Meet Ohio State Fisher’s MBA Class Of 2020

Courtney Clark

Ohio State University, Fisher College of Business

“Social-impact and sustainability-oriented travel enthusiast with a passion for innovation and strategy.”

Hometown: Muskegon, Michigan

Fun Fact About Yourself: My partner and I just adopted a 10-month-old puppy! He’s a lot of work but helps keep my life in balance.

Undergraduate School and Major: Loyola University Chicago, Religious Studies and International Studies

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Optum, Healthcare Operations Consultant

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: Launching a community garden in partnership with the health center and agricultural cooperatives in my host village while serving as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Guinea, West Africa. We provided over 400 kilograms of produce to malnourished children and pregnant and breastfeeding women after our first harvest.

What quality best describes the MBA classmates you’ve met so far and why? Selfless. I have been blown away by the generosity of spirit, time, and energy that my classmates demonstrate. I know that I could reach out to any of them for help at any time and would be immediately greeted with a “yes.” My relationships with my classmates have made my MBA experience completely worth the investment.

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? Fisher made me feel incredibly welcome and valued throughout the application process – and this extended far beyond the recruiting staff and student ambassadors. During all of my campus visits and touchpoints, current students and alumni were very generous with their time and worked hard to ensure that all of our questions and concerns got addressed. I felt like a member of the Fisher community from the moment I stepped on campus for my Fall Preview Day.

What club or activity are you looking most forward to in business school? Fisher Board Fellows, which works with Columbus non-profits to place MBA students on their boards as non-voting members. Most Fellows also complete consulting projects for their non-profit.

What led you to pursue an MBA at this point in your career? I started considering an MBA in 2016. Many of the roles that were attractive to me required a graduate degree, and an MBA has always been a no-brainer as most programs emphasize both leadership and technical skills. Also, I am pursuing a career that will allow me to have a strong social and environmental impact, and I want to deepen my knowledge and sharpen my skills to have the largest positive impact that I can.

How did you decide if an MBA was worth the investment? Ohio State has been incredibly generous by providing me with a Graduate Fellowship and a Forte Fellowship, so my biggest investment is my time and the opportunity cost of my previous salary. My family has always placed a high premium on education, and I knew that my post-MBA career opportunities and earning potential would be well worth the investment.

What other MBA programs did you apply to? Northwestern Kellogg.

How did you determine your fit at various schools? I prioritized cultural fit, academic rigor, career management, service and international opportunities, and financial aid. I’ve touched on a few of those in previous answers, but I want to highlight Ohio State’s Global Applied Projects (GAP) program, which is open to any MBA student and allows students to gain experience completing a real-world consulting project for an international company. The program includes seven weeks of preparation during the spring semester and culminates in three weeks overseas and a presentation to company executives.

Regarding tools, I certainly looked at rankings, but I also assessed how well I meshed with current students and alumni, as well as the course offerings and student organizations. I knew that Fisher would help me achieve my career goals for several reasons, including the ability to take classes at Ohio State’s graduate school of public policy, a highly individualized career consulting program, and the vast alumni network.

What was your defining moment and how did it shape who you are? The moment the Peace Corps Jeep drove away from my host village, leaving me to figure out how to live, work, and make a home in a rural Guinean village. It was terrifying, but I leaned into the challenge and developed incredible relationships with members of my host community and learned so much. I look back to that moment when I’m faced with challenges that seem insurmountable and know that I can make my way through a lot of situations if I approach them with openness, humility, and a willingness to learn.

What do you plan to do after you graduate? I love analyzing data to shape innovative strategies, and I’m likely going to accept a strategic marketing internship, so probably something in that space. I am very passionate about living overseas again sometime in the next 5-6 years. I am seeking out firms and organizations with a global footprint and a strong social and environmental conscience.

Where do you see yourself in five years? My goal is to be riding my bike to work in Amsterdam as the Director of Innovation or Marketing for an international NGO or a socially and environmentally conscious company.

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