2022 MBA To Watch: Katie Steed, Texas A&M (Mays)

Katie Steed

Texas A&M, Mays Business School

“Collaborative, resourceful, and hungry individual with a desire to empower others and conquer new challenges.”

Hometown:) Katy, TX

Fun fact about yourself: I play pickleball about 2x/week. I used to think it was a 55+ sport but it’s been a great way to stay active, build community, and stay competitive during grad school.

Undergraduate School and Degree: Clemson University, Bachelor of Science in Marketing

Where was the last place you worked before enrolling in business school? Dow, Account Manager & Commercial Excellence Analyst

Where did you intern during the summer of 2021? Dell Technologies, Remote

Where will you be working after graduation? Dell Technologies, Senior Product Manager

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School:

  • Aggies in Business/Aggie Angel Network Consultant
  • Graduate Diversity Fellowship for Women in Business
  • Breeders Greeters Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo Committee

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? I was on the winning teams for an elevator pitch competition and for the technical category for our capstone projects. Both challenges were a chance to work with colleagues, create compelling solutions to propel real start-up companies forward, and present those recommendations effectively. Each project was a true test of teamwork and using data to tell stories, and was rewarding because we could tangibly see the impact we had on each organization. My teammates and I all had different backgrounds, ideas, and skillsets to bring to the table and we successfully highlighted the best versions of ourselves and our skills!

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? Trusting my gut to transition out of a sales position into an analyst position, despite that being an atypical career choice at the time is my proudest achievement. I got to learn more about a large company’s “behind-the-curtain” decision-making processes and how it impacts markets and customers. The role required me to be hands-on in various data systems to merge 2 Fortune 500 companies, only to spin them out into 3 new companies in a couple years’ time. This experience taught me more about internal communication, automating systems, and bringing multi-faceted people together to achieve ambiguous goals—all important skills that I look forward to leveraging and building in my next role.

Why did you choose this business school? Texas A&M’s business school had a lot of great things to offer: smaller class sizes, attractive ROI, an 18-month full-time MBA program, an incredible football game atmosphere, and a spirited town. However, I knew from my undergraduate experience (Go Tigers), that the thing that will stick with you forever is the people. “People” in business school is three-fold: the Mays Business School faculty and staff, the current students, and the Aggie Network. I attended several recruiting events, so I knew that the faculty and staff were top-notch. My visit to campus gave me a glimpse into the dynamic of the current students, which was team-oriented, competitive, and diverse. Lastly, the Aggie Network (including former students) made themselves known during the recruiting process by attending events, offering time for coffee-chats, and helping me make other connections that would advance my career. I knew these were the kind of people I’d want in my corner!

Who was your favorite MBA professor? Dr. Bala Shetty—his Business Analytics class is undoubtedly one of the most challenging in our MBA program, but Dr. Shetty’s determination to help us understand the material motivated us to persist and was a great way to set the tone for graduate school. He has a knack for explaining concepts in multiple, creative ways so that students can relate and bring their own ideas to the table. Dr. Shetty cares a lot for his students and the business school and always brings ideas forward to better our experience at Mays and in our careers.

What was your favorite MBA event or tradition at your business school? B-Bowl/Alumni weekend was my favorite event during our program. Especially after so many virtual events during the pandemic, it was refreshing to meet some of the former students in-person, enjoy a delicious BBQ dinner, and talk about non-school things! Though we can get to know people well through phone or Zoom calls, this weekend reiterated to me that relationships will always be high priority.

Looking back over your MBA experience, what is the one thing you’d do differently and why? I’d take more time to get to know each of the professors. The opportunity is there with smaller class sizes and virtual office hours, but it’s easy to get tunnel-visioned on just mastering the content. Many of our professors do such cool things outside of the classroom, such as consult in their fields, lead research initiatives, invest in their local and professional communities, and have unique hobbies! Most all of the professors at TAMU are happy to share ideas, wisdom, connections, etc—all we have to do is ask.

What is the biggest myth about your school? That Texas A&M is a cult—it totally is, but in all the good ways. I never thought it’d hop on the train, but I have such respect for the many (many, many) traditions the university carries. While some of the traditions might seem strange, it really is the little things that add up to make TAMU such a special place. I think this translates well into real life too—the tiniest little improvements or habits will eventually add up to create something great.

