Meet MIT Sloan’s MBA Class Of 2021

Becky Blanchflower (Miller)

Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Sloan School of Management

“California born and raised, Veteran, with a side of wittiness and a hunger for travel.”

Hometown: Anaheim, CA

Fun Fact About Yourself: I have run 3 marathons including the NYC Marathon

Undergraduate School and Major: United States Coast Guard Academy – BS Business / Management

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: United States Coast Guard, Lieutenant, Waterways Project Management

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: When I was stationed in Boston, I was tasked with coordinating the refurbishment of Boston Light and the celebration for its Tricentennial. It is the oldest Lighthouse and last remaining manned Lighthouse in the U.S. I was charged with this project on top of my main duties, while I was also completing a Master’s degree and my Project Management certification. For three years, I led monthly meetings with state, regional and port partners, oversaw the work of six subcommittees, coordinated funding resources, and ultimately elevated the celebration to a national level and a Coast Guard Headquarters sponsored event honoring the Coast Guard’s heritage.  This event brought attention to the repairs and restoration projects that the Coast Guard spent over $2 million on in order to maintain the aid to navigation and symbol of the Coast Guard’s commitment to maritime safety. Most importantly, managing multiple teams and seeing the plan come to fruition exposed me to Project Management, which is something that I’ve taken a real interest in ever since.

When you think of MIT, what are the first things that come to mind? How has your experience with the Sloan program reinforced or upended these early impressions? At first, I was intimidated by the program because I thought it would be focused primarily on engineering or technology. After I delved into the curriculum and employment reports, I realized it was so much more than that. For example, last year over 30% of the class went into consulting.

What quality best describes the MBA classmates you’ve met so far and why? Humble

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? Culture – I saw that they practice what they preach, particularly when it comes to building a community of people who do not compete with each other but instead work collaboratively to help everyone be successful.

What club or activity are you looking most forward to in business school? Happy Belly Club – I looking forward to getting to know my classmates over some great food! I want to expand my palette and the club organizes cooking classes and outings to unique restaurants. It sounds fun!

What was the most challenging question you were asked during the admissions process? “If you could teach any class here, what would you teach and why?” I was just not expecting that question.

What led you to pursue an MBA at this point in your career? I have been looking to transition from the military into the corporate world and I knew business school would not only give me the academic tools to fill my business skill gaps, but it would provide ample exposure, resources, and connections to the various industries and career options ahead of me.

What other MBA programs did you apply to? HBS, University of Chicago Booth School of Business, NYU Stern, and UCLA Anderson School of Management

How did you determine your fit at various schools? I knew there were many schools that could offer me the academic tools I need to be successful when transitioning from the military to the corporate world. The factors I focused on were location, curriculum rigor and flexibility, and class size. I also spoke to many students from different schools and visited each school during the application process. Realistically, most people who attend a school are happy with their choice and have positive things to say about it, so it was important for me to actually visit the different schools and see how I fit there.

Certainly, Sloan’s reputation in the business world was appealing, but I chose Sloan above other programs because I thought I would be the most successful here. The curriculum will allow me to get the exposure to core business concepts that I have not dealt with in my career thus far. It will also allow me plenty of flexibility to create the program I need following the core classes. Having been in unique military jobs as opposed to a typical finance or business role, I appreciate the ability to be able to choose the classes that will suit my needs. The class size was more appealing than that of a larger school because I believe I will develop deeper relationships with my classmates and the faculty. Additionally, the classmates I have met so far have been approachable and extremely humble. I felt that I clicked with the prospective students and the Career Development Office when I visited for AdMIT weekend and that was important to me.

What was your defining moment and how did it shape who you are? Going to the Coast Guard Academy and serving in the military for eight years after school definitely shaped who I am today. When I chose to attend a military academy, it came as no surprise to my friends and family. Both of my parents attended West Point Military Academy and all three of my siblings attended either the Air Force Academy or Coast Guard Academy. I was raised in a very patriotic family and taught that there was honor in serving my country. My time in the Coast Guard thus far has brought me from leading counter-narcotics missions along the coast of South America to managing all waterborne projects in the Port of New York, including consulting on multi-billion dollar construction projects. Among other things, the Coast Guard taught me to be resilient, adaptable, and collaborative.  All of these qualities will serve me well in the future.

Where do you see yourself in ten years? I am open to many professional opportunities but am particularly interested in strategy consulting, product management, and brand management. I plan to be successful in and enjoying my new career!

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