“Working toward your growth and mine, one day at a time.”
Hometown: Columbus, GA
Fun Fact About Yourself: My first sales job was selling popsicles – they don’t call me the “King of the Pops” for nothing!
Undergraduate School and Major: University of Georgia, BS in Biology
Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Inspire NOLA Schools – Teacher/YouthForce NOLA – Intern Coach
Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: I had the distinct privilege of training and coaching rising high school seniors through professional internships for a couple of years. Before they started their internships, I trained my interns in 60-hours of soft-skills training. Then, once they began working, I conducted at least weekly strengths-based coaching conversations with each intern to connect our learnings and habits from training into their daily routines at work. The results were both outstanding and consistent over a diverse set of job functions and industries. One set of interns at GE Digital developed an app for an upcoming food and music festival in New Orleans. Meanwhile, my medical assistant interns assisted and shadowed their preceptors in a wide range of treatments in general surgery, dermatology, cardiology, and more! Amazing, right?
In two summers, over 95 percent of my 40-plus interns successfully completed their internships! This past summer, nearly half of my interns received invitations to return to their workplace for an additional internship or full-time opportunity. And the truth is, so much of the impact of the work will not be quantified for years to come. One of our organization’s mottos was “real-world skills, real-life success.” It truly was one of my biggest accomplishments to play a role in helping these interns achieve “real-life success.”
What quality best describes the MBA classmates you’ve met so far and why? Generous! My MBA classmates are generous with their time, skillset, and network. Here’s an example for each day of my first week with them:
- Day One: Ryan, who attended the University of Minnesota for his undergraduate degree, walked all the way across campus (and the Mississippi River) with me to get my student ID card.
- Day Two: Harsha carefully considered two lines on my resume with me. Then he followed up about the arrangement of those two lines the next day.
- Day Three: Abinash and Arijit fielded my questions about their international work experience for nearly two hours at a networking event.
- Day Four: I spilled coffee on my shirt on the way to orientation, and there was no turning back. Not even one person criticized me, reinforcing the “Minnesota Nice” stereotype!
- Day Five: The second-years made themselves readily available all week to share their classroom, club, and internship experiences and to field any questions we had.
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? There were a number of reasons I chose the Carlson School. One key factor, however, was their public commitment to “business as a force for good.” I am personally committed to keeping social responsibility and impact at the forefront of my career choices. I was confident Carlson would support that priority as well as any other program. Though it certainly does not stop here, one specific resource that caught my eye is the Sands Fellowship, a fellowship designed to develop socially-minded leaders by providing guidance, mentoring, and funding for social enterprises.
What club or activity are you looking most forward to in business school? I am most excited about the Graduate Volunteer Consultants (GVC) Club! The GVC provides pro-bono consulting services to non-profit organizations in the local community while offering students additional experiential learning opportunities. Talk about “business as a force for good!”
What was the most challenging question you were asked during the admissions process? The most challenging question was probably the most common one: “What is your immediate post-MBA goal?” I had so many ideas of what I could do after my MBA to reach my long-term career goals. I would think to myself, “Do I really have to choose one before even starting business school?” (Hint for potential MBA candidates: It’s OK to not be totally sure yet! Admissions teams know this: reflect, do your research, and commit to something you think you’d like to do.)
What led you to pursue an MBA at this point in your career? Prior to beginning Carlson’s MBA Program, I spent five years predominantly in education and nonprofits focused on community and workforce development. I most recently worked for an organization that connected young people to career pathways. In one of their programs (referenced earlier), more than 230 interns were placed into internships with 90-plus employers in New Orleans. I was blown away by the power of business in driving change in individuals and communities through this experience. The intersection of private and social sectors energized me in a way nothing else had and business was a clear next step. Additionally, I found that an MBA would be the best way to develop my ability to lead teams and organizations.
What other MBA programs did you apply to? Emory University (Goizueta Business School), University of Chicago (Booth School of Business), and Tulane University (A.B. Freeman School of Business)
How did you determine your fit at various schools? Determining “fit” is a process! To start, I prioritized the following factors: results, culture, geography, and return on investment. I used a host of tools to evaluate schools: school websites (and employment reports), U.S. News & World Report rankings, conversations with current and past MBA students, and online forums. The best way for me to research the culture was to visit the program(s) and talk with students in person. After I had conducted all of this research, it was clear that the Carlson School was a great fit for my personality, work style, and specific career goals.
What was your defining moment and how did it shape who you are? One summer during college, I interned at a medical clinic offering affordable healthcare to underserved patients. I shadowed the doctor and physician assistants, facilitated health screenings, read books on poverty alleviation, and more. It was an incredibly defining summer for two reasons.
First, I finally decided I did not want to pursue a medical degree. Second, I met Dr. Grant, the founder, executive director, and (at the time) the only doctor of MercyMed Clinic. He was full of energy. A self-starter. A sacrificial leader. He loved people and worked very hard for what he believed in. And he clearly allowed his social concern to influence every facet of his life, career included! After that summer, I no longer knew “what” I wanted to do, but I had a much better idea of “how” I wanted to do it.
Where do you see yourself in ten years? In Minneapolis, helping lead a mission-driven team or organization and enjoying and caring for my family, friends, and community.