Meet Stanford GSB’s MBA Class Of 2020

Jenny Carmichael

Stanford Graduate School of Business

Passionate about relationships, I long to empower others and love unconditionally.”

Hometown: Tulsa, Oklahoma

Fun Fact About Yourself: I am a member of the Citizen Potawatomi tribe.

Undergraduate School and Major:

University of Oklahoma, B.S. Chemical Engineering

University of Oklahoma, M.A. Global Affairs

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: ExxonMobil, Contact Engineer

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: The biggest accomplishment in my career so far was being named an NCAA Woman of the Year Finalist in 2017. This was incredibly significant for me because I entered into college as a walk-on student-athlete to the University of Oklahoma track and field team where two of my teammates returned from the London Olympics just months before. Throughout my time in collegiate athletics, I focused on the people I could serve and the ways I could empower other teammates. Because of the community around me, I transformed from a walk-on to Woman of the Year.

Describe your biggest accomplishment at Stanford GSB so far: My biggest accomplishment at the Stanford GSB thus far has been the personal journey I went through in our Leadership Laboratory class. During this course, I had the goal to become more aware of myself as a leader and communicator, while learning to adapt to individuals’ different styles. Over the course of the quarter, I learned so much from role play classes and got the opportunity to practice what I learned during the Executive Challenge. This experience was the most significant for me because it was what I set out to learn at the GSB, and I know that I developed as a leader because of it.

What quality best describes the MBA classmates you’ve met so far and why? The MBA classmates I’ve met so far are intentional and incredibly supportive. During this past January, I gave my TALK, which is a night when an MBA student shares their life story to the rest of the class. This experience was incredible because it allowed me to tie together so many different aspects of my life and taught me so much about myself. The support I received from my classmates during this experience was unbelievable. I felt so loved in this community when people would stop me on the way to class after and comment on parts of my TALK they really resonated with. The classmates at Stanford GSB are passionate about building relationships and learning everything that they can from one another.

Aside from your classmates, what was the key factor that led you to choose this program for your full-time MBA and why was it so important to you? The key factor that led to me choosing Stanford for a full-time MBA was the opportunity to develop myself professionally as well as personally. I wanted to grow in my knowledge of business while also growing as a leader. Because there are incredibly technical courses coupled with courses on organizational behavior, leadership, and coaching, I knew I could grow as an individual while at Stanford as well. This factor was incredibly important to me because it will allow me to build deeper and more meaningful relationships in the future while teaching me how to lead more effectively.

What club or activity have you enjoyed the most at Stanford GSB so far? I have most enjoyed getting to work with the Stanford Women’s Basketball program as a team manager. After competing in collegiate athletics as an undergraduate, I wanted to find a way to give back. My first day in the women’s basketball program, I knew it was a fit. I love going into the gym and learning from the best coaches in the sport because the game is about so much more than just basketball for them. They teach resilience and poise, grit and leadership. They care more about people as individuals rather than just as players, and watching their example makes me a better person and professional.

What led you to pursue an MBA at this point in your career? I wanted to pursue an MBA at this point in my career because I had a few years of work experience under my belt to pull from when learning new content in the classroom. Yet, I am relatively early in my career, so I can use the MBA to open new doors that I wouldn’t have otherwise known about or been positioned to walk through. I thought about my life and wanted to put myself in the best position to make an impact on the world. I knew to be a part of the Stanford community as well as acquiring the knowledge from an MBA would allow me to do that. It was the relentless desire to use my position to change the world that led me back to business school.

What other MBA programs did you apply to? I applied to the Stanford Graduate School of Business and Harvard Business School.

How did you determine your fit at various schools? Determining fit was an exciting time because I got to visit both Stanford and Harvard to compare the schools and programs. Ultimately, I prioritized the factors of culture, types of careers that were most common, courses offered, and relationships. Early on, I looked for information about the courses and careers on the websites. Then, when I traveled to both campuses, I used the time to meet with current students and ask them more about their specific experiences and career goals. Ultimately, researching culture is difficult, so the best metric I found was to speak to as many students as possible to gauge the culture based on their collective experiences. I had the fortunate dilemma that I loved both schools, so I made my final decision based on the high prevalence of entrepreneurship experiences and interpersonal development courses Stanford offered.

I knew that my goals for business school were to develop professionally as well as personally in how I led and interacted with individuals in an organization. I also wanted to get out of my comfort zone and learn about starting companies while living close to Silicon Valley. I loved the alumni from the program whom I met, and I knew I wanted to continue to build those relationships. This decision can be difficult, so I recommend that people talk to as many students as they can so they can best align their choice of school with their individual goals.

What was your defining moment and how did it shape who you are? The defining moment of my life was when I was in elementary school and learned about the relationship that Jesus wants to have with me and the sacrifice he made. In this moment, my faith became so real and catalyzed the outlook and perspective that I would have on life in every moment after that. Through understanding the sacrifice he made so that I could have the life I have, I realized that every success I have was from Him. Now, as I think about my life, everything is motivated by faith and wanting others to experience that indescribable love that I have received.

Where do you see yourself in five years? In five years, I see myself first and foremost as a thriving wife and mother who is passionate about Jesus and deeply invested in her husband and family. My faith comes before all aspects of my life, and my family come right after that. Thus, these two will always take precedence over everything else. Next, I desire to relentlessly pursue excellence so that I can love those around me. Therefore, I see myself working in a corporation in a position of leadership where I can recognize talent and invest in the next generation while giving everything I have to make the business as profitable as possible. Similarly, I see myself taking time to serve internationally in developing communities where I can use my business experience to invest in entrepreneurs who are trying to lift their communities out of poverty. For me, it’s all about faith. From my faith, I will strive to be excellent in family as well as my career all the while looking for ways to use what I’ve been given to serve the world.

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