“Neuroscientist turned marketer turned Darden student passionate about gender equality, diversity, and March Madness.”
Hometown: Chapel Hill, NC
Fun fact about yourself: For three consecutive years, my team and I competed in the World Championships of Odyssey of the Mind, a creative problem-solving challenge for kids. My roles ranged from manning a squad of papier-mâché puppet heads to operating a refrigerator box time machine. It’s a super weird program but it taught me to think outside of the box and always get creative!
Undergraduate School and Degree: Hamilton College, B.A. in Neuroscience and Hispanic Studies
Where was the last place you worked before enrolling in business school? Marketing & Outreach Specialist at Addgene, a nonprofit plasmid repository serving as an open resource for the scientific community and a thought leader in gene editing tools and techniques such as CRISPR
Where did you intern during the summer of 2018? I interned at 3M in Minneapolis, MN
Where will you be working after graduation? I will be returning to 3M as an Internal Strategy Consultant in the Strategy & Marketing Development (SMD) program
Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School: I’m proud to serve as President of Darden’s Graduate Women in Business (GWIB) club. Outside of GWIB, I also serve as a student ambassador for prospective students and as a mentor for First Year students.
Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? As President of Graduate Women in Business (GWIB), I love that I have a strong hand in shaping one of the largest clubs — and communities — on Grounds. Together with my awesome Board, we create programming that provides students with academic support, opportunities to network with alumnae, career exploration resources, social events, and health and well-being activities. I’m most proud of our two flagship events, the First Year Women’s Leadership Conference and Gender Equity Week. These events catalyze change within the Darden community and spark meaningful conversation around the role of women in the modern business world.
What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? When working at Addgene, I created the Blue Flame Award to celebrate high impact researchers working on gene editing techniques such as CRISPR. My small team and I shipped about 400 awards to prominent, high-impact scientists around the world to thank them for sharing their resources openly with other researchers. When pictures started flooding in of the awardees holding their trophies, it was very humbling to see something I designed in the hands of Nobel Prize winners!
Who was your favorite MBA professor? My favorite MBA professor is Lalin Anik. She is fast-talking, passionate, and extremely knowledgeable, so you can’t help but get enveloped in her enthusiasm. A behavioral scientist by training, Lalin challenges us to think deeply about the content at hand by drawing relatable ties across different industries and connecting it to universal human behaviors. She pauses frequently during her Deviant Marketing class to invite us to think about a new concept in a larger scope. She often makes us consider how we can apply new learnings in an ethical way to make the world a better place than we found it. By asking quirky questions like “What’s in your heart today?” and listening carefully to the answers, Lalin establishes deeply human connections with each of her students that I will cherish even long after leaving Darden.
What was your favorite MBA Course? My favorite class to date is Professor Peter Belmi’s Paths to Power, an immersive and challenging course designed to tease apart real-life power dynamics. Because the notion of power often elicits negative connotations of people who abuse their authority for personal gains, the course is designed to break down the nuance of who gets power in a given situation and what to do with it once secured. Through cleverly designed and intense classroom simulations, Peter proves that power isn’t an inherently bad thing (in many cases, it turns out, it’s actually a very good thing).
Why did you choose this business school? The biggest draw for me was the case-based teaching method. I knew making decisions through cases would round out my non-traditional background with robust learning during core and expose me to topics of interest such as ethics and leadership. The collaborative structure of the school, with a heavy reliance on shared knowledge developed during learning team each night, meshed well with my desire for a close-knit community. On top of that, the professors at Darden are simply unbeatable and were a huge draw for me to come here. Being able to experience all of that while living in a vibrant college town surrounded by gorgeous wine country made Darden an easy choice!
What is your best advice to an applicant hoping to get into your school’s MBA program? Darden’s application is very quirky with lots of short essay questions, and the blind interview is a relatively unique format as well. My advice is to avoid doubling down on the same information in multiple places and instead use each touchpoint to convey something new about yourself. Having a case-based class structure, Darden works best if students bring extremely varied experiences and interests into the classroom, so let all sides of your personality shine.
