Meet Carnegie Mellon’s MBA Class Of 2018

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Stacey Mukasa

Tepper School of Business at Carnegie Mellon University

Describe yourself in 15 words or less: I am a peppy, extroverted millennial who is a Mystery Shopper and enjoys shark diving.

Hometown: Sharon, Massachusetts

Fun Fact About Yourself: My favorite animal is the turtle.

Undergraduate School and Major: Babson College, BS in Business Administration (Concentration in Finance)

Employers and Job Titles Since Graduation:

  • BAE Systems, Contracts Administrator (Financial Leadership Development Program III)
  • BAE Systems, Proposal Pricing Analyst (Financial Leadership Development Program II)
  • BAE Systems, Program Financial Analyst (Financial Leadership Development Program I)

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: My biggest accomplishment in my career thus far has been graduating from my Financial Leadership Development Program (FLDP) before starting my MBA program. Going through my FLDP journey, I was truly able to learn about my leadership strengths and weaknesses and put them into practice in a real business setting. This experience truly showed me how innovation can be bred when individuals’ diverse leadership skillset are valued.

Looking back on your experience, what advice would you give to future business school applicants? There are so many blogs that provide advice for any and all topics regarding the MBA application process. It can be overwhelming trying to figure out which ones to follow! While my advice may seem cliché, here are my three insights to share:

  1. Advice on the GMAT: There are a lot of blogs that will aim to tell you exactly how you can score an 800 on the GMAT, but the truth is you know you best. Everyone takes tests differently and needs different levels of preparation in order to do his or her best. What I found to be helpful was to think back to the process I utilized for the SAT. Although it was quite some time ago, the test-taking strategies that I employed were still ones that worked for me present day. So know yourself. Know what works for you. And stick to it even if a blog tells you something drastically different.
  1. Advice on Recommendations: Consistency is key when it comes to recommendations. When choosing whom you want to recommend you, think about what individuals will not only echo but expand upon the things that you have already said about yourself. If you’re peppy, pick someone who can speak to the joy you bring to the office! If you’re philanthropic, pick someone who can speak about your volunteering endeavors. Admissions offices are looking for a sense of consistency in your overall story, so make sure you choose individuals who can provide you with that.
  1. Advice on writing essays and interviews: My only advice on this topic is simple: BE A TRUE AND UNAPOLAGETIC VERSION OF YOU! Going into my essay writing and interview process, I promised myself that whatever product I put forth was going to be a 100% version of myself. I wasn’t going to attempt to change my persona or story to fit any school’s commonly held characteristics and I am beyond happy with that decision. Being yourself within your written and physical application components is the only way in which you can truly determine what school is the right fit for you. By employing this simple tactic, there is no chance for regret when the process is over because you will know that you stayed true to yourself.

What led you to choose this program for your full-time MBA? In deciding which full-time MBA program I wanted to attend, it was extremely important for me to consider my skillset toolbox. Throughout my undergraduate and post-undergraduate career, I had a deep focus on building my leadership skills and developing a firm business acumen foundation. Being able to really cultivate those tools became the groundwork for my aspirations to become a future global business leader.

Now that I have been able to obtain a breadth of experience in the realm of leadership training and corporate finance, I started to think about what tool I needed to add to my toolbox next. We are in a world that is increasingly dependent upon “big data,” and those who succeed will know how to use this data to make sound business decisions. The Tepper School of Business is a school that thrives itself on its ability to breed forward-thinking and innovative leaders with its analytical and quantitative rigor. Because of this, I felt that Tepper was the perfect place for me to obtain the next tool that I was seeking in the hopes of one day possessing a fully stocked toolbox that will make me a well-rounded leader.

Tell us about your dream job or dream employer at this point in your life? My dream job consists of a plethora of different aspects. Here are the main three:

  • Strategic Scope: In some of my past positions, it was difficult to not feel like just a cog in a wheel while others were given the true power to make business-critical decisions. In my dream job, no matter the function, I would be a true strategic partner with the business, consistently taking part in making the corporation’s strategic imperatives come to life.
  • Mobility: I love to travel and experience a variety of new places and cultures. In my dream job, I would have a chance to complete some sort of global expatriate assignment that would help me in becoming the truly global leader that I aspire to be.
  • Work-Life Balance: I like to work hard and play harder. While it is of the utmost importance for me to deliver value to whatever business I am in, it is also important for me to have the time to do things that I enjoy. By having the time to engage in extracurricular activities such as kickboxing, hiking and world travel, I would be able to maintain a level of contentment that would positively impact my work performance.

What would you like your business school peers to say about you after you graduate from this program?I would like my peers to say that I had a genuinely positive impact on their Tepper experience after I graduate. Being able to not only develop myself as a leader, but to help others achieve their goals as well is a passion of mine. Whether it is within the classroom, through student-run organizations or at a local happy hour, I hope I can be the person to put a smile on my classmates’ faces and help them overcome any obstacles that they encounter. This way, I can develop bonds that will transcend these two years and last a lifetime.