Northwestern University, Kellogg School of Management and McCormick School of Engineering (MMM Program)
“Big heart, bigger dreams – an electric, introspective, and warm extrovert passionate about DEI and mental health.”
Hometown: Diamond Bar, CA
Fun Fact About Yourself: I pulled an all-nighter three different times to play the Golden Quill Challenge to gain early-access to Pottermore, the Harry Potter online interactive community. I set up three different accounts just in case any friends wanted to join in on the fun with me (They didn’t).
Undergraduate School and Major: Duke University; B.A. in Psychology
Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Amazon (Whole Foods Market Integration Team); Product Marketing 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? The MMM program (MBA + M.S. in Design Innovation from McCormick School of Engineering) was by far a reckoning force in my decision-making process. As the first-and-only dual degree of its kind, the program accepts a cohort of 70 cognitively diverse who are passionate about mindful, human-centered design. Not surprisingly, this specific focus draws peers who demonstrate extreme intentionality and inclusivity.
I whole-heartedly believe that MMM is the MBA of the future – one that focuses on innovation, inclusivity, and design. As an Amazon Prime Now Product Marketing Manager (PMM), I was energized working with Product Managers to launch features that simplify customers’ lives, such as enabling Whole Foods grocery delivery to be accessible for seniors during COVID. My past experiences have shaped my desire to pivot into Product to be at the forefront of defining product roadmaps to achieve inclusivity and accessibility in wellness, an industry in which I passionately believe that understanding the full range of individual user needs and identities is critical for success.
What quality best describes your MBA classmates and why? Genuine, kind, and wholehearted. I have found my Kellogg peers to wildly compassionate, always willing to lend a hand, and always giving their best to be inclusive and intentional. Kellogg seems to attract people who are drawn to the collaborative, “give back” and “low ego, high impact” mindset because it has done a clear job of communicating its values to prospective students.
One example of this that stands out to me is was when our VPs of Prospective Students for Pride@Kellogg proactively began doing resume and cover letter workshops for prospective students who were completely unaffiliated to Kellogg at a pre-MBA conference. This shows the helpful and genuine nature of the Kellogg spirit – to help and lend a supportive hand without any expectation of receiving anything in return.
What club or activity excites you most at this school? I’m most excited about “Hear My Story” put on by the Kellogg Student Association’s Diversity Equity and Inclusion team. Hear My Story is like “The Moth” monologue-style storytelling series wherein a Kellogg student shares his or her unique story. The purpose of these events is to create inclusive environments on topics that represent the myriad of Kellogg student experiences including stories on LGBTQ, mental health, Wom(x)n veterans, disability, sexual assault, and more. I find the bravery to be so openly vulnerable with the intent to share your humanity in front of hundreds of peers to be inspirational and touching.
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? The most important quality of a team member is thinking beyond yourself. This permeates into everything – not bringing in ego, doing the right thing for the collective rather than individual good, putting in effort for your contribution and giving a helping hand if needed. I intend to bring that into Kellogg by always trying to find ways to give back, whether that’s through leadership roles within clubs or as a 2nd year leading experiences like KWEST (Kellogg Worldwide Exploration Service Trip) or IPGs (Interview Prep Groups).
Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: My biggest accomplishment in my career so far is from outside of my day job. It involved my volunteer role with the nonprofit, Out for Undergrad (O4U). I had the honor to be the O4U Marketing Conference team lead in 2019 and led a team of nine to put on our annual conference empowering LGBTQ undergraduate students from all across North America to reach their full potential as authentic and brave leaders.
The event raised over $167,000 (30% higher vs. prior year) and accepted record student numbers while improving diversity across the board. We were able to book world-class keynotes such as Robyn Exton (Founder & CEO of HER, the world’s largest social app for queer wom(x)n with 5M+ users worldwide) and Orlando Reece (CEO of Pride Media, publisher of Out Magazine, The Advocate, and more), launch new programming like Student Speaker and Discovery Series on intersectional identities such as “Not Out” and “First Gen”, and create space for affinity groups connection like QTPOC (queer trans people of color). Forming community for people on the fringes has always been very important to me and it was an incredibly meaningful experience to see people connecting over that weekend.
