Linse Rose Kelbe
“An intellectually curious banker and ballerina; an American-born, French-speaking aesthete seeking beauty across the world.”
Hometown: Rochester, NY, USA
Fun Fact About Yourself: I have lived, worked, studied, or volunteered in 6 countries on 3 continents: USA, Haiti, France, Italy, Myanmar, and China.
Undergraduate School and Major: New York University, Economics, Art History, French (minor)
Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Goldman Sachs (New York), 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? I was drawn to the international cohort at HEC Paris as well as its reputation in France and Europe. Since living in Paris as an undergraduate student, I have always wanted to come back, and HEC Paris offers a world-class education and a gateway to the French corporate world. In addition, the Global Network of Advanced Management and other partner business schools offer opportunities for dual degrees and international exchanges that further strengthen the global reach of the MBA program.
What club or activity excites you most at this school? The Women in Leadership Club is of particular interest to me as a continuation of the clubs and networks I have been involved in since undergraduate university, including NYU’s Undergraduate Stern Women in Business (USWIB) Club and Goldman Sachs’ Women’s Network. I’m also interested in the Finance and Luxury Clubs for professional reasons (I currently work in finance but I interned at Vogue and Chanel as an undergraduate student and love fashion as a form). Lastly, I’m looking forward to the Cultural Weeks at HEC, for example, to celebrate Latin American culture and holidays such as Holi and the Lunar New Year.
What makes you most excited about getting your MBA at HEC Paris? What makes you most nervous about starting business school? I studied in Paris during university and it was an incredible experience – I feel most culturally “at home” when I am in France and I look forward to being back. As far as the MBA experience, I am ready to meet all of my diverse, intelligent, new classmates and be back in an academic setting after working professionally for six years. I would say I am a little nervous about the very social aspect of an MBA and professional networking, which does not come naturally to me as an introvert.
Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: When a vice president on my team left the firm, I was asked to take over her role running what has grown to an international team of eight people. Over the course of two weeks, I learned everything I could about the role. The team grew over time and I was responsible for hiring, training, and managing team members of various levels across time zones. In addition, I redesigned the team’s process, resulting in efficiencies that reduced the time to complete work in half. This was a reach role for me and I am grateful to have been given the opportunity to prove myself.
What led you to pursue an MBA at this point in your career? I started studying at NYU’s undergraduate Stern School of Business, but decided to change my major to Economics/Art History with the intention of eventually getting an MBA. I checked in every couple of years, but I was still learning and being challenged in my role and didn’t feel the need for graduate school. After five years of work experience, I was ready for a change. The people I looked up to professionally had graduate degrees and many had worked across multiple continents. I knew I needed an MBA to expand my expertise, international experience, and network in order to advance in my career going forward.
What other MBA programs did you apply to? I didn’t apply to any other MBA programs. However, I applied for HEC Paris’ MBA/MAM dual degree program with Yale School of Management.
What was the most challenging question you were asked during the admissions process? The unusual questions on the application were pretty fun to answer. They included: “What figure do you most admire and why?” (Catherine the Great, a fellow German-Russian and strong woman passionate about art and science) and “Imagine a life entirely different from the one you now lead” (Living a quiet life of zen meditation in rural Japan – sounds like I need to relax!). I had a more difficult time choosing the presentation for my interviews and went out on a limb with an unconventional topic titled: “Ballet: A Brief History of Money and Art.” This turned out to be a success and my interviewers appreciated a diversion from the more typical career and industry-related topics.
What was your defining moment and how did it prepare you for business school? While recruiting for summer internships during my junior year of university, I made it to the final interview round for a consulting internship along with one other student. However, I didn’t get the role. Instead of applying to other consulting jobs in New York, I decided to take the opportunity to get more international experience and applied to consulting internships in China.
Having never been to China before, I accepted a position in Shanghai. What I thought was a setback turned into an incredible opportunity: I worked at a small Chinese consulting firm as the client-facing consultant for an Australian company, I learned basic Mandarin, and I was fully immersed in Chinese culture. This experience prepared me for business school because I learned to take risks and get out of my comfort zone, work with international teams, and develop client relationships. Most importantly, I learned that failure is an opportunity to grow and to accept that there is more than one path to success.
What have you been doing to prepare yourself for business school? For now, I am enjoying my time at home with family and reaching out to friends and colleagues (as well as my future classmates!) before moving in August. One of the most important things I have learned in my career so far is the importance of building and maintaining relationships. In addition, I have been reading and listening to French to brush up before moving back to France.
DON’T MISS: MEET THE HEC PARIS MBA CLASS OF 2022