“Always learning, sometimes failing, smiling often, offering a hand to lift others up.”
Hometown: Boise, Idaho
Fun fact about yourself: During the spring of 2013, I helped set the 4×800 meter record with three of my high school teammates in the state of Idaho. Although nearly all distance running state records have fallen since then, our seven-year-old record remains; we ran a combined two miles in 9:12.07.
Undergraduate School and Degree: Weber State University | B.S. Business Administration – Marketing
Where was the last place you worked before enrolling in business school? Internships at Two Men and A Truck & Corporate Alliance
Where did you intern during the summer of 2019? Veterans United Home Loans, Columbia, Missouri | Data Science Fellow
Where will you be working after graduation? Evolytics | Business Analyst II
Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School: Crosby MBA Association VP of Philanthropy, Crosby MBA Association Director of Philanthropy, Mid-Missouri Women in Technology in Partnership with Boys & Girls Club, United Way Board Fellow (Big Brothers Big Sisters)
Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? I have two because the first is actually considered a “failure.” Up until graduate school, I have had a 4.0 GPA. Throughout my academic career, I’ve held myself to an extremely high standard, almost irrationally. However, during my last year of graduate school, between working part-time, serving as a GA, and maintaining a full-time course load, I allowed myself to get a B in a class. While that’s not something to generally be proud of, it was one of my proudest moments because I accepted that it was worthwhile for me to allocate my time elsewhere, rather than study an extra two hours to get the A. I used to think a B meant I was less smart. Now, I understand that the grades aren’t nearly as important as growing into the person and professional you want to be.
My second proudest accomplishment is being selected for the MBA World Summit in Frankfurt, Germany. Every year, only 100 MBAs from around the world are selected to attend the MBA World Summit. I have long admired our alumni who were selected but never imagined being invited to attend myself. I applied on the platform of wanting to collaborate with international MBAs in an effort to bring people together at a time when we are so divided globally. I look forward to meeting others, brainstorming, collaborating, and hopefully building the bridges that will reconnect people around the globe through business.
What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? In my professional career, I am most proud of the work I was thrown into during my first two weeks on the job. In the field of data science, often the best way to learn is to have a mentor. When I started my job, I was placed under one of our full-time data scientists, where I would remain for 8-12 weeks. One week after my placement, my mentor announced that he would be leaving the company in three weeks. It was May when the mortgage industry is on the verge of the peak summer season. Our full-time team is small, and my mentor played a crucial role in the analytics surrounding our new product launch. With no other full-time team member fully available, I was told, “Learn as much as you can, as fast as you can.” My mentor and I proceeded to spend eight hours a day, three days a week, doing “brain downloads.” It was painfully fast-paced.
After three weeks, he left. As if the stress wasn’t high before, it then fell to me (the intern), to assume as much of his role as possible to help get the product positioned for peak mortgage season. Working alongside my manager, we rose to the challenge. Our efforts ended up contributing the company’s record-setting year of enormous growth. We later received personal recognition from executives for our contributions. This is my proudest professional experience because it proved to me that I can rise to a challenge, face adversity and uncertainty, collaborate when needed, and deliver when it counts.
Who was your favorite MBA professor? If I were challenged to choose only one, my favorite MBA professor is Tonya Ford. Tonya came to the Trulaske School of Business following an extremely successful career in the medical, retail, and consulting realms. She oversees two critical courses in our program: the external consulting class and the professional development course. While Tonya is a great teacher, what I appreciate most about her is her ability to connect everything to the professional world. She often says, “Those things… those only happen in here, and this isn’t what it’s like out there!” Though taken out of context, you can imagine her grin and slight exasperation as she tries to explain the differences between higher education and working in industry. In addition to keeping us grounded, Tonya challenges everyone to give 100 percent effort. Whether the pursuit is academic, professional, personal, or charitable, Tonya ignites a fire inside her students to exceed all expectations and deliver results with integrity.
What was your favorite MBA event or tradition at your business school? My favorite Mizzou tradition is handing off the larger-than-life-size rose to the next Crosby MBA President at our end-of-year formal every year. Much like The Bachelor (or Bachelorette, or Bachelor in Paradise, or… etc.) we give the incoming president a rose. But it’s not any rose; it’s six feet long. First, this shows our obvious appreciation for reality TV. Second, the rose represents a passing of the baton to the next executive committee. It recognizes that one cohort is ending, and it ushers in the next. Much like the Bachelor living-on forever, the rose suggests that the Crosby MBA is also never-ending.
Why did you choose this business school? Being from Idaho, I never imagined I would end up going to graduate school in the middle of Missouri. During undergraduate school, I fell in love with marketing, but I always felt like something was missing. I understood marketing theories, but I couldn’t help but notice that so much information was missing when we didn’t understand the analytics side. I immediately sought out courses with greater quantitative rigor but found myself graduating without much statistical knowledge. What drew me to the University of Missouri was the MBA, plus Marketing Analytics Certification, all wrapped into a two-year program. Immediately, I knew that this program would allow me to pursue more in-depth statistics, while also teaching me how to manage future teams.
What is your best advice to an applicant hoping to get into your school’s MBA program? The best advice I would give to an applicant hoping to get into the University of Missouri MBA Program is to bring your whole self. I find that I learn the most from my classmates who apply their outside expertise – whether that’s in music education or industrial engineering – to the business context. I feel as though the Crosby MBA program appreciates multidimensional people, and so for those who are applying, I think it’s hugely beneficial to highlight your whole self, not just your stereotypical business-school qualities.
