“Just trying to be better than yesterday’s version and have fun while doing it!”
Hometown: Charlotte, NC
Fun Fact About Yourself: I used the summer before business school as an opportunity to go out of my comfort zone. I traveled alone for a month. Just before my trip, I learned to ride a motorcycle and then rode one in Vietnam and Thailand. I also learned to scuba dive. The most fun is on the other side of your comfort zone!
Undergraduate School and Major: University of South Carolina, Finance
Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Amazon, Senior Product Manager
Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: As a product manager at Amazon, I led our customer experience (CX) team to add personalization to the smart home customer experience, called “Works with Alexa.” Based on what Alexa device you own, we can tell you whether a given smart home product is compatible or not.
What quality best describes the MBA classmates you’ve met so far and why? Doers. In just a few months of being connected prior to matriculation, my classmates have organized countless activities and trips, launched podcasts, started businesses, to name a few. These people get things done.
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? Harvard’s emphasis on participation and learning through discussion. From my undergrad experience, the most memorable and useful courses into my career were those where participation and discussion were the focus (versus lectures).
What club or activity are you looking most forward to in business school? I’m looking forward to the Tech Club at HBS. I’m excited to hear about others’ experience at companies of all stages and sizes and learn about new opportunities.
What led you to pursue an MBA at this point in your career? After working for almost six years, the career path at Amazon was clear and well defined to me. It was good, but I’m curious what else is out there. I want to give myself the best opportunity to take my career to the next level. I’m going to HBS because it provides that opportunity.
How did you decide if an MBA was worth the investment? It’s impossible to be sure, but I used a few questions to help. Do you value the two years at a given school over two years at your company (or any other immediately attainable job)? Do you think you can markedly improve your trajectory through the opportunities offered at a given school? If yes to both, then it is now up to you to take advantage of the opportunities and make the MBA experience worth it. Healthy pressure.
What other MBA programs did you apply to?
How did you determine your fit at various schools? I did most of my research online and through my network. I certainly leveraged Poets & Quants, among other websites. Many of my colleagues at Amazon were graduates of the schools I considered, so speaking to them was invaluable in helping me determine which was right for me.
What was your defining moment and how did it shape who you are? I don’t have a defining moment. I am who I am because of consistent hard work, thoughtful decision making, self-awareness, and a few strokes of good luck.
What do you plan to do after you graduate? I plan to join the product team of a mid-stage company. I want to be a part of a company’s formative years, where one’s work is central to the ultimate success (or failure) of the product and company.
Where do you see yourself in five years? I see myself dedicated to building a product I believe in.