2021 Best & Brightest MBAs: Kristyn Cadwell, University of Florida (Warrington)

Kristyn Cadwell

University of Florida, Warrington College of Business

Passionate leader – I want to inspire and empower others to do what they care about.”

Hometown: Middleburg, FL

Fun fact about yourself: I can speak Portuguese. After my first visit to Brazil, I decided I wanted to learn, so I found a tutor and when I went to Brazil for a second trip I was able to translate for all of my friends!

Undergraduate School and Degree:

University of Florida, College of Education, Master of Special Education (2016)

University of Florida, College of Education, BA – Elementary Education (2015)

Where was the last place you worked before enrolling in business school? Before enrolling in business school, I worked for the Broward County School Board as a special education teacher, overseeing a 1st and 2nd grade classroom for students with autism.

Where did you intern during the summer of 2020? I was a Finance MBA Intern at E&J Gallo Winery.

Where will you be working after graduation? I have accepted a full-time offer as a Marketing Senior Analyst at UPS.

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School: This year, I served as the President of our MBA Association, overseeing all of our student involvement groups and serving as a liaison between the student body, Business Career Services, and the Programs Office. In my role as President, I have led trainings on topics such as informational interviews and case competitions. I was also on the 2021 Diversity Weekend Committee. Last year I served on the MBA Association Board as VP of Internal Affairs, coordinating the planning of all of our student-led social events, and as a UF MBA Ambassador.

I worked this year as a Graduate Career and Peer (CAP) Mentor for the Business Career Services office, supporting graduate students in the College of Business in their career search. I have also mentored several of my MBA peers throughout their career search efforts.

One of my favorite experiences in the MBA program has been my participation in case competitions. My UF MBA case competition team won first place at the Katz Invitational Case Competition (2020). I won Best Q&A at the KeyBank Foundation Minority MBA Case Competition (2020) and Best Presenter in the UF MBA Virtual Internal Case Competition (2021). I am currently working with my case team to prepare for the 2021 Denver Race & Case Competition.

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? I am most proud of my efforts as MBA Association President, specifically the addition of new positions and clubs to the organization this year. After being elected President, my greatest goal was to empower my classmates to push forward the initiatives they cared about. This year our LGBTQ+ club, OUT@Warrington, was rebranded and has gained significant membership. The Gator MBAbility Club, designed to represent individuals with disabilities, was founded this year. I also added the positions of Diversity & Inclusion Chair, designed to increase our D&I efforts, and Corporate Social Responsibility Chair, designed to educate our members about CSR.

Throughout a year greatly changed by COVID, our organization has continued to engage all of our full-the MBA students virtually. We have hosted more events than previous years and have facilitated networking opportunities even though we cannot meet in person.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? I am most proud of being recognized as the Metcalfe Elementary Teacher of the Year in 2018. I was chosen out of 25 other incredible teachers that I worked with for my passion and commitment to my students.

Why did you choose this business school? My ultimate reason for choosing the University of Florida MBA program was the people. I am constantly impressed by the high caliber of my peers as well as their compassion and support for each other. I feel so proud to go out into the business world knowing that the UF MBA brand will be represented by myself and my incredible classmates and friends.

Who was your favorite MBA professor? My favorite MBA professor was Dr. Jim Hoover. Dr. Hoover taught the first marketing class I ever took, which is what inspired me to make the career pivot into marketing. I had the opportunity to take a second class with Dr. Hoover on product development and it is one of the most valuable courses I have taken in the program. Dr. Hoover is a compassionate and expert professor who designs his classes to optimize student understanding. Dr. Hoover was always open to student feedback and clearly cared about each student as an individual. Dr. Hoover’s teaching had a huge impact on my future career.

What was your favorite MBA event or tradition at your business school? My favorite tradition at UF MBA is tailgating before we all sit together at Gator football games. Although that looked much different this year because of COVID, the feeling of celebrating Gator football with my classmates and friends is something that will stay with me forever. It is a perfect representation of the strength of the UF MBA bond and the fact that our support for each other will continue long after we graduate and become alumni.

Looking back over your MBA experience, what is the one thing you’d do differently and why? If I could change one thing about my MBA experience, I would’ve been more open to marketing in my internship career search. I came into the program thinking I wanted to do finance and I think if I had been a little more open-minded, I would’ve realized my passion for marketing sooner

What is the biggest myth about your school? The biggest myth about the University of Florida is that it’s a party school. Although we certainly know how to have a good time, the people at the University of Florida are intelligent, dedicated, and hard-working. I am consistently impressed by the work my classmates do and how ambitious everyone in our program is.

