2022 MBA To Watch: Megan Kling, University of Texas-Dallas (Jindal)

Megan Kling

University of Texas at Dallas, Naveen Jindal School of Management

“A lifelong musician who uses her analytical skills to discover compelling ways to solve problems.”

Hometown: Dallas, TX

Fun fact about yourself: I enjoy fostering cats and dogs with the local SPCA animal rescue!

Undergraduate School and Degree: University of Miami, Bachelor of Music in Music Therapy

Where was the last place you worked before enrolling in business school? Carrollton-Farmers Branch ISD, Teacher’s Assistant, Special Education

Where did you intern during the summer of 2021? Virtru, Washington, D.C.

Where will you be working after graduation? Product Manager, MBA Development Program, Capital One

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School: Vice President, National Association for Women MBAs (NAWMBA), UT Dallas chapter; Associate, Consulting Leadership & Development Society, UT Dallas

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? While on the leadership team, I increased the member programming for our UTD chapter of NAWMBA by 50%, helping to enrich the personal and professional experience of our members. These programs include speaker panels, internal mentorship, and community service.  Our chapter of NAWMBA has become a value-adding organization even when operating in a remote setting.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? I am exceedingly proud of myself for winning a top prize in a hackathon during my summer internship at Virtru. I led a “no code” project to develop a video marketing content framework, which won an award from external judges and a prize of $2,000 to donate to a charity of my choice.

Why did you choose this business school? I chose the UT Dallas Jindal School of Management because of its reputation of excellence in helping students of various backgrounds pivot into new career paths in business. Since I had only ever worked in the education and non-profit sectors, I sought a school that would recognize my aptitude for learning and provide the resources I needed to propel me forward. Each conversation I had with staff and alumni during my interview process affirmed my choice, and my return on investment upon graduation will be astronomical.

Who was your favorite MBA professor? My favorite professor is Dr. Dorothee Honhon, who teaches Operations Management. She gives lectures that are structured, engaging, fun, and appropriately scaffolded for us students with no operations or project management experience.  It was very apparent that Professor Honhon cares about her students’ success and learning by her willingness to walk through problems, answer questions, and provide helpful feedback.

What was your favorite MBA event or tradition at your business school? My class unfortunately did not get to take part in many MBA events or traditions at my school due to the pandemic. However, my favorite experience so far has been the professional mentorship match program. The mentor I paired with — a leader within a large company here in Dallas — has already become a wonderful keystone in my network. With this mentorship program, the MBA office at UT Dallas prioritized connecting students to professionals in the “real world,” setting us up for success post-graduation.

Looking back over your MBA experience, what is the one thing you’d do differently and why? I began this MBA with the intention to take advantage of every opportunity offered to me, and for the most part, I believe I succeeded. The one thing I may have done differently is to participate in more student-led case competitions. I know now that practicing cases not only provides resume-building skills, but it also teaches a way of thinking that would be beneficial to me as a future product manager and business leader.

What is the biggest myth about your school? The biggest myth about UT Dallas is that everybody is an engineer; needless to say, that is nowhere near true! In my MBA cohort alone, we had teachers, social workers, nurses, watchmakers, car designers, and veterans. I am so glad I did not let my perception of my non-technical background stop me from attending business school at UT Dallas.

What surprised you the most about business school? What surprised me most on the first day of orientation was how many people in my MBA cohort were just like me: coming in with a non-traditional background, unsure of where they fit in the business world, but having a lot to offer. Many of my classmates were also aiming for a career pivot, and everybody had an open mind for learning from each other.

What is one thing you did during the application process that gave you an edge at the school you chose? I believe that the way I described my cross-functional skillset from my past work experience helped give me an edge for acceptance and scholarship to UT Dallas Jindal School of Management. I highlighted my unique value proposition as a candidate for the full-time cohort with a non-traditional background, and I spoke to the type of impact I hoped to have while in the program.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? I admire my classmate Vivek Shrimali, who attended the entire first semester of the full-time MBA (our most difficult semester) from his home in India. Not only was he managing the stressors of a pandemic and taking difficult classes like the rest of us, but he also had to adapt to a completely new culture of life and learning here in Texas. He worked a full-time internship while being a full-time student, and he is also one of the kindest people in my class.

Who most influenced your decision to pursue business in college? One of my former employers, a small business owner, inspired me to pursue business. I admired the way she started and ran her own private practice in order to provide for herself, her family, and her community. Although she did not have an MBA herself, her success made me wonder what potential I could reach with an education in business. She also inspires me to use my skills for social impact and uplifting women in the workplace.

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

1) Develop an accessible mentorship program for women in business and tech.

2) Become a social entrepreneur in my community.

How has the pandemic changed your view of a career? Not only did the pandemic cause me to re-evaluate what I wanted in a career and in my life, but it also made me very conscious about the path I chose (product management) and its degree of adaptability to future disruptions and innovations in the market. I know that my new technical and analytical skills will help disaster-proof my career for the foreseeable future. I am now much more confident that I can help solve problems for a company and a community, no matter how unprecedented those problems may be.


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