2018 Best MBAs: Katherine Miyamasu, Georgetown University (McDonough)

Katherine Miyamasu

Georgetown University, McDonough School of Business

“I am a passionate learner who is driven to live a meaningful life.”

Age: 28

Hometown: Killeen, TX

Fun fact about yourself: For several years of my life, I pursued a competitive bowling career. My career peaked at the age of 11 when I bowled a 256 to win the Kansas State Bowling Tournament. Now, I just enjoy bowling with friends!

Undergraduate School and Degree: University of Virginia B.S., Neurobiology

Where did you work before enrolling in business school? United States Navy, Surface Warfare Office

Where did you intern during the summer of 2017? PricewaterhouseCoopers LLC (Delivering Deal Value Team) New York, NY

Where will you be working after graduation? I have been called to serve a critical requirement in the military, so I will be delaying my professional transition for a little while. United States Navy, Tactics Officer

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School:  

  • President of McDonough Military Association
  • 100 hours dedicated throughout the program to various community service projects (Capital Area Food Bank sorting and packaging, Dog Tag Bakery care package making, etc.)
  • Community Fellows Graduation Distinction (pending final review)
  • Peer Advisor for consulting and government – focused students
  • Fight Night Coordinator – in charge of the 4th annual charity boxing tournament supporting Tuck’s R.U.S.H for Literacy
  • Team Afghan Power consulting project through VetImpact – Dedicated over 30 hours to help a veteran-owned business develop its go-to-market strategy for bringing reliable renewable energy solutions to the rural populations of Afghanistan

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? I started the McDonough Military Association’s Leadership Lecture Series in September. This series was meant to continue to bridge the gap between the military experience and the business world. In the series, we host prominent leaders to hear their perspective on leadership and hopefully influence the future business leaders of the world. Our first speaker was former Secretary of State Colin Powell. General Powell has been a huge role model throughout my life and it was a once-in-a-lifetime experience to get to know him on a more personal level.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? I spearheaded an innovation initiative on board my ship to empower young junior officers to develop process improvement initiatives and new tactical employment ideas. We met on a weekly basis to identify common points throughout the ship and identify potential solutions. Additionally, we educated ourselves on new warfare tactics and capabilities to increase our tactical proficiency. Appropriately named “The War Council,” these meetings helped inspire creative thinking in a very tradition-based organization and increased collaboration across multiple departments. I am most proud of this because I felt like it helped motivate young leaders and fostered a learning environment that was previously very stale.

Who was your favorite MBA professor? This is a pretty tough question because I’ve had many amazing professors. Professor Lee Pinkowitz (FINC 550 Financial Markets and Corporate Decision Making) and Professor Michael O’Leary (Pre-term Leadership) stand out in my mind.

Finance was a class that I was most worried about coming into business school. My work in the military rarely crossed paths with financial concepts of any sort, so I anticipated a steep learning curve. Professor Pinkowitz played music before each class, knew each of us by face, name and previous job on the first day of class, and tirelessly made himself available for those who were struggling with certain concepts. He made learning fun, tangible and relevant. I was blown away by his ability to break down concepts in a way that appealed to every type of learner.

Professor O’Leary taught us a leadership class during Pre-term. He had us do this exercise in team communication that was extremely challenging. His thoughts on leadership and team dynamics really changed my perspective. Professor O’Leary has become such a great mentor over this experience.

What was your favorite MBA Course STRT 552: Strategic Business Analytics by Professor Ken Homa.

This class was an Excel, consulting, interview and strategic decision-making boot camp all rolled into one. This course singlehandedly helped me the most in interviews because I could apply the course’s frameworks and intuition to business cases or questions.

Why did you choose this business school? I finished my high school years in Northern Virginia and whenever my family and I would come to the “city,” Georgetown University was the “castle on the hill.” When it came to making the choice, aside from the global perspective, academic rigor, emphasis on leadership, and proximity to a major metropolitan area, Georgetown held a lasting impression of prestige.

What is your best piece advice to an applicant hoping to get into your school’s MBA program? Rarely do you get the opportunity to take a pause and change directions in a relatively safe environment. Be intentional about your decision and make sure you have done your diligence on what matters most to you about the program. Ask tough questions because it’s YOUR investment. Visit the school and talk to as many people as you can. Reflect on the things that you will provide your classmates. Be honest and ask yourself: are those traits a value-add for what you know about Georgetown? The fit matters!

What is the biggest myth about your school? This isn’t necessarily Georgetown-specific, but in general I think a big myth is that everyone will know EXACTLY what they want to do for the rest of their lives. In reality, many people come to business school to go on that self-reflection journey.

