2019 Best & Brightest MBAs: Jordan Baxter, U.C.-Berkeley (Haas)

Jordan Baxter

U.C.-Berkeley, Haas School of Business

SF transplant with a love of dogs, healthcare, and the Bay Area food scene.”

Hometown: Atlanta, GA

Fun fact about yourself: I somehow managed to un-learn how to sneeze when I was in elementary school, so now every time I sneeze it sounds different.

Undergraduate School and Degree: University of Richmond, BA in Biology

Where was the last place you worked before enrolling in business school? Castlight Health, Product Marketing Manager, San Francisco, CA

Where did you intern during the summer of 2018? McKinsey & Company, Silicon Valley

Where will you be working after graduation? McKinsey & Company, Silicon Valley

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School:

– Co-chair of the 23rd Annual Haas Women in Leadership Conference

– Co-president of the Haas Consulting Club

– Peer adviser with the Haas Career Management Group

– Recipient of the Haas Leadership Scholarship

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? I am most proud of co-chairing the 23rd Annual Haas Women in Leadership Conference. It was an incredible opportunity to work with my peers, Haas faculty and administrators, and some of the best and brightest companies and individuals focused on diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). Our work resulted in a top-notch conference attended by top women execs from Airbnb, T-Mobile, The Gap, Inc., Zendesk, among others. I look forward to bringing to my future employer many of my new experiences and my passion for improving DEI in the workplace.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? In my previous role at Castlight Health, I worked on our direct-to-consumer marketing team. As a company that had scaled to more than 300 customers with millions of end users, we had considerable infrastructure that needed updating. I took on the cross-functional challenge of developing scalable consumer marketing solutions that would meet internal needs while also still managing customer expectations. One of my proudest moments was working with so many teams to identify the right solution and then overseeing the build. The project taught me that the first, second, and even third idea might not be the right one. The best solution that will have the greatest long-term impact comes from keeping an open mind and including input from a diverse team.

Who was your favorite MBA professor? My favorite MBA professor is Kim MacPherson. She is a role model when it comes to understanding healthcare and bringing strong business intuition to a complex field that desperately needs critical business thinkers. I was lucky enough to work with her as a teaching assistant, and I got a behind-the-scenes look at how she stays on the pulse of what’s going on in the industry and how to bring it into the classroom.

What was your favorite MBA Course? My favorite course at Haas was Corporate Finance with Professor Gustavo Manso. I walked into that class thinking I would be challenged academically, but I did not anticipate learning about real-world problems and solutions. Professor Manso demonstrated that you cannot separate the strategy behind a decision from the nuts-and-bolts analysis. In the future, I will be sure to understand the full picture of any tough problem before conducting the analysis.

Why did you choose this business school? Haas was a clear and natural fit. Haas’ location and class size appealed to me as an introvert and a Bay Area transplant. More importantly, the Haas Defining Leadership Principles—Question the Status Quo, Confidence Without Attitude, Students Always and Beyond Yourself—assured me that my own values would be reflected in my classmates. While two years go by quickly, it was important to me that the people I would be spending time with and building long-term relationships with should share similar values to my own.

What is your best advice to an applicant hoping to get into your school’s MBA program?  Do your research! Understanding the Haas culture and why you will be a good fit is so important. Further, self-reflect while doing your research. This will validate that your goals for going to business school will be met by Haas, and it will make it easier to articulate why Haas is the right fit for you in the application and interview process.

Think back two years ago. What is the one thing you wish you’d known before starting your MBA program?  So many people say that your MBA program is a time to explore, which can be true. If you want to take a more traditional path, your time for exploration is actually somewhat limited. Think about your first-year goals before you arrive on campus, and determine how you want to spend your career-focused time so that you don’t let opportunities pass you by. Being purposeful pays off!

