2018 MBAs To Watch: Mireille Hartley, Ohio State (Fisher)

Mireille Hartley

Fisher College of Business, The Ohio State University

“A lifelong learner and proud extrovert who is fiercely loyal to her family and friends.”

Age: 28

Hometown: Woodbury, CT

Fun fact about yourself: My boyfriend and I, who attended different colleges, were both recruited to Teach For America by the same person. We are now both in the MBA program at Fisher!

Undergraduate School and Degree: University of New Hampshire, BA in Psychology

Where did you work before enrolling in business school? I worked for Teach For America in Memphis, TN. I held a number of roles in human resources and operations, most recently serving as the Chief of Staff to the Executive Director.

Where did you intern during the summer of 2017? Nationwide Insurance – Columbus, OH

Where will you be working after graduation? Nationwide Insurance, Finance Leadership Rotational Program

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School:

  • Vice President, Full-Time MBA Council: As a member of our class council, I was responsible for supporting our team’s efforts to build camaraderie within our class while also acting as a liaison to the faculty and staff, specifically in regard to planning pre-term for the Class of 2019.
  • Vice President, Fisher Graduate Finance Association: I served on a five-person executive team that was dedicated to helping MBA and SMF students pursue careers in finance. I helped facilitate programs such as a technical interview training, as well as a networking dinner with finance professionals from the Columbus community.
  • Director of Training & Treasurer, Fisher Board Fellows: I was responsible for building the budget and tracking expenses for our organization. I also facilitate training sessions that help new fellows within the organization prepare to be effective board members during their one-year commitment.
  • Board Member, Local Matters: Through Fisher Board Fellows, I serve on the board of Local Matters, a Columbus non-profit with the mission to create healthy communities through food education, access, and advocacy. In this role, I support the Development team with donor communications.
  • Winning Team, 2017 Fisher Internal Case Competition: My team was the winning team in our room for this case competition in our first year. Our team also advanced to the next round and was awarded Most Innovative Idea for the app that we developed for the case.
  • Best Q&A, 2017 Big Ten Plus Case Competition: I was selected to participate in the Big Ten Plus Case Competition with three of my peers and was awarded Best Q&A in our room for my responses to the judges’ questions.
  • Winning Team, 2017 Association for Corporate Growth Cup – Cleveland Chapter: In my first year, I was on the winning team for this mergers and acquisitions case competition. We were given the opportunity to attend InterGrowth in April of 2017 as a result.

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? Being selected to represent Fisher in the Big Ten Plus case competition. I had the opportunity to work with three of my peers, and together we created a high-functioning team that genuinely enjoyed solving this business problem together. The high-pressure environment of a case competition is one that I thrive in – the work is challenging and nuanced and really calls upon you to find a good solution and tell a compelling story. I was awarded Best Q&A for our room, which was a particularly proud moment for me as this case dealt with a human resources component and I felt that I was able to leverage my own work experience to create a viable business plan for this firm.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? Being a part of the founding team for the first ever Teach For America regional institute. In 2013, we completely redesigned the summer training model for new corps members, and my manager and I were responsible for all human resources and operations related work that went into building this program. Two achievements stand out in particular for me: 1) I built a budget from scratch to help us estimate our expenses and therefore our fundraising needs; and 2) this was my first opportunity to directly manage my own team. I have never worked so many hours and I often felt like I had no idea what I was doing, but this experience taught me so much about how to deal with ambiguity, how to innovate, and how to lead.

What was your favorite MBA Course? As mentioned above, my favorite course was Intopia. I was on a team with three female classmates (who also happen to be my closest friends at Fisher), and we essentially ran our own company, having to make decisions around production, marketing, and financing. In addition to learning how complicated it is to run a business, my team and I also learned some critical lessons about how to be effective managers. We had to make tough decisions, learn how to have productive conflict, and identify what we should do and (more importantly) what we should not do. My biggest insight was really that picking a strategy is easy, but effectively executing it is much harder.

Why did you choose this business school? I was drawn to the Fisher community. The small class size was appealing to me because I really wanted the opportunity to get to know all of my classmates. I also knew that I would get a lot of personalized support from the Office of Career Management based on my experience applying to the program. Fisher also offers a wide variety of student organizations that I felt like would add even more value to my experience, especially Fisher Board Fellows.

What is your best piece advice to an applicant hoping to get into your school’s MBA program? Experience the Fisher culture first-hand. It is somewhat difficult to convey what Fisher is like on a daily basis, so I would highly recommend going to see it for yourself. Because our community is so tight-knit, it’s important to know if it feels like the right fit for you, and there’s no way to really do that without coming to our campus.

