“Architecture-student-turned-engineer-turned-brand-strategist who is dog and concert obsessed.”
Hometown: Emerson, GA, and San German, Puerto Rico
Fun Fact About Yourself: I was on the team responsible for creating the opening exhibit for the 2012 Reykjavik Arts Festival.
Undergraduate School and Major: Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Architecture
Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Casablanca Design Group, Product Development Engineer
Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: Taking the opportunity to lead my engineering team by creating a new method to organize components for our library of 3D models. I was the most junior member of the team, but I recognized a problem with how components of our 3D models were organized. My idea reduced errors and the amount of time spent on modeling revisions to a family of products. I implemented it and it became a department-wide standard. I owned our process of organizing and modeling product families and trained new and experienced employees in it. This action opened more time for engineers to develop ideas and value engineer products.
What quality best describes the MBA classmates you’ve met so far and why? Humility. There are so many students at Scheller from such crazy and diverse backgrounds, both personal and professional, and no one student thinks any less of another because of that. We all feed from each other’s experiences and use those to teach one another; as a non-business background student this has been a tremendous way to get acclimated to new material quickly.
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 Jones MBA Career Center at Scheller is incredible. They are extremely hands-on and are willing to work with you to explore your best fit for career options and companies. The core curriculum includes a career development workshop. This was a huge selling point for me, as a career switcher who had never worked in a corporate role. I didn’t find this level of career support at other programs I researched. Those programs emphasized that I should definitively know what I am targeting from the start. Scheller, however, worked with me to develop my potential and helped me explore my ambitions.
What club or activity are you looking most forward to in business school? I’m looking forward mostly to Scheller’s annual service trip to New Orleans with the Saint Bernard Project (SBP), a nonprofit disaster relief organization. The trip occurs over a week in winter break, where volunteers rehab homes in neighborhoods still blighted by hurricanes Katrina, and more recently Harvey. The trip is an opportunity to help families in need while simultaneously bonding with our classmates in the streets of New Orleans – it is a LOT of fun.
What led you to pursue an MBA at this point in your career? Prior to getting my MBA, I worked in design and engineering. I worked closely with quick-service brands to create their restaurant interiors, and I was surprised and disappointed to learn that I didn’t hold as much influence over the final product as I wanted. I worked under the directives of corporate brand managers and operations and the bulk of my work was implementing decisions they already made. I was unhappy with that position and was exploring ways out of it. I was interested in the reasoning behind their decisions and I wanted to wield the same level of control over products and the consumer experience, so I decided to pursue an MBA.
How did you decide if an MBA was worth the investment? I was too deep in my world of design and engineering, so I never considered going to business school until I saw my husband (also an engineer) go through it. I witnessed his transformation and I learned that business schools and MBAs were not for my preconceived idea of people who were ‘squares!’ I got to meet his classmates and I learned about their varied backgrounds and they were all excited about where their careers were heading. I wanted to achieve their level of career excitement and goal clarity, since I was unhappy with my career at the time. To me, that transformation is invaluable, and worth the investment in an MBA. It’s also worth it because I love school! It was my goal to go back for a master’s degree but didn’t want to pursue another degree in design.
What other MBA programs did you apply to? I applied to Scheller’s Full-time program and Kellogg’s MMM program.
How did you determine your fit at various schools? In choosing a school, I prioritized schools with a focus on technology and an inviting student body. First, I looked at the companies and roles that recruited at each school. Secondly, I made a point to meet as many of the current students as I could. I relied mostly on online resources such as school websites and LinkedIn profiles.
I also relied heavily on reaching out to students and alumni from the programs. I used the responsiveness of the program’s alums to gauge how happy they were with their experience and how likely they were to respond to me if I was a student of their program trying to network with them.
What was your defining moment and how did it shape who you are? It was moving to Boston to attend MIT, where I did not know anyone in the city or university. The transition was intimidating, coming from my small high school in a rural town in north Georgia. I leaned into the opportunity and situation, met a lot of people, and learned more than I thought possible, both personally and academically. It unearthed the exploratory and thrill-seeking side of my personality.
From that experience, I learned that I’m eager to jump into unfamiliar situations and I thrive on navigating those moments. I have the same feeling now pursuing an MBA; this experience is completely foreign from the academic and career fields I spent the last 10 years in.
What do you plan to do after you graduate? Take a vacation! But really, I would love to be in a brand strategy role where I’m able to impact consumers’ interactions with a company’s products, services, and devices.
Where do you see yourself in five years? In five years, I’d love to have experienced enough to be directing the brand strategy and making the important decisions regarding what the customer’s experience should be.