MBA Alumni often describe business school as transformative. Looking back over the past two years, how has business school been transformative for you? Professionally and academically, my skill set has grown tremendously. I was a biology major in undergrad, so the only business knowledge I brought with me to Haas came from on-the-job experience. I believe my coursework and internship have helped me to elevate my business skills so that I can substantially accelerate my career.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? I most admire my classmate Annie Sept. Annie makes people feel safe and heard. I still remembering opening up to her the very first time we met during orientation. She carries a vibrant aura about her that makes it clear she is abuzz with new ideas and will achieve great things, but she will always make time to care for people in her life.

Who most influenced your decision to pursue business in college? My oldest sister is the reason why I’m at Haas today. She pioneered the idea of business school in my family, and now both of my sisters and I have all attended business school. She showed me that in order to truly achieve my professional goals, I needed to put myself out there and make an investment in myself. I couldn’t be happier for having pursued this journey. She was definitely right.

What is your favorite movie about business? My favorite movie about business is Mr. Smith Goes to Washington. I first saw this movie in junior high, and I’ve never forgotten it. While it may be a political movie, it was formative in helping me to understand the importance of thinking critically, doing your research, and standing up for what you believe in. Without this in business, it is all too easy to find yourself adrift from your personal values and beliefs.

What was the goofiest MBA term or acronym you encountered – and what did it mean? Every Haas trip has a goofy name. Examples include Haas Vegas and TaHaaSki. We’ll squeeze Haas into just about anything if it can be forced.

If I hadn’t gone to business school, I would be…continuing to work in digital health, still trying to figure out how to get people to actually pay out of their own pocket for healthcare.”

What dollar value would you place on your MBA education? Was it worth what you paid for it – worth more or worth less? My MBA education is definitely worth more than I paid for it. The relationships I made and the career switch that I am pursuing will accelerate my professional growth in the near- and long-term. I have no regrets about getting my MBA.

What are the top two items on your bucket list? Hiking in New Zealand and baking bread from my own sourdough starter

In one sentence, how would you like your peers to remember you? I hope my peers remember me as a caring, sharp, and efficient, dog lover who will change how the U.S. healthcare system works.

Hobbies? Ceramics, hiking, brewing kombucha, traveling, trying new foods

What made Jordan such an invaluable addition to the Class of 2019?

“Jordan is a quiet standout in the MBA program, who works behind the scenes to accomplish a great deal. As co-chair of this year’s Women in Leadership (WIL) Conference, she’s proven herself to be deeply committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) efforts at Haas. As co-chair, she’s been able to shape the public face of WIL, spending countless hours on planning with the WIL team, going deep to develop fresh content for the conference.

As a peer advisor, Jordan is paying forward the support she received from so many second-year MBA students when she was recruiting for her internships last year. Now, she’s honing her own coaching abilities far beyond general interview prep—and she’s said that she will use everything she’s learned as a peer advisor in the future when she’s working with new colleagues and teams at McKinsey. Some of Jordan’s most significant growth at Haas occurred because of her engagement with a variety of DEI initiatives and activities on campus. In addition to WIL, she has also participated in the Race Inclusion Initiative’s dialogues over dinner, the Dialogues on Race independent study class, a class called The New Normal: Diversity, Equity & Inclusion in the Workplace, and other dialogues. DEI is incredibly important to her and she cares deeply about questioning the status quo, both professionally and personally.

Finally, Jordan pushed herself out of her comfort zone at Haas by taking the Extreme Leadership course. She had no idea what sort of challenge was ahead of her when she joined a group focused on summiting Cerro El Plomo in Santiago, Chile, at just under 18,000 feet. It was one of the hardest things she’s ever done physically and an opportunity to test her mental capacity and personal strength. She says it was also one of her most memorable experiences at Haas.

I respect Jordan’s tenacity and grit, as well as her commitment to building a more diverse and inclusive workplace and the world, which is why I recommend her for this honor.”

Jennifer Bridge
Senior Director of External Engagement
Haas Career Management Group

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