What is the biggest myth about your school? I guess a myth about Ohio State is that it’s a huge, impersonal university that cares mostly about athletics. There is absolutely a lot of school pride throughout the entire city of Columbus, but Fisher feels much more intimate than perhaps the university as a whole might feel. Our campus is tucked away, and, while you still can feel all of the excitement that comes from being a part of such a large institution, it’s very true that our community is a much more personal subset of the broader campus.

What was your biggest regret in business school? My biggest regret is that I rushed through certain experiences in an effort to simply get things done. This was particularly challenging in my first year when I took a heavier course load than was really necessary, and I was juggling multiple deadlines on any given day. I wish that I had slowed down more and appreciated the learning experience as opposed to just trying to make it to the finish line at the end of the semester.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? I feel incredibly fortunate to have become friends with Lisa Walsh while at Fisher. In addition to being a supportive friend to me throughout all of the challenges I’ve faced personally and professionally over the past two years, Lisa is someone who I constantly find myself looking to for advice. I cannot think of anyone else I know who is more driven and motivated by her values and Lisa is completely unapologetic about who she is and what she believes in. She is an advocate for other women in our program, and she has taken on so much in pursuit of making Fisher a more inclusive place for everyone. I often wish that I had the courage to speak my mind as clearly and as passionately as Lisa speaks hers.

Who most influenced your decision to pursue business in college? My dad. Throughout my life, he has always been my biggest champion and my most effective coach. Growing up as an only child, the pressure was definitely on for me to be successful academically, yet my dad was always there by my side to help me when I needed it. He constantly affirmed me and supported my decisions while also pushing me to realize my full potential. He passed away in 2014, a year before I started the process of applying to business school, but I still credit him with this decision. I often define my achievements in terms of how my dad would react if I had the opportunity to share them with him, and going to business school is one that would have made him immensely proud. He deserves so much credit for the example he set for me in being a dedicated lifelong learner, and, without him, I might never have had the confidence to come back to school.

If I hadn’t gone to business school, I would be…pursuing a Masters in either Education or Social Work with the goal of working as a counselor within a school setting.”

If you were a dean for a day, what one thing would you change about the MBA experience? I would make the MBA program at Fisher a more integrated experience. Our classes tend to operate in silos, shedding light on one important aspect of business without helping students connect the dots to lessons learned elsewhere in the curriculum. I think that this helps build technical skill, but it does a disservice in that it’s not a good example of what we can expect to see in our careers. Solving business problems often involves ambiguity and competing commitments, so looking at them through one lens is haphazard. I think that adding experiences that better replicate the real world would be beneficial and it would help students better apply what they learn in the classroom.

What are the top two items on your bucket list?

  • I would love to take my mom on a trip to France. Her family is originally from France, but she has never been to visit herself. Giving her the chance to experience French history and culture first-hand is definitely a dream of mine.
  • My boyfriend and I are planning our wedding for May of 2019. I’m most looking forward to spending the weekend with all of our closest friends and family in Memphis, so that we can share everything we love about our favorite city with people we care about.

In one sentence, how would you like your peers to remember you? “She was a leader who sought to bring out the best in others, she was never afraid to speak her mind, and she tried to make Fisher a better place for all students.”

What is your favorite movie about business? Joy – I especially love how this movie highlights a strong female entrepreneur. Joy is a force to be reckoned with throughout the whole story, and she continuously fights for her product without ever succumbing to the harsh criticisms coming from all directions around her. I walked away feeling empowered to stand up for what I believe in and to never doubt myself as being a capable leader in my own career.

What would your theme song be? “Get on your Feet” by Gloria Estefan

Favorite vacation spot: a quiet New England town on a crisp fall day

Hobbies? I am an avid reader and particularly enjoy mystery novels. I love spending time with our cat, Finley, and our dog, Endy – bringing Endy on walks around town on weekends is a favorite past time. My boyfriend and I also enjoy cooking – we like to test out new recipes and try to recreate dishes we’ve liked from our favorite restaurants. I would also say that traveling to visit my college friends and our friends from our time in Memphis is a hobby of mine. With friends and family across the country, we often spend our time off in different cities with them.

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

“Mireille Hartley is an articulate advocate of her point of view, yet a thoughtful and attentive listener…a logical thinker, also blessed with remarkable intellectual curiosity.

Mireille has a remarkable capacity to assimilate ideas across multiple disciplines and employ them with insight, possessing an enviable ability to harness conceptual thinking to solve complex issues and to move to practical solutions—to gracefully move from analysis to action.

She displays an indefatigable personal work ethic, while tenaciously supporting her colleagues, always seeking a better outcome without concern for who gets the credit.

Not surprisingly, Mireille is a respected and effective leader who understands that leadership isn’t about collecting followers, but rather about creating other leaders.”

Jay Dial

Clinical Professor of Management & Human Resources 





Questions about this article? Email us or leave a comment below.