Meet The Michigan Ross MBA Class Of 2021

Kaitlyn Lo

Ross School of Business, University of Michigan

“A passionate traveler, efficient planner, challenge seeker, and people connector. Loves coffee and rosé.”

Hometown: San Anselmo, California

Fun Fact About Yourself: I was a member of the Stanford Women’s Varsity Water Polo team where we won three NCAA Division I National Championship titles (my first championship was won at The University of Michigan, so I like to think the school has good karma!).

Undergraduate School and Major: Stanford University, B.A. in Communications and Minor in Art Practice

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: EPIQ Capital Group, Senior Analyst

EPIQ Capital is a boutique multi-family office providing wealth management services to prominent senior executives, founders, and early-employees of high-profile companies who have a net worth in excess of $100 million.

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: My biggest accomplishment in my career was the outpouring of appreciation and recognition I received from my clients when I decided to leave my first job at First Republic after having worked there for three years. Working in private wealth management in Silicon Valley/Bay Area, I was fortunate to work with some of the most talented and inspiring people in our society, from Fortune 500 executives to former NBA athletes. I prided myself on providing top-tier client service, which included detailed analysis and timely, thoughtful responses that were reliable and credible. The overwhelming phone calls and emails I received from my clients who took the time to express their gratitude and offer to provide future recommendations provided the affirmation that all the hard work and day-to-day actions had paid off and allowed me to build trusting and meaningful relationships with my clients.

What quality best describes the MBA classmates you’ve met so far and why? Of the Ross MBA students I’ve met so far through the admit weekend and in the Bay Area, the quality I’ve found best describes them is down-to-earth. While all of them come from very impressive and diverse backgrounds, they leave their egos at the door and are genuinely excited and passionate about being part of the larger Ross and University of Michigan community. I’ve been astonished by the warmth exuded by my classmates in including one another and helping each other out as we prepare to move to Ann Arbor to start school.

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 me to choose Michigan Ross was their strong commitment to helping their students and alumni succeed. This commitment was evident early on in the application process whether it was an admissions team member connecting me with current students with similar backgrounds and career interests, Soojin Kwon’s videos walking students through what to expect at the interview day, or the interview day itself, everything was thoughtfully executed with the intention of preparing students to succeed. This commitment to student success can also be seen in the design of the program, particularly with the FACT groups (Functional Accountability Career teams). First-year students are placed in a career-specific FACT group, where they receive weekly guidance and support from a team of peers and second-year MBA coaches who walk them through each step of the recruiting process. Finally, Michigan Ross stood out from the pack in their commitment to their students beyond their two years at Ross, where through the Alumni Advantage, alumni are given full-tuition scholarships for continuing education courses online and in-person all over the world. This commitment to their students is particularly important to me as it shows they truly value their students beyond test scores and numbers and are there to support them throughout their careers.

What club or activity are you looking most forward to in business school? It is difficult to pick just one, but I am really excited about the opportunity afforded by MAP (multidisciplinary action projects). It’s incredible to think that by the end of my first year, in addition to my coursework, I will have had seven weeks worth of experience working with a diverse team on a real business challenge for a sponsor company somewhere in the world. I am excited about the project management and analytical and leadership skills I will gain from this experience, which will allow me to be a more effective contributor day one in my summer internship. On the social side, I am also looking forward to my Mtrek trip to Greece in two weeks!

What was the most challenging question you were asked during the admissions process? Tell me about a time when you were on a team that wasn’t successful. What would you do differently?

What led you to pursue an MBA at this point in your career? Having worked in private wealth management for 4+ years post-college, going back to school in large part came from the desire to gain exposure to diverse ideas and new career opportunities all while sharpening my skill set. While working in private wealth management, I also found that many of the successful clients I admired throughout different industries had all obtained their MBA degrees. It became clear that regardless of the industry I end up in, the skills and experiences I will gain throughout my MBA program will be imperative in helping me have a greater impact and reach the next level in my career.

What other MBA programs did you apply to? Wharton, Columbia, and Rice. I figured it was time to explore somewhere new and expand my network outside of California!

How did you determine your fit at various schools? In determining my fit at various schools, I was told that the decision “isn’t a two-year decision but a lifetime decision.” With that in mind, I knew the academics and career opportunities would be fairly comparable at all the top MBA programs so what ended up being the most important factor for me was culture and finding a program I wanted to be a part of for the rest of my life. This entailed speaking not only with current students but also alumni to gauge their enthusiasm for the school and the experiences they had. With Michigan Ross, I found a culture that contained a strong “pay-it-back” mentality, in which students and alumni were invested in helping mentor their peers as a way of paying back those who had helped them. Apart from speaking with as many diverse students and alumni as you can, I utilized online resources such as Poets & Quants and the school websites. If you have the resources, it is also beneficial to visit the school to see if your expectations meet reality and if you can picture yourself thriving in that particular environment and culture.

What was your defining moment and how did it shape who you are? A defining moment for me was one Thanksgiving when I was 10-years-old. my father drove our family around the small town that he grew up in Orange Cove, California. This experience opened my eyes to the hardships my father faced moving to California from Hong Kong at a young age with limited resources. I learned that the things I grew up taking for granted – such as having braces, playing on sports teams, and getting new shoes for school – were unattainable dreams for my dad growing up. Being able to understand where my family came from and the hardships they faced in order to provide the opportunities my sister and I have today is something I will always cherish. I have learned that education is a privilege and to make the most of each and every opportunity.

Where do you see yourself in ten years? Truthfully, I don’t know exactly where I will be in ten years, but I hope to be in a career where I am constantly challenged and able to work alongside intelligent, diverse, and passionate teammates in pursuing ambitious goals. I aim to be a compassionate leader, decisive decision-maker, and a key contributor in my company helping guide corporate strategy on a national or global level.

Questions about this article? Email us or leave a comment below.