What is the biggest myth about your school? This biggest myth, in my opinion, is that state school graduates are not selected for top tiers jobs. In my short time at Mizzou, I have worked with colleagues who now work at Microsoft, EY, KPMG, NASA, Gartner, Anheuser Busch, Facebook, and many others. Moreover, I believe that our students have shown that we are competitive on a global scale, with five Crosby MBAs being selected to attend the MBA World Summit in the last three years.
Looking back over your MBA experience, what is the one thing you’d do differently and why? Looking back over my MBA experience, if I could have improved in one area, it would be better leveraging our alumni network. The Mizzou Tigers are well-connected throughout the United States, and I think I could have done a better job making connections with alumni who are 3-10 years removed from the program. Not only could these individuals offer valuable post-MBA career advice, but they likely also have some hiring power now.
Which MBA classmate do you most admire? Over the last two years, I have been fortunate enough to be positively influenced by several of my classmates. People like Orvil Savery, Rebecca Hayes, Jesse Schuller, Kyle Sevilla, and Tim Colona have all made a significant impact on my personal and professional life. If I had to narrow it down to one student, however, I most admire my colleague Podie Chitan. With multiple degrees and a nearly insatiable appetite to learn, Podie encouraged me to always remain curious. During my first year, Podie modeled for me the delicate balance of student and professional; he showed me when to put 1000 percent effort in, and when it’s strategically better to back off. Most of all, Podie demonstrated – to us all – how to lead quietly with immense grace. He is exceptionally successful but never fails to raise others up with him.
Who most influenced your decision to pursue business in college? My favorite professor from my undergraduate work, Clinton Amos, was the most influential person for me in choosing to pursue an MBA. Professor Amos worked hard to teach marketing students more than academic theory. His courses builtin real-world applications and stretched students to make connections from text to industry. But perhaps his biggest influence on me was our shared desire to learn. In witnessing Amos teach, it was easy to tell that he loved discussing and researching the underpinnings of marketing research. His excitement was reciprocated in many students, including myself, who decided to pursue the analytics side of marketing after taking his courses. I owe Professor Amos a lot for helping me fall in love with data, because it led me to University of Missouri, which in turn led me to a dream job in data science.
What are the top two items on your professional bucket list?
- Although my professional bucket list is ever-changing, in the next 5-10 years, I hope to advance to a Director, or equivalent, role in which I can combine data with business acumen to better understand customers and ultimately improve products and services. The dream is that I can accomplish such a role within a strongly mission-driven organization.
- Start a rooftop greenhouse in a major city. I dream of funding an urban garden, which will sit atop a downtown skyscraper, employ adults with disabilities, and deliver fresh produce to city-dwellers via bike. I envision this business being a win-win-win. First, it’s a step towards sustainability; we utilize the existing property and add local produce to the food supply. Second, we employ people with disabilities that may prevent them from having a more formal, office position. Third, we nourish the community with organic produce and increase awareness/education around growing your own food.
In one sentence, how would you like your peers to remember you? I want my peers to remember me as kind, dedicated, humble, and generous with my time, money, and skills.
While I don’t consider myself much of a hobbyist, I have several loves:
- I love spending time with my Whippet, Gracie. Dogs are blessings in many ways, but for those who tend to strive for perfection in everything, the unwavering love of a pet is such a gift.
- I was an NCAA DI cross country and track runner during my undergraduate years. While I don’t run nearly as much now as I did then, I still enjoy exercising every day and trying new things. In the summers, I live to run the trails on the Wasatch Front.
- I also love being involved in the community. My volunteering comes in many forms, but for the most part, I stick to one-off events benefitting youth, mentoring/tutoring sessions with younger MBAs, or creating curriculum for various technology trainings.
What made Paige such an invaluable addition to the Class of 2020?
“What made Paige such an invaluable addition to the Class of 2020 was the impact she had on all levels of students in the University of Missouri-Columbia and the legacy she is leaving in the Trulaske College and the Crosby Program. Always reaching for superlative grades, she is not content to enjoy her successes alone but makes great efforts to tutor and even mentor other students. Where most MBAs are focused on competing to win, Paige leads to the solid betterment of all. She took it upon herself to create a curriculum and teach a series of courses for Microsoft SQL Server. The goal is to expose all first-year MBA students to basic analytics work bolstering their first-year resumes.
Her impact is undeniable as she leads teams in winning case competitions and then devotes countless hours helping other students prepare for the next competition.
Rarely do we have the privilege to work with those for whom the love of learning and teaching are so readily apparent. In my own consulting courses, I have seen her humbly lead a group of strong-minded peers toward outcomes that far exceeded their clients’ expectations and, perhaps, even my own.
She was selected among 100 MBAs, of the 3,500+ who applied, worldwide to attend the MBA World Summit in Frankfurt, Germany, this coming March.
She serves as the Crosby MBA Association VP of Philanthropy – working with Boys & Girls Club on numerous successful fundraising events.
She has led our MBA program into partnership with the Mid Missouri Women in Technology (WIT) organization, to deliver Raspberry Pi camps to middle-school girls at Boys & Girls Club.
She has served as an honorary board member for United Way and Big Brothers Big Sisters, creating study programs and delivering presentations about the importance of Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity in mentoring youth.”
Tonya T. Wolff-Ford
Assistant Teaching Professor
Department of Management
Robert J. Trulaske, Sr. College of Business