“I am brave, and I get nervous, but bravery always wins. It has to.”
Hometown: Boynton Beach, Florida
Fun Fact About Yourself: I spent three years in NYC and never had food delivered once! I hope to continue that streak in Austin.
Undergraduate School and Major: Howard University, International Business
Most Recent Employer and Job Title: JPMorgan Chase & Co., Corporate Client Banking Client Service Associate
Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: My biggest accomplishment so far in my career would have to be a figuring out a tool I never used before. I am someone who loves to figure out a problem or issue on my own before asking for help. I am an autonomous worker, so when I was presented the chance to use the Salesforce platform I studied it until I was able to optimize the future reporting for my team. My international business concentration at Howard University was information systems, but I never practiced this in my career. When I was given the opportunity to work with a technology platform again, I was proud of the way I figured out something unfamiliar until I was accustomed to it. Solving problems and being able to leave a lasting impact on a wonderful team is something I am truly proud of.
What quality best describes the MBA classmates you’ve met so far and why? Welcoming! I first met some of my classmates at The Consortium for Graduate Study in Management’s Orientation Program in Orlando in June. The fact that everyone comes from different backgrounds and career paths did not matter as we all meshed so well. During our first school specific ice breaker, I mentioned my career plans. Those with a background in non-profit or social impact or education all volunteered to help me with my future career search. That showed me my classmates who did not even know me cared about my future. Everyone I have met since coming to Austin has been equally welcoming. No one is afraid to sit next to you and strike up a conversation for an hour. People say your MBA classmates become your family by the time you graduate. I can believe that because it already feels like we are one.
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? The key factor that led me to choose Texas McCombs were the opportunities for an MBA candidate who wished to possibly pursue a career in social enterprise. On the McCombs website for concentrations with a focus on social enterprise, I saw a ray of hope that this program, above the rest was where I should be. This was important to me because I did not have a clue on how to reach the goals that were in my head. I talked with alumni at McCombs, and I became sure that the ambiguity I felt on moving to the next phase in life would be fully supported by the MBA staff and alumni network. When the McCombs Consortium group paired me with a second-year buddy who was interning at an organization I could potentially see myself working, I knew I made the right decision.
What club or activity are you looking most forward to in business school? That’s easy, I am most looking forward to joining the Board Fellows Program at McCombs. My concentration in graduate school is social enterprise and long before I applied to business school I knew I wanted to serve my community as a leader. The Board Fellows Program provides students with the opportunity to serve as a non-voting board member for one year. I can’t wait to build a network of Austin community leaders.
What led you to pursue an MBA at this point in your career? Volunteering and mentoring are a huge part of my life. When I received a promotion at work, I started evaluating where I wanted to go from there. I loved the company I worked for, but I wanted more for myself in terms of career impact. I knew I always wanted to pursue my master’s degree. When it became clear that I wanted a chance to work in social impact, business school was the clear choice. I debated getting my MBA right out of undergrad, but I believe that your MBA should have purpose especially if you are looking to go full-time at a top business school.
How did you decide if an MBA was worth the investment? When I applied to business school, I knew I wanted to change careers, but I didn’t know exactly how to go about that. The more I researched the various MBA programs I was interested in, I became sure that this was the right decision. Business school offers opportunities far beyond the classroom. Those opportunities are priceless in my book. Also, based on where I was in my career – only three years in, and with a clear sense of what I wanted to do – I knew this was the time to take the leap.
What other MBA programs did you apply to? I applied to Pepperdine University Graziadio Business School, University of Michigan Ross School of Business, Rice University Jones Graduate School of Business, University of Southern California Marshall School of Business, and the University of California Los Angeles Anderson School of Business.
How did you determine your fit at various schools? Honestly, in the beginning of the application process, the main factor I was concerned with was location. The schools I chose to apply to all had an ideal location in mind and that was very important to me. After narrowing down to my top five, I visited the cities, toured the campus, did class visits, and talked with alumni to get an idea of what the area was like and how the people were once you are living there.
I created a document called “Graduate School Profiles.” Aside from statistics such as class size and tuition costs, I prioritized international opportunities, diversity breakdown, electives and current student and alumni feedback. I completed the same table for each school to be able to do a side-by-side comparison of where I thought I would fit in the best. The hardest part to research was culture. To understand the culture of the school, I watched countless student videos on the university pages and wrote down what resonated with me. What students say about the schools was important to me, and the schools that showcased studens with an uncertainty of how to achieve their career goals got an extra point in my book. This is how I knew what schools fit my career goals because other people came in unsure and left with an amazing new career.
What was your defining moment and how did it shape who you are? My parents bought me my first travel book when I was a child. Lonely Planet’s The Travel Book: A Journey Through Every Country in the World gave me a glimpse into life around the world. I knew I was meant to see more than the Florida Atlantic coast and college provided me that life changing moment. January 2014, I boarded a plane to Shanghai, China for five months to study abroad at Fudan University. Getting on the plane knowing I would not be home for a very long time was surreal to me, but it has shaped me into this woman never afraid of a flight alone, a different culture, or unfamiliar surroundings. I am adaptable. I love being able to adjust to new surroundings because I get to expand my comfort zone constantly, which allows for diverse friendships and experiences.
What do you plan to do after you graduate? Immediately after graduation, I plan on jumping on a plane with my best friend and traveling across the globe for the Summer Olympics in Tokyo. We have been planning this trip since they announced Japan will host the 2020 games, so I have no plans on missing it.
Where do you see yourself in five years? I see myself celebrating my three-year work anniversary at whichever job I receive post-graduation. I see myself making an impact in the community by serving on a non-profit board with the goal of changing one life at a time. Traveling is also a huge part of my life, so I want to continue to explore the globe.