Meet the USC Marshall MBA Class of 2018

Elizabeth Blotky

University of Southern California, Marshall School of Business

Describe yourself in 15 words or less: Compassionate, honest, driven, adaptable, collaborative, strategic, diverse interests, creative, active, food-lover, dog person.

Hometown: Los Angeles, CA

Fun Fact About Yourself: I played volleyball every year starting in the 4th grade and was recruited to play in college. I played all four years at Harvard, culminating in a first-ever Ivy League Championship title and being elected team captain. Now, I try to relive those glory days through ZogSports and occasional beach volleyball games, achy joints allowing.

Undergraduate School and Major:

Harvard University, Bachelor of Arts in History 2006

Columbia University, Postbaccalaureate Premedical Program Certificate 2011

Keck School of Medicine of USC, Doctor of Medicine (anticipated) 2018

Employers and Job Titles Since Graduation:

Research Assistant and Perfusionist, Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery, Columbia University, NY, NY 2012-2013

  • Duties included facilitating and carrying out basic research within the cardiothoracic research lab, involvement in clinical and epidemiologic projects, clinical trials, active participation in animal surgeries, and exposure to OR surgeries.
  • Followed an around-the-clock, on-call schedule to go on procurement runs for heart and lung transplants, serving as a perfusionist in organ preservation, and traveling as far as Newfoundland and Puerto Rico.
  • Coordinated and participated in on-going training courses and programs such as the Ventricular Assist Device (LVAD), robotic procedures, and minimally invasive surgeries.

Commercial Director and Marketing Director, Clemency London, London, UK 2008-2009

  • Served as Director of International Business Development and International Press and Marketing for this new London-based luxury women’s wear brand.
  • Responsibilities included strategically creating targeted international distribution lists, building and fostering client relationships, selling to international buyers, and advising the President of Clemency on optimal business decisions.
  • Organized showroom space, scheduled, and directed all sales meetings during Paris Fashion Week, and brought in over 11,000 GBP by selling the first ever season (Fall/Winter ’09) to London Department Store Harvey Nichols.
  • Regularly presented to editors and members of the press; arranged photo shoots for look books including the casting of models, photographers, stylists, and venues.

Men’s Buying/Merchandising, Polo Ralph Lauren, NY, NY 2007-2008

  • Duties included buying and merchandising Rugby store assortments for men’s tops, managing 70% of a $13 million business.
  • Performed quantitative analysis and presented weekly sales data to Rugby team; forecasted monthly business objectives; created quarterly business recaps; and strategically planned allocations, markdowns, and promotional
  • Performed qualitative analysis and research to forecast strong sales opportunities; conducted field research of specific brand competitors, creative trends, and analysis of consumer behavior.
  • Regularly engaged in creative and business consultation with designers and marketing department, providing strategies, consumer research, and business results to improve the profitability of the Rugby line.

Executive Trainee, Polo Ralph Lauren, NY, NY 2006-2007

  • One of ten people chosen from more than 700 applicants to be a part of this 12-month Executive Training Program.
  • Departmental assignments intended to expose trainees to Wholesale, Retail, International, Advertising/PR, and Finance areas.
  • Performed assignments in financial planning, merchandising, marketing, advertising, and retail management. Received one-on-one mentoring from senior executives, participation in meetings, maintained website, organized buys for international markets, and helped create budget plans for upcoming fiscal year.

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: This is perhaps an unconventional answer to the question, but one of my biggest accomplishments in my career so far has been making the decision to change careers. While the decision to go back to school is never an easy one, the decision was, for me, especially challenging and marks the most important instance of when I went beyond what was established or expected.

Despite a burgeoning career in fashion that had spanned two major cities, I made the difficult decision to uproot my life after tremendous soul-searching, in the pursuit of a totally different path. My reasons for making this decision were varied, and amounted to a realization that while I was gaining valuable life skills and succeeding in the context of the industry, I was not feeling fulfilled. Driven by a profound yearning to have a career where I felt I had personally changed someone’s life for the better, I felt a calling toward the field of medicine. My intuition about a need for change was quickly confirmed when I began volunteering at a hospital in London. Having made up my mind, I moved to New York to attend Columbia’s postbac premed program, before moving again to Los Angeles to attend Keck School of Medicine, in each instance enduring a long-distance marriage.

Trying yet reaffirming, the transformational experience has left me stronger. Having the courage to question my status quo was not easy especially as I knew it would impact not just my own life. Turning my back on the easy life I knew in favor of the financial, emotional, and locational uncertainty that came with pursuing my dream of a career in medicine was truly daunting. However, this experience taught me the importance of trusting my instincts as it proved to be the right decision and one that I welcome every day.

Looking back on your experience, what advice would you give to future business school applicants? While my situation is a little different than the typical business school applicant in that I am in a dual MD/MBA program so I did not apply to many schools, I can offer more general advice.

First, do not be afraid to follow your gut or to pursue something different and challenging. Your instincts will generally guide you towards a more fulfilling and enriching life and career. In terms of the application itself, spend time thinking about your essays before you start writing. I think personal statements are some of the toughest pieces of writing I’ve ever done. Do not be afraid to have as many people read them or offer advice as possible—and make sure you take the time to edit and revise, then edit and revise again. Lastly, for the interview, try to be as relaxed as possible. The interviews where I’ve performed the best were the ones where I felt most relaxed and conversational. Certainly make sure you’ve prepared ahead of time to answer expected questions and aspects of your background that you want to convey, but ensure that you’re not just preaching answers from memory – make it conversational.

What led you to choose this program for your full-time MBA? I was in my 3rd year of medical school at Keck School of Medicine at USC when I applied to Marshall for the dual MD/MBA program. In addition to the convenience of the dual degree program, and already having had positive experiences at USC, there were also many aspects that specifically attracted me to the Marshall program.

Having grown up in Los Angeles, it is apparent that the “Trojan Network” is a truly meaningful and powerful resource. Additionally, I was really attracted to Marshall’s commitment to giving back, having won the Challenge for Charity golden briefcase for the past seven years. As an aspiring pediatrician, I knew I wanted to get involved in the various student-run charity organizations which work with local kids: Marshall Youth Outreach, Junior Achievement, and Team Prime Time. Additionally, the international makeup of the student body and the PRIME trips (where students travel internationally to give company presentations on capstone consulting projects) was incredibly appealing as an opportunity to learn more about international business and strategy and gain exposure to diverse interests and cultures.

Tell us about your dream job or dream employer at this point in your life? My dream job, post-graduation from USC’s joint MD/MBA program, is to work clinically as a pediatrician, taking care of children from diverse backgrounds. I really like the longitudinal aspect of primary care, the prospect of developing lasting relationships, and having a direct impact to help my patients grow. Eventually, after completing my residency training, I hope to have a leadership position within the medical field. I believe that the dual education I receive will be invaluable in preparing me for a successful career in medicine. The values of collaboration, leadership, communication, and strategy are directly applicable to both medicine and business, and will certainly make me better equipep to be a well-rounded physician and serve my patients and the community.

What would you like your business school peers to say about you after you graduate from this program? I hope to still be in touch with my business school peers well after graduation and that they would describe me as an intelligent and competent leader, who is hard-working, organized, strategic, fun to work with (even goofy at times), creative, compassionate, and honest. I also would love eventually take care of some Trojan kiddos as their family’s physician.

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