Meet the MBA Class of 2022: Kristen Meredith, Wharton School

Kristen Meredith

Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania

Dual Degree:

  • MBA, The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania
  • MA in International Studies, The Lauder Institute at the University of Pennsylvania

“International investor passionate about diversity and social impact. Additional interests: psychology, puppies, Biden/Harris 2020.”

Hometown: New York, NY

Fun Fact About Yourself: I am a proud Canadian citizen and, true to my heritage, was a competitive figure skater growing up.

Undergraduate School and Major: Middlebury College, Economics and Psychology

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Eurazeo (Paris) – Private Equity Senior Associate

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 International Studies degree from Lauder is specifically geared towards building intercultural leadership and foreign language skills, in addition to completing Wharton’s MBA program. Given my love of foreign languages, my experience working abroad, and my goal to continue a career in internationally-focused investing, this dual degree program was a phenomenal fit for my interests and the skills I sought to build during my MBA.

What quality best describes your MBA classmates and why? My Wharton classmates are incredibly open-minded. I am struck by how each person I meet, despite their own impressive accomplishments and backgrounds, shows an eagerness to learn from others and an openness to different perspectives.

What club or activity excites you most at this school? I am especially looking forward to participating in Wharton Women in Business. Coming from a very male-dominated field, I am eager to learn from my many accomplished female classmates and to work alongside them to increase the representation of, and support for, women in our respective industries.

What makes you most excited about getting your MBA at Wharton? What makes you most nervous about starting business school? I am most excited by the opportunity to take a step back and focus on building meaningful relationships and skills that will be increasingly important as I progress in my career.

Like many of my classmates, I was initially nervous about how we would make the most of our MBA experience given COVID-related restrictions. My first month in the program has showed me that my class will have a different, but equally valuable experience—thanks in large part to my professors and other classmates who have shown 100% commitment to making this the case.

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: I have learned to articulate a point of view and ask pertinent questions in any situation. At an investment committee or board meeting, I am often the youngest person in the room, and it can be tempting to defer to the expertise of others. I fortunately had mentors early in my career who encouraged me to speak up and consider how I could offer a unique perspective—whether that be bringing a U.S. outlook to a European company, or questioning a company’s status quo in a way that industry veterans might not. I am most proud of the situations in which speaking my mind allowed me to add value to a portfolio company or contribute to a more informed investment decision.

What led you to pursue an MBA at this point in your career? After working for five years, I believed that the Wharton Lauder program offered a unique chance for me to build essential leadership skills and form meaningful relationships. Ultimately, I saw an MBA as an important investment in myself and the competencies I wanted to develop as I progressed in my career.

What was the most challenging question you were asked during the admissions process? For me, one of the more challenging questions was, “Can you tell me about yourself?” While easy on the surface, it was a question that forced me to reflect deeply on my experiences, the key lessons I had learned from them, and what direction I ultimately wanted to go following my MBA.

How did you determine your fit at various schools? The most valuable way I was able to determine fit was by speaking with current students and alumni of various programs. I was blown away by the students and alumni I spoke to from Wharton Lauder—many of whom said that the dual degree was one of the best decisions they’d ever made. Ultimately, I was drawn to the passion and enthusiasm of these students and alumni, as well as our shared passion for international business, foreign languages, and travel. These conversations ultimately convinced me that Wharton Lauder was a perfect fit.

What was your defining moment and how did it prepare you for business school? The experience of moving to Paris to join Eurazeo was a defining moment for me. As the first non-French member of my team, I was forced to stretch myself, both to adapt to working in French and to operating in a new culture. This experience taught me to thrive outside of my comfort zone and work effectively with people of different backgrounds—both skills that I have found very beneficial in transitioning to business school.

What have you been doing since you were accepted to prepare for business school? I’ve had many valuable conversations with Wharton students, alumni, and my mentors about their MBA experiences and how I can make the most of business school. At the recommendation of many alumni, I have also spent time reflecting on my goals for my two years and what specifically I hope to get out of my Wharton Lauder experience.

What is your favorite company and what could business students learn from them? One of my all-time favorite companies is Chewy, the pet e-commerce company. It was a formative experience for me to work on Chewy’s Series E in the first year of my career (prior to the company’s acquisition by Petsmart and subsequent IPO). Chewy offers an inspiring example of how agile, innovative companies can compete today against industry giants such as Amazon. Chewy was able to do this early on by recognizing the needs of its customers—pet parents seeking a high-touch experience—and building out a top-notch customer service model that met these needs better than any competitor.


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