What surprised you the most about business school? The number of resources at our disposal is incredible! The Career Management Center really set us up for success with personality assessments, strength finders, speakers, interview prep, info sessions, and skill building opportunities. There is a whole team of folks who want to support you and will find a way to help you learn skills and present yourself as best as possible. I regret not using the campus library until the last semester, because that also had a ton of resources that would otherwise cost thousands of dollars to access.

What is one thing you did during the application process that gave you an edge at the school you chose? Researched! I was super thorough in going through the Mays and the MBA Program websites to get familiar with the courses, career resources, student organizations, and other extracurricular competitions or opportunities. This helped me not only better understand the things I wanted to accomplish during my time in the program, but also how I could leverage my previous experience to bring value to the program and to my future classmates. I had a list of relevant questions that I made sure to get answered during the admissions process, and even had a couple discussions with alumni I had been connected with from the program.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? Justine Mensik is an incredible woman and colleague, and I feel so fortunate to call her a great friend! She courageously stepped up to formal leadership opportunities in our MBA Association and our Aggie Women’s MBA Association, and always did what she could to make sure our class’s experience was the best it could be, especially during uncertain times.

I definitely look up to her fashion choices, but more importantly to her tenacity to make sure people are treated with respect and to her wisdom beyond her years!

Who most influenced your decision to pursue business in college? Carter McElveen (Senior Lecturer and previous advisor at Clemson University) played a huge role in opening my eyes to the business world! I took her introductory marketing and sales classes after I had flip-flopped between business, education, and back to business for the first year of my undergraduate career. She challenged me and my peers in the classroom, treated us like adults, and made learning different facets of business rewarding and fun.

Carter is a prime example of what I envision “success” to look like—a successful career (both in academia and in sales/marketing), an A+ wife and mother, and is a selfless servant in her communities.

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

1. I’d like to lead a team. I really enjoy getting to know people and helping them achieve their goals. I’ve had great people-managers in the past and look forward to being able to provide leadership, mentorship, and growth opportunities for other individuals.

2. I’d like to own rental or vacation properties. A side stream of income is always nice, but there are so many places I’ve visited where the owners poured their hearts into properties and added fun personal touches to create an inviting space for others to enjoy time with their loved ones.

How has the pandemic changed your view of a career? The pandemic has taught me that there’s no one-size-fits-all version of success. Prioritization has become so much more prevalent in our lives, both personally and professionally and it’s totally okay (and hopefully encouraged) to shift priorities throughout your career. Some days you might celebrate a big win at work, and other days work things might be trumped to spend time with your family and friends— there is absolutely room at the table for both!

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

“A wizard with statistical software, Katie Steed has an even more magical ability to transform a group into a team. “Exemplary in her engagement,” wrote one teammate, “Katie often kickstarts assignments and provides motivation for others to contribute effectively.” “An excellent problem solver strong in quantitative subjects,” wrote another, “Katie is never rattled or flustered and always keeps the team in high spirits.” Multiple peers noted Katie’s gifts for seeing the critical path, no matter where it shifted, and negotiating compromises that allowed the team to move forward. “Katie kept us on pace,” noted a classmate, “by drawing out the opinions of the team and transforming them into a well-rounded decision we could all agree on.” One secret to Katie’s leadership: she knows the difference between high quality and perfection, and she ensures the latter does not compromise the former.

As the capstone professor, I had the opportunity to observe Katie and her team tackle a category expansion project for a well-known company in the food industry. The team’s multi-stage process involved broad research, analysis of a large proprietary data set, development of attractiveness criteria, agreement with the client on target categories, deep research, and developing recommendations for action. At every stage, Katie added value by understanding the strengths of her teammates and targeting her efforts accordingly. As the team powered through their project road map, Katie brought her versatility, lack of ego, and as one peer noted, her “emotional intelligence, kindness, and energy.” In a particularly competitive field, Katie’s team won first place in the Technical Projects category. Among the Class of 2022, Katie stands out as the reason her teams consistently achieved the MBA trifecta of learning, performing, and crossing the finish line happy and whole.”

Dr. Janet Marcantonio
Executive Professor for Individual Leadership Development & Capstone Project
Mays Business School, Texas A&M University


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