2016 MBAs To Watch: Megan Lehman, Florida (Warrington)

Megan Lehman-Florida-PoetsAndQuants_MBAsToWatch2016

Megan Lehman

University of Florida, Warrington College of Business

Age: 29

Hometown: New Alexandria, PA

Undergraduate School and Degree: University of Notre Dame, BS Business Administration

Where did you work before enrolling in business school? Johnson & Johnson Vision Care, Marketing Manager

Where did you intern during the summer of 2015? N/A (1 Year Program)

Where will you be working after graduation? The Boston Consulting Group (BCG), Consultant

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School Founder & President,  Gators Going Global Club; Case Competition Team Member NBMBAA Case Competition, Deloitte Human Capital Case Competition, Katz Case Competition, and FICC Case Competition

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? First-place finishes in both the Katz Case Competition and the Florida Intercollegiate Case Competition. Case competitions not only gave me the opportunity to flex my “real-world,” critical-thinking muscles, but also the opportunity to work closely with like-minded peers, who drove me to think differently. Being an effective team member has critical implications for any career and working with my teammates at 3 a.m., 20 hours into a 24-hour case, to deliver a winning recommendation to a panel of executives, has been one of the highlights of my MBA experience.    

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? While I have led several successful projects at Johnson & Johnson Vision Care in my six-year tenure, including growing a major medical device brand and being appointed by the president to lead a business-model innovation project, I believe that my proudest moment was as the Marketing & Sales Workshop lead for the Youth Leadership Development Program. This program focuses on providing high school students (some who may be at risk of dropping out) the opportunity to see how their academics and staying in school are tied directly to future success.

As the workshop lead, I was able to see the engagement with these students grow in a field that, at the beginning of the seminar, none of them saw as a potential career path (either because of unawareness or pure indifference). At the end of the morning, after each group had enthusiastically provided their “pitches,” I asked the same question: “How many of you want to be in marketing or sales when you grow up?” The response was a room full of raised hands. The achievement here, however, is not merely a “successful” workshop, but more importantly, the continuation of a program that, if it prevents only one of these student from dropping out, is an overwhelming feat.

Who is your favorite professor? Dr. Carolyn Takeda-Brown has been my favorite professor at the University of Florida for several reasons. Not only is she a subject-matter expert in finance, but she leverages that expertise to provide her students with access to practical tools and techniques. She also highly emphasizes the importance of the understanding and internalization of concepts versus “memorization of formulas” or doing what it takes to get an A, which gave me the opportunity to address a competency gap. I now feel very confident in this the area and will be leveraging this knowledge and technical skill set in my role as a consultant.

Favorite MBA Courses? My favorite MBA courses have been those that are case-based. They include: Strategic Management, Cases in Competitive Strategy, and Mergers & Acquisitions. Not only were these courses taught well, but they also gave me access to real-world problems and the opportunity to analyze the situation with specific techniques and/or frameworks, think creatively, and learn how to effectively communicate a solution.

Why did you choose this business school? The University of Florida is a unique program that offers its students a high-touch, personalized experience that drives you to achieve more than you ever thought possible. The 1-on-1 advising that I have received, from both an academic and career perspective, enabled me to make my experience exactly what I wanted it to be, from creating my own club to participating on four case competition teams. It also prepared me to succeed in a highly competitive candidate pool at BCG.

What did you enjoy most about business school? At the University of Florida, your classmates become your family. The collaborative environment drives a camaraderie that I was not expecting out of an MBA program, resulting in better classroom discussions, an encouraging recruiting season, exhilarating case competition experiences, and life-long friends.

What is the biggest lesson you gained from business school? The biggest lesson I learned from business school is the importance of diversity of thought. The globalized economy drives the importance of differentiation of thought and integration to drive optimal outcomes. I have had the honor of learning so much from my classmates, who range from chemical engineers to JD/MBAs, all providing perspectives that not only add incremental value to the discussion, but also challenge me to think differently.

