Meet the MBA Class of 2022: Katie Stolp, London Business School

Katie Stolp

London Business School

“Curious activist, hard-headed pragmatist, ready to learn, eager to play.”

Hometown: Washington, DC

Fun Fact About Yourself: One of my all-time favorite trips was a two-week solo adventure through Patagonia, which included the W circuit of the Torres del Paine National Park and hiking Mount Fitz Roy in El Chalten.

Undergraduate School and Major: James Madison University, International Affairs and Spanish, Minor in Economics

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: The World Wide Web Foundation, Partnerships Manager

Aside from your classmates and location, what was the key part of the school’s MBA programming that led you to choose this business school and why was it so important to you? The rigor of the core curriculum and flexibility of tailoring the remainder of your MBA experience. I wanted to challenge myself academically, coming from a non-MBA background, and use that as a springboard to go deeper and make the most of the limitless combinations available to students in designing their second year to best suit their goals and interests.

What quality best describes your MBA classmates and why? Diversity. I have been so impressed with the breadth of backgrounds and experiences from the LBS community – and the warmth. It’s apparent even early on (before classes have started!) that this is a cohort that is excited to be going through this experience together and prioritizes connection.

What makes London such a great place to earn an MBA degree? You feel it in your bones! The energy of all different sectors – arts, business, government, tech – mashed up in a history that always reminds you profoundly of the roots of the country you’re in.

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: Serving missions that I believe in – free and fair web access at the Web Foundation, ending extreme poverty at the ONE Campaign, promoting global trade at the U.S. Trade Representative, clearing unexploded ordnance with the U.S. State Department. Less magnanimous, but maybe more fun, is my work has taken me across six continents. I’ve missed only one flight in that time.

What led you to pursue an MBA at this point in your career? I have spent the last several years working in the US government and global non-profits. I felt that as a woman, with a non-traditional MBA background, I wasn’t sure how to pivot into more business-based and external-facing roles – but knew that was something I wanted to do. I wanted to find a way to both explore and experiment a bit in the social enterprise field, and felt getting my MBA would provide the best ground from which to build my experiences and network, along with honing my technical skill set.

What other MBA programs did you apply to?

University of Oxford, Saïd Business School;

University of Cambridge, Judge Business School;

Imperial College, Business School

What was the most challenging question you were asked during the admissions process? “Are you intimidated by the quantitative data analysis you will need to use for this program?” It’s a question that hit home to one of my biggest insecurities about applying for an MBA – my lack of a traditional quantitative background, and my own hesitation that perhaps an MBA wouldn’t be “right” for me given its emphasis on topics that can be seen as dry. The answer, of course, was yes – but I realized in answering that I wanted to take on the challenge that comes with trying something new.

How did you determine your fit at various schools? It was important to me to find a program whose cohort was a class I could truly learn from – I was looking for student bodies that were highly diverse (geographically and professionally), and also had a few years of work experience. I spoke extensively with admissions representatives, along with current students and alumni, to learn more about the MBA programs’ culture. While LBS isn’t a traditionally social impact-heavy curriculum (something that would more typically align with my interests), I sought that out because I knew I would receive the best training by studying alongside students whose own goals and interests differed far from mine – that’s where innovation is best sparked.

What have you been doing to prepare yourself for business school? I am working through the pre-course materials on Finance, Accounting, and Data Analytics – all subjects I am not as familiar with, given I wasn’t using them consistently in my prior roles. I’ve been surprised at how rewarding it has been to wrap my head around these concepts – like I’m expanding my toolbox of understanding the world around me. Otherwise, couch-surfing the last few weeks with family and friends in the US, all of whom will be visiting in short order once I am London based.  

What was your defining moment and how did it prepare you for business school? I hope I haven’t had it yet! I’ve been lucky to learn so much from some of the unique vantage points I’ve had in my career. The most important lesson I’ve gleaned – and what I think is critical for business school – is that you will get so much farther by working together, versus trying to go it alone.

What is your favorite company and what could business students learn from them? Not a traditional company, but Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance – Gavi was created to ensure that there is a sufficient market mechanism in place to convince manufacturers that yes, it is worthwhile to develop vaccines and also deploy them to areas that would otherwise not be able to afford such resources. Competition is raised, prices go down, and lives are saved. It’s an excellent example of taking an issue, otherwise ignored, and reimagining it in a way that it offers both profit and societal benefit.

DON’T MISS: Meet London Business School’s MBA Class Of 2022


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