2017 MBAs To Watch: Kristina Chiappetta, Cambridge (Judge)

Kristina Chiappetta

University of Cambridge, Judge Business School

Age: 28

“Marketing and branding strategist by day, cinephile and creative writer by night.”

Hometown: New York, NY

Fun fact about yourself: I spent my last year in New York before business school writing a pizza blog. In total, I reviewed nearly 30 pizzerias.

Undergraduate School and Degree: Wesleyan University, BA in Film Studies

Where did you work before enrolling in business school? Google, Ads Solutions Consultant/Platforms Specialist

Where did you intern during the summer of 2016?  N/A – the Cambridge MBA is a one-year program that commenced in September 2016

Where will you be working after graduation? WPP, MBA Marketing Fellowship (a three-year rotational program across WPP advertising agencies)

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School: Cambridge Women in Business Mentoring Program

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? I’m proud of my team’s selection as a Hult Prize 2017 Regional Finalist in London. My team is passionate about this year’s theme – improving the lives of refugees worldwide – and the competition has pushed us to engage with new groups of people inside and outside Cambridge, and to focus on developing a creative social enterprise pitch.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? While at Google, I managed a project involving the a global re-tiering of our rich media creative services. It required extensive international coordination, ongoing communications to internal and external stakeholders, and development of the service offering and supporting materials. Hundreds of clients were shifted to our new service offering at the end of the project with no disruption to the day-to-day business; it was a real balancing act that came through in a really positive way.

Who was your favorite MBA professor? What was your favorite MBA Course and what was the biggest insight you gained about business from it? So far, being an art-lover, I have especially enjoyed Allegre Hadida’s course “Creative, Arts and Media Management.” I never envisioned debates about the role of the artist in society in business school, and I loved the chance to learn more about the film industry – this time, through the lens of business strategy rather than just the history side I studied in undergrad. Allegre brought a lot of energy and expertise into the class, and it made me think more critically about my daily experience with arts institutions from the Fitzwilliam Museum across to the street here in Cambridge to online streaming services like Netflix.

Why did you choose this business school? I wanted a one-year program to limit my time out of the workforce, so I had quickly narrowed my choices to a few top schools in Europe. When I visited Cambridge, I was completely enchanted by the ancient architecture and sense of academia and history. I knew immediately that this was too special a business school experience – with all the traditions of the university – to pass up.

What did you enjoy most about business school in general? It’s a cliché, but it really is the people! I’m consistently amazed that Judge assembled such a down to earth, kind-hearted, fun class. We’re only about 180 people altogether, and it feels a little magical that we all click so well.

What was the most surprising thing about business school for you? That I kind of had fun working on discounted cash flows in Finance…

What is your best piece advice to an applicant hoping to get into your school’s MBA program? Prep for the GMAT far in advance. Do your homework on the program and its benefits. Be yourself in the essays and the interview. Visit to get a sense of the place and determine if it feels right for you.

What is the biggest myth about your school? One of the big concerns for anyone going to business school is the network you’re going to get out of it. Judge has a small MBA class, and this might indicate to some that the network would be limited. On the contrary, you have access as a Judge MBA to the entire alumni network of the University of Cambridge. I had great luck reaching out to both MBA and non-MBA Cambridge alumni, who generously offered me advice and insight into their careers.

What was your biggest regret in business school? So far, I don’t have any! I’ve tried to just say “yes” to every opportunity I reasonably can. While that makes for some stressful nights finishing a paper before flying to Budapest, it’s worth it.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? Colin Murphy – A fellow American who’s spent some time in Berlin and occasionally shows off his fluent German, Colin is a constant source of humor and insights into business, culture, art, and politics, all while serving as a Class Rep and participating in several intense case competitions. I don’t know how he does it all, and I’m excited to see what he does next.

I knew I wanted to go to business school when…I realized I could either continue down the same path that I’d set down when I finished undergrad, or take control and pivot to something brand new – and the latter option felt impossible to resist.”

If I hadn’t gone to business school, I would be…” potentially still at my last employer, but working within the company to explore new kinds of roles and opportunities in a new city.”

If you were a dean for a day, what one thing would you change about the MBA experience? Rather than a change, I would keep something – the small class size. I’ve really enjoyed that we have just two streams and can really get to know a good portion of the entire class quite well. 

What is your ultimate long-term professional goal? To be a leader in marketing and advertising, someone who can shape strategy and push forward the kind of creative that dismantles stereotypes and promotes new voices and stories.

Who would you most want to thank for your success? My mom! She has always encouraged me and my sister to keep learning, and it was a conversation with her in a Thai restaurant about two years ago around the value of knowledge that started my MBA journey.

In one sentence, how would you like your peers to remember you? As someone capable and competent, who showed them a new way of thinking and was always available to lend a hand.

Favorite book: One of my best MBA pals gave me Just Kids by Patti Smith for my birthday, to show me a different side of New York since I’ll be moving back there post-MBA. It was an absolutely incredible and intimate look at the lives of young artists Patti Smith and Robert Mapplethorpe as they developed their talents and the potentially unexpected directions of their careers in the 1960s and 1970s.

Favorite movie or television show: I love too many movies and television shows to pick favorites, but I will say my top film picks of 2016 were Moonlight and Manchester by the Sea. I also just caught Trainspotting 2 and thought it was fantastic.

Favorite musical performer: Beach House

Favorite vacation spot: Fernando de Noronha, Brazil

Hobbies? Independent cinemas and cult classic screenings, visiting art and science museums, running 5Ks

What made Kristina such an invaluable addition to the class of 2017?

“Kristina is a friendly and open member of the Cambridge MBA class. She is valued by her classmates as someone who is a reliable and willing to help when she can. She has been active in School and College activities, offering her insight and time as part of the Women’s Leadership Initiative’s mentorship programme.  She was also part of a Hult Prize team who got to the regional finals in London. We’re pleased that Kristina has secured a graduate fellowship with WPP, which reflects her outstanding talents and strength of character.”

Carla Keen

Marketing and Communications Coordinator

Cambridge MBA



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