What was the most surprising thing about business school? The most surprising thing about business school was the necessary balance between academics, your career search, networking, student involvement, and socializing. While many prospective students may look at an MBA as a “break” from the real world, work/life balance definitely followed me into my MBA experience!

What was the hardest part of business school? The hardest part of business school was the intense preparation for consulting interviews during recruiting season — from developing the initial understanding of the case interviewing process, to practicing real cases with classmates and career advisers, to staying up to date with current events to help drive creative thinking and maintain context (hundreds of hours of intense work, all before you even know whether you get an interview).

What’s your best advice to an applicant to your school? My best advice to an applicant to the University of Florida is that if you are looking for an involved program, one that is all about family and dares you to dream big, then apply to UF MBA. Once you apply (great move!), demonstrate your enthusiasm for the program, your drive to create your own success, and your commitment to the UF MBA family.   

I knew I wanted to go to business school when… I needed a new avenue for my intellectual curiosity.”

If I hadn’t gone to business school, I would be… continuing my career as a marketing (brand) manager at Johnson & Johnson Vision Care.”

Which executive or entrepreneur do you most admire? When considering which executive or entrepreneur I admire the most, not only do I think about achievements and impact, I also highly weigh how this leader interacts with people.

Prior to leaving Johnson & Johnson Vision Care, I had the distinct pleasure of being led by Laura Angelini, a 24-year Johnson & Johnson veteran. Laura drove me to work harder and think more creatively than I had in my six-year career at Johnson & Johnson, setting the example of what “customer-focused” really looks like. She also is a risk-taker who freed her team to make big decisions quickly — a unique proposition in a large, conservative company. Most importantly, however, is the fact that Laura cares about her people. As I was making my difficult decision to pursue my MBA, she never wavered from her supportive stance and reassured me that my personal growth and success was most important to her. To this day, I routinely touch base with Laura, and even though she’s one of the busiest women I know, I can count on a prompt, encouraging reply.

What are your long-term professional goals? While I may not have the “how” exactly mapped out, my long-term goals include making a significant impact (my personal definition will undoubtedly change through the years) and being recognized as an influential leader. My areas of passion include healthcare (specifically chronic illness and mental health), the interaction of digital technology and consumer behavior, and education reform. I’m very much looking forward to my consulting role at BCG and becoming involved in projects in these areas.

Who would you most want to thank for your success? There are too many people to thank for my success to mention all by name. I would, however, like to thank my husband, who has supported this entire journey; my family, who have driven me by example — demonstrating that hard work and dedication do pay off; and finally the UF MBA administration and my classmates, without whom I would not be entering into this exciting, new chapter.

Fun fact about yourself: I grew up on a Black Angus farm in New Alexandria, PA and am a proud member of a military family (Go Navy! Beat Army!).

Favorite book: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.

Favorite movie: Braveheart.

Favorite musical performer: George Strait.

Favorite television show: “Cupcake Wars”.

Favorite vacation spot: Tulum, Mexico.

Hobbies? Working out, reading, hanging out at the beach with my husband and friends.

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

“Megan came to the UF MBA program with tremendous work experience that would enhance any MBA cohort. However, it is Megan’s ability to communicate with diverse audiences that truly sets her apart. Megan was particularly effective as the leader of multiple case competition teams. Not only did Megan contribute and perform as a member of each team, she invested time in developing her teammates, setting a standard of commitment and performance that drove her peers to excel. Megan also invested time and energy into training, preparing, and sharing best practices with teams competing in other case competitions. In business, results matter. It is important to note that as a result of Megan’s involvement, our case competition teams have been incredibly successful this year, placing in and winning national and regional competitions. Beyond winning the competitions, Megan’s contributions have directly resulted in improved competencies in her teammates.

“In addition to case competitions, Megan took the initiative to found a new organization, Gators Going Global, which provides education and exposure to issues in global business practices. Megan developed a comprehensive educational program, solicited outstanding speakers, collaborated with other organization presidents, and successfully recruited participants to each program. Given the interdependence of business on a global scale, this organization delivers critical learning outcomes for our students.”

Jason Rife
Associate Director of MBA Career Services
University of Florida, Warrington College of Business

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