“A socially-conscious, eco-chic, world traveling diva who loves good vibes and good music!”
Describe yourself in 15 words or less: Hometown: Greensboro, North Carolina
Fun fact about yourself: I have an orange belt in karate.
Undergraduate School and Degree: North Carolina State University (Raleigh, NC) B.S. Meteorology/Environmental Science
Where did you work before enrolling in business school?
2014 – 2016 – Cornell University – Sustainability Engagement Manager
2012 – 2014 – Cornell University – Energy Outreach Coordinator
2011 – 2012 – North Carolina State University – Energy Data & Outreach Specialist
Where did you intern during the summer of 2017? Johnson and Johnson, Inc. Consumer Marketing MBA Summer Associate (Fort Washington, PA)
Where will you be working after graduation? BASF Corporation – Leadership Development Program
Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School:
- President, MBA Association (1st Black woman to hold the position)
- Forte Foundation Ambassador
- Program creator: “Forte Taking Circles” A forum where undergraduate and MBA women connect to provide resources for excelling in school and business
- Forte Rising Stars Mentor to undergraduate women in business
- Smith Ambassador
- Board Member, Smith Association of Women MBAs
- Board Member, Graduate Marketing Association
- Member, Black MBA Association
- Graduate Assistant, Office of Career Services
- Facilitated resume/interview prep workshops
- Developed a curriculum for undergraduate career preparation
- Member, Leading Fearlessly Program
- Forte Fellowship
- Terrapin Fellowship
Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? During my first year of business school, I decided to step outside my comfort zone and run for MBA Association President. Before coming to business school, I knew I wanted to gain experience influencing change within an organization. Having the honor of being elected as President by my peers enabled me to shape the direction of the MBA program. I worked with an amazing group or peers, faculty and staff, and steered the MBA community through significant changes in the MBA program curriculum, enhanced collaboration and feedback between students and faculty, and set a foundation for future cohorts to grow. I am proud of my board and the work we have accomplished!
What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? My unique background in meteorology and environmental science, equipped me with skills to help combat the climate change crisis. I’ve always wanted my career to have a societal impact. At Cornell University, I created a new engagement campaign to encourage more sustainable actions in residence halls, offices and labs. I was tasked with creating a new perception of a “sustainable lifestyle.” Through community surveys, focus groups and relationships with faculty, staff and students, I uncovered mindsets, misperceptions, barriers, and opportunities for people to understand the connection between their lives and their surrounding environment. With the help of colleagues and student leaders, the campaign expanded to reduce energy usage, food waste, and solid waste on campus – resulting in $500,000 worth of savings to the university over three years. I became a role model for students with career interests in sustainability and social impact, and could embed sustainability in both individual lives and business operations at the university. It was the perfect use of science and passion to create societal impact.
What was your favorite MBA Course? Global Business in South Africa. As an undergraduate student, I never had the opportunity to study abroad. I knew coming to Smith that this was my only chance to have that experience. I had an amazing opportunity to lead a consulting project for a startup firm in South Africa, called LeapFrog Global. Our objective was to develop a comprehensive go-to market strategy for a new insurance product specifically targeted for South Africans who could not afford life insurance. My team and I were in South Africa for three weeks, navigating the post-apartheid politics and cultural landscape of the country to present a final recommendation that could have a direct impact on South Africa’s lower income communities. Not only was visiting South Africa a bucket list trip, the experience helped me gain a global mindset for doing business abroad. My teammates helped me grow my strategic thinking and move from understanding frameworks to applying them to real business cases. In the end, LeapFrog was very pleased with our recommendations. They even mentioned they wanted to continue working with Smith MBAs in the future. Setting the standard for other MBAs to follow is always a great feeling!
Why did you choose this business school? I chose to come to Smith for several reasons. First and foremost, the community and spirit of Smith is supportive. Whenever I visited other schools, I always found myself comparing them to Smith. I felt like that I was part of the community before my first class. Secondly, the Smith faculty is renowned in their respective industries. They make sure Smith students are equipped with the technical and soft skills needed to be successful in their careers. Lastly, the experiential learning opportunities are abundant at Smith. As a career pivoter, I knew I wanted to take advantage of putting theory into practice. These opportunities are embedded in Smith curriculum so that regardless of your career goals, you get to practice in the real world what you learned in the classroom.
