Meet the MBA Class of 2022: Allison Grabowski, Indiana University (Kelley)

Allison Grabowski

Indiana University, Kelley School of Business

“An eager learner who pours passion into my work, all with a smile and contagious enthusiasm.”

Hometown: Tempe, Arizona

Fun Fact About Yourself: Before my career at E. & J. Gallo Winery, I was a professional dancer. I even auditioned to be a performer on cruise ships!

Undergraduate School and Major: Arizona State University: Bachelor of Science, Marketing; Bachelor of Science, Supply Chain Management

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: E. & J. Gallo Winery, Assistant Brand Manager

In the second half of the year, you will be completing an Academy devoted to areas like Marketing, Finance, Operations, Digital Enterprises and more. Which Academy interests you the most and why?

The Consumer Marketing Academy sparks my interest at The Kelley School of Business.

Upon graduation, I aim to create authentic, resonating brand stories that will deeply engage consumers in a Brand Marketing role. Here, I will apply and refine my leadership skills developed in the Consumer Marketing Academy at Kelley to elevate a wide range of voices, unleashing perspectives that are frequently ignored.

My most recent role at Gallo as the assistant brand manager of André Champagne ignited my passion in building brands, studying consumers, and pioneering untapped markets. I love growing a brand that is personable and welcoming and the Consumer Marketing Academy will allow me to further my career in marketing.

Aside from your classmates, 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 culture and vast opportunities. I was able to attend an MBA Fair where I had the chance to meet several business schools from across the country. When speaking to my “top choices,” the Kelley School of Business stood out to be one of the most approachable booths. When researching more, Kelley’s culture aligned what I was looking for in a business school: a collaborative community as well as a diverse culture. Another key part of Kelley’s MBA programming that led me to choose this business school is the Consumer Marketing Academy. Having a strong marketing program creates several opportunities by having key CPG companies come onto campus and recruit specifically from Kelley.

What quality best describes your MBA classmates and why? The quality that best describes my Kelley MBA classmates is collaborative. Even within this COVID-19 environment, my classmates have been able to form a bond, giving advice to one another, making sure to have each other’s backs, all before school has even started. I have no doubt this collaboration will continue into our class work. I feel lucky to be surrounded by such supportive people.

What club or activity excites you most at this school? I love to be involved! So many clubs are offered at Kelley and one that excites me is The Association of Women MBAs. Kelley’s dedication to female empowerment will provide me the opportunity to help better manage gender dynamics throughout my career. I’m also looking forward to The Food Club, because I love to eat great food!

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: I started E. & J. Gallo Winery as a supply chain analyst out of undergrad. I loved learning the winery’s operations and enjoyed the fast pace environment supply chain had to offer. However, the biggest accomplishment in my career so far has been pivoting from the supply chain department to brand marketing. Making this “career switch” helped me realize that I am passionate about the consumer and the work a brand manager does. Having to adapt to a new working environment and learn a new skill set has been exhilarating.

What led you to pursue an MBA at this point in your career? I’ve had the privilege to be exposed to a variety of projects and leaders. It has made me realize how important it is to have a strong presence of women in executive positions. Obtaining my MBA from the Kelley School of Business will enable me to live my dream by becoming a female executive who advocates for other women as I climb.

What other MBA programs did you apply to? W. P. Carey School of Business- Arizona State University

What was the most challenging question you were asked during the admissions process? The question, “What company do you want to work for when you graduate?” made me pause. I know I want to work for a CPG company in brand marketing, but which one?

How did you determine your fit at various schools? Like several prospective MBA students, I first researched program rankings and made a list of schools with top-ranked programs in concentrations where I was interested. For example, Indiana University is listed in The Best Business Schools for Marketing by Clear Admit and ranked #2 Best MBA for Marketing by Princeton Review 2020.  Most importantly, I valued how I was going to fit into the culture of the program I was going to be attending for two years. When I reached out to current students and alumni, it seemed like we were life-long friends by the end of our informational phone call. I envisioned myself working with these students and wanting to be a part of a team with them. Finally, having the Kelley network connections to companies I am interested in ultimately helped me decide that IU was the business school for me.

What was your defining moment and how did it prepare you for business school? An early defining moment was when my parents put me in dance at the age of two. This moment changed my life forever and made me who I am today. As I reflect on all those years of competitive dance, what I enjoyed most was practicing and working together as a team with all ages and skill levels. Dance taught me teamwork, determination and commitment and that has prepared me for business school.

What is your favorite company and what could business students learn from them? My favorite company is Sister Cities International. In high school, I participated in a local chapter, Tempe Sister Cities, and have grown to love what this organization stands for. Tempe Sister Cities’ motto, “Bringing the world together one friendship at a time,” encourages cross-cultural cooperation and collaboration by building friendships between people and partnerships between communities. Sister Cities sends students abroad to live with a host family and then their host sister/brother comes to live with them for a period. Business students can learn from this organization by approaching situations with open minds and networking. Having a network around the world is powerful and forming friendships with the people you network with is life changing.