What led you to pursue an MBA at this point in your career? I have always wanted to be a people manager; I find motivating people, learning what makes them tick, and inspiring them to be their best and full selves to be so fulfilling. As I progress in my career, I felt it was the moment to learn how to best create inclusive, psychologically safe, and brave spaces for people to thrive in. I am thrilled to continue developing the soft skills needed to drive change, inspire others, and continue challenging the status quo for more marginalized identities and I look forward to one day leading a team of badass, inclusive, groundbreaking change-makers.
What other MBA programs did you apply to? GSB, HBS, Wharton, Haas. I ultimately was accepted to four programs, but Kellogg’s cultural fit (collaborative, genuinely helpful, warmth) and MMM program specifically drew me to choose Kellogg. Specifically, there was one question posed by Paul Corona, faculty advisor of leadership coaching, He talked about his work in coaching people on the “who” you want to become, rather than “what” you want to become. This framed the way I thought about finding the program that nurtured the person I wanted to embody.
How did you determine your fit at various schools? There were two main buckets: (1) research and (2) reflection. For research, do your best in digging deep into what matters to you in an MBA program and try to find ways to find answers to that. Is it ranking? Location? Teaching style? Culture? Size? Alumni you respect? How can you assess this as honestly and deeply as you can within the tools you have? Additionally, Kellogg’s clubs are truly inclusive, open to all students and free of a ‘pay to play’ model. The impact this inclusivity can have on the culture of a community is tremendous, and I’m glad that Kellogg really reduces the barrier to entry to co-curricular activities as much as possible.
To identify the more nuanced “culture” piece, I was able to visit campus for LGBTQ Preview Day, have informational calls with current students or recent alum, and think about my peers and leaders who were alums from various schools. For reflection, I did robust visualizations around who I was with, what I was doing, and what type of environment I was in when I felt at my best. I reflected on what was driving certain motivations to potentially select one program over the other. Was it intrinsic or extrinsic? What program would I choose that would nurture my happiness? When I was visiting, what feelings did my interactions with peers and the campus and city instigate inside of me? Were those feelings one that felt good in my soul?
What was the most challenging question you were asked during the admissions process? “Tell me about something you’re really proud of.” I found this question to be profoundly simple yet beautifully deep in that it can slice directly into what matters to someone. The multitude of directions someone can take this question shows who they are and what they value.
What was your defining moment and how did it prepare you for business school? Ironically, my defining moment was taking the GMAT five times out of sheer determination and grit in knowing what I was capable of doing. I found the process of preparing, reflecting, and bouncing back from the GMAT journey to be an incredibly illuminating experience. It taught me how to calculate tradeoffs rapidly (knowing when to devote time and energy versus letting a problem go), accepting myself for my current set of ability with compassion, understanding deeply when I was making unfounded assumptions, and reflecting on my blind spots and bad patterns (kneejerk reactions). I found the GMAT to be an elegant assessment that truly cut through to identify ways of thinking and being that successful business leaders should embody – constantly calculating tradeoffs, knowing when to say no, anticipating potential traps, and remaining focused on the real problem at hand and not getting distracted by extraneous details.
What is your favorite company and what could business students learn from them? My favorite company is Patagonia. As a privately-owned company, its leaders are continuously remaining true to its values and making decisions that are in line with what feels right for the brand, its stakeholders, and its customers. Although it may not be the most beneficial to the bottom line, Patagonia does the more challenging thing of holding steadfast in their perspectives – whether it be social, environmental, or otherwise. While one may not necessarily agree with them, I find their ability to give back and take a stance to be inspiring leadership on what corporate social responsibility looks like.
DON’T MISS: MEET NORTHWESTERN KELLOGG’S MBA CLASS OF 2022