Meet Carnegie Mellon’s MBA Class Of 2018


Danielle L. Vermeer

Tepper School of Business at Carnegie Mellon University

Describe yourself in 15 words or less: Strategist, creative problem-solver, adaptive servant leader who thrives in fast-paced, mission-driven environments.

Hometown: Chicago, IL

Fun Fact About Yourself: Connecting people with opportunities and resources that help them thrive professionally is one of my favorite things to do. That’s why I created The Give, a free monthly newsletter of social impact jobs and opportunities with 1,000+ subscribers.

Undergraduate School and Major: Georgetown University, BS International Relations & Politics

Employers and Job Titles Since Graduation:

The Boeing Company – Analyst / Strategist, Global Corporate Citizenship (Chicago, IL and Washington, DC)

Arabella Advisors – Analyst / Senior Analyst, Consulting Services (Chicago, IL) 

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: In my most recent role at a global aerospace company, I managed a multidisciplinary team of engineers, scientists, and a STEM education nonprofit in the launch of a new skills-based volunteerism program in the U.S. and globally. More than 100 engineers across eight company sites participated in the program to create original STEM design challenges and to teach these challenges to hundreds of K-12 students.

Looking back on your experience, what advice would you give to future business school applicants? Applying to MBA programs is a deeply personal and practical process that requires clarity of thought and action.  

At the personal level, I recommend truly reflecting on why you want to take this next step in your career: Why an MBA vs. another type of graduate program? Why now vs. later? Why are you interested in these schools vs. other schools? Personally, it took me around two years of exploring different programs, conducting informational interviews, and researching career paths to narrow down my list of schools and commit to applying during the allotted timeframe.

At the practical level, I recommend mapping out all the steps in the application process well ahead of the deadlines and discerning which ones will be most challenging for you. If you’re intimidated by the GMAT (which I certainly was!), then start studying early and try out different resources if you aren’t seeing the scores you want. If essay writing is not your thing, then seek help from writing tutors or trusted advisors who can assist with telling your best story.

Finally, at both the personal and practical levels, I suggest clarifying what your “negotiables” and “non-negotiables” are. For instance, I prioritized schools in cities where my husband’s company has offices, so that we’d remain living together and he wouldn’t have to find a new job. I also calculated the estimated cost vs. benefit of each school, including cost of living during the two-year program, scholarship opportunities, and average starting salaries to determine the best projected return on investment.

What led you to choose this program for your full-time MBA? I chose the Tepper School for a full-time MBA program for three main reasons. First, as someone with a nontraditional business background, I was drawn to Tepper’s “mini-semester” structure that would quickly fill the gaps in my general business knowledge in finance, accounting, operations, etc. Second, I felt immediately welcome in the smaller, tight-knit Tepper community when visiting and interviewing on campus. Lastly, I was impressed by Tepper’s commitment to intensive leadership development coaching throughout the program, which is a distinct advantage over many other schools.

Tell us about your dream job or dream employer at this point in your life? My dream job is to serve in a leadership role in an innovative company at the intersection of technology, design, and consumer products. Whether at a consulting firm or as an in-house strategist, I’m interested in advising consumer-facing companies on how to integrate social innovation and sustainability into their business models, operations and supply chains. Because I have a special interest in the apparel and fashion sector, some of my dream employers include Rent the Runway, Betabrand, thredUP, and other internet-based companies using technology to disrupt the industry and promote sustainable practices.

What would you like your business school peers to say about you after you graduate from this program? After graduating from Tepper, I hope that my peers say that I am confident, capable, and creative in managing multidisciplinary teams and solving complex global challenges. I also hope that they know that they can always come to me for connections in and insights on the social impact sector.