“Retired cheerleader-turned aspiring yoga teacher who wishes she had more time to read.”
Hometown: Chesapeake, VA
Fun Fact About Yourself: I have seen the Marfa Lights in Marfa, Texas… they were amazing and completely odd!
Undergraduate School and Major: U.S. Air Force Academy, B.S. in Political Science
Most Recent Employer and Job Title: U.S. Air Force, Intelligence Officer
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 robust student veterans’ community and school support for veterans. Leaving the military can be a big step, and I felt assured that I would have a network of classmates and administrators who would help me not only adjust to academic life, but also in the all-important task of translating my prior experience in order to pivot into a brand-new career field.
What club or activity excites you most at this school? All of the experiential learning and professional development opportunities for the marketing field, which is what I intend to pursue. From the Graduate Marketing Network to MBA+ Projects, there are a number first rate opportunities for real-world industry exposure, which is something that was a big draw for me as a career switcher.
Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: Getting to lead my own teams of analysts in deployed environments. The leadership lessons and personal growth from those experiences have been the most rewarding professional experiences I’ve had by far.
What led you to pursue an MBA at this point in your career? I had been thinking about returning to school and exploring work in the civilian world for a few years, and eventually the timing for me to do so was right based on my service commitments. I decided to pursue an MBA because it seemed like the perfect combination of professional development and built-in time and mentorship to help me explore new fields.
What other MBA programs did you apply to? The University of Florida and the University of Edinburgh. I got to have my pick of all the schools I applied to, and I decided it was time to return to the Lone Star State!
What was the most challenging question you were asked during the admissions process? The toughest question I was asked was, ‘What do you want to do next?’ While I had an idea of what I wanted to pursue as I applied to school, the fact that I had so much input at all was a big professional change for me. Coupled with the all the available opportunities – and people tell me that my ideas would probably change – this was a daunting question. The difference today is that I have tremendous resources at Texas McCombs through which to beta-test my career interests and make informed decisions.
How did you determine your fit at various schools? Like most aspiring MBAs, there were a plethora of factors I looked at. When it came down to what mattered most to me, it was attitude and team spirit from every segment of the school community: students, administrators, and alumni. I did tons of research on curriculum and career resources for each school, but what sold me was the responsiveness and enthusiasm of the current students I spoke to on the phone. They all loved UT and the opportunities and support McCombs had provided them, and I wanted an experience like theirs.
What have you been doing to prepare yourself for business school? As a Forte Fellow, I participated in the online career conference they held in June, which was a great first exposure to virtual networking. I also attended the McCombs Accelerated Foundations Program in order to get a jump start on some academic basics before the school year began.
What was your defining moment and how did it prepare you for business school? Even to this day, I often think of my four years at the Air Force Academy as having prepared me for challenging situations. Coming back into academics after a nearly decade-long break, and beginning with tough core classes, has reawakened the survival skills I had to develop as an undergrad: don’t be afraid to ask for help, lean on your classmates, and go to every available office hours offering!
What is your favorite company and what could business students learn from them? Whole Foods, a great Austin original! I admire them for the quality of their products, team-focused company culture, and their commitment to generating wins for all of their stakeholders.