2019 MBAs To Watch: Jacqueline Lim, Vanderbilt University (Owen)

Jacqueline Lim

Owen Graduate School of Management, Vanderbilt University

Quintessential Canadian minding her P’s and Q’s trying to make the most out of every experience.”

Hometown: Toronto, Ontario

Undergraduate School and Degree: McMaster University, Bachelor of Chemical Engineering

Where was the last place you worked before enrolling in business school? CIBC, Process Engineering Specialist within the retail bank

Where did you intern during the summer of 2018? Deloitte Consulting, Summer Associate

Where will you be working after graduation? Deloitte Consulting, Senior Consultant

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School: Dean’s Scholar, President of the Owen Strategy and Consulting Club, VP of Communications for the Women’s Business Association, Peer Coach

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? I am most proud of leading the Owen Strategy and Consulting Club this past year, one of the biggest clubs on campus. We planned an intensive learning and development course load to prepare first-year students for case prep interviews. We also coordinated several events for students to engage with recent alumni and fostered close relationships with target companies.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? My proudest achievement in my professional career was having a hand in developing a multi-sales platform for a large Canadian financial institution. It was a proud accomplishment to be able to build and maintain the end-to-end flow of an existing platform where developing capabilities for a more complex product that we had previously introduced. It required coordination and buy-in for many different teams.

Who was your favorite MBA professor? My favorite MBA professor was our Corporate Strategy professor, Brian McCann. He was able to engage large classes and manage thoughtful case discussions throughout the module. He would push us to think critically about why a corporate strategy would be different from business strategy and to always question the status quo.

What was your favorite MBA Course? My favorite MBA course was Corporate Strategy. The biggest insight I gained was to be critical of business decisions and to understand the reasoning behind it.

Why did you choose this business school? When I was narrowing my MBA options, I knew that I wanted to be at a smaller school with a good sense of community. I found that when I visited Owen during 2017 Round 2 application. I was also very impressed with the LDP program where students are paired with an executive coach and dedicate time to improving yourself outside of classes.

What is your best advice to an applicant hoping to get into your school’s MBA program? My best advice is to be authentic to yourself and be able to articulate where you are currently and where you want to be after your MBA. It is easy to write about what you think an admissions officer wants to hear, but your essays will be much stronger if you can tell them what you bring to the table as your unique self, and how you will impact the community by sharing those experiences.

What is the biggest myth about your school? The biggest myth I heard about Owen was that it was competitive but not cutthroat. And it turned out to be TRUE! I was pleasantly surprised with the collaborative culture that is cultivated at Owen and that it seems to ring true year-over-year. It really is a testament to the small-scale community that Owen is known for.

Think back two years ago. What is the one thing you wish you’d known before starting your MBA program? I wish I knew that it would fly by. I would have spent more time before my MBA thinking about exactly what I wanted to gain from the experience and curated my extracurricular activities around that. It is so easy to get caught up with the flow and to over commit during your MBA.

MBA Alumni often describe business school as transformative. Looking back over the past two years, how has business school been transformative for you? Looking back, my past two years at Owen has changed me in two main ways. First, it was how I saw myself. It has given me confidence in my abilities and rounded out my experiences through leadership opportunities and coursework. Second, it has changed my outlook on planning for my future career. The power of your network and how you treat those around you is immeasurable and needs to be cultivated carefully.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? I most admire April Hughes. Not only does she bring years of corporate experience and valuable insights in class, she cares so deeply about making Owen a more inclusive and better place. She has introduced new learning series like Owen Inc., where business leaders in our community share their experiences, but also elevated events like Humans of Owen to the next level. She has influenced almost every student at Owen’s experience with her initiatives.

Who most influenced your decision to pursue business in college? My father always encouraged me to pursue an MBA after college. He would say that with an engineering degree coupled with an MBA, no one could question your knowledge or accomplishments. It would allow me to take control of my career and decide the trajectory of my future.

What was the goofiest MBA term or acronym you encountered – and what did it mean? The ‘sh*t hits the fan curve.’ It comes from the core operations management class to explain an optimal utilization rate.

If I hadn’t gone to business school, I would be… learning Mandarin in Beijing.”

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 experience has been priceless. Above and beyond the academic education I received, I made life long friendships and gained confidence in my abilities to concur any hurdle or adventure in my career.

What are the top two items on your bucket list? Diving Sipidan Island and traveling to Patagonia, specifically spending time at Argentina’s wineries

In one sentence, how would you like your peers to remember you? As someone who cares about others and making sure everyone feels like a part of the Owen community

Hobbies? Traveling, Aerial Silks, Reading

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

“My first interactions with Jacq occurred when I observed and judged several case competitions for first-year students at Owen. The fact that I still recall her performance nearly two years later is an indication of her standout qualities. Her keen analytical abilities and confident presentation style carried over into my classroom in the second year. She excelled in the classroom and clearly has the intellectual tools to be a great success in her future consulting career (and beyond!).

But, we should really step outside of the classroom and other academic activities like case competitions to truly appreciate what made Jacq a unique and invaluable member of the class of 2019. Put simply, her classmates enjoyed a substantially better MBA experience because of her efforts. I am constantly impressed with students like Jacq who are willing to contribute so much to the improvement of the school and the success of their classmates. Here are just a few examples. This past year, Jacq served as President of the Owen Strategy & Consulting Club (OSCC), the largest professional club at the school. OSCC is a student-driven initiative that helps inform and prepare students who are interested in careers in strategy and consulting. The success of the club largely depends on student leadership, and I am happy to say that the past year under Jacq’s leadership has been one of the most successful. In addition to this role, she also served as a Peer Coach, which involved numerous hours of coaching and advising fellow students on company interactions, interview preparation, and international recruiting. When I asked our career management center about Jacq’s value as a resource for students interested in consulting and international opportunities, the simple answer I got back was “HUGE” (their caps, not mine!). As if these contributions weren’t enough, she also served as a board member for the Women’s Business Association, a member of the Owen Honor Council, and a Dean’s Scholar.

I’ll close with one final point that I think is pretty important in understanding why Jacq is an invaluable member of our 2019 class. And, that’s the way she accomplishes all of the above. She is very easy to work with – she always seems to have a positive attitude and is open to new ideas. Even with all her responsibilities, she has been consistently responsive to recruiter, staff, and faculty requests. One staff member described her leadership style as “subtle but effective,” and I think that does a great job capturing Jacq’s approach. She may not be the loudest or most flamboyant voice in the class. But, her leadership, dedication, and actions have made a lasting contribution to the school. We are fortunate to have had Jacq at Owen for the last two years.”

Brian McCann
Associate Professor of Strategic Management

Are you a friend of Jacqueline? Leave a comment to congratulate her.