What is your best piece advice to an applicant hoping to get into your school’s MBA program? Be yourself and let it shine. There is only one “you” in this world with your unique story and background. When tackling Smith’s application, really think about what in your life has driven you to apply for business school and how a Smith MBA will help you achieve your professional and personal goals. A truly authentic story will stand out if it really speaks to your values and personality. Be confident in your story and the value you can bring to Smith.
What was your biggest regret in business school? I should have started networking with alumni earlier in business school. There is a vast network of Smith alumni that want help other Smith MBAs, and engaging with them earlier builds your network and helps you explore future career opportunities.
Which MBA classmate do you most admire? Zane Adoum without a doubt. He is the epitome of our mantra “Terps Helping Terps.” I first met Zane during orientation, and was immediately inspired by his drive and ambition to grow. He is always motivating his fellow classmates to “stay hungry” and to strive for greatness in everything we do. As a “finance bro,” Zane never hesitates to bridge the learning gaps for his fellow classmates through Wall Street Journal sessions or a quick Q&A. He has always emphasized to me the importance of maintaining my physical and mental well-being, and has words of wisdom whenever I am stressed or not my best. Whether it was through a simple phone call to check in, or look from across the classroom — Zane is a dependable friend and ally for all Smith MBAs, and I am grateful our paths crossed at Smith.
Who most influenced your decision to pursue business in college? Before coming to Smith, I lived in Ithaca, New York. My Ithaca family of friends and co-workers influenced my decision to go to business school. I saw how one of my closest friends, Cassandre Joseph, could use her people skills and managerial prowess to help create community for people new to Ithaca and Cornell. My mentor and former supervisor, Lanny Joyce, could combine his quant background and business acumen to pursue multi-million dollar projects and keep stakeholders engaged along the journey. I knew from being around such great minds and effective leaders that I still had some growing to do. I needed to learn how to connect my passions for sustainability with business strategy. I also realized I wanted not just a job and career, but also a legacy. I knew it time for the next step, and both Cassie and Lanny helped me figure out my own unique path.
“If I hadn’t gone to business school, I would still be in Ithaca, New York trying to survive 6-month-long winters!”
What are the top two items on your bucket list?
- Chase a tornado. (I am a meteorologist, still, in spirit)
- Visit every continent of Earth.
In one sentence, how would you like your peers to remember you? “Erin was a truly authentic leader who supported and championed our goals…and loved to dance!”
What is your favorite movie about business? Trading Places with Dan Aykroyd and Eddie Murphy. Not only is it one of my favorite movies, I got my first taste of the commodities market and short selling. I also learned that good business is not just about making money, it is about helping society and improving people’s lives with your product or service.
What would your theme song be? “Golden” by Jill Scott (Include song name and artist)
Favorite vacation spot: Montego Bay, Jamaica
Hobbies? Aiding my HGTV binge-watching addiction, attending concerts, collecting vinyl records (125 and counting…), and dancing.
What made Erin such an invaluable addition to the class of 2018?
“Erin has been an outstanding leader to work with and an exceptional MBA success story. Erin entered the Smith School looking to transition from higher education into a marketing career. She leveraged her background with her embrace of the strong quantitative skills required to thrive in today’s data-driven marketing roles. As a career explorer, she engaged in a significant amount of research into finding companies where she could apply her passion, resulting in a post-MBA opportunity with BASF.
This passion for knowledge and excellence benefitted the entire class. Her leadership traits were recognized by her classmates through her election as the President of the MBAA. In that role, she worked closely with the faculty and administration to help us pivot our curriculum further towards data-driven decision making. In addition, she has embraced all of her classmates, actively assisting every single one of them with their job search and networking activities.
Erin is a vocal ambassador to incoming students and alums as well. I have no doubt that her legacy will benefit many students who will follow her. I look forward to continuing the working relationship and friendship we have fostered over the last two years.”
Associate Dean of Masters Programs