2018 MBAs To Watch: Katie Hoppenjans, Emory University (Goizueta)

Katie Hoppenjans

Emory University – Goizueta Business School

“Optimistic Midwesterner who loves books, wine, and people.”

Age: 26

Hometown: Columbus, Ohio

Fun fact about yourself: I used to write horoscopes for a national teen magazine.

Undergraduate School and Degree: I graduated from Columbia University in 2013 with a degree in English.

Where did you work before enrolling in business school? Before business school, I spent two years working at Bridal Guide magazine in New York City as a fashion and beauty editor.

Where did you intern during the summer of 2017? Georgia-Pacific in Atlanta, GA

Where will you be working after graduation? I’ll be joining UPS as a Senior Marketing Analyst.

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School:

  • Vice President of University Relations and Communications, Graduate Business Association
  • Delta Leadership Coaching Fellow (leadership program sponsored by Delta Airlines)
  • Co-leader of summer engagement programming between two-year and one-year MBA classes
  • Member of Emory University Senate
  • Member of Goizueta Business School’s Safety and Preparedness Committee

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school?

There are two of which I’m particularly proud. The first is my work as VP of University Relations and Communications for the student body. In my role, I designed and launched a weekly student newsletter with the goal of fostering connections between students and contributing positively to the Goizueta community.

The second is an academic experience I had earlier this year. In January, I travelled to Haiti with a team of my classmates to work on a project with Caribbean Craft, a Haitian company whose mission is to provide employment opportunities to the Port-au-Prince community and showcase the beauty of Haiti through handmade artwork. While we were there, we helped them develop a marketing strategy to grow their online business in the U.S. Applying what we’ve learned at Goizueta to a company like Caribbean Craft, where we could potentially help create jobs in a community with huge unemployment problems, was very meaningful to me. This experience was a great chance for us to contribute to Emory’s mission (which is to create, preserve, teach, and apply knowledge in the service of humanity). It made me proud to be a Goizueta student.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? Working as a magazine editor was a lifelong dream of mine, and I’m proud of all 100+ pieces of work that I published during my time in the industry. Building a story from start to finish—through conceptualization, photography, composition, and design—and then getting to see it in print was always extremely rewarding.

Who was your favorite MBA professor? J.B. Kurish, who taught Finance during our Core semester, was my favorite MBA professor. I was very nervous to take Finance because I hadn’t been in a math class since high school, but he had a way of communicating the content in a way that anyone could understand; he is an outstanding communicator and educator. It turned out to be one of my favorite classes at Goizueta, which I never expected!

What was your favorite MBA Course? IMPACT360, a class in which we partner with businesses to work on real projects, was my favorite MBA course. My team worked with Cox Media Group on an expansion strategy for their sports verticals, and it was a fantastic opportunity to get hands-on experience with working in a team, building a relationship with a client, and structuring a project.

Why did you choose this business school? For me, the two things that were most important in a business school were a positive, close-knit community and a great location in an exciting city. Goizueta was the only school I found that checked both boxes (and the Atlanta weather doesn’t hurt, either!). I’ve had an absolutely outstanding experience and am thrilled that I chose to come to Emory—I can’t imagine finding a better community anywhere else.

What is your best piece advice to an applicant hoping to get into your school’s MBA program?  During the application process, talk to as many students as possible and be sure to visit campus—I think the best way to assess whether a school is a good fit for you is to experience it in person. Pay attention to how students interact with staff, faculty, and each other, and you should get a good sense of what the school’s culture is like.

What is the biggest myth about your school? Before coming to Goizueta, I had heard rumors that it was a consulting-focused school. While we have many great consulting opportunities, our strengths aren’t limited to that—we also have outstanding resources for analytics, healthcare, social enterprise, and a number of other areas. We may be small, but the opportunities here are limitless.

What was your biggest regret in business school?  I wish I had taken more chances academically in the early months of my MBA experience. I stuck to my comfort zone during my first semester and shied away from quantitative work, so it wasn’t until later in my first year that I discovered how much I love analytics. Business school is a safe place to learn and explore, so I wish I had been more willing to try new things from the beginning.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? I admire all 400+ of my classmates—I’m not sure I can name just one! But I’m particularly impressed by our international students. Business school is intimidating enough as a domestic student, so I can’t imagine how challenging it must be to start business school and move to a new country at the same time.

Who most influenced your decision to pursue business in college?  My supervisor at Bridal Guide, Naima Difranco, was immensely supportive of my decision to get my MBA. Going to business school isn’t a common path in the magazine industry, so I didn’t have many resources helping me through the application process. Naima, however, went out of her way to support me and help me find the right school for me. It meant the world to have her as a colleague, mentor, and friend during that time.

If I hadn’t gone to business school, I would be…probably still working as a magazine editor and wishing I had gone to business school!”

If you were a dean for a day, what one thing would you change about the MBA experience? International travel has been one of my favorite parts of the MBA experience, so I would probably add more opportunities for travel.

What are the top two items on your bucket list?  First and foremost, I’d like to feel like I’ve had an impact on my community as a leader and mentor. On a personal level, I’d also like to visit all seven continents someday (I’m currently at four).

In one sentence, how would you like your peers to remember you? I’d like to be remembered as someone who exemplified the core values of Goizueta (courage, integrity, accountability, rigor, diversity, team, and community) and made a positive contribution to our community.

What is your favorite movie about business? Since I used to work in magazines, I’m going to say The Devil Wears Prada. I think the message that you can always learn something from an experience—even if you think it’s not going to be a good fit for you—definitely resonates with me.

What would your theme song be?  “Bad and Boujee” by Migos

Favorite vacation spot: Cape Town, where I travelled last year with about 30 of my classmates. I can’t wait to go back!

Hobbies?  Hiking, reading, and wine tasting.

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

“Often times, MBA students seem straight out of central casting.  They come from familiar firms, have had familiar job titles, and can be spotted from a mile away practicing diligently their elevator pitches prior to their first admissions information session. But Katie Hoppenjans does not fit that mold. She’s one of a kind.

Katie’s unique pre-MBA background led her to come to business school ready to learn, rather than prove what she already knew. Her humility combined with her obvious intellect, made such a strong first impression that we immediately invited Katie to interview for our highest incoming award, our Woodruff Fellowship. During the interview process, we weren’t the only ones impressed by Katie – she also made two best friends out of complete strangers, who might have otherwise been viewed as competitors.  Katie has an incredible sense of empathy and ability to foster community, which is a core value at Goizueta.

In addition to earning Dean’s List honors in each of her semesters at Goizueta, Katie has been willing to lead some of our most important co-curricular initiatives. One example is how she co-led programming over the summer, during a high-stakes summer internship in a city that was still new to her, to bring together our Atlanta-based interns from our Two-Year MBA program with our One-Year MBAs who were taking classes at that time. This proved to be highly successful when the two cohorts came together in the fall semester as classmates. Katie’s leadership was invaluable to this student experience.

It feels a bit cliche to say that I wish we had more students like Katie, but it’s true. Many MBA students play their roles very well. Katie Hoppenjans is a super star, and super stars don’t come from central casting.”

Brian Mitchell

Associate Dean, Full-Time MBA Programs





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