Meet Pittsburgh Katz’s MBA Class Of 2021

Bianca Payton 

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

“Black, queer woman following her passion in technology to better the world.”

Hometown: Detroit, MI

Fun Fact About Yourself: I am a certified basketball referee.

Undergraduate School and Major: University of Michigan, Sociology

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Community Manager, Regus

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: My biggest accomplishment came from the validation of my hard work from the vice president of my team. I had been trusted to manage the team while our manager was on leave for a few months. I was able to take over the responsibilities and assume the role with minimal complications. The vice president noticed how hard I worked to get to my position. She sent praises my way, which led to a leadership role and more responsibilities.

What quality best describes the MBA classmates you’ve met so far and why? The qualities that my classmates have exhibited so far have been goal-oriented, character-driven, and humble. It has been fascinating hearing the stories and passions of others. There are 17 countries represented in our class and I am super excited to get to know them over the next two years.

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? A key factor that led me to choose my program was based off of my visit for admitted students’ weekend. During my visit, I could tell that this program was a family and treated me as such. They were knowledgeable, professional, and always there to answer any questions or concerns I had. My visit was the reason I chose to go to Pitt. I went into the visit with no expectations and was blown away. It was informative about the school and the program but also had its fun parts as well. It was important to me as a queer, black woman that I would feel accepted at whatever school I attended. I felt accepted and welcomed into the Pitt family with open arms. I knew they would make my education a priority. There is a difference between looking at a school online and visiting campus. I fell in love with Pitt and their faculty and staff. I was confident when I left that I was going to Pitt.

What club or activity are you looking most forward to in business school? I am looking forward to participating in case competitions. I am excited to be a part of a team competing in a business competition. It’s fascinating to learn about an industry and company and then creatively come up with solutions for their problems.

What was the most challenging question you were asked during the admissions process? In my interview, the most challenging question I received was a case competition prompt. I had expressed interest in case competitions, but little did I know that I would receive a case competition prompt in my interview. Going through that experience made me realize that I had a lot to learn, but I was glad I was challenged like that in the interview.

What led you to pursue an MBA at this point in your career? My whole life I have always wanted an MBA. When I was debating on when to get my MBA, I was persuaded by mentors to go work for a couple of years after I graduated undergrad to find out what I really wanted to pursue. I have been working the past six years in operations and sales learning what I am and not passionate about. When I realized what my passions were and what I wanted to pursue, I knew it was time for my transition into pursuing my MBA in information technology.

What other MBA programs did you apply to?  University of Maryland, George Washington University, & Boston University

How did you determine your fit at various schools? The factors that drove my decision for choosing an MBA program were scholarship money, graduate courses, and travel abroad opportunities. Katz met all my requirements. I fell in love with the course catalog because of the large number of elective courses offered. While visiting the school, I met with alumni and current students. Their success stories gave me a confidence boost that I will be choosing the right school. Meeting alumni who were in positions that I wanted to be in solidified that the same could be done for me.

What was your defining moment and how did it shape who you are? I met a lot of amazing people living in the Boston area for about six years. My chosen family was created out of my relationships with these people. I knew no one when I moved to Boston and I was able to create my own community. Each person impacted my life in a different way. Because of this community, I was able to grow and mature into a better version of myself. My love for community-building came from my experience in Boston. Making connections with people and learning and growing from one another helped shape me to be who I am today.

Where do you see yourself in ten years? In ten years, I see myself deep in my career in consulting. I would either be a senior manager or partner at a top consulting firm. I would have traveled across the world consulting on different projects, gaining experience to eventually open my own consulting firm.