Meet the MBA Class of 2022: Evanne Timberlake, North Carolina (Kenan-Flagler)

Evanne Timberlake

University of North Carolina, Kenan-Flagler Business School

“A driven, business-minded creative aspiring to change her industry.”

Hometown: Winston-Salem, North Carolina

Fun Fact About Yourself: I am designing a furniture collection, upholstery pieces and casegoods to be handcrafted and produced by an innovative, visionary furniture-tech startup company.

Undergraduate School and Major: The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, double major in business journalism and Spanish literature and culture.

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Bob Timberlake, Inc., Director of Art and Furniture, Design Consultant.

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? I chose UNC Kenan-Flagler for its sense of community and belonging, something I know and understand well having already spent four years in Chapel Hill. Carolina is first and foremost “the university of the people” and I believe the students and faculty adapt and evolve to support the needs of the community.

The strong sense of support and network was evident last fall when I attended the Carolina Women in Business (CWIB) Conference. The students I met, the faculty who took the time to speak with me, and the alumnae who seemed genuinely invested in our success further solidified UNC Kenan-Flagler as my top choice. Early in the day I knew that I wanted to be an MBA alumna who is asked to come back and share my story, my triumphs and even my failures for CWIB events.

What quality best describes your MBA classmates and why? All the classmates I have met so far – virtually – have been supportive and engaging. We are in such an uncertain, unnerving, and unprecedented time with the pandemic changing everyone’s plans. Across all channels in which our class is meeting for the first time and interacting – in some cases states and countries apart from one another – people are connecting to offer support in any way possible. They are hosting virtual meet-and-greets, carrying on conversations to better get to know each other, and planning socially-distanced gatherings. The “we are in this together, and we are here for one another” mentality is why I chose UNC Kenan-Flagler.

What club or activity excites you most at this school? I am most looking forward to joining Carolina Women in Business (CWIB) as well as working with one of my mentors, Beth Struckell (MBA ’82), on the 100 Women initiative. I care deeply about gender parity in the workplace and seeing more deserving women promoted to leadership roles across all industries and especially in my own.

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: I was asked to assume responsibility for our company’s largest project with a high-profile client and manage it to completion. Through this project I fostered relationships with and learned from multiple mentors in the industry who graciously shared their experience and expertise with me. From developing design proposals to a successful installation, I learned more about my management strengths, resourcefulness, and natural creative instinct by leading this project than I would have if I had not stepped up and out of my comfort zone.

What led you to pursue an MBA at this point in your career?  I’ve had countless conversations over the last few years with respected executives and leaders in my industry who all agree there should be more women in executive roles in the home furnishings industry. I’ve spoken with many women who all agree promotions reward traditional business backgrounds over industry experience, and still favor men. The women I’ve talked with have all hit allegedly “non-existent” glass ceilings in their careers at one point or another, and many agreed that an MBA is the best means to break through it.

What other MBA programs did you apply to? Vanderbilt and NYU

What was the most challenging question you were asked during the admissions process? The admissions process for UNC Kenan-Flagler was pleasantly straightforward and conversational, so I would like to highlight a question I appreciated rather than found challenging. I was asked if there was anything I felt the admissions team could improve upon in the process and, if so, how. I suggested, and actually submitted, that they offer an optional, creative opportunity in which the applicant could upload a visual, video, or portfolio that allows the admissions team to more clearly see, literally, who the applicant is and wishes to be.

How did you determine your fit at various schools?  When determining my fit at various schools, I first asked myself three questions: Can I see myself here? How will the school support my unique career goals? How will the school, faculty, student body and location contribute to my experience as I continue to build upon my career? Then I asked the students, faculty, and admissions team the same questions to see which aligned.

What was your defining moment and how did it prepare you for business school? Following graduation from Carolina undergrad, I traveled for a few months before beginning my job search. After a month of applying, interviewing, and receiving job offers, I realized that although these opportunities appeared to be smart and reliable paths, my heart genuinely was not invested in any of these calculable career paths. I decided to pursue my profound love of art, furniture and design. My defining moment was choosing to follow my heart, to join our family business and learn from my grandfather, Bob Timberlake, an American Home Furnishings Hall of Fame Inductee.

DON’T MISS: Meet UNC Kenan-Flagler’s MBA Class Of 2022

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