2021 Best & Brightest MBAs: Bailey Bennett, Southern Methodist University (Cox)

Bailey Bennett

Southern Methodist University, Cox School of Business

“I’m a dedicated, motivated, and passionate student/employee with a loyal, curious, and adventurous personality.”

Hometown: Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Fun fact about yourself: I love orca whales and cannot wait to swim with them in Norway!

Undergraduate School and Degree:

University of Texas, McCombs School of Business

Major: Marketing

Minor: Supply Chain Management

Where was the last place you worked before enrolling in business school? FRAME, Senior Wholesale Planner

Where did you intern during the summer of 2020? Deloitte Consulting, Strategy & Operations, Dallas TX (condensed to 2-week virtual program focused on networking and an internal project)

Tessi Consulting, Boston MA (virtual- boutique consulting firm focused on workplace culture & Diversity, Equity, Inclusion initiatives)

Where will you be working after graduation? Deloitte Consulting, Strategy & Operations- Senior Consultant

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School:

Community Involvement: Consulting Club President, BLC Cox Dean’s Circle and Distinguished Leader, Cox Admissions Captain, MBA Consulting Association Member, Finance Club Member, Women in Business Member

Community Work: Business Leadership Center Non-Profit Consulting Project, North Texas Food Bank Volunteer

Awards: Forte Fellow Scholar, High Honors (University of Texas BBA)

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? My proudest extracurricular achievement is having the honor to lead the Consulting Club. We were able to double our membership base to over 150 students by creating an inclusive case prep curriculum that caters to all Cox Graduate programs and expanding events to foster engagement. Furthermore, we managed an officer base of 18 officers across current and incoming officers for a successful transition to ensure the future success of the club.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? My proudest professional achievement is creating the Wholesale Planning Department during my most recent role prior to MBA. I was fortunate to develop a strong relationship with the President at our prior company and she entrusted me to build inventory, revenue, and margin forecasting and reporting tools to align with Finance. As a result, we developed collaborative cross-departmental relationships and found efficiencies across a variety of processes.

Why did you choose this business school? I chose SMU because of the smaller class size and sense of community. Prior to graduate school, I lived in NYC for 6 years. After being in a big city, I found comfort in the smaller community feel of SMU. Not only can you develop close relationships with faculty and classmates but the professional network, specifically in Dallas, is strong and will live beyond just the years in the classroom.

Who was your favorite MBA professor? Although I only took one of Marci Armstrong’s classes, she makes an impact at SMU. As a longtime marketing professor, she teaches classes in the Brierley Institute for Customer Engagement, where she serves as the director. She teaches the specialization along with Hal Brierley, the founder of the Brierley Institute. It is fascinating to learn from their own work experience as consultants for customer loyalty programs, customer engagement, and customer experiences. The class pushes your thinking, covers a wide range of material, and is always engaging. The classes further into the specialization work with local companies to solve problems with real data and current issues, providing relevant learning experiences upon graduation.

What was your favorite MBA event or tradition at your business school? One of my favorite experiences at SMU is attending The Boulevard during football games, the university’s tailgating experience. It is a tradition for the different schools at SMU, alumni, and companies to set up tents on SMU’s beautiful campus. This provides an opportunity for students to connect with a variety of people outside the classroom and the wide demographic of attendees reflects the strength of the SMU network.

Looking back over your MBA experience, what is the one thing you’d do differently and why? Given COVID, many of the extracurricular opportunities were canceled. Although we cannot change the past, if I could change anything about my MBA experience it would be capitalizing on the international opportunities. I strongly believe that learning about different cultures gives you a well-rounded perspective and as the world becomes more connected, it is important to learn how different businesses operate globally. SMU normally offers classes each Mod that culminate in a trip to that country over the Fall, Winter, and Spring breaks. I was fortunate enough to attend the Shanghai program in Fall 2020, where we not only learned about relevant business issues in China but also partnered with a global company to recommend ways to turn supply chain industry disruptors into opportunities.

What is the biggest myth about your school? The biggest myth I faced was hearing that business school is a competitive, cut-throat experience. The culture at SMU was far from that. It was very supportive both in the classroom and while recruiting. With that said, an MBA does not hand you a job without the hard work. You are competing with all the other MBA students across the country and need to have the dedication to network, perform well academically, and find the right company fit.

