2019 MBAs To Watch: Allison Vernerey, Boston University (Questrom)

Allison Vernerey

Boston University, Questrom School of Business

Driven, dynamic and caring.”

Hometown: Seloncourt, France

Fun fact about yourself: I can match my 10 fingers to my 10 toes and walk 100 yards like that.

Undergraduate School and Degree: BS of Economics from Duke University

Where was the last place you worked before enrolling in business school? Decathlon (a French retail company) working as Customer Service and HR Manager

Where did you intern during the summer of 2018? The Home Depot, Atlanta, GA

Where will you be working after graduation? The Home Depot as an Associate Online Product Manager

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School:

  • Founder and Head of the Global Connection Program
  • Selected as a “Questrom Hero” by all peers of the MBA class
  • President of the Sports and Social Club
  • Beta Gamma Sigma Invitation

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? Founding and spearheading the Global Connection program. Global Connection is a program started a year ago focused on giving international students in the graduate programs at Questrom holistic support as they live and study in the US. We put together community-building, academic support, immigration knowledge, and networking/job search events throughout the school year.

I myself am an international student and really found it hard to adapt to everything when I first moved to the US. As this is my second time around coming here and I have a better idea of the challenges, I have been very proud of helping others navigate the change. I feel like I have impacted students and the school’s life for the better and that is very satisfying.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? In my last job, part of my responsibility was to be the Customer Service Manager for a sports retail store. We were trying to get both employees more engaged at work and people in the community more engaged in sports and healthy behaviors. Working with my team, we came up with a full year calendar full of sporty events that would bring people out and moving every other week. It was both a great logistical and leadership challenge. My team members ended up taking the lead on individual initiatives and working very cohesively for the whole and we were able to get hundreds of people to try out new sports in a fun way. Obviously, this served a business purpose and allowed us to increase sales, but we also really felt like we helped build up a community around the practice of sports all the while I felt like I was allowing my team members to develop and grow.

Who was your favorite MBA professor? Professor Jim French, who taught a class called “Global Human Capital Strategies.. He had a way to create a great class discussion like no other. He would keep us on track and bring in his own insights while letting us take full control of the learning. The class was on Thursday nights from 6:30 to 9:00, which is arguably the worst class time possible, yet I was looking forward to it every week thanks to Jim’s great capacity to manage a classroom.

What was your favorite MBA Course? Negotiations: It really pushed me outside of my comfort zone and was a great lesson on how people can work better together even when they don’t think it is possible originally. It challenged my expectations around how to reconcile differences and pushed me to think more innovatively.

Why did you choose this business school? I chose Questrom because of the culture of the school as well as the strong teaming program that is part of our curriculum all throughout the program. From day one, the program puts a big emphasis on building the skills necessary to perform at high levels with a team, work with different people, and learn to motivate others. These are skills that I believe are key to success and will keep getting more important. In addition, I have found students at Questrom to be collaborative and kind-hearted in nature. While I definitely have a competitive side, I wanted to find myself in a supportive learning environment and I found this great community at Questrom.

What is your best advice to an applicant hoping to get into your school’s MBA program? Try to meet students from Questrom beforehand to see if the culture will be a good fit for you. A lot of the MBA experience is about the people you meet.

What is the biggest myth about your school? That Allen Questrom haunts the 7th floor and comes out every full moon. And it is definitely not true.

Think back two years ago. What is the one thing you wish you’d known before starting your MBA program? Probably realizing better how fast it was going to go to take the time to enjoy it even more!

MBA Alumni often describe business school as transformative. Looking back over the past two years, how has business school been transformative for you? I think it has helped me look at things from a broader perspective and take a step back. We spend two years talking about industries as a whole, changes in global markets, etc. rather than being focused on just one job/one function/one project. I think this will turn out to be a real transformation in the way I approach things in the future.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? Susannah Rudel is definitely the classmate I admire most. I have been lucky enough to work directly with her in my first team at Questrom and to see her leadership exercised in many settings thereafter.

Susannah is a dual-degree student, who also took on the role of co-chair of the Health and Life Sciences conference (one of the biggest events organized by students at Questrom) while being a TA for the class following ours. On the side, she has helped organize opportunities for some MBA students to volunteer at a Health Clinic.

In addition to all of her involvements, Susannah has been one of the most caring and dedicated individuals I have ever had the pleasure to encounter. She is always willing to lend a helping hand while herself performing at the highest level.

Who most influenced your decision to pursue business in college? My dad. Throughout my life, he has always supported me and pushed me to keep growing and to challenge myself. As I was thinking about going to business school and all the obstacles (money, having to move, pause my career…), he encouraged me to focus on all the long-term benefits and the experience I could get a chance to live through.

What is your favorite movie about business? The Big Short. It made me think about how we too often just follow along with what everybody else is doing, but if you take your own path and are not afraid to make different decisions, it can really pay off.

What was the goofiest MBA term or acronym you encountered – and what did it mean? Leveraging synergies- Still a bit unclear on what it really means, but we definitely use it all the time.

If I hadn’t gone to business school, I would be…without such incredible new friends that I met in B-school!”

What dollar value would you place on your MBA education? Was it worth what you paid for it – worth more or worth less? I think the value of my MBA education is much broader than a dollar value, but it was certainly worth the time and investment!

What are the top two items on your bucket list?

  • Make the ultimate perfect crepe
  • Be fluent in Spanish

In one sentence, how would you like your peers to remember you? As driven, dynamic and caring!

Hobbies? I play a lot of sports…basketball, running, swimming and I just took up climbing. I also love cooking and tasting good wine.

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

“Allison Verneray is a 2nd year MBA who hails from France originally. As an international student, she created the ‘Graduate Global Connections’ program that helps international graduate students academically, socially and with career networking.

She has been instrumental in creating a vision and bringing it to life by connecting our international and domestic students in ways we have never done before. She fearlessly connects with staff and faculty to provide and engage in activities that impact the entire Questrom community in such a positive way.  She continues to excel academically and was offered a full-time job as a result of her internship with Home Depot this past summer. Allison has been an incredible member of our community and her work will continue to be felt for years to come.”

Karen Phillips

Assistant Dean for Graduate Student Experience & Services

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