The Stereotype-Defying MBAs In The Class of 2018

Ashley Johnson Emory

Ashley Johnson

Emory University, Goizueta Business School

Describe yourself in 15 words or less: Sports-nerd, passionate about education and animals, ambitious leader, future CEO

Hometown: Plainfield, NJ

Fun Fact About Yourself: I was an all-state softball player in high school. Go cardinals!

Undergraduate School and Major: New York University, Double Major: Journalism and Sociology

Employers and Job Titles Since Graduation:
Teach For America: Manager, National Communications and Engagement
Teach For America: Coordinator, Alumni Affairs and Alumni Communications
Loudspeaker Films: Outreach Manager

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: I led communications for four initiatives at Teach For America that launched in the past two years: our Asian American Pacific Islander Initiative, Diverse Learner Initiative, LGBTQ Initiative, and the Computer Science initiative at my job. For each of these launches, I developed a communications campaign to help announce the news, and pitched the news to various outlets across the country. This included press releases, interviews, and written op-eds about the importance of education and recognizing the value of each of these new initiatives. Overall, they all had successful launches and continue to do amazing, impactful work today.

Looking back on your experience, what advice would you give to future business school applicants? Have a clear goal in mind – but be willing to take risks: Know why you want your MBA and what you are hoping to get out of the experience. Having a clearly defined career goal will help ensure that you are making the best choices – in programs and schools, instead of pursuing an MBA just because you are unsure of what’s next. With that goal in mind, it becomes easier to know what to focus on in terms of what experiences and strengths you need to get out of your business school program. At the same time, be flexible and open to try new fields or industries that you may not have previously considered.

I would also advise applicants to apply to the various pre-MBA program professional development opportunities that are available. My experience with the Consortium for Graduate Study in Management exposed me to professional development, recruiting opportunities, and helped me network – all before I stepped foot on campus for the semester. There are also programs aligned to your specific career goals – whether it be marketing, finance, or investment banking.

What led you to choose this program for your full-time MBA? Goizueta really stood out to me as I was making a decision about which business schools I was interested in. I ultimately chose Goizueta for a number of factors. I really appreciated the small class size. I went to a large undergraduate institution, and for my MBA, I wanted to be in a more-close knit environment, with an opportunity to build close and supportive relationships with my professors, classmates, and the faculty, especially since I didn’t have a business background. I also appreciated that the curriculum was experiential in nature, so there are a lot of hands-on projects where I will get the opportunity to interact with those in the industry.

Tell us about your dream job or dream employer at this point in your life? My ultimate dream job is to found and lead community centers in underserved neighborhoods around the county that offer sports and academic enrichment to kids in that community. I have always been passionate about both education and sports, and I know first-hand how many communities struggle with providing youth with some of these opportunities. My centers will use sports as a means to teach other life skills, including teamwork, respect, and effort.

What would you like your business school peers to say about you after you graduate from this program? After graduating, I would like my peers to say that I was a leader – I plan to join many clubs at GBS and help continue to ensure their success, and bring my ideas and expertise to their leadership boards. I would also like them to say that I was helpful – I know we all come from different backgrounds and have different strengths, and I want my classmates to know we are all in this together!

  • 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!