What surprised you the most about business school? I was most surprised with how involved you can be on campus (networking events, clubs, class, executive seminars, workshops, etc.) and how quickly you build connections with your fellow classmates. As you navigate through quitting years of work experience to embark on a new career journey, everyone is motivated to be there and wants to participate in as much as possible. You go through this experience together with your classmates and can always lean on each other for support with anything from recruiting to classwork.

What is one thing you did during the application process that gave you an edge at the school you chose? I prioritized the national conferences over the Spring and Summer prior to starting my MBA. The MBA fair helped in my decision-making process to attend graduate school and SMU. The Forte Fast Track Conference provided me with a head start in identifying the right career path for me, specifically in the decision to pursue Financial Strategy, Investment Banking, or Consulting. The JumpStart Conference is where I thankfully made the connection with Deloitte and ultimately accepted an internship and full-time offer.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? I admire my fellow classmate, Morgan Mitchell. I feel he took advantage of all SMU had to offer. He started his MBA with a dedication to enter Investment Banking, pursued that goal, and achieved it. He excels in every class, serves as President of the Energy Club, and participates in many energy case competitions. As a second year, he is an active TA. You can always find him on campus in the computer lab, ready to spark a conversation with any classmate. He also loves SMU and embodies the culture by hosting a tent at The Boulevard for every home football game even before attending the program!

How disruptive was it to shift to an online or hybrid environment after COVID hit? COVID significantly impacted our MBA experience from a recruiting and social perspective. However, the shift to online/hybrid learning did not disrupt the learning environment. The teachers quickly adapted to virtual classes in the spring and took our feedback into account when planning the fall. I think the most engaging classroom format is hybrid with limited attendees in-person to promote social distancing but also limited attendees online to cater to each person’s needs. The most productive classroom format was asynchronous learning that divided the traditional 3-hour classes into shorter classes with prerecorded videos and/or work to maintain engagement.

Who most influenced your decision to pursue business in college? My friend, Ann McCampbell, made the biggest influence on my decision. We went to dinner in NYC and she had already accepted to attend her MBA at Yale. She explained how great of an opportunity an MBA can be, especially for female professionals, with such excitement for her journey that it was contagious. Ann further helped me prepare for the GMAT in just under 2 months and helped me talk through the decision to pursue Consulting after her experience in the industry.

What are the top two items on your professional bucket list? My top two professional goals are the following:

1) Develop long-term tenure and rise the ranks at a company with a professional and cultural fit.

2) Launch and grow a personal initiative within a company.

What made Bailey such an invaluable addition to the Class of 2021?

“Bailey started with Cox in fall 2019 and is currently an active student and Forte Fellow in the Two-Year MBA program. Bailey has distinguished herself as one of the most compassionate, intelligent, and inclusive students in our program. She excelled during her summer internships at Deloitte Consulting and Tessi Consulting, where she focused on diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives. Bailey was immediately offered a full-time position at Deloitte Consulting as a Senior Consultant. She worked hard to prepare for these opportunities in her first year at Cox by utilizing all resources at our Career Management Center, graduate clubs, peer networking, case preparation and mentorship. She was not afraid to seek out support and take every opportunity to learn and grow.

During her time at Cox, Bailey has shown remarkable leadership by serving on the boards of multiple social and industry clubs, including Finance Club, Graduate Women in Business, MBA Consulting Association, and Admissions Ambassadors. She was honored as a Business Leadership Center Dean’s Circle and Distinguished Leader. Most importantly, Bailey served as the president of the Cox Consulting Club. In this role, she overhauled all club proceedings and worked with administration to offer new case preparation programs for all graduate Cox students. She ensured the club was inclusive and had the right support for all members. Bailey also focused not only on career preparation, but she also worked to bring students together socially in a very difficult year. The Consulting Club was one of the most successful clubs the past two years and had multiple opportunities to keep students engaged in the community during the pandemic. Bailey also served as a resource to her peers by becoming an academic tutor and leading study groups for those who need quantitative skill support. She has helped her community in multiple ways and has remained positive and patient throughout. What sets Bailey apart is that she understands the rigors and requirements of preparing for a successful career post-MBA, as well as the importance of community building within the program. She took every opportunity afforded to her in the first year and used that knowledge to become an incredible leader in her second year.”

Megan Murphy
MBA Associate Director
MBA Student Services 




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