2022 MBA To Watch: Alyssa Bonneau, Ohio State (Fisher)

Alyssa Bonneau

Ohio State University, Fisher College of Business

“My key trait is curiosity – I love learning new ways to understand the world.”

Hometown: Chicago, IL

Fun fact about yourself: I was a volunteer tutor for 1st-6th grade Chicago Public School students for 6 years. I had a lot of fun, learned about the newest social media trends, and got a TON of management experience.

Undergraduate School and Degree:

Wesleyan University, Middletown, CT

I majored in Government and French Studies

Where was the last place you worked before enrolling in business school? Prior to beginning the MBA program I worked as a Project Manager at FourKites, an enterprise logistics startup in Chicago.

Where did you intern during the summer of 2021? I interned with Verizon Communications on the Business Transformation team. The internship was remote, but if it was in-person I would have been at Verizon HQ in Basking Ridge, NJ.

Where will you be working after graduation? I’m excited to join EY-Parthenon in the Chicago office as a Strategy Consultant.

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School:

  • President, MBA Council 2021-2022
  • VP of Fisher Graduate Women in Business, 2021
  • Forté Fellow

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? Shortly after being elected to the MBA Council, I realized that many other student organizations were having difficulty with their succession planning. COVID restrictions radically changed how student organizations operated. There was a real concern that many of the organizations and traditions that had made Fisher such a rich experience for previous students would no longer continue. Even though the MBA Council typically did not have an active role in other student organizations, we coordinated with existing leaders, our classmates, and even other graduate programs to ensure that most organizations were able to successfully transition leadership. This year students were able to have a much richer experience with student organizations, and I’m excited to see how they continue.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? I was selected by the COO of FourKites to be one of three members on the team tasked with rolling out and scaling up a new network-growth product. The product had high visibility internally and was supposed to help grow our partner network 5x by the end of the year. Very little about the product or its place within the organization was defined; the foremost goal was to put structures in place to ensure it could scale efficiently without causing chaos for other teams. On a personal level, this was an opportunity to take on much more responsibility and push myself beyond what I had learned thus far. Together with my small but might team, we far surpassed our initial goals, hitting 140% of the targeted partner growth within the first quarter.

This experience proved to me that I could excel in ambiguous situations and succeed in an entrepreneurial setting.

Why did you choose this business school? As someone with a non-traditional background for an MBA program, I was concerned about feelings of imposter syndrome or getting lost in the shuffle of a huge program. I really wanted a small program where I could truly get to know my classmates and professors and develop my identity as a businessperson. Fisher is known for its intimate class sizes and diverse range of backgrounds. Everyone I met during my interview and visit was incredibly kind and welcoming – it was clear to me that Fisher would be a very different MBA experience.

Who was your favorite MBA professor? My favorite professor thus far has been Jay Anand in the Strategy Department. He is able to distill is wealth of experience into clear takeaways, without losing the complexity that makes strategy questions so fascinating. I feel like I got the best of strategy research and real global experience. Lastly, Prof. Anand created a lovely classroom environment. I wish I could have another semester with him!

What was your favorite MBA event or tradition at your business school? Fisher had a tradition of a student-run, family-included Thanksgiving potluck where students would share food from their backgrounds. It demonstrated the familial atmosphere that a small program like Fisher facilitates and was a great way for students from all over the world to feel welcome in their new Columbus home. Unfortunately, COVID restrictions on indoor events prevented us from hosting the traditional version of this event. Instead, the MBA Council hosted our first ever Fall Fest, an outdoor event at one of Columbus’s many beautiful parks. Families, core faculty, and administrators all came together for an updated (and COVID-safe) version of this lovely tradition. We were even visited by some Thanksgiving-appropriate wild turkeys!

Looking back over your MBA experience, what is the one thing you’d do differently and why? If I were to do it all over again, I would put a bigger premium on getting to know more of my peers, particularly those graduating before and after me. I began my program very focused on mastering the material and advancing my career. Now that I’ll be graduating in two short months, I wish I’d had more time to get to know more of my amazing classmates.

What is the biggest myth about your school?

Biggest Myth: We’re obsessed with football.

The Truth: the obsession is real!

What surprised you the most about business school? I’ve been surprised at how much what I’ve learned in the classroom helps to clarify the world around me. I had very limited previous exposure to topics like accounting, finance, and operations – and frankly I did not expect to be intrigued by them. My professors did a fantastic job of connecting the material to real-world scenarios, and now I am a much more confident in my ability to make sense of the business (and non-business) world.

What is one thing you did during the application process that gave you an edge at the school you chose? I put a tremendous amount of effort into my Personal Statement to make sure it articulated what I could contribute to the program. I sought out as much feedback as possible and went through countless drafts, even when it was painful.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? I most admire my classmate and friend Dominique Mosbly. Dom has used his time as a graduate student to dive deep into environmentalism and ethics. He seeks out the most challenging questions in business leadership. Earlier this year he participated in the Fellowship at Auschwitz for the Study of Professional Ethics (FASPE), where he explored America’s troubling history with Japanese Internment. It’s easy to become singly focused on the grades and recruiting side of an MBA program; I’m inspired by Dom’s ability to see the bigger picture. He also ran a half marathon in 12 degree cold!

Who most influenced your decision to pursue business in college? I was inspired to pursue business by my former boss, Brian Hill. He is the founder and CEO of Edovo, a social impact startup where I spent the first four years of my career. Edovo’s mission is to help remedy the pernicious effects of mass incarceration by increasing access to education in America’s jails and prisons using a tablet-based education platform. Prior to meeting Brian and learning about Edovo, I had never considered a business venture as an avenue for enacting social good. As a member of the early Edovo team, I was energized by the mission, as well as the relentless drive to solve complex problems. I’ve carried that problem-solver mindset with me throughout my MBA experience. I believe it will be a key component of future success.

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

1. Manage a team, with a focus on professional development

I’ve had many wonderful career experiences, but I have not yet had the opportunity to serve as a manager to direct reports. I’ve learned so much about leadership and group dynamics at Fisher, and I’d love to put these into action.

2. Craft a strategic plan for a team and put it into action

My favorite courses have been ones that analyze corporate strategy, particularly in areas of innovation and industry disruption. I’d love the chance to fully own a strategic plan and its execution.

How has the pandemic changed your view of a career? The abrupt shift to remote work highlighted the importance of company mission and culture in giving meaning to my work. Without these components, work feels like nothing more than a list of tasks to be completed. It also made me realize the necessity of a workplace where I can be challenged and am truly set up for growth. I want a role to feel like the beginning of a new path, not the end. This was the determining factor for me to choose EY-Parthenon.

What made Alyssa such an invaluable addition to the Class of 2022?

“As the outgoing FTMBA Student Council President, Alyssa has worked with other valuable members of the Council to overcome unprecedented difficulties throughout the pandemic. The collaborative student atmosphere has always been at the heart of the great MBA experience at Fisher, and Alyssa’s leadership was critical in supporting students throughout the difficulties of Covid-19. Alyssa is also one of the sharpest students in the program. She consistently performs at the top of her classes, is always engaged in discussions, and never fears to raise important points, even when they go against the majority opinion. Alyssa Bonneau is definitely one of Fisher’s Best and Brightest, and it has been a pleasure having her in the program.”

Roger Bailey
FTMBA Academic Director