“Down-to-Earth city girl with a passion for understanding consumer behaviors, travelling and cooking.”
Hometown: Philadelphia, PA
Fun Fact About Yourself: I can recite the alphabet backwards! ZYXWVUT…
Undergraduate School and Major: Bucknell University, Economics and Psychology
Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Michael Kors Holdings LTD., Associate Planner
Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: My biggest accomplishment in my career was my promotion to the level of associate planner in just over two and half years with Michael Kors. I started with the company in an entry level position and with hard work and dedication was able to work my way up to a level with peers who generally had at least four to five years of experience in the same role. My managers and team members treated me with the same respect that was given to more experienced planners, which allowed me to take control of my own career and have leadership roles within projects and key departmental task forces where I was able to have an impact on major company decisions.
What quality best describes the MBA classmates you’ve met so far and why? Goal-oriented. Every Kelley classmate I have met and have had the pleasure of getting to know has had a clear vision of what they want in life. Whether it was a specific career and outlined path to get there or just knowing they want to reach a senior level position within an allotted time, there is a vision for where they want to go, how they can get there, and what steps need to be taken in the interim.
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? As someone with a clear idea of my intended career path, I wanted a program that would give me an in-depth and focused exposure to marketing and consumer Insights. The academy program at Kelley, most specifically the Consumer Marketing Academy, is something that sets them apart from the other top marketing programs in the country. It is an experiential learning environment in which you get to explore real-life projects and issues happening at various companies. You also learn about the numerous career path options, receive hands-on advising to find what is best for your specific goals, and network with leading professionals within the industry.
What club or activity are you looking most forward to in business school? I am most looking forward to the Kelley Association of Women MBAs. I grew up surrounded by strong and powerful women who have taught me to always strive for my goals and stand up to the obstacles that get in the way. Having a cohort of women that support each other and offer advice and insights in a world that is not always set up to our benefit is vital and I cannot wait to be a part of that community.
What led you to pursue an MBA at this point in your career? Up until this point I have been working in retail planning, which involves forecasting sales and developing strategies to meet or hopefully exceed those forecasts. While I have enjoyed doing this, I have always been more interested in the customer and understanding how and why they make purchasing decisions and how that insight can be used on the product side. Due to advances in technology, the way people shop is rapidly changing and moving in a direction that I think we do not yet fully understand. Getting an MBA will give me the ability to be at the forefront of this shift in consumer behaviors and give me the tools to switch into the marketing side of business, where I will have the opportunity to explore and analyze customer data and better understand purchasing patterns and brand perceptions.
How did you decide if an MBA was worth the investment? After working for four years, I developed a clear idea of what I wanted to do, which is a career switch from what I had been doing before. I could have simply shifted to an entry level marketing role, but it would take me years to get back to the level I was at now and even longer to be a leader in the field. Many of the professionals in the higher-level marketing positions I seek have an MBA, and I knew that this would be the most efficient way for me to get the skill set and tools I need to be successful. I am confident that I will come out of Kelley with an immense amount of knowledge about the field as well as enhanced business and management skills that will position me for leadership opportunities going forward. Additionally, I think there is great value to the network that comes from attending business school. Not only do you have your peers, but you have the opportunity to network with so many different companies and groups of people who can open up doors that may have once been unimaginable.
What other MBA programs did you apply to? UVA Darden, Georgetown McDonough, UCLA Anderson
How did you determine your fit at various schools? I determined fit in a couple of ways. First, I did the obvious: browsing the school’s websites. While sometimes it seemed like every school’s website was the same, I felt this was an important step in at least gathering the basics about what the program offers and what the school values. I was particularly interested in finding a program that was strong in marketing, so I was able to use the website to determine what special programs and courses were offered, or not offered, at each school.
Second, I spoke to current and former students of the programs, and from these conversations I learned firsthand information about the program and their experiences. Having these conversations was a great way to learn about the culture and community of the school, and I could immediately tell from the way someone spoke about a program how they felt about it. The culture of the program was another priority of mine and getting these personal insights about the people and the environment was crucial in determining fit.
What was your defining moment and how did it shape who you are? A defining moment for me was choosing to take Economics 101 my second semester at Bucknell. I intended to be a Psychology major and took Economics because it filled a requirement. I thought I would have no interest in the topic, but it turned out that I loved it and went on to be an Economics and Psychology double major. This was a defining moment for me because it led me to discover Behavioral Economics, which is essentially the crossover between Psychology and Economic Theory. I became interested in the topic of Behavioral Economics and the study of how and why consumers make decisions. This interest has stayed with me to this day and has been the key influence for my desire to shift my professional focus to marketing and consumer insights.
What do you plan to do after you graduate? After graduation, I plan to work on the brand management team at a reputable consumer packaged goods or luxury goods company. I want to use what I have learned to work with a brand to build lasting connections between customers and the product. I’d like to work for a company that promotes a product that I believe in and that brings satisfaction to the customers purchasing it.
Where do you see yourself in five years? In five years, I see myself as a senior brand manager, hopefully working for the same company since graduating from Kelley. I would like to work for a brand that shares my values and promotes a product that helps people either through necessity or simply through the joy it brings them. Just as I would like to create a lasting and meaningful relationship between the product and the customer, I would like to create a lasting and loyal relationship between myself and the company that I am working for, which will ultimately lead to my own personal growth and success in business.