2020 MBAs To Watch: Katie Apker, Brigham Young University (Marriott)

Katie Apker

Brigham Young University, Marriott School of Business

“Start-up founder-turned-academic.”

Hometown: Portland, OR

Fun fact about yourself: I love home renovations so much that at one point I considered becoming a plumber.

Undergraduate School and Degree: BYU, Physiology and Developmental Biology, Pre-patent law.

Where was the last place you worked before enrolling in business school? KateMaxStock, Founder

Where did you intern during the summer of 2018? Business Development and Strategy Research Fellow, Brigham Young University, Provo, UT

Where will you be working after graduation? Pursuing a Ph.D. in Management and Strategy

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School: VP of the BYU Women in Business organization; VP of the BYU MBA Marketing Association; MBA Program Female Inclusion Recruiter; BYU Presidential Scholar recipient; BYU Hawes Scholar recipient; Graduate Emerging Scholar Award recipient

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? Female-focused recruiting – Whether encouraging women to consider the BYU MBA program or another MBA program, it was extremely meaningful to open up the eyes of so many women to their potential and encourage them to expand the conceptions of their abilities, invest in themselves, and advance their growth.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? Growing and selling my business, KateMaxStock. Using the tactics I learned in my MBA program, I was able to grow my business while in school, acquire one of my direct competitors, and eventually sell my company to another entrepreneur passionate about female empowerment.

Who was your favorite MBA professor? Grant McQueen, Finance professor. He turned what could have been an intimidating course into a subject that was an essential and empowering my business analysis toolbelt – so much so that I was able to act as a TA for that course during my 2nd year.

What was your favorite MBA event or tradition at your business school? “Humans of the MBA” events. This is where students shared their stories of struggle and triumph before and through the MBA program. We were able to connect as a student body, cutting down competition and strengthening our authentic understanding and empathy for those in our program.

Why did you choose this business school? I knew that a BYU MBA would provide me with a stellar education, but also allow me to associate with a network of individuals who had the common goal of becoming better whole human beings.

What is your best advice to an applicant hoping to get into your school’s MBA program? Adopt a growth mindset and don’t underestimate your ability to master topics you previously knew nothing about. I see so many women who are interested in an MBA degree but underestimate their capacity to perform and compete. This is patently false. Believe in both your ability and right to be in business school. Then work hard.

What is the biggest myth about your school? That BYU is full of boring, cookie-cutter personalities. I have found the opposite to be true: my cohort is full of people from so many backgrounds with so many different, amazing interests!

Looking back over your MBA experience, what is the one thing you’d do differently and why? Probably play more ping pong in the lounge. I could have had a run at the tournament if I had studied a bit less!

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? Austin Pollard – he was willing to listen and love all his peers – regardless of whether they had anything to “give back” to him.

Who most influenced your decision to pursue business in college? My partner, Mark.  He encouraged me to pursue an MBA despite my misgivings. He recognized my capacity and desire to grow and never stopped nudging me. I’m so glad I listened!

What are the top two items on your professional bucket list? Complete a Ph.D. in Management and Strategy at a top-5 worldwide program and continue my passion for empowering women by focusing my research on barriers to gender equality and tactics individual leaders can adopt to break down these barriers.

In one sentence, how would you like your peers to remember you? As an energetic friend who is always ready to say it how it is then happily pushed to improve the status quo.

Hobbies? I love woodworking, yoga, reading fantasy novels, and camping with my family.

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

“Katie is a bright, positive, charismatic friend to all with the oomph of the Energizer Bunny. She not only excels herself, she mastered Abe Lincoln’s challenge to “bring out the better angels of our nature” in others. Although she was a Marketing student pursuing a Ph.D. in Strategy, I hired her as my Finance TA.  This hiring speaks not only to Katie’s versatility and sharp, agile mind, but also to her empathy, willingness to give back, and her ability to communicate. After she earns her Ph.D., I hope to have Katie as a colleague here at BYU Marriott.”

Professor Grant McQueen
MBA Director


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