“A positive, collaborative career-switcher with a passion for human behavior and motivations.”
Hometown: Columbus, Ohio
Fun Fact About Yourself: I played volleyball in college and studied abroad for a semester in Sydney, Australia.
Undergraduate School and Major: Muhlenberg College (Allentown, PA) – double major in Business Administration and Media & Communication
Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Senior Tax Accountant at Designer Brands Inc. (formerly DSW Inc.)
Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: My biggest accomplishment, so far, has been being open-minded for all opportunities! When I graduated from undergrad, I didn’t have a job lined up. However, through hard work, a little luck, and networking (something I don’t think I even realized I was doing), I was able to get a couple of part-time jobs that eventually led to full-time positions and some promotions. I even became an ‘accidental’ tax accountant, which ultimately helped me realize my passion for analyzing data and solving problems, which is something I want to continue post-MBA.
What quality best describes the MBA classmates you’ve met so far and why? My classmates are hands-down the most supportive and selfless people I have ever met! From offering to help me move into my new apartment to hosting brunch to set up plans to do activities outside of the classroom, the people in this program value community and inclusiveness. I feel so connected to everyone in the short time we have known each other.
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? One of the key factors in my decision to come to the Carlson School was the location. On a professional front, the Twin Cities are home to 17 Fortune 500 companies, and Carlson has a fantastic relationship with the employers in the area. This means there is an extremely strong alumni network within our reach (and around the world!). I also liked the idea of being in a big city that has everything – parks, lakes, public transportation, amazing restaurants, arts, sports, etc.
What club or activity are you looking most forward to in business school? As a career-switcher, I’m looking forward to joining the Carlson Marketing Network and connecting with professionals in the community.
What was the most challenging question you were asked during the admissions process? To be honest, none of the questions during the admissions process really surprised me. I did my research in online forums to see what other students had been asked this year and in previous years! I highly recommend doing that because it really helped me feel more prepared and relaxed in my interviews. I think the most challenging thing for me was being confident in myself that I did have transferable skills and expressing how my past experiences combined with my future goals would be valuable to the school both inside and outside the classroom. Coming up with STAR (situation, task, action, result) stories for various behavioral interview questions were a crucial part of this.
What led you to pursue an MBA at this point in your career? I knew that I was ready to switch careers and an MBA was a great pathway to help me achieve that. It provided me with classroom and experiential learning opportunities as well as the skills needed to help network to find a great job after graduation. I was definitely nervous about leaving the workforce and a stable job, but I’m certain that fully immersing myself in this process for the next two years will be totally worth it!
What other MBA programs did you apply to? Wisconsin School of Business (UW-Madison), Owen Graduate School of Management (Vanderbilt University), D’Amore-McKim School of Business (Northeastern University), and the part-time program at Fisher College of Business (The Ohio State University).
How did you determine fit at various schools? I knew that location, culture, and curriculum were my top-three factors in determining the best fit of school for me. I narrowed down the location by looking at places I could see myself living after graduation. Furthermore, although I wanted a “big city school” experience, having gone to a small undergrad program, I wanted an intimate class size with a group of students who were collaborative, insightful, and caring. Finally, I wanted a school where the semesters were split into halves, which would basically allow me to finish most of the core courses within the first semester and get to start on electives during the second semester. Once I had my list narrowed down, I reached out to current students and alumni and had phone chats to get their perspective on the program, how people worked together, and how the school and staff help students with their career search.
What was your defining moment and how did it shape who you are? I wouldn’t necessarily consider it a “defining moment,” but I think that choosing an undergrad college eight hours away from home really helped me see the opportunities that can come about by stepping out of my comfort zone. It allowed me to experience an independence I hadn’t had before. Ultimately, I felt comfortable enough to study abroad in Australia for a semester by myself and with my decision to move away for grad school. There are so many places, people, and cultures in this world, and I want to experience as many as I can!
Where do you see yourself in ten years? I don’t have a specific job title that I strive to obtain because I think so much can happen in that time. However, I do see myself in a career that fuels my passion for learning about peoples’ behaviors and motivations and gives me energy by helping others and solving problems. With an MBA from a great B-school, I think the opportunities are endless. In my personal life, I hope to have traveled to at least 10 new countries (maybe visiting my classmates all over the world), continued to volunteer in my community, and probably have adopted a few more animals!