Meet Columbia’s MBA Class of 2018

jillian-wang-columbia-poetsandquants-classof2018

Jill Wang

 

Columbia Business School

Describe yourself in 15 words or less: Retail focused management consultant, dog owner, restaurant and fitness lover. Loves shopping, especially for food!

Hometown: Scotch Plains, NJ

Fun Fact About Yourself: I took dancing lessons for over 15 years – ballet, tap, jazz, lyrical, and pointe. Much of what I know about teamwork, I learned while wearing tights. I can trace my most formative lessons in the value of teaming back to my dancing days. When I was on the competition team, I learned quickly how to balance my personal style with the spirit of working in a group.

 

Undergraduate School and Major: University of Pennsylvania: Major in Philosophy, Politics and Economics, Minor in Consumer Psychology

Employers and Job Titles since Graduation: Consultant at the Boston Consulting Group

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: One of my favorite projects was perhaps not the most glamorous, but one of the most rewarding: a shrink reduction program for a grocery store. Shrink is anything that spoils, is lost, or is stolen from a store. This retailer had shrink that often exceeded profits. The employees at the time were discouraged with the company’s performance and had little motivation – leading to extremely high turnover.

My project was to develop the end to end training program for both the employees and the trainers. I tailored the program to their learning styles, and focused on employee empowerment to achieve goals and improve the compliance culture of “fear” that had existed in the past. I also trained 40 full time corporate employees on how to deliver the training across a fleet of 750 stores. Within a year the program achieved over $150M in savings. The project was a great mix of both emotional and fiscal achievement for the firm and was why I loved the experience so much.

Looking back on your experience, what advice would you give to future business school applicants?  Be yourself! Don’t pretend to be someone you are not, because the application process — especially essays and interviews — is a huge opportunity for you to get to know yourself.

I myself applied two years in a row. The first year, despite being accepted, the process helped me learn that I just wasn’t ready to go yet. With even more introspection the next year, I now feel more confident about what I want to get out of my business school experience.

What led you to choose this program for your full-time MBA? Though I love my job as a consultant, I travel four days a week away from of my home in New York. I am thrilled to be able to spend the next two years dedicated to this amazing, vibrant city. Columba and New collectively offer for me a specific network of New Yorkers in the mecca of the retail industry, which is my passion.

I also hope to gain more start-up experiences at CBS through their long list of resources like the Entrepreneur in Residence program, where I can learn from startup veterans. Relevant coursework that provides actual entrepreneurial experience, like “Lean Launchpad,” will directly apply to my interests while satisfying my love for classroom learning. Even post-graduation, the Columbia Start up Lab will provide invaluable resources to support my goal of starting and growing a company right at home in New York City.

Tell us about your dream job or dream employer at this point in your life? BCG has truly been a dream job experience and I’m grateful for it, but in the long term my ultimate dream is to build, grow and operate my own retail company that helps to make my customers’ lives easier and happier. I love the feeling of having impacted someone so immediately, especially if I’ve brought a smile to their face. Much like the tangible elements of retail, I crave the hands-on experience and the full-on responsibility involved in starting and growing a business. I hope to incorporate my personal love for fashion, food, or fitness into my endeavor.

What would you like your business school peers to say about you after you graduate from this program? I’d like them to tell me themselves after this program by keeping in touch! Ideally, I would like to be known as the one you can always reach out to for a good listen, but also a very honest and thoughtful opinion.

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