Meet Pittsburgh Katz’s MBA Class Of 2021

John Sopko

University of Pittsburgh’s Joseph M. Katz Graduate School of Business

Travel enthusiast with the desire to learn, explore, and experience the world.

Hometown: Kent, OH

Fun Fact About Yourself: The first time I left the United States was my senior year of undergrad when I traveled to London for a four-month internship.

Undergraduate School and Major:  University of Mount Union

  • Major: Psychology
  • Minor: Business Administration

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: North American Logistics Coordinator, Consolidated Food Company

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: While working at Consolidated Food Company, I developed a procedure for the company to import beef into Canada from multiple countries. This procedure cut importing costs by 15% on average. This helped give my company a competitive advantage and ultimately save customers money.

What quality best describes the MBA classmates you’ve met so far and why? Enthusiastic is the first quality that comes to mind when thinking of my classmates. Speaking to them individually, I can see the excitement to start the program and the enthusiasm they have for meeting new people and learning about each other’s backgrounds.

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? Experience-based learning was the key factor in choosing Katz. I have always thought the best way to learn is by doing. The classroom is a great place to discuss ideas and philosophies, but nothing will substitute the knowledge gained from real-world experiences.

What club or activity are you looking most forward to in business school? I am looking forward to both the Finance Club and International Business Association.

What was the most challenging question you were asked during the admissions process? “Tell me about yourself?” is still one of the more challenging questions I am asked. It’s a question that everyone will get in any application process, yet many people have a hard time answering it. It is something you can practice and rehearse over and over again, yet it is usually the first question and one that can carry the most weight.

What led you to pursue an MBA at this point in your career? I am looking to transition from my role in operation and logistics into a more finance and strategic-focused role. Right now, an MBA will help me build a strong foundation of business knowledge and improve on the vital skills needed to succeed in my transition and new field.

What other MBA programs did you apply to? Kent State University

How did you determine your fit at various schools? I looked at a number of factors when considering schools, but the top four were curriculum, course content, global opportunities, and career management. I relied heavily on websites of programs, U.S. News rankings and information, and success stories from alumni. I researched culture by attending information sessions and if universities were too far to travel, I relied on articles online and information sessions through webinars. When considering my career goals, I looked for alumni who are affiliated with companies I am interested in working for.

What was your defining moment and how did it shape who you are? I do not think I have one defining moment that shaped who I am today. My parents (John and Cathy) and my sisters (Jamie and Jennifer) were major influences in shaping who I am today. I could also list the activities or programs I was involved in, such as Greek life on campus, being a collegiate athlete, or interning in another country. All of these things pushed me to be the best version of myself. I would have to say it’s a combination of my family, friends, actives, and experiences that come together and help make me the best version of myself.

Where do you see yourself in ten years? Professionally, in 10 years I see myself working for an international company developing new financial strategies or investment. Personally, I want to provide for my family the way my parents were able to provide for my siblings and I when we were growing up.

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