things at Ross: Co-President of the Marketing Club, Ross Ambassador, and Co-Chair of Go Blue Rendezvous, Ross’ admitted student weekend. She was also a key part of the student team that helped to develop our relationship with Nielsen, which eventually led to Nielsen sharing their Answers on Demand interface–something only Ross students have access to. Kristin is reliable, energetic, and has a great sense of humor. She’s someone I would always want to be on my team!” — Heather Byrne, Managing Director, Full-Time MBA Program, University of Michigan, Ross School of Business


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