Meet UCLA Anderson’s MBA Class of 2018

UCLA's Kaitlin Donovan in the Class of 2018

UCLA’s Kaitlin Donovan in the Class of 2018

Katie Donovan

UCLA, Anderson School of Management

Assistant Dean’s Scouting Report: “Memorable and impactful, we look forward to her contributions and presence at Anderson.”

Describe yourself in 15 words or less: West Coast transplant and aspiring vegetable gardener seeking to make a difference in the world.

Hometown: Hingham, MA

Fun Fact About Yourself: While in college, I once performed as a stunt double in an independent zombie film.

Undergraduate School and Major: University of Richmond, B.A. International Studies and Spanish

Employers and Job Titles Since Graduation:

San Francisco Unified School District

  • Middle school teacher

Teach For America – Bay Area

  • Associate, Corporate and Foundation Relations
  • Manager, Corporate and Foundation Relations
  • Director, Corporate and Foundation Relations
  • Head of Corporate and Foundation Relations

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: While leading the corporate and foundation fundraising portfolio for TFA-Bay Area, I oversaw 130% growth in annual funding from private foundations. These additional dollars helped our organization implement a redesigned model for training and developing new teachers.

Looking back on your experience, what advice would you give to future business school applicants? First and foremost, my advice is to take time to really reflect on your priorities and identify what you want to get out of your MBA experience. Each MBA program has unique characteristics, and some schools will be a better fit than others. Clarify your objectives as much as possible on the front end, so that you can focus on applying to the programs that align best with your career goals and personal priorities. After my own reflection and research, I ended up applying to fewer schools than I expected. With a more targeted list, I had more time to ensure each application was as strong as possible.

Second, when studying for the GMAT, my advice is to work strategically. I gave myself a pretty ambitious timeline to prepare for the GMAT, on top of a demanding full-time job, which meant that I had to be very judicious with my time. The first thing I did after scheduling my test date was take a diagnostic test. Using my test results, I classified my performance on each question topic (e.g., Probability, Reading Comprehension, etc.) as weak, solid, or strong. Working backwards from my test date, I created a study plan that frontloaded my weakest topics to maximize practice time leading up to the test. I also recommend incorporating full-length practice tests into your study plan so that you get comfortable with the test format and build your endurance for test day.

What led you to choose this program for your full-time MBA? The top reasons that I chose UCLA Anderson were its location, career resources, and school culture. My fiancé and I plan to live in Los Angeles long term, and pursuing an MBA at Anderson offers the opportunity to develop a strong local network and jumpstart the recruitment process for jobs here in LA. Additionally, as I prepare to pivot to a new job function in a new sector, career resources are a top priority for me. The Parker Career Management Center at UCLA Anderson is one of the highest-rated career centers for MBA programs worldwide, and the students I’ve met consistently highlight the value that Anderson’s career resources have added to their recruitment experience. Lastly, Anderson’s culture resonates strongly with my own values and modus operandi. Anderson students are exceptionally talented and driven. At the same time, they are committed to collaboration and collegiality. At Anderson, I felt I would be surrounded by people who would challenge me to be the best version of myself.

Tell us about your dream job or dream employer at this point in your life? Right now, my dream job would be to work within a company to develop and implement a new CSR strategy.

What would you like your business school peers to say about you after you graduate from this program?  At the end of my time at Anderson, I hope my peers will say that I’m a well-balanced leader who brings out the best in the people around me. I also hope they say that I added value to their MBA experience by pushing their thinking, supporting them to reach for their goals, and having fun.

Questions about this article? Email us or leave a comment below.