Meet the MBA Class of 2021: The Go-Getters

Elizabeth Breiter

Harvard Business School

“Igniting hidden potential where technology, education, community development, and entrepreneurship intersect to ensure intergenerational advancement.”

Hometown: Los Angeles, California

Fun Fact About Yourself: I was humbled to have been selected to represent SpaceX at an executive golf tournament where I won “West Coast Women’s Longest Drive” for the first time in SpaceX history.

Undergraduate School and Major: University of Southern California, Bachelor of Science in Business Administration

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Space Exploration Technologies Corporation (SpaceX), Senior Analyst

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: After giving three back-to-back lectures at my alma mater as a distinguished lecturer, one student’s question became imprinted on my mind: “How often are you the only female in meetings?” I was heartbroken; she had not completed her first internship yet was already anticipating disadvantages.

Later that evening, I was astounded to learn only 8.6% of my female students will work in STEM and carry leadership roles: two disciplines that inspired me to see the possibility in attaining ambitious goals. Determined to reverse an unacceptable statistic, I launched an organization named “Future Female Leaders in Art, Mathematics, Engineering, and Science” (FLAMES). I am most proud to see our young women pridefully mold their career paths and publicly communicate their vision to become future leaders while we eliminate a statistic and blaze an opportunity-filled launchpad for future generations.

What quality best describes the MBA classmates you’ve met so far and why? “Dynamic” is the quality that best describes my classmates. A mentor once told me a good conversation is like a dance. My classmates at HBS have the ability to skillfully dance the tango, east coast swing, and ballroom all in one conversation. They effortlessly glide through numerous topics with an agility to delve into deep, thought-provoking conversation while maintaining an openness to go offbeat and challenge their assumptions through their growth mindset.

What makes the case method so attractive as a means to learn and become a better manager? Sitting in on my first class at HBS felt like a tennis match based on the speed, finesse, and teamwork underlying the enriching discussion between the professor and students. As an avid sports fan, I longed to join. I left the class confident that the case method would sharpen my ability to analyze topics from multiple perspectives, executive decision-making skills, and accelerate garnering knowledge and insights across diverse industries and functions on a global level.

Aside from your classmates and cases, 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? Opportunity. In a 24-hour span, I attended the HBS Tech Conference; met classmates from around the world who were extremely accomplished and inspiring yet incredibly humble; had candid conversations about personal growth with easily-accessible alumni; and participated in a thought-provoking Q&A with Dean Nohria, exhibiting leadership values to which I fully aligned. I was more confident I found the right program when I thought: How rewarding would it be if every day was as enriching as today? I had too many items to list in my gratitude journal that day!

What was the most surprising thing you discovered about Harvard Business School during the application process? A mentor graciously connected me with current and former HBS students during the application process. Knowing that they must receive frequent requests to speak with applicants, I was most surprised by the extent and speed at which they enabled me to feel a part of not only the HBS network, but the HBS family. It was an unparalleled feeling of warmth and genuine investment that has only grown while meeting classmates during my interview and the Admitted Students Welcome.

What club or activity are you looking most forward to in business school? Through my undergraduate studies in gerontology at the Harvard Innovation Lab (iLab) and Rock Center for Entrepreneurship, I am excited to build on my experience founding an organization that creates opportunities for young girls to gain the confidence to develop as leaders and be inspired to pursue higher education and technical careers. While at the iLab and Rock Center, I am also looking forward to supporting and challenging my classmates to help further their missions.

What was the most challenging question you were asked during the admissions process? The most challenging question I was asked during the admissions process was my perspective on the feasibility behind a theory for setting-up life on Mars. It was a superb reflection on the admissions committee’s dedication to understanding my problem-solving methodology, approach to generating solutions, propensity for strategic thinking, and understanding of the future of my industry.

What led you to pursue an MBA at this point in your career? I cultivated a passion for using technology to aid human progress when I developed a technology platform that unified 200+ thought leaders to solve generational challenges during an undergraduate internship. I furthered my passion at SpaceX by leading the supply chain introduction of the world’s most reliable and highest-efficiency rocket for ferrying astronauts that also aided in launching Bangladesh’s first communications satellite into space. I became inspired by how quickly technological infrastructures advance humanity. My professional mission developed into equipping resource-limited communities with technology to ensure intergenerational progress. Upon deep introspection, I realized an MBA from Harvard Business School was the perfect platform to significantly accelerate and concurrently develop the global insights, entrepreneurial expertise, and forward-thinking leadership skills required to advance my mission.

What other MBA programs did you apply to? HBS has always been my top choice. The admissions committee’s lean operations, genuine kindness, and tireless dedication to creating a diverse class gave me the confidence I would have and be able to contribute to my classmates experiencing a transformational journey.

How did you determine your fit at various schools? I crafted a standardized set of baseline questions that enabled me to analyze responses across current students and alumni spanning factors that made their experience unique, positive, and constructive facets of each program. It also tested my research. Visiting schools helped me visualize life on campus while assessing my overall fit to an invaluable extent. Reviewing job placement statistics (geography, industry, and function), alumni footprint, and the methodology behind career and professional development validated the program that best fit my goals.

What was your defining moment and how did it shape who you are? After the last bell, I stood in the front of the room and locked eyes with my fifth-grade teacher while she informed me that I would never amount to anything more than an “average C student.” While doing chores that afternoon at the small business my parents determinedly built, I realized that my grandfather did not endure the Holocaust and my father did not immigrate to America for me to be average. At 11, my passion formed: igniting potential. With mentorship from three incredible educators, I earned placement into the honors track in middle school, empowering me to complete high school in the top 5% of my class while serving as the National Honor Society President and earning “Iron Woman” status as a three-sport athlete (while standing only at 5’3). Now, I ignite hidden potential to empower people to envision their future without limitations. I believe igniting hidden potential creates a platform to convert adversity into opportunities for growth and enables each person to add his or her unique value to the world. The multiplication of this effect will power generations to continuously progress.

Where do you see yourself in ten years? I believe technology propels humanity forward at faster speeds and greater depths. In ten years, I will have advanced my mission to provide communities without investment capital access to technology to ensure global intergenerational advancement while igniting hidden potential within classmates’ missions as we make a difference in the world.

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