Meet Wharton’s MBA Class Of 2020

Kaila Squires

Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania

Energetic world-traveler, fitness enthusiast and food connoisseur with a passion for community service.”

Hometown: Queens, NY

Fun Fact About Yourself: During a 4-month work assignment in China, I visited Macau for my 24th birthday and decided to do the highest bungee jump in the world (773 ft). Definitely a once in a lifetime experience!

Undergraduate School and Major: Cornell University, Operations Research & Information Engineering

Employers and Job Titles Since Graduation:

General Electric: Aviation – Financial Analyst

General Electric: Corporate Audit Staff- Senior Associate

General Electric: Renewable Energy – Senior Manufacturing Operations Manager

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: I was once selected to speak in front of 500 co-workers at a ceremony in memory of Martin Luther King Jr. I presented about my volunteerism and reflected about its embodiment of the true essence of MLK. As I reminisce on this experience, I am reminded of the numerous letters I received from 3rd grade students that I taught through the Junior Achievement (JA) program. I also remember the bonds I formed with families in Séssene Ndiarao, a small Senegalese village where I helped build a school for local children. Being recognized for my commitment to service is significant for me because it reminds me of how much my life has been enriched by the people I’ve encountered while endeavoring to serve others. In the future, I hope to continue forming genuine connections with people from all walks of life.

Looking back on your experience, what one piece of advice would you give to future business school applicants? Be authentic and own your story! Applying to business school is a very introspective and somewhat taxing experience. However, I truly believe that it is necessary for individuals to press pause and take an inventory on where they are and where they’d like to be in the future. It is imperative that people become comfortable and well-versed in vocalizing their “Why MBA?” story. A highly persuasive applicant exudes genuineness, passion and a solid pitch on why their target schools are a good fit. I suggest that everyone have a comprehensive 30-second pitch ready once they begin applying to MBA programs. Whether you’re meeting campus recruiters, current students or fellow applicants, being able to share your unique story can set you apart from other applicants, and will inevitably increase your confidence.

Oh, and study as hard as possible for the GMAT!

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? From the moment I stepped on campus, I was immediately impressed by the people at Wharton. After interacting with the amazing professional staff and listening to engaging professors like Americus Reed, I knew Wharton would have the perfect environment where I could be stimulated intellectually and supported in my two-year growth journey. During a campus visit, I had the opportunity to attend my first Pub, which introduced me to the charismatic and infectious nature of Wharton students. This experience was both unexpected and comforting, as I began envisioning myself forming long-lasting relationships with such intelligent and humble people.

What would success look like to you after your first year of business school? For me, a successful first year would be three-fold, involving strides in my personal, professional and spiritual life. After my first year, I hope to have expanded my skill-set by tapping into the vast entrepreneurial resources at Wharton, whilst still remaining focused on securing a summer internship at a top management consulting firm. I also intend to build strong relationships with fellow classmates, especially those with different lived experiences and perspectives than my own. Finally, I want to work to empower local Philadelphia youth in achieving educational success—continuing work similar to what I achieved during my time with Junior Achievement—and also support my spiritual growth within a local Christian community.

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