2018 MBAs To Watch: Leslie Morton, North Carolina (Kenan-Flagler)

Leslie Morton

University of North Carolina, Kenan-Flagler Business School

“I am a Type-A biochemist-enthusiast who enjoys reading Jane Austen in my spare time.

Age: 32

Hometown: Charlotte, North Carolina

Fun fact about yourself: I was struck by lightning through my metal umbrella on a stormy night as I was walking to my car.

Undergraduate School and Degree:

Bachelor of Science: University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill

Doctor of Philosophy: University of Colorado-Boulder

Where did you work before enrolling in business school? Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN. I was pursuing my postdoctoral fellowship as a research scientist in the gastroenterology and hepatology department.

Where did you intern during the summer of 2017? Pfizer, Inc. in New York, NY

Where will you be working after graduation? Rotational Pharmaceutical Marketing Manager at Pfizer, Inc.

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School: Carolina Women in Business, President

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

As president of Carolina Women in Business, I was able to lead a dynamic leadership team that has achieved multiple achievements throughout Mods I and II in 2017. We raised more sponsorship funds, executed over 30 events focused on professional, personal, and social development, and showcased a diverse range of top female leaders at our coveted annual Carolina Women in Business conference in November 2017.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? At the Mayo Clinic, I was awarded the “Center for Biomedical Discovery Platform” grant in collaboration with other physicians and research scientists.

Who was your favorite MBA professor? I thoroughly enjoyed Atul Nerkar’s Introduction to Entrepreneurship course. He gave me the confidence to stand firm in defense of my differing views. He also not only encouraged student participation, but also forced us to defend “why” we believed in our positions.

What was your favorite MBA Course Introduction to Entrepreneurship gave me three key takeaways that I still recall.

(1) Sales is vanity.

(2) Profit is reality.

(3) Cash is sanity.

In business, human capital can be more impactful than the idea itself; therefore, learning how to invest in people and managing them effectively is just as important as nurturing the innovation.

Why did you choose this business school?UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School attracted me for three reasons: (a) location as my hometown is in North Carolina; (b) its culture and my memorable experience from being a UNC undergraduate student; and (c) its reputation in leveraging resources from UNC’s renowned medical center for students pursuing a Health Care concentration.

What is your best piece advice to an applicant hoping to get into your school’s MBA program? Be yourself. Having an authentic attitude allows others to see how unique you are. Being different is the best way to leverage your talent and skills.

What is the biggest myth about your school? A myth I had in my head was that UNC Kenan-Flagler only focuses on attracting employers from the southeast. I was pleasantly surprised how many options were available for students to choose employers from all geographic locations – including my future employer.

What was your biggest regret in business school?I wished I had received further financial planning advice at the start of business school to support me in my loan process.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? I admire Ashley Mohney. She has a spirit of an angel, and she’s always smiling. It’s refreshing to be in the presence of someone who consistently has a positive attitude.

Who most influenced your decision to pursue business in college? My father has always encouraged me to pursue an MBA. As his only daughter and youngest child, he wants me to follow opportunities that will lift the ceiling off my own career. With an MBA himself, he convinced me that an MBA will help me develop skills and talents to leverage them for a better future – one with more options and pathways than I had before.

If I hadn’t gone to business school, I would be…working as a scientist at The Mayo Clinic.”

If you were a dean for a day, what one thing would you change about the MBA experience? I would curate the core courses so that students have a better learning experience. Course customization would cater to both students with former course backgrounds and to those without.

What are the top two items on your bucket list? One bucket list item would be to dance with Beyoncé on stage. Another bucket list item is to become an Ironman, participating in the ultimate triathlon where athletes swim 2.4 miles, bike 112 miles and run 26.2 miles.

In one sentence, how would you like your peers to remember you? I am dependable and true to my word. Integrity means a lot to me, and I strive to uphold this quality on a daily basis.

What is your favorite movie about business? The Big Short and Margin Call

Lessons: Ask more questions. Do your own homework. If you don’t understand how your advisors are investing your money, take your money out of those funds. It’s important to be a smarter investor to avoid relying on others to build your own wealth.

What would your theme song be? “Crazy in Love” by Beyoncé

Favorite vacation spot: French Mediterranean Sea

Hobbies?I enjoy running long distances, reading English literature and science fiction, playing classical and R&B songs on the piano, going to yoga, and writing daily entries in my journal I’ve kept for years. I also enjoy planting and harvesting flowers and vegetables from my grandparents’ gardens.

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

“Leslie has an exuberant personality and deep and contagious curiosity to know more – more about course work, more about business in practice and more about every individual around her.

The drive to know more is evident in her accomplishments before B-school. Leslie majored in chemistry went on to complete a PhD in biochemistry, and spent several years conducting clinical research.

When she arrived on campus, she applied that same enthusiasm to her classes, club activities and her career search. She immediately was recognized as a leader in Carolina Women in Business (CWIB), one of our most active and impactful clubs. As a rising second year, Leslie was elected as the CWIB president quickly set a vision for the club and collaborated closely with other club leaders to plan major events. As issues of women in the workplace came to the forefront of our nation’s consciousness, Leslie quickly pivoted to create and strengthen educational programming geared to empower women and men to improve their working environments.

During her tenure, CWIB improved in fundraising, mentoring and partnering with club and company leaders on events that benefitted the entire UNC Kenan-Flagler community. Outcomes included raising over $25K in corporate sponsorships, expanding the CWIB conference to serve approximately 340 attendees from across the school, tripled the number of learning and development programs offered (16 new programs this year) which brought together students, alumni, and industry to discuss issues particular to women in a variety of workplace issues. These and other programs to create a strong network of women in business facilitated powerful opportunities for mentorship, a key factor of success of women in business. The impact of her leadership cannot be overstated. The fact that her leadership led to such significant accomplishments speaks volumes about Leslie’s energy and dedication to the school and to achieving gender parity in business school and in the boardroom.”

Kara Kravetz Cupoli

Director, Full-Time MBA Program