Who says you can’t have it all?
Just ask Christina Glorioso, who earned her MBA at Notre Dame’s Mendoza College in 1999. At NBCUniversal, she is the senior vice president of sales effectiveness. Translation: she is responsible for driving billions of dollars of activities at MSNBC, CNBC, Meet The Press, Nightly News, and Meet The Press – not to mention the USA and SYFY cable channels. Before that, Glorioso was designing successful campaigns that brought the Little League World Series, U.S. Women’s Soccer Team, and MTV’s Rock Band video game franchise to the masses.
Impressed? Outside work, Glorioso is a certified master SCUBA diver who has summited Mount Kilimanjaro. On top of that, she is raising four sons, all under nine years old. Not surprisingly, Glorioso was named a 2019 She Runs It Working Mother of the Year recipient, which honors women in advertising who serve as positive role models at work and in the community.
MEET MBA ALUMNI AT THE TOP OF THEIR FIELDS
Christina Glorioso is one of the MBA alumni who’ll be joining Poets&Quants for our first Centre Court MBA Festival of 2021. A free all-day event held from February 23-24, CentreCourt brings together admissions heads and distinguished alumni from 16 elite business schools. Among them, you’ll find leaders from INSEAD, Virginia Darden, London Business School, Indiana Kelley, IESE, and Notre Dame Mendoza. Here, you can join panels to get answers on topics like securing scholarship support and weighing the value of GMAT scores in a test-optional world. In other words, you can gain proven strategies that give you an edge in getting accepted and working in your target industry – all from the comfort of your home at no cost.
Glorioso is typical of the participating alums. Her upbeat, can-do spirit was apparent as a Mendoza MBA student. Working as a “runner” during NBC Sports football broadcasts, Glorioso told a sideline interviewer that she would be “the best water fetcher you’ve ever had” – and she delivered. She even cold called Ken Schanzer, then President of NBC Sports, to dine with the school’s Entertainment and Media Club. Not only did he accept the invitation, but gave club members his cell number to further network with him!
Looking over her career, Glorioso has adopted a guiding philosophy that can be summed up in six words: Leadership is a form of service. “When was the last time you built something or left an organization better off than when you started,” she asks.
A PIONEER IN THE SHARING ECONOMY
This year’s alumni participants include executives from Google, Goldman Sachs, and Anheuser-Busch. They are entrepreneurs who’ve built far-flung enterprises and leaders in functions like brand management, social impact, private wealth management, supply chains, and the arts. Take Alexander Pollak, a 2008 MBA from Zicklin School of Business. As a student, he balanced his studies with three paramedic jobs. That work ethic enabled him to build a company, ParaDocs Worldwide, that put him on Crain’s New York “40 Under 40” list, Before the pandemic, Pollak tells P&Q, his company provided medics to events ranging from movie sets to photo shoots. However, his MBA education prepared him to adapt and capitalize amid disruption too.
“I successfully pivoted my company during the pandemic so that 95% of our business is COVID testing. We have built up our reputation so that we had the opportunity to test the participants in the Presidential inauguration and we are expanding worldwide.”
Pollak isn’t the only accomplished entrepreneur among this year’s CentreCourt alumni. Growing a startup is often filled with onerous trials and painful errors. Timo Buetefisch is a testament to that. As an IESE Business School student, he launched his first startup, where he “lost considerable amounts of money.” That didn’t stop Buetefisch. A few years later, he founded Cooltra, which started as a motorcycle rental company in Barcelona. Fast forward 15 years and Cooltra now stretches to 6 countries and 20 cities and employs over 400 people. Buetefisch‘s fleet now includes 16,000 motorcycles, with two-thirds being zero-emission electric scooters. What is one secret to his success? He adopted the shared model years before Airbnb and Uber came along.
“We were ahead of the game in offering sustainable and shared mobility between cities,” he tells P&Q.
TURNING THE NON-TRADITIONAL INTO THE INDISPENSIBLE
Some CentreCourt MBA alums have even made their mark in business after switching careers. That was the case for Shannon Watkins. A Biology major at Fisk University, Watkins arrived at Indiana University’s Kelley School without ever taking a business course. Since earning her Kelley MBA in 2002, Watkins has held various leadership roles at Coca-Cola, Kraft, and Procter & Gamble before joining Aflac as its Senior VP for Brand and Creative Services. A self-described “African-American mother” and “kid from Atlanta,” Watkins is most proud of being authentic and redefining what success looks like in her industry.
“Today, there are many leaders across the marketing landscape who don’t fit a stereotypical mold – and are killing it! It brings me great joy to be a part of a profession where diversity — in image, thoughts, and words — is celebrated.”
Watkins is also thrilled to be a Kelley MBA, a program that has continued to support her long after graduation. “As a student, the staff helped me understand the employment landscape, prepare for interviews, and ensure the right fit with prospective employers,” she notes. “The advice and counsel I received during my time at Kelley was invaluable. As an alumna, I continue to use the Career Services Center for executive development and career coaching.”
PROFILES OF TOP MBA ALUMNI AT CENTRECOURT
Indeed, you’ll find that MBA alumni view their classmates and instructors as more than a network. For them, business school became a community – or even a family says Lexie Cegelski, a 2016 University of Florida MBA who is now the senior procurement director. “In comparison to bigger programs, I realized it was rare to know everyone in the full-time program by name. Because the class sizes were small, no matter someone’s differences in career goals and hobbies, we quickly got to know each other. I wouldn’t trade that experience for the world.”
It is a sentiment shared by Yizhen Fung, an Oxford-trained policy advisor to the Malaysian Securities Commission who earned her MBA with the Asia School of Business. “The 20 months will fly by like a breeze. It will be near impossible for all 47 of my classmates to ever be in the same place again, so make every moment count!”
Want to learn more about MBAs like Yizhen Fung, Christina Glorioso, and Alexander Pollak before you meet them at CentreCourt? Hoping to get some insights on the best classes, favorite moments, and biggest surprises at business school? Click on their alumni profiles below.
To reserve your free spot in P&Q’s CentreCourt MBA Festival from February 23-24, click here.