Meet The MBA Class Of 2020: Profiles In Courage

Andrea (Andi) Frkovich

London Business School

 “I am a passionate traveler, yogi and foreign language enthusiast who believes attitude determines everything.”

Hometown: Dana Point, California

Fun Fact About Yourself: I’m a big Harry Potter nerd; I own and have read the entire series in English, Arabic, and Spanish.

Undergraduate School and Major:

Duke University, BA in Arabic Language & Middle Eastern Studies

University of Cambridge, M. Phil in Politics

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: United States Navy, Lieutenant. I served for two years leading diverse teams of sailors onboard a Guided Missile Cruiser before transitioning to a security position at a Coastal Riverine squadron, where I led international teams providing security for the Port of Jebal Ali, UAE.

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: I consider my leadership successes serving as Officer of the Deck onboard a Cruiser as my greatest professional accomplishment. In the US Navy, the Officer of the Deck is designated by the Captain to oversee all shipboard operations; he or she is directly responsible for the safe navigation and tactical maneuvering of the ship, as well as overseeing the operations of and granting permissions to combat systems and engineering watch teams. As Officer of the Deck, I trained a team of sailors to effectively drive and fight the ship. We successfully completed two international exercises involving over 50 high-risk exercises and 120 international warships, enabling the ship to certify for deployment to the Middle East. My bridge team was also selected to execute the test launch of a Tomahawk cruise missile.

What quality best describes the MBA classmates you’ve met so far and why? ‘Cosmopolitan’ is the word that best describes my classmates. During registration alone, I met students from Singapore, Brazil, Ireland, Australia, and China, each with a unique global perspective and an interesting range of international experience.

Aside from your classmates, what was the key factor that led you to choose this program for your full-time MBA and why was it so important to you? LBS’s emphasis on internationalism is ultimately what led me to choose the program. As an undergraduate Arabic language major, I have always believed that travelling and learning from people from diverse backgrounds is one of the best ways to grow, both intellectually and socially. Beyond excellent academic credentials, I knew LBS would provide me with a truly global experience that would help challenge and develop my ideas, enhance my global perspective, and help me become more socially and culturally aware.

What club or activity are you looking most forward to in business school? I am most excited to travel with my fellow classmates as part of LBS’s student-organised ‘Treks’.

What led you to pursue an MBA at this point in your career? The military has given me extensive leadership and management experience, but I admittedly have limited exposure to the corporate world. I chose to pursue an MBA to improve my business acumen and to further cultivate my network, affording me a wider range of job opportunities as I transition out of the military.

How did you decide if an MBA was worth the investment? To decide if an MBA was worth the investment, I researched career trajectories for the industries and functions I was interested in. As an aspiring public sector consultant, I realized that an MBA can be a key credential for advancement and that it would also help me enter the consulting industry at a more senior level. This potential for accelerated career growth made the MBA worth it for me.

What other MBA programs did you apply to? I applied to Rice University (Jones), Georgetown University (McDonough), Emory University (Goizueta), and University of Texas at Austin (McCombs).

How did you determine your fit at various schools? I initially narrowed my applications down to five schools by considering the schools’ geography, job placement, specializations and target industries. Once I narrowed my list, I based my final decision on my interactions with students and alumni. LBS immediately stood out to me for two reasons: the helpfulness of student contacts and the level of enthusiasm that students and alumni displayed for LBS. Not only did my student contacts reach out to me to answer any questions, but they also followed up periodically to help with the move to London and to put me in contact with various alumni who worked in my fields of interest. The enthusiasm and helpfulness displayed by LBS students and alumni convinced me it was a community I wanted to join.

What was your defining moment and how did it shape who you are? My most defining experience has been spending six months living and working in Egypt as an undergraduate. Egyptians have a saying, “ma’lesh” (which loosely translates to “Never mind that”), that they often use when plans go awry. Having a ‘type A’ personality, this saying initially irritated me. However, after a couple months of cultural immersion and one particularly rough day, I began to embrace the beauty of the “ma’lesh” mentality; “ma’lesh” wasn’t used to excuse the speaker from responsibility for the situation at hand, but rather to remind the speaker that situations tend to affect us to the extent that we mentally allow them to. I carried the “ma’lesh” mentality home with me, and since then, it has enabled me to successfully navigate a myriad of stressful and unpredictable situations with a cool head and a positive disposition.

What do you plan to do after you graduate? I hope to leverage my MBA and my military experience to pursue a career in public sector consulting.

Where do you see yourself in five years? In five years, I hope to be positively impacting government organizations and advancing along the partner track as a public sector consultant.

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