Another myth is that the faculty are unapproachable. The deans have made themselves more than available to speak with us one-on-one and the professors are extremely engaging inside and outside of the classroom. Professors have made connections to various employers on numerous occasions.

What was your biggest regret in business school? I regret not exposing myself to more opportunities earlier on in the experience. I have a ton of interests and passions. Finding a career that captures all of them was a lengthy and difficult process that would’ve been alleviated by increasing my exposure to different people and roles from the beginning.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? JP Coakley (MBA’18) – I randomly met JP one day when we were riding the bus home from school. Through getting to know him better, I saw how intelligent he is and his overall appreciation for the small things in life. He genuinely listens to people when they are talking and is an extremely hard worker. He has been working over the past couple of years with a co-founder to start his own business and I think it’s going to be a great success! He also has a FANTASTIC movie collection.

I would also call out Milagro Aguinaga (MBA’18) – She’s confident in herself, intelligent, an extremely hard worker and one of the most positive people I’ve ever met; truly a beautiful soul.

Who most influenced your decision to pursue business in college? My last Captain on my ship suggested I go to business school to strategically think about what my next step should be professionally. He said that his experience in graduate school exposed him to so many people and different ways of thinking that it was incredibly enriching.

If I hadn’t gone to business school, I would be…an astronaut.”

If you were a dean for a day, what one thing would you change about the MBA experience? I would work to improve transparency in the recruiting process. I think that timelines could be advertised more vocally. It’s easy for students to be swept up in the chaos when they feel like they are missing the train.

What are the top two items on your bucket list?

  • To write a book
  • To go to space!

In one sentence, how would you like your peers to remember you? I hope that I’m remembered as a person who you could depend on, that truly listened to what people were saying, and one who was fearless.

What is your favorite movie about business: Blood Diamond. I learned the power and responsibility associated with making a choice.

What would your theme song be? “Sailboat” by Ben Rector or “Never Give Up” by my girl Sia

Favorite vacation spot: Sorrento, Italy

Hobbies? Sports, hiking, photography, traveling, reading, wine making

What made Katherine such an invaluable addition to the class of 2018?

“Katherine embodies Georgetown’s core values and is most recognizable for her position as the president of the McDonough Military Association (MMA) in 2017, in which she made a number of impactful contributions and initiatives. Katherine organized the first Veterans Orientation to help veterans make a successful transition from military service, which was held the day before the Full-time MBA Orientation. She implemented an MMA guest speaker program and was successful in inviting Secretary Colin Powell to campus via her personal invitation. Katherine also established a more formal partnership between MMA and the Georgetown Consulting Club (GCC) and helped organize a joint MMA-GCC Honor Flight volunteer event providing an opportunity for our MBAs to make a social impact, a core tenet of the Georgetown MBA Program. Additionally, she created a pro-bono consulting program for veteran-owned businesses, where aspiring consultants gain experience and mentorship working alongside Deloitte practitioners. Katherine continued to champion military and veteran services by presenting a competitive analysis of Georgetown McDonough’s military benefits to the deans to assist in increasing the Yellow Ribbon award.

Outside of the MMA, Katherine has impacted the larger McDonough community in a number of ways. Katherine is a part of the MBA Career Center Peer Advisor (PAs) program in which second-year MBAs coach and mentor first-year MBAs during their internship search and initial career exploration. Due to her strong coaching and mentoring abilities, she leads all PAs in terms of total number of appointments requested; she’s profoundly impacted other student’s lives and career outcomes. Inside the classroom, she was a teaching assistant for the first-year core marketing class. Her tutoring hours and individual meetings with students facilitated their absorption of core business concepts. Additionally, Katherine volunteered as the lead organizer of the 2017 McDonough MBA Fight Night charity boxing match. Through the black tie event she raised nearly $9,000 for TUCK’s R.U.S.H. for Literacy with Justin Tuck and approximately 500 guests in attendance. Katherine’s continued commitment to the community will be honored at commencement, where she will graduate with the Dean’s Award of Community Fellow – a distinction given to students who volunteer over 100 hours during their MBA Program.

Katherine’s successes are far reaching beyond the Georgetown campus. Katherine had a successful internship with PwC leading to a full-time offer in the Delivering Deal Value practice. Prior to her MBA she was an Electronic Warfare Officer on Active Duty with the US Navy. Given her skills and critical mission requirements, she is being activated in the U.S. Navy post-MBA.”

Laura Erikson

Assistant Director, MBA Programs


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