Meet the MBA Class of 2024: Katya Wendt, Yale School of Management

Katya Wendt

Yale School of Management

“Working hard to ensure future generations inherit a better world.”

Hometown: Rochester, MN

Fun Fact About Yourself: I took up pole vaulting in college.

Undergraduate School and Major: St. Olaf College, Sociology/Anthropology and Russian

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Amazon, Sr. Product Manager

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 redefine the relationship between society and the environment in a way that supports a sustainable equilibrium. Yale will help me to fulfill this mission by giving me the tools to better examine this relationship and skills to drive and inspire the changes I wish to see.

Aside from your classmates, what was the key part of Yale SOM’s MBA curriculum or programming that led you to choose this business school and why was it so important to you? A major factor that led me to choose Yale SOM was the Organizational Perspectives Courses within the core courses. The courses are organized around the different stakeholders and perspectives within a business, for example, “Investor” and “Customer.” I believe organizing the classes in this way helps students to understand the real-world applications of knowledge and skills gained in prior topic-specific courses like statistics and economics.

What course, club, or activity excites you the most at Yale SOM? I am excited about the Planetary Solutions Generator (PSG) program, offered through collaboration between the Yale Center for Business and the Environment (CBEY) and Tsai Center for Innovative Thinking at Yale (Tsai CITY). In the 6-week PSG program, students chose a planetary problem statement and work with small groups and a mentor to develop an innovative solution. I am excited about the opportunity to utilize the collective knowledge of my classmates and climate innovation experts to work on solutions for some of the biggest problems we face today.

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: I was part of the task force put together from members of various teams at Amazon to address price gouging that occurred at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. It was an ambiguous and time-sensitive challenge to resolve, but I learned a lot from the experience and was proud to be part of the team.

What led you to pursue an MBA at this point and what do you hope to do after graduation? I decided to pursue an MBA because I wanted to pivot my career to a new field and connect my professional expertise with my passions.

What is one thing you have recently read, watched, or listened to that you would highly recommend to prospective MBAs? Why? I recently listened to the audiobook Net Positive by Andrew S. Winston and Paul Polman, and highly recommend it to all MBA students or even anyone just working in business. The book is a great discussion of the future of business and society.

What other MBA programs did you apply to? Oxford Saïd Business School, University of Michigan Ross school of Business, Stanford Graduate School of Business

What advice would you give to help potential applicants gain admission into Yale SOM’s MBA program? Be yourself! What makes you a good candidate may not always be what you think looks best on paper, but your passion for what you do will show through your application and help you stand out.


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