2021 MBAs To Watch: Mikaela Medeiros, University of Florida (Warrington)

Mikaela Medeiros

University of Florida, Warrington College of Business

“Inclusive, dedicated, and service-driven- I strive for positive impact in my work and the world.”

Hometown: Reno, Nevada

Fun fact about yourself: I was a coxswain on the rowing team in college.

Undergraduate School and Degree: Georgetown University, Bachelor of Science in Business Administration

Where was the last place you worked before enrolling in business school? I was a Brand Strategist at Capital One.

Where did you intern during the summer of 2020? I interned in Global Marketing at Johnson & Johnson.

Where will you be working after graduation? I accepted an Associate Brand Manager role at Premier Nutrition.

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School: I have had the opportunity to give back to my program through my involvement in the MBA Association, Admissions initiatives, and Business Career Services. In my first year, I served as Women in Business Association President and currently, hold the position of Vice President of Diversity & Inclusion. I oversee a team of five Club Presidents and a Diversity Chair working to celebrate diversity and promote inclusion within the program. I had the honor of being selected by Admissions for UF Warrington’s Inaugural Diversity Weekend committee and as student lead of the Virtual Diversity Weekend committee.

I also serve as an Admissions Ambassador, Alumni Mentor Program Coordinator, and as a Career and Peer Mentor, where I help graduate students in their career search through resume reviews, mock interviews, and general career coaching.

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? I am most proud of my work on the Diversity Weekend committee the past two years. Diversity Weekend is a three-day event for prospective students from underrepresented groups to learn more about UF Warrington. It is an experience that showcases our program and encourages attendees to see themselves here. I have been fortunate to experience the incredible diversity and inclusive culture of this program; the opportunity to share how that comes to life with future students has been rewarding.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? In my role as a Brand Strategist at Capital One, I was selected by the Senior Director to develop a learning agenda and data-driven content calendar to ensure relevancy and message consistency for Consumer Bank Marketing’s seasonal campaigns. I developed a comprehensive market research plan, aligned 25 cross-functional team members, and delivered an insight-driven content calendar.

Why did you choose this business school? I chose UF Warrington for several reasons, but the one that stood out to me then and is one of my favorite parts of the program now is the close-knit, supportive community of peers and staff. My cohort is 34 students, and the full-time program is less than 100 students. The small size has allowed me to get to know my classmates on a deeper level and form strong friendships. Despite the small size, the Admissions team does an incredible job bringing together a diverse group of students who are not only impressive and intelligent but also genuine and kind.

Who was your favorite MBA professor? Dr. Aner Sela was my favorite professor. Despite the virtual format due to the pandemic, his Brand Equity class was engaging and interactive. He combined the case method, lectures, and an extended team project to teach marketing principles applicable to the real-world. As a future Associate Brand Manager, I know the lessons I learned in his class will help me in my full-time role.

What was your favorite MBA event or tradition at your business school? My favorite MBA event, and now a tradition, is Diversity Weekend. The in-person Inaugural Diversity Weekend was a tremendous success: we received overwhelmingly positive feedback, and several Diversity Weekend attendees who were prospective students last year are my classmates this year. Despite the impacts of the pandemic that required a shift to a virtual format, Diversity Weekend survived and thrived in its second year. I look forward to returning to future Diversity Weekends as an alum.

Looking back over your MBA experience, what is the one thing you’d do differently and why? Hindsight is 20/20, but I wish I had participated in a Global Immersion Experience (GIE) in Fall 2019. A GIE is a class that meets over the course of the semester and includes a 10-day experience abroad where participants attend in-county business meetings, learn about the market, network with locals, and experience cultural activities. I had planned to go on a GIE as a second year, but understandably, the travel portion was cancelled due to the pandemic.

What is the biggest myth about your school? The biggest myth about University of Florida Warrington is that it is a regional program, made up of Floridians who place in roles in the Southeast. In actuality, my classmates are from states across the United States and countries abroad too. As a native Nevadan who accepted a job in the San Francisco Bay Area, I am just one example of why this is myth not fact.

What surprised you the most about business school? As someone who received my undergraduate degree in business, I was most surprised by how much more I learned from my classmates in the MBA program. With an average of five years of work experience, it was fascinating to hear about my classmate’s diverse experiences prior to business school. These additions enhanced discussions and helped me understand concepts better.

What is one thing you did during the application process that gave you an edge at the school you chose? I attended admissions events and talked with current students about their experiences. UF Warrington is a small program. Students are not just a number here: the staff and students want to get to know prospective students personally.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? I most admire my classmate and friend, Laura Arias. Not only is she one of the smartest and most hard-working people I know, but she is also incredibly caring and willing to help anyone.

How disruptive was it to shift to an online or hybrid environment after COVID hit? While I preferred in-person classes and events, I was impressed by how well UF Warrington staff and student leadership transitioned to an online environment. UF Warrington has a top-ranked Online MBA program, and most of my professors had prior experience teaching remotely. Virtual technology was already in place, and classes and events remained engaging.

Who most influenced your decision to pursue business in college? My dad most influenced my decision to pursue business. He was a banker and general manager. Growing up, my dad often gave my siblings and I real-world math and business problems to solve. For example, while waiting in line at a drive thru, he would ask, “How many customers do you think this location serves in an hour?” Questions like that helped shape my perspective, and ultimately, helped influenced my decision to pursue business.

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

1) Be a senior leader of a high performing team making a positive impact in the world.

2) Be Chair of the Board of a non-profit.

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

“After meeting Mikaela Medeiros in June of 2019, I knew immediately that she was going to become a student-out student and eventual alumna of the University of Florida’s full-time MBA program. Besides earning prestigious achievements within UF MBA case competitions, job/internship recruitment and extracurricular leadership, Mikaela has made key contributions within two important aspects of our program: 1) Diversity, Equity & Inclusion and 2) Peer & Alumni Mentorship.

Mikaela’s contributions to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

After being elected to serve as VP of Diversity & Inclusion for the University of Florida’s MBA Association, Mikaela got straight to work making sure that our MBA program was responsive to the needs of all students, especially during the period of pronounced public unrest which followed the tragic killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and too many others lost. As an active Ally to underrepresented student groups, Mikaela organized virtual events, including a June workshop for current UF MBA students and staff entitled “A Candid Conversation about Race.” This year, she worked collaboratively with the founder of our Differently Abled club to ensure a successful kickoff of that organization, and she also led our first-ever UF MBA Alumni Panel celebrating Black History Month in February, 2021. Finally, within her Diversity, Equity and Inclusion efforts, she led the student programming which supported our 2021 Diversity Weekend, working tirelessly to make sure that staff and students created an inspiring event for prospective students interested in learning more about UF’s inclusive MBA environment.

Mikaela’s contributions to Peer and Alumni Mentorship

Mikaela has also made significant accomplishments in terms of mentorship over the course of the last 2 years. She was selected to serve as a Graduate Student Career Mentor, serving as a Career Coach for 50+ students enrolled in Specialized Masters programs in the Warrington College of Business. She has formally coached fellow MBA students as they prepared for career conferences and the full-time job search, and she oversaw our official Summer Mentorship Program which provides current full-time MBA students direct access to recent alumni to provide guidance on their summer internship progress.

In the summer of 2020, Mikaela completed an internship within Johnson & Johnson’s Vision Care Brand Management program, and upon graduating from her MBA program, she will be joining Premier Nutrition as an Associate Brand Manager in Emeryville, California.”

Carly Escue
Director of Graduate Business Career Services




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