Katrina Brooke Lam
“A Singapore-born former New Yorker and an extroverted introvert!”
Hometown: Singapore, Singapore
Fun Fact About Yourself: I can recite the alphabet backwards even while intoxicated.
Undergraduate School and Major: Nanyang Technological University (Singapore), Bachelor of Accountancy
Most Recent Employer and Job Title: EY (New York City), Manager
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 appreciated the diversity of the student body, as well as the opportunity to improve my French and be in close proximity to the rest of Europe (my favorite continent!). One thing, in particular, that stood out to me during the application process was how unconventional HEC’s application essay questions were – they demonstrated that HEC Paris looks to students’ lives beyond their professional histories and aspirations, and is interested in who students are as a whole. This is a concept that I wholeheartedly agree with, as I believe that modern society places too much emphasis on a person’s profession when valuing them.
What club or activity excites you most at this school? The Women in Leadership Club because I believe the world stands to benefit from more women leaders.
What makes you most excited about getting your MBA at HEC Paris? What makes you most nervous about starting business school? I am most excited about improving my French and the opportunity to diversify my career! What makes me most nervous is returning to extrovert mode after months of quarantine.
Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: I networked my way into a job in New York City while living in Singapore, even though I had no prior experience in the field where I was applied.
What led you to pursue an MBA at this point in your career? I did not feel as if my former job was allowing me to fully leverage my personal strengths, nor providing me with avenues by which I can make a meaningful, direct impact on others’ lives. I am not one of those who believes that work is “just” work – I derive personal satisfaction from professional satisfaction. In addition, I felt that I needed a new challenge in my life and going back to school on another continent in a non-Anglophone country definitely fulfils that!
What other MBA programs did you apply to? N/A – HEC Paris was my first and only choice.
What was the most challenging question you were asked during the admissions process? It was not a question, but a comment. We were required to prepare a short presentation for our interviews. One of my interviewers criticized my slide deck, saying that it needed to be better organized if I wished to enter consulting (which I had pitched as my post-MBA goal). I wasn’t expecting this criticism and was slightly taken aback.
What was your defining moment and how did it prepare you for business school? My defining moment was when I was hired at my former job in New York, despite living across the world at the time and having had no relevant experience in the field. It demonstrated the power of being able to sell yourself and the importance of being ready to seize any opportunities that come your way, if you don’t yet possess all the technical skills required.
What have you been doing to prepare yourself for business school? I have worked my way up to a level B1/B2 in French, worked on my resume and LinkedIn profile, and read through the entire HEC manual on life at HEC/in France!
What is your favorite company and what could business students learn from them? L’Occitane. It has a strong global brand image, and practices sustainability in its operations. It also participates in nonprofit initiatives through its private foundation. I believe it is important for businessmen and women to be mindful of the environmental and social impacts of their and their employers’ actions, and to do all they can to ensure that these impacts are positive ones. If businesses do not lead the way in this aspect, others will not follow.
DON’T MISS: MEET THE HEC PARIS MBA CLASS OF 2022