2019 MBAs To Watch: Kristen Rossi, Warwick Business School

Kristen Rossi           

Warwick Business School

Born in NY, Built in Asia.”

Hometown: Massapequa, New York

Fun fact about yourself: I came down with dengue fever whilst filming the 2012 tsunami movie, The Impossible, starring Naomi Watts.

Luckily, the film set was inside a local Thai hospital on Khao Lak. I had a few lines opposite Naomi, but as I had to be hospitalized, we could not finish the scene and the lines were cut!

Undergraduate School and Degree: Point Park University. BA Theatre Arts

Where was the last place you worked before enrolling in business school? My last employer was Sofitel Legend Metropole Hotel in Hanoi, Vietnam as their resident jazz singer.

Where will you be working after graduation? That is the million dollar question!

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school?  Creating the campus radio show: The MBA Show.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? Building my small business, Musical Theatre for KIDS. With the help of a wonderful team in Bangkok, we are approaching our six-year anniversary. My love of the arts as a child made me who I am and to be able to share this love with hundreds of children, to inspire them and positively impact the community, makes me very happy.

Who was your favorite MBA professor? There are several professors whose classes I looked forward to attending each week. I believe it’s a mix of subject and teaching style, so it would not be fair to name one teacher as my favorite.

What was your favorite MBA Course? My favorite MBA course would be a tie between Organisational Behaviour (OB) and Managing in New World (MiNW).

OB, once I got my head around the theory, was interesting because it talks about humanity and what makes us tick. It also encouraged me to self-reflect on and re-evaluate my past interactions, both positive and negative.

Managing in a New World was a mix of Strategy and Economics. In my free time, I read a lot of current events, The Economist, etc. so this class touched upon my personal interests. The first class’ case study was on Singapore and I got to learn more about Lee Kuan Yew, the “father” of Singapore and how the nation was built. I enjoyed the case so much I started reading Lee Kuan Yew’s memoirs.

Why did you choose this business school? There were several small factors combined that led to my choosing WBS’ full-time MBA, but the key factor was quality. With the interconnectivity and variety of MBA programs on offer, the quantity of choice is not a problem, but finding quality is. I decided if I was going to make the investment to “Go back to school”, it would only be for a quality, world-class course. WBS offers just that.

What is your best advice to an applicant hoping to get into your school’s MBA program? I was worried that because my background is “non-traditional”, I would not be eligible for the programme. On the contrary, Warwick embraces diversity. Aside from meeting the minimum work experience requirement and academic grade point average, the team wants to see in your short essay responses to how your work experiences have given you something unique to offer the cohort.

For the interview, just relax and be yourself. Warwick’s interpersonal approach is very friendly and laid back.

Think back a year ago. What is the one thing you wish you’d known before starting your MBA program?  That I would love it so much!

MBA Alumni often describe business school as transformative. Looking back over the past year, how has business school been transformative for you? Having moved to the UK in 2018 after living and working in Asia for 10 years and coming from a non-traditional background, I had a belief that maybe I was not good enough; that I could not compete with my British and American educated peers. The MBA, through its intensity, constant challenges, and the remarkable team has reminded me of all that I am capable of.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? I am always in awe of the MBAs who are parents. The candidates with children in the UK, I am impressed with how they juggle their time. The MBA is such a big commitment, but so is family! For the candidates who left their children and partners in their home country, I admire their courage and the sacrifice they made to develop themselves.

Who most influenced your decision to pursue business in college? My partner. When we first met, I was very business-minded but had a pre-conceived notion that business school was “corporate”, stiff and cold.  After listening to him speak of his experience of doing an MBA and seeing how it shaped him, I started to rethink my opinion. I am glad I did.

What is your favorite movie about business? Forrest Gump. Success is all about self-belief.

If I hadn’t gone to business school, I would be…still singing or I would have studied politics and economics.”

What dollar value would you place on your MBA education? Was it worth what you paid for it – worth more or worth less? Priceless; it was absolutely worth the investment. I wish I could extend for another year!

What are the top two items on your bucket list?

  1. Learn how to sail
  2. Expand Musical Theatre for KIDS into other countries in Southeast Asia.

In one sentence, how would you like your peers to remember you? As someone that added value to their MBA experience. 

Hobbies? Playing the ukulele, lindy hop and singing.

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

“Kristen exemplifies what is so great about the Warwick Full-time MBA programme. She is so different to anybody else on her cohort, her experience is from a completely different field, from the performing arts, and yet she brings so much to the cohort in terms of dynamism, creativity, positivity, and leadership. She has a huge amount of energy that you can’t help but be lifted by her and that really rubs off on the rest of the cohort. One of our values is restlessness and she personifies that. Kristen has set up the MBA radio show, something we have never had before and yet it has been a great success and her enthusiasm has swept up more of her cohort to join in the enterprise.

It is often thought that the MBA is focused purely on finance or consulting, but that is just not the case and Kristen’s experience really demonstrates that the skills and knowledge, in terms of operations, management, marketing, and leadership can be applied to any organisation, to any career. Kristen has such a varied background, she has done a lot and traveled across much of Asia. She has achieved so much and yet Kristen has a real willingness to learn – it is an inspiration to others.

Kristen is the kind of person that everybody knows and when you mention her name people instantly smile. She is very bubbly and personable, and so supportive of her fellow cohort, she will do anything to help them. Group work is often MBA students’ bugbear, but Kristen seems to thrive and really galvanizes everybody so it becomes the highlight of the module for many, she really drives projects forward.

And of course, she is a great entertainer! Kristen has joined the University jazz band and I know her cohort have been along to watch her in action, she really is a fantastic singer, really talented.

Kristen is making a huge change in her career from singing and aiming to move into consulting or business, but I already know she will make a huge success of it, she is so determined and positive.

She has performed in so many top venues Kristen has great self-confidence and her Musical Theatre for KIDS that she founded is a truly inspirational project, helping lots of youngsters in Thailand. Plus her Broadway Babe project, a run of shows in Bangkok demonstrates her abilities in numerous areas. She practically did everything, negotiating with all the venues, finding sponsorship and creating a marketing strategy that saw them all sold out and it led to her becoming one of Thailand Tatler Magazine’s top 300 expats.”

Monica Garcia-Romero

Careers Manager

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