The Stereotype-Defying MBAs In The Class of 2018

Alicia Flanagan

Alicia Jane Flanagan

Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management at Cornell University

Describe yourself in 15 words or less: I’m an ambitious explorer with an unwavering resolve who values experiences as much as results.

Hometown: Missoula, MT

Fun Fact About Yourself: I have logged more than 100 open-water dives across three continents

Undergraduate School and Major: Arizona State University. Biology, BS


Employers and Job Titles Since Graduation:
• Asset Creation – General Manager
• U.S. Coast Guard
o Coast Guard Cutter ESCANABA, Deck Watch Officer
o Maritime Safety & Security Team Boston, Deployable Team Leader
o Maritime Safety & Security Team Boston, Executive Officer

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: I led the Coast Guard’s Deployable Specialized Forces (DSF) response to the Boston Marathon Bombings and helped restore order to Boston’s port. Following the DSF’s establishment post-9/11, the program highlighted the team’s specialized capabilities, the ability to integrate within the Incident Command System structure, and coordination between governmental agencies.

Looking back on your experience, what advice would you give to future business school applicants? You are not defined solely by your GMAT and GPA. Before you start your applications, put pen to paper and reflect upon your own values, experiences and accomplishments. Everyone in b-school is a rock star, so refrain from trying to be like someone else. Identify and separate those unique factors that make you who you are.

What led you to choose this program for your full-time MBA? I chose Johnson due to the flexibility of the program, its robust leadership programs both inside and outside the classroom, and the faculty. Johnson provides MBA candidates with the opportunity to take courses within Cornell’s other programs providing an invaluable opportunity to diversify the MBA curriculum. Furthermore, I immediately felt part of the Johnson family even before I received my admissions decision. Throughout the process, I truly felt that the staff got to know me, which is a real testament to the inclusivity of both the program and the university.

Tell us about your dream job or dream employer at this point in your life? My dream job is to be assigned to the Office of Congressional Affairs within the U.S. Coast Guard. Following completion of the MBA program and assignment as a government Financial Manager, I plan to serve in a position where I will have an opportunity to emphasize Coast Guard matters in a tight budget environment and bring the Service’s perspective to the process of drafting and passing legislation.

What would you like your business school peers to say about you after you graduate from this program? I want my peers to remember that I was involved, excelled, and achieved an appreciable change in my leadership capabilities.

  • matt

    what was the coverage universe that you created?

  • A.D.

    LOL! The pictures alone counter the headline…whites with privilege to explore “other” career options before moving into coveted seats at elite schools is NOT progressive when colored’s still represent one of ten at BEST! F.o.H…

    Do better Poets&Quants/Jeff Schmidt

  • avivalasvegas

    It isn’t very difficult to look this stuff up. While I give him props for leaving McK and working with the Obams, I would consider the former director of National Personnel, Samir Mayekar from the Kellogg’s class of 2013, who went on to found a battery technology startup, a far better example of a non-traditional background.
    As I’ve said many times before, Kellogg is losing their way and veering away from the best candidates from diverse backgrounds in favor of high GMAT score drones.

  • Yes

    Going from McK to a nonprofit is stereotype-defying. The stereotype is McK -> industry/b-school.

  • Reasonable

    Where did you see that he spent the majority of his career at McKinsey? I see that he had two roles there, but I don’t see that length of those roles is specified. Did I miss something?

  • avivalasvegas

    McKinsey & Company for the majority of his career makes this guy stereotype -defying? Is that the best that Kellogg the consultant factory could do?

  • Stereotype-defying?

    Unclear how a lot of these bios are “stereotype defying.” A lot of them went to top school undergrad then top consulting firms or investment banks. Does the title refer to us getting a glimpse of their more personal side? Reminds me of an HBS Twitter feed a while back of a “nontraditional” applicant who was Harvard undergrad, worked for JP Morgan for two years then did art auctioning for Sotheby’s or something.

  • Rona

    You sound awesome, good luck!