Meet Carnegie Mellon’s MBA Class Of 2018

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Claire Jacquillat

Tepper School of Business at Carnegie Mellon University

Describe yourself in 15 words or less: I’m an outdoorsy city girl passionate about data analytics and social change.

Hometown: Paris, France

Fun Fact About Yourself: I played water polo in college.

Undergraduate School and Major:

Paris II Pantheon Assas – Bachelor in Law

Emerson College – Master of Arts in Global Marketing

Employers and Job Titles Since Graduation:

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (AGELAB) – Pre-MBA Intern
George P Johnson (Experience Marketing) – Strategy and Planning Associate, Cisco Systems retainer; Strategy and Planning Associate; Strategy Contractor
Various Startups and small businesses – Marketing Intern
Forrestor Research (Technology and market research) – Field Marketing Intern

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: One of my biggest accomplishments was the implementation project that I led for a Natural Language Processing tool. It resulted in a faster turnaround in reporting comments for an event with 150-plus sessions and 20,000 attendees – to give both almost real-time feedback during the event and at the end of the conference. The project provided new insights for the design of the next iteration of several events.

As a strategist in experience marketing, I worked for several years at improving reporting for a portfolio of events in the IT industry, in order to influence data -driven changes based in part on attendee feedback. After researching solutions for analyzing survey comments, which was one of the most time-consuming and least systematically analyzed elements of the surveys, I presented various solutions to my leadership. Once the choice of the tool was made, I led the implementation of a Natural Language Processing tool, partnering with another department within my company to minimize costs.

Looking back on your experience, what advice would you give to future business school applicants?

GMAT: Start as soon as possible when you decide to go to business school. Taking the GMAT is extremely intimidating if you have been out of school for some time, but don’t give up after getting a bad score on the sample exam. It’s important to treat it just like an endurance exercise and to build your muscles steadily over a period of time. Don’t rush the preparation, as rushing can lead to being frustrated and potentially giving up. Instead, try to make progress at a sustainable pace and to remember the concepts better, which will eventually enable you to perform better in the long run.

Writing essays: I used a mind map to prepare my essays. First, I listed my strengths and weaknesses (I asked several friend to help me identify some of those), some STAR stories (situation, task, action, result), and my post-MBA goals. Then I organized the different points together to write my essays. Using this method helps to prevent repetition and makes sure that the admission committee has the broadest possible view of your profile. You may end up not using all of the stories and information, but you will be able to recycle some of them to prepare for the interview. Most importantly, don’t be afraid to share your passion for the school and the research you have made.

Recommendations: Select and approach your recommender as soon as you begin considering applying to business school. Then, make sure to stay on top of the deliverable timeline for your target school so you can send the recommendation request as soon as it becomes available. It may feel awkward to follow up with your recommender, but do it… most of the time they just forgot or they can have technical issue where either you or the school can help to address.

Interviews: Be yourself!

What led you to choose this program for your full-time MBA? I am very excited about the Tepper School’s strength in technology and analytics. It clearly reflects Carnegie Mellon’s technical DNA, and I think that it is critical for me to enhance my managerial career.

I want to be able to perform and understand technical analyses in business, and I want to have the business acumen to have the vision for it and see the big picture. Both of these are important (we need good technical people and good managers), but neither of them are sufficient alone, and we need people who can bridge these two worlds. That is the role I want to play. The school’s unique blend of leadership and analytics was the best fit for me, as it will provide me with the tools and skills that I need to create and sustain impact through data-driven management.

Beyond the Tepper School, the opportunities offered by Carnegie Mellon University would broaden my reach. For example, electives at the Heinz College would expand my knowledge of information systems and policy making to bring change in private, public and non-profit organizations. As a leader, this would help me unlock the potential of integrating technical analytics into comprehensive management and policy solutions.

Tell us about your dream job or dream employer at this point in your life? I aspire to drive social change through data-driven management. I would look for positions within organizations creating innovative solutions to address societal challenges. I would engage in community leadership either in management consulting or as a designer of corporate social responsibility programs within large corporations.

I am drawn to organizations and industries with a strong intersection between the public and private sector, such as healthcare, food supply and energy. In these industries, tremendous opportunities exist in leveraging increasing amounts of available data to address customer needs, enhance profitability across the value chains, and attain broader societal goals. Unfortunately, the full potential of this data has yet to be unlocked. As I have experienced in my previous roles, many strategic decisions are made on the basis of experience or intuition. My professional ambition is to drive business decisions by systematically identifying Key Performance Indicators, generating data-driven insights, and implementing innovative fact-based solutions. My analytical and leadership training from the Tepper School would enable me to thrive in this environment by enhancing the effectiveness of the programs that I would design and implement.

What would you like your business school peers to say about you after you graduate from this program?  I’d like them to say that I was both a great classmate and a friend. I would like to be appreciated for the weight I pulled in team assignments and the perspectives that I brought to the classroom discussions. Beyond the classwork, I want to build deep and strong bonds with my classmates that will endure the separation/distance post-graduation. Hopefully, my passion for cooking will give me an edge to make friends fast!