Meet the MBA Class of 2022: Alyssa Posklensky, Northwestern University (Kellogg)

Alyssa Posklensky

Northwestern University, Kellogg School of Management

“A brand-obsessed, involved leader with a propensity for team building, crafts, and ice cream.”

Hometown: Livingston, New Jersey

Fun Fact About Yourself: I love having a creative outlet – In my spare time, I run an Etsy store where I paint and sell greeting cards and other small art pieces.

Undergraduate School and Major:  Emory University, BBA; Concentrations – Marketing & International Business

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Newell Brands – Associate Brand Manager, Elmer’s Glue

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? Within Marketing, and especially within Brand Management, Kellogg is the undoubted leader. It was important to me, however, to see that despite Kellogg’s leadership in these areas the school continues to evolve and push boundaries. I was excited by new classes like Digital Marketing Implementation taught by professionals currently in the field, as well as the wide range of opportunities for experiential learning with real companies. The 1Y program also made sense given my undergraduate business background and my desire to accelerate my career within an industry I was already working in and familiar with. Those two huge factors, alongside the culture at Kellogg, made it clear that it was the place I wanted to be.

What quality best describes your MBA classmates and why? Multi-dimensional. Everyone I’ve met is not only extremely friendly and team-oriented, but also has so many interesting personal layers to discover. Kellogg is a place where the traditional stereotypes of the outside world don’t apply – just because someone was a college athlete doesn’t mean they’re not also a phenomenal baker or because they traveled as a consultant doesn’t mean they don’t have an impressive local business. People bring these passions to their activities and interactions here, and it has been amazing to slowly discover new sides of each classmate as I spend more time with them.

What club or activity excites you most at this school? The Kellogg Student Association, our student government, excited me the most. Before I came to business school, a mentor recommended I write down what I was most looking forward to getting out of the experience to avoid getting sidetracked or bogged down by too many competing priorities. The first item on my list was to develop my skillset as a leader, and the second was to, “Make an impact on Kellogg’s community and culture.” In turn, this drove me to run for and ultimately be elected as, 1Y KSA President. It’s clear that the students are actively shaping the experience at Kellogg and that they have valuable input over large swaths of student life. In a year as unique as this one, given hybrid learning and many other changes, there is a larger need for student input than ever. I am looking forward to working with both the administration and my peers to have a tangible impact on the experience today and in the future.

Kellogg is often described as “team-driven.” In your experience, what is the most important quality of a team member? How do you intend to bring that into Kellogg? In my experience, the most important quality of a team member is a willingness to collaborate. I’ve already seen this quality in my Kellogg teams thus far and am hoping to bring the same mindset to each group where I’m a part. It would be so easy for people who are subject matter experts to complete work individually, but my classmates have been amazing in making every group still feel like a collaborative environment where we all have the chance to contribute. Whether this manifests in someone with a finance background taking time to explain problem solutions step-by-step – or simply everyone coming to a group meeting ready to truly listen to new perspectives – I think these elements are important to creating the “team-driven” culture here and something I’d like to keep in mind  in the classroom and beyond.

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: While working on Elmer’s, I was chosen to move to a newly-created position and lead the strategy and innovation pipeline for a new product line focusing on STEM education for kids. Being trusted with this responsibility, which is not typically given to someone at my level, is a highlight of my career thus far. The team and all of those above me trusted me to bring this endeavor to life. To work on something unique to the Elmer’s portfolio, I’ll always be grateful for that confidence in my abilities.

What led you to pursue an MBA at this point in your career? I felt I was at the perfect place in my career – I was really enjoying what I was doing and had found my passion, but knew the MBA was something I would ultimately do to continue growing in my career and evolving as a professional. I was also ready to pivot to a city outside of Atlanta, where I had been since undergrad. Pursuing an MBA at Kellogg was the perfect way to set myself up to continue a strong career, while also experiencing a new city and a new company.

What other MBA programs did you apply to? Ross, Stern, Johnson, and Fuqua. Kellogg was the only One-Year program that I applied to.

What was the most challenging question you were asked during the admissions process? I was asked, “What were the most positive and negative pieces of feedback you received on your most recent performance review?”. Luckily, my review had been that past week! In retrospect, I really like how this question makes you think about your strengths and weaknesses, but through the eyes of someone else. I’d imagine you can gain a lot of insight about a person’s self-awareness from how they formulate an answer.

How did you determine your fit at various schools? As I was applying, I looked for a passionate culture of involvement, a welcoming environment, and a strong Marketing focus. The Marketing piece was the easiest to find – all it took was a look at some rankings and class listings. However, the culture was the most important piece for me. To determine fit, I tried to both visit campus and to talk to current students.

I wanted to make sure that students were smart and passionate about their interests, yet humble. To find these students, it was as simple as reaching out to club leaders and admissions offices. You can learn so much from how students speak about their experience –much more than you’d ever learn on a website or in an information booklet. Sometimes, these conversations led to understanding that a program wasn’t the right fit – and that’s okay!

Later in the process, I also spoke to mentors at work who had completed their MBAs. They lent valuable insights into which schools made sense for my career goals.

What was your defining moment and how did it prepare you for business school? It’s less of a moment but more of a series of small moments – my time at Emory University as an undergrad, and specifically at Goizueta Business School, completely shaped who I am today. At Goizueta, I found classes that I was excited about but also classmates, professors, and other mentors who helped me realize my potential to lead. I will always be grateful for that time both in how it shaped me and in the bonds that I was able to form. That experience still helps me prepare today as the connections I made at Emory were the first people I went to for MBA advice.

What is your favorite company and what could business students learn from them? It’s tough to pick an absolute favorite, but a company that I find fascinating and also helpful to learn from is S’well. Not only is Sarah Kauss a female founder, she invented a new product segment within the water bottle category while also making a stylish and sustainable product. I’m extremely interested in how new brands come to occupy a spot within consumer culture and become a household name, and S’well is a great example of that.


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