What is the biggest myth about your school? Because Darden ranks so highly for training general managers and strategic thinkers, it earns the reputation that everyone here is a consultant. While there are many management consultants in our class, there is a large variety of other industries students can and do explore. People who are interested in marketing, finance, tech, operations, entrepreneurship, and venture capital, among other areas, will find extensive support through elective classes, student-run clubs, and access to a strong alumni network.
Think back two years ago. What is the one thing you wish you’d known before starting your MBA program? I wish someone had told me to “adult” as hard as possible over the summer before starting business school. It sounds silly, but recruiting starts almost immediately, so free time to do non-school things evaporates faster than you’d expect. Spend time over the summer doing all the pesky chores you always put off… get your tires rotated, get your teeth cleaned, get your suit dry cleaned. Your future self will be so appreciative!
MBA Alumni often describe business school as transformative. Looking back over the past two years, how has business school been transformative for you? Darden sculpted and molded me in ways I would have never anticipated. Compared to two years ago, I’m more assertive, better at time management, and more literate in business vernacular than I ever imagined a former neuroscientist could be. The most notable difference, however, has been the growth I’ve experienced from finding my voice in tough conversations. To be clear, I’ve never been soft-spoken about issues that matter to me, but by being forced to take a stand on literally hundreds of (very tough) cases, I’m more confident than ever in my ability to voice my opinion and defend my reasoning.
Which MBA classmate do you most admire? I have so much admiration for Aly Yarris (MBA ’18) who was GWIB president the year ahead of me and a trusted advisor still to this day. Aly used her elected platform to tirelessly drive positive impact. When elected, she unconventionally threw out the existing club playbook and used design thinking to unearth and address unspoken pain points in the first-year journey. As a student leader, she steadfastly made space for difficult conversations by encouraging vulnerability, which fostered genuine and authentic connections. Her work to make our school a more diverse and inclusive space left a transformational change on Darden, and on me.
Who most influenced your decision to pursue business in college? Growing up, I spent weekends popping bubble wrap and punching nonsensical numbers into an adding machine in my grandmother’s shipping warehouse. Though she had owned her own company since the 1970s, it never dawned on me that, as a female, she was in the minority among business owners. My intrepid grandmother was not consciously chipping away at social norms, she simply did not let her gender prevent her from building the life she desired. When coming to business school, I felt confident that I could follow in her footsteps, not in terms of owning my own company (at least not right away) but that, like her, I could march to the beat of my own drum regardless of the environment around me.
What was the goofiest MBA term or acronym you encountered – and what did it mean? Clever Darden students from years past coopted the classic business acronym WACC for the name of our wine and cuisine club, which makes thinking about weighted average costs of capital much more palatable.
“If I hadn’t gone to business school, I would be…an exhibit designer at a science museum.”
What dollar value would you place on your MBA education? Was it worth what you paid for it – worth more or worth less? My Darden education has already begun opening doors for me that never would have been available before getting my MBA. Without question, the ROI is worth it for me based on future potential earnings alone, not to mention the extensive network and robust knowhow I get while I’m here. (That said, taking out such a large amount of student loans was still terrifying!)
What are the top two items on your bucket list?
- Drive the Pacific Coast Highway
- Get coffee with Genevieve Gorder (of Trading Spaces fame) and enlist her help to design my future dream home
In one sentence, how would you like your peers to remember you? An inquisitive change-maker with relentless grit and a passion for connecting diverse thinkers.
Hobbies? Playing squash, baking cookies, pub trivia-ing, visiting art museums, and eating my way through good eats in new cities
What made Jane such an invaluable addition to the Class of 2019?
“Jane is an invaluable member of the Darden community. She is relentless in her pursuit to create an inclusive world, and her passion for women’s rights, the democratization of science, and education for all is inspiring. She puts others’ needs above her own, is a champion for those who are still learning to find their voice, and is skilled at bringing out the best out of a diverse group of people. Darden feels like home to many students because there are people like Jane who work relentlessly in creating a community where people feel they can truly belong. And above all, Jane is an incredible reminder that it is possible to be both strong and graceful; that humility can just be as powerful in a very loud world, and that success can go hand-in-hand with a strong moral fiber.”
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