Meet the MBA Class of 2023: Erica DeMond, Yale SOM

Erica DeMond

Yale School of Management

“Optimistic and hardworking person who believes there is value and humor in every moment.”

Hometown: Osaka, Japan / Selah, Washington

Fun Fact About Yourself: I spent my early years in metropolitan Osaka, Japan, and my later childhood and adolescence in rural Selah, Washington. This means that I love and appreciate an eclectic mix of things—from the energy of dense cities and unusual foods, to backpacking, country music, and the peace and quiet that only a trip in the mountains can provide.

Undergraduate School and Major: Cornell University | Economics

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Boston Consulting Group | Consultant

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? My mission is to help decrease the education opportunity gap in the United States. I believe that one effective approach to doing so is through public-private partnerships, and the strategic scaling of products, innovations, and ideas. Critically, this strategy requires a relentless focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion to ensure that no population is disadvantaged. The SOM MBA will help me fulfill this mission in two main ways: with its pedagogy and its technical offerings. SOM’s belief in interdisciplinary problem-solving with a mission-driven focus will train me to solve complex social problems with diverse teams. Technical training in topics such as education policy will provide me with the necessary expertise to be an effective leader in the education sector.

What word best describes the Yale SOM MBA students and alumni you’ve met so far and why? Visionary. Every student and alumnus I’ve met has a vision for a better world. They each have a specific area about which they are passionate, and that they pursue in order to achieve their vision.

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? The Broad Center at Yale SOM. I’m excited to engage with this leadership training center for public education leaders by working with faculty on research that focuses on underserved populations in the U.S.

What course, club, or activity excites you the most at Yale SOM? I look forward to being active in clubs that bridge the private and public sectors, such as the Business & Politics Club and Nonprofit Board Fellows. I’m also excited for sports clubs like Hockey Club and Running Club!

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: While on the Business Operations & Strategy team at Swing Education, an ed-tech startup that’s tackling the national teacher shortage, I helped the company pivot in light of COVID-19 school closures. It was a high-pressure and quick pivot from a traditional business model, to a brand-new set of service offerings that addressed families’ challenges in ensuring that their kids received adequate educational support in the virtual world. I had the opportunity to work with all the teams in the organization to make decisions around resource allocation, sales regionalization plans, pricing, and more. We even had the opportunity to interact directly with substitute teachers to help place them in roles.

How did COVID-19 change your perspective on your career and your life in general? COVID-19 has really highlighted for me the complexity and interconnectedness of economic and political systems, both domestically and internationally. One example is the semiconductor shortage that led to affordability struggles in a time when demand for electronics (e.g., laptops) was higher than ever. At the same time, this realization of complexity has been balanced with an appreciation for simplicity: the smile, laugh, or touch of another person, or a stroll in the sunshine.

What led you to pursue an MBA at this point and what do you hope to do after graduation? I felt I had come to a point where I was comfortable in my role and in the strategic and operational skills I had gained. I wanted to enhance my ability to work and achieve ambitious goals with diverse teams of people. Post-MBA, I hope to work in strategy and operations at a charter school network or other education-focused organization.

What other MBA programs did you apply to? Harvard Business School and UC Berkeley Haas

What advice would you give to help potential applicants gain admission into Yale SOM’s MBA program? Take a deep breath, be confident that you have something unique to bring to any program, ask for input from your close friends and family, and be authentic!

 

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