“Curious nerd who is not afraid be my true, quirky, self.”
Hometown: Greentown, Indiana
Fun Fact About Yourself: Although I am not that fast, distance running is my go-to retreat. No matter if it is the best or worst day, a good run will always put me in a great mood. In the same light of what some may consider ‘self-torture’, I have a long-term goal of completing an IRONMAN in the future.
Undergraduate School and Major: Kelley School of Business, Indiana University – Dual major in Marketing and Management
Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Conversant Media – Senior Technical Data Analyst
Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: While I was working within my digital ad-tech role, I developed a new analysis to measure the impact online advertising has on theater ticket sales. This included online and offline sales for Hollywood movies across multiple theater groups and other ticket selling companies.
My specialty was focused on understanding the client’s other advertising partners and measuring the overlapping and individual performances. This project led to a now productized solution and several other custom offerings for the media entertainment industry. In 18 months, this product produced over $6MM in revenue.
What quality best describes the MBA classmates you’ve met so far and why? The largest quality I find all my classmates to have is everyone is intelligently-approachable. We all come from different background and are very skilled in our respective fields. Although my classmates are great at what they know, they still seem very down-to-earth. This makes it easy to strike up a conversation with anyone about anything.
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? At a large picture, I chose Tepper because we align at our cores. We both believe that when individuals and businesses correctly utilize technology, good analytics, and insight they become their best version. This belief in turn attracts the industries and roles that I am interested in long-term. Together with the types of students Tepper admits, I knew it was the right choice for me.
What club or activity are you looking most forward to in business school? The one club that I am most excited to work with is Reaching Out MBA (ROMBA). This organization works with 60+ universities to assist and connect LGBTQ individuals at the MBA level. They offer career fairs, programming, recruiting treks, and scholarships. The opportunity to meet and work with other peers who are brilliant and courageous enough to be themselves gives me goose-bumps.
(Helpful hint: if you identify as LGBTQ and considering an MBA, be this be sure to check out ROMBA before you apply to any program.)
What led you to pursue an MBA at this point in your career? I have always had an interest in using technology and data to achieve goals. This applies to helping other people achieve their goals utilizing technology. I am a firm believer that when tech and data are used properly, they can also improve everyone’s quality of life. Striving for this ideal state, I think driving business strategy correctly is the most impactful.
I became interested in MBA programs when I realized how these programs could help me become a stronger leader in the future. An MBA will assist me in polishing my soft skills. It also will help in further developing my understanding of the interaction between business functions. Ultimately, with my MBA experience, I can become more impactful in helping others use technology to improve their lives.
How did you decide if an MBA was worth the investment? When I was sketching out my possible career paths, I quickly realized than an MBA would help greatly in securing (and excelling) in the larger roles I was interested in. Although I recognized that I could get to these levels without an advanced degree, I knew an MBA could jumpstart my effectiveness in my career.
When I did the ROI of a full-time program financially, I thought it made the most sense to attend in my late twenties. This also applied when considering the length of the program.
What other MBA programs did you apply to? Tepper, Kellogg, Booth, and Columbia
How did you determine your fit at various schools? Personally, it was more about my own self-discovery. It was what I wanted to do after school and how the right MBA program would help me get there. Finding a school that supported a heavy tech industry focus was important. The program structure and how I believed I would fit into the school culture played roles in identifying schools.
My process of identifying schools started with Google searches, checking out career websites, and reading top-recommended programs for industries. Then I reached out to current students via ROMBA and scheduled formal visits to the schools that aligned well. Afterwards, I eliminated options when I did not feel a connection to the people, program, or campus. After being accepted, it boiled down to the culture and how each program could assist in my personal career goals.
What was your defining moment and how did it shape who you are? Every major defining moment that shapes who I am centers on having the courage to be myself. In the last few years, this has applied in my professional and personal life.
My first role after college was in a marketing rotational program. Although the program and company was a great fit, the marketing function was less so. It took several conversations with others and a lot of self-reflection to admit that I was more interested in IT than marketing.
My professional defining moment was when I decided to speak with the program director about how my current career path was not for me. I was hesitant going into it, knowing that my newfound insight could quickly fall on deaf ears. I am happy to report though, that my previous company and director and pivot into tech after I re-interviewing for the program.
The other major defining moment in my life was when I was honest with my family about my sexuality. I was 22 and about to move 600 miles away to start my first full-time role. I took seven days to travel to six different family members’ homes and came out to each of them that week. To this day, I still joke about it being my big-gay-tour.
My rationale behind this process was threefold. First and foremost, I wanted my family to know that this is who was I was. Although I was dropping a bomb and moving to a new state, I wanted my relationships to be fully honest and real. Secondly, I wanted to show respect to my grandparents, sisters, aunts/uncles, and specifically my parents by telling them myself. This was major news about me that they should not hear through the grapevine. Finally, I wanted my family to be all right with me first. My thought being that if I were to meet someone, my family could more easily be open to meeting them.
Whether it is in a professional or personal frame, stepping up to live my truth is always my greatest defining moment. I still can find it difficult in the first moment to be me; however, I am never uneasy after the fact.
What do you plan to do after you graduate? Post-graduation, I am interested in pursuing a role in product design, launch, or management within the tech sector.
Where do you see yourself in five years? In five years, I see myself developing and driving business strategies that continuously use data, analytics, and AI to improve the end clients’ experience with a product or service.