What surprised you the most about business school? I was most surprised by the variety of backgrounds among my classmates. I came in to business school assuming everyone else in the program would come from a traditional business background and was excited to learn that I was surrounded by career switchers, including doctors, teachers, and coaches.

What is one thing you did during the application process that gave you an edge at the school you chose? The biggest edge I had during the application process was knowing how to tell my story. Teaching to business is a big pivot and I worked hard on being able to tell my interviewers at UF MBA why the skills I gained while teaching made me a great fit for the program.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? This is a difficult question because the people in my program are so incredible, but the MBA classmate I admire most is Laura Arias. Laura is one of the smartest people I know and I think she’s good at everything. No matter what class we’re in, she knows what’s going on and is always willing to teach others who are having a hard time with the content. Laura is kind and humble and would probably be embarrassed to know that I’m writing about how great she is. I have no doubt that in a few years I’ll be reading articles about all of Laura’s amazing accomplishments in her career.

How disruptive was it to shift to an online or hybrid environment after COVID hit? The shift to online and then hybrid classes after COVID went very smooth at the UF MBA. Because our program already had a top-tier online MBA program, this transition was very easy. Although I missed getting to see my classmates every day, we were very intentional about continuing to socialize with each other virtually. We’ve had countless Zoom happy hours, game nights, and story-sharing events. I feel very fortunate to be at UF MBA during this time.

Who most influenced your decision to pursue business in college? The greatest influence in my decision to purse my MBA was my cousin, Phil Price. He works as a CFO in St. Pete, FL and has always been a mentor to me. When I first expressed to Phil that I thought I wanted to leave my teaching career, he talked me through the different alternatives I had for a future career. He was the first person to suggest that business would be a great fit for me and he even helped my write my entrance essay when I applied to the UF MBA program. As I’ve continued through the career search, Phil has supported and cheered me on.

What are the top two items on your professional bucket list? The top two items on my professional bucket list are:

  1. To become a mentor to other employees in my company
  2. To be CMO of a Fortune 500 company

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

“Kristyn Cadwell (UF MBA ’21) is a talented and motivated MBA student who also serves as the President of the UF MBA Association (MBAA), a student governing organization of the UF MBA Program. As president, Kristyn oversees the MBAA board and all clubs and chair positions under the MBAA umbrella who are actively planning programming, including Gator MBA Gear, a student-run business that sells UF MBA apparel and merchandise. Kristyn’s presidential platform centered around creating a strong sense of student empowerment through three main initiatives: opportunity, community, and transparency. A true leader, Kristyn has successfully led the organization through a very difficult time when these three pillars were even more critical. She empowered students to create opportunities for their fellow classmates to connect in the virtual environment and the individual clubs and organizations followed her lead. The sense of community in the UF MBA program has not been lacking and in fact has been strengthened throughout the last year under her leadership.

Kristyn is also an advocate for her classmates by serving as a Career and Peer (CAP) Mentor through Business Career Services, where she serves as a dedicated mentor to approximately 50 Specialized Masters students, assisting with resumes, mock interviews, and offering support with respect to general career search strategy. Kristyn’s efforts to develop herself and others does not stop with the CAP mentorship program. Since joining the program, Kristyn has represented UF MBA at two national case competitions, earning a team win and an individual award for best Q&A, and is currently preparing to compete in her third. During her time preparing for these competitions, Kristyn has sharpened her skills analyzing real-world business problems, trouble shooting, storytelling and presenting. As a result of her passion for and success in competing in case competitions, she has also served as a mentor for her fellow students and even led a session outlining the components of a successful case competition as part of the UF MBA case season kickoff.

As an Ambassador for the UF MBA program, Kristyn also works directly with the Admissions team dedicating her time to help recruit, attract and retain future UF MBAs. She has been an active organizer of and participant in a number of recruiting events as well as events geared towards admitted students. She shares her perspective and experience within a range of topics such as case competitions, academic preparedness, student involvement and more. She demonstrated her commitment to the program when she served as a student ambassador at a recruiting event the day after returning from a Global Immersion Experience to Brazil.

Kristyn, a former elementary school teacher, proved her ability to excel in two distinct MBA disciplines: Finance and Marketing. She interned with E. & J. Gallo Winery as an MBA Finance Intern last summer and will join UPS in Atlanta as a Senior Marketing Analyst upon graduation.”

Janin Menendez
Director of Student Affairs – Engagement




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