2020 MBAs To Watch: Katharine Sullivan, Boston College (Carroll)

Katharine Sullivan

Boston College, Carroll School of Management

“Reliable at work and at home.”

Hometown: Cambridge, MA

Fun fact about yourself: I’ve already been to Bee school. I’m a certified beekeeper. Unfortunately, there were no credit transfers between learning about bees and learning about business.

Undergraduate School and Degree: Boston College, English

Where was the last place you worked before enrolling in business school? Ropes & Gray LLP – Practice Development Specialist

Where did you intern during the summer of 2018? Pegasystems, Inc.

Where will you be working after graduation? Pegasystems, Inc.

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School:

  • Co-founder and Co-Chair, Stand Out at Carroll (BC’s first LGBTQ MBA student organization)
  • Class Representative, BC MBA 5K (annual 5K race in support of Youth Enrichment Services, Inc.)

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? I am proud of myself and classmate Ross Litman for co-founding Stand Out at Carroll. I am proud to have brought a club to BC’s campus that aligns with the school’s diversity and inclusion efforts, helps more deeply connect BC students with professional LGBTQIA+ organizations such as ROMBA, and creates a space for mentoring, professional development, and thought leadership within the BC community.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? At my last job, I was always proud of my team when we won new business for the firm. The most memorable of these happened a few years ago when, without advanced notice, my team transformed a lengthy and detailed RFP into a new business in 12 hours. This cross-team collaboration, filled with focused drive and attention to detail, was an incredible adrenaline rush.

Who was your favorite MBA professor? Professor Yu for Strategic Management.

What was your favorite MBA event or tradition at your business school? My favorite event so far has been the market simulation competition at the end of our first year where teams compete over a five-day competitive sprint to be crowned champion. I got to work closely with some new faces and be challenged in new ways. It was an incredibly fun close to the first year.

Why did you choose this business school? I chose BC because of the strength of the alumni network, the MBA program’s emphasis on data analytics courses (which have benefited me immensely in my career already), and the class size, which is unique and quite special.

What is your best advice to an applicant hoping to get into your school’s MBA program? Tell your story. BC is looking not only for top talent but also for the diversity of opinion and experience. Everyone has a story to tell. Tell yours.

What is the biggest myth about your school? People think Carroll School and they think finance, both for the grad and undergrad programs. That isn’t my experience. My MBA class is a fairly even mix of consulting, financial services, marketing, operations, and beyond.

Looking back over your MBA experience, what is the one thing you’d do differently and why? I hope to create an alumni network for Stand Out at Carroll. If that hasn’t happened by the time this is published then I will be behind schedule!

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? I most admire Vivian Zhang. On top of being incredibly bright, driven, and upbeat, Vivian also is a mother. The parents in our programs are true heroes and Vivian is one of those who seem to have superpowers. I love being on her teams for her thoughtful insights and contributions and I enjoy the diversity of perspective and experience that she brings to class discussions.

Who most influenced your decision to pursue business in college? A person I deeply admire was looking to apply to business schools at the same time that I was toying with the idea. We started talking about it and both realized, in different ways, the value that this would add to our professional and personal development. Having this person as a confidant and peer was pivotal in carrying me through the process.

What are the top two items on your professional bucket list? Be a good mentor for someone and lift that someone up. Be admitted to Pega’s corporate band, which is quite selective and mostly consists of senior-level employees.

In one sentence, how would you like your peers to remember you? A reliable team-player who gets the job done and doesn’t take herself too seriously.

Hobbies? Beekeeping. Ultimate (I won a bronze medal at the World Ultimate Club Championships in 2018 with my Boston-based ultimate team).

What made Katharine such an invaluable addition to the Class of 2020?

“Katharine truly embodies the Boston College spirit—in numerous ways. Not only did she receive her undergraduate degree in English from BC, but she donned the costume of Baldwin the Eagle, the University’s mascot, during her four years as an undergrad. Returning to BC to pursue her MBA after working as a legal case assistant at Sidley Austin in Washington, DC, and most recently, in client development planning at Ropes & Gray, Katharine has continued to be a passionate cheerleader and ambassador for the University and MBA program, whether in the classroom or to prospective students.

Most notably, in her first year of business school, Katharine co-founded Stand Out at Carroll, an LGBTQ organization for graduate students at the Carroll School of Management. By founding this organization, Katharine has importantly put to action BC’s commitment to diversity and inclusivity, and created an avenue for the Carroll School’s LGBTQ community and allies.

After a successful summer in content Marketing at Pegasystems, Katharine will be returning to the firm, where she has continued to intern throughout the academic year as a Manager of Content Strategy and Operations.”

Marilyn Eckelman
Associate Dean, Graduate Programs
Carroll School of Management