Foster School of Business, University of Washington
Describe yourself in 15 words or less: As a former ecologist, I see business strategy through the lens of ecological theory.
Hometown: Sammamish, WA
Fun Fact About Yourself: I spent two years working as a research technician in a Magellanic penguin colony in Argentina.
Undergraduate School and Major: University of Washington, Biology
Employers and Job Titles Since Graduation:
University of Washington – Research Technician
Washington Conservation Corps – Assistant Crew Supervisor
Starbucks – Store Manager
Amazon – HR Program Manager
Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: I was a founding member of the team that launched the Amazon Books retail stores – the first brick-and-mortar retail operation in Amazon’s history. Operating a startup within an existing company creates unique challenges. It was exhilarating to partner with teams from throughout the company to identify and refine existing processes, build new tools and programs for our unique business needs, and unite physical retail operations strategy with Amazon’s customer obsession and growth-oriented mindset.
Looking back on your experience, what advice would you give to future business school applicants? First, don’t assume that a non-traditional business background means you won’t be successful in applying for MBA programs. Use your informational interviews to get a sense of how your previous experiences make you uniquely qualified to be successful in your target field, and frame them as the stepping stones that led you to the MBA.
Second, do as many informational interviews as possible, both within and outside of the program. Admissions advisers, current students, alumni and faculty provide valuable insight into the culture of a program well beyond any information you can find online. Meeting professionals in the field you aspire to enter after completing the MBA will give you context of what experiences will be the most valuable during your MBA. These meetings will help you target your search for the perfect program(s), provide structure and context for your essays, and hone your skills for the admissions interviews.
Third, be authentic in your admissions essays. Admissions boards want to know why you are passionate about attending their program, and how your previous experience will bring a diverse perspective to the table. Using your own words, rather than basing your essays on examples you find online, will result in a much more genuine essay that effectively communicates your value and potential as a candidate.
What led you to choose this program for your full-time MBA? I was very selective about the programs I applied for, targeting small, multidisciplinary programs that had strong connections with companies I was interested in. The Foster program met all of these criteria, but it was the culture of the program that truly won me over. When I asked to connect with Foster alumni to discuss their experiences in the program, I was overwhelmed by the enthusiastic response. Everyone I spoke with offered candid feedback on their experiences at Foster, and provided additional contacts for me to reach out to. It was tremendously apparent that the culture of this program creates a community that persists both within and beyond the MBA program, and I knew that this was a community I wanted to be a part of.
Tell us about your dream job or dream employer at this point in your life? I’m passionate about bridging the gap between strategy and execution, and I’m energized by rapidly-evolving businesses. My time with Amazon proved that the culture of innovation and entrepreneurship can be found in companies of all shapes and sizes, and it’s that spirit that I’m seeking in my dream job. I see myself working in a cross-functional role with emerging businesses to develop durable strategies that transition seamlessly as the business scales and iterates. I haven’t identified the exact title of my dream job, but I revel in the fact that the opportunities are endless.
What would you like your business school peers to say about you after you graduate from this program? I hope my peers know me as a strategic, servant leader who embraces the journey in tackling complex challenges as much as the final goal of delivering successful results.