Meet the MBA Class of 2023: Caitlin Piccirillo-Stosser, Yale SOM

Caitlin Piccirillo-Stosser

Yale School of Management

“I am a socially-minded individual who loves adventure and solving difficult problems.”

Hometown: Ossining, NY

Fun Fact About Yourself: I was a competitive Irish step dancer for 10 years while growing up!

Undergraduate School and Major: The University of Chicago, Economics & Public Policy Studies

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: The Home Depot Pro, Senior Financial Analyst

The Yale School of Management is regarded as a purpose-driven program. What is your mission? How will your MBA at Yale SOM help you fulfill that mission? I would say that my mission has two layers to it. The first is to always be active in each community that I join. The second, and more specific to my career goals, is to address the problems of resource scarcity and misallocation in education. I grew up attending a public school where resources and funding were spread thin, and I want to help address this issue to ensure that students have access to the tools necessary to improve their educational experiences and outcomes.

My MBA from Yale SOM will empower me to gain valuable business knowledge and skills that I can apply within the education space, thinking about how to confront challenges surrounding resources and tools for students and teachers alike. I am already starting to build an extensive network here at Yale, which will help me break into the education sector, and I know that I have so much to learn from my peers, from alumni, and from the brilliant faculty here. Further, I am excited to take advantage of The Broad Center at Yale SOM and all the resources it has to offer related to education and leadership. Keeping SOM’s mission of educating leaders for business and society in the back of my mind throughout my two years here at Yale will help fuel my drive to promote the success of students, teachers, and schools.

What word best describes the Yale SOM MBA students and alumni you’ve met so far and why? Welcoming. The students, alumni, and really the entire SOM community are so incredibly welcoming. When I was attending information sessions, interviews, and admitted student events last year, I was always so struck by just how kind every person from SOM was. Every person who is here wants to be here, and they want you to be here too. I also use “welcoming” in the sense that students and alumni welcome different perspectives and ideas and encourage learning through debate and inquiry. I feel so honored to be part of this wonderful community, and I look forward to continuing the tradition and welcoming the next class of admitted students in just a few short months.

Aside from your classmates, what was the key part of Yale SOM’s MBA programming that led you to choose this business school and why was it so important to you? For me, the biggest draw of Yale SOM was its mission: to educate leaders for business and society. I thought that this was a unique mission compared to those of most other business schools—how the school puts the improvement of the whole of society at the forefront. Furthermore, every SOM student I spoke to during my admissions process seemed to embody that mission and truly think about how their actions and their goals would impact society.

Since I am interested in pivoting my career from working in retail to working in the education space, a more non-traditional MBA path and one that focuses specifically on social impact, I believed that SOM’s missions aligned best with my goals. I knew that I would receive the support and resources I needed to be successful in my academic and career goals from my classmates, the faculty, and the university as a whole by attending SOM.

What course, club, or activity excites you the most at Yale SOM? This one is hard because there are so many things that I’m excited to do here at SOM! If I had to pick just one, I would probably say joining the Social Impact Consulting club. The club partners with non-profits and social enterprises and offers support and recommendations for a problem they are facing or initiative that they are working on. I have always enjoyed being involved in my community, so I think that this club will provide me with the opportunity to both help drive positive social change and apply the business knowledge that I will be gaining at SOM to real-life situations.

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: While working at The Home Depot Pro prior to coming to SOM, I was very lucky to have been asked to be one of the coordinators of the company’s Leadership Development Program. The program hires recent college graduates from elite universities and provides the opportunity to complete two six-month rotations in different departments within the company, offering the chance to gain exposure to various aspects of the business while making significant analytical impacts.

As a former LDP analyst myself, I was so happy to give back to the program that I had gotten so much from and to help new analysts learn about retail and the business-to-business space. In my role, I managed recruitment efforts at the universities and led training for the new analysts in various tools such as Microsoft SQL and Tableau. During the start of the COVID-19 pandemic last year, I enlisted the help of my peer analysts to organize a hybrid training week for the LDP analysts, ensuring that they had all the support they needed while staying healthy and safe. This experience provided me with significant leadership skills of my own that I know I will be able to apply here at SOM and in my career going forward.

How did COVID-19 change your perspective on your career and your life in general? The COVID-19 pandemic has helped me think about what is truly important in life and prioritize those things. It has brought me closer to my family, even when we are thousands of miles apart. It has made me realize that I need to pursue my passions and take advantage of the opportunities presented to me, since everything can change in a heartbeat. COVID has also reminded me of how fortunate I am and how I must help those who are less fortunate than me. I am so grateful for the health and well-being of my family and friends, and my thoughts are with the families of all the individuals who lost their lives to COVID.

What led you to pursue an MBA at this point and what do you hope to do after graduation? At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic last year, I had a lot of time to do some self-reflection and think about what I wanted to do next with my career. That self-reflection helped me realize that one of my biggest passions is education, and I thought that working in the education space would be very valuable.

I had always known that I wanted to complete an MBA at some point. Recognizing the vast number of existing issues in education, as well as those introduced by the pandemic, I knew that it was the right time to pursue an MBA in order to help pivot my career to working in the education sector. An MBA would enable me to establish a strong foundation of business and leadership skills, gain additional knowledge about issues pervading the education system, and build a network of individuals that could help me break into the education space. After graduation, I intend to work in the education sector, and hope to find a role with an EdTech or an Education Consulting firm. In that role, I plan to work alongside other like-minded people who are striving to increase the availability of resources in schools and improve educational outcomes for students worldwide.

What other MBA programs did you apply to? I applied to Chicago Booth, NYU Stern, Wharton (Penn), Columbia Business School, and Harvard Business School. While I was accepted to a few other programs, I ultimately thought that Yale SOM was the best fit for me.

What advice would you give to help potential applicants gain admission into Yale SOM’s MBA program? This will sound like a cliché, but be yourself! Authenticity in your application is key. You are unique, so talk about your strengths and how you hope to grow by attending SOM. I also highly recommend attending information sessions and other events that SOM offers to get a better sense of the school’s values and culture. Last, when I was applying, I was very fortunate to be able to chat with various SOM students and alumni, who were all incredibly helpful in answering my questions and offering their own advice about applying. Don’t hesitate to reach out—we are here to help!


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