Meet the MBA Class of 2024: Malika Aubakirova, Stanford GSB

Malika Aubakirova

Stanford Graduate School of Business

“Coffee enthusiast with an independent, entrepreneurial, adventurous, and ambitious spirit.”

Hometown: Astana, Kazakhstan

Fun Fact About Yourself: I won a Latte art competition at the Google Chicago office’s competition.

Undergraduate School and Major: University of Chicago, BS in Computer Science and a BA in Economics

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Senior Software Engineer @ Chronicle Security, now part of Google Cloud

Aside from your classmates, what was the key part of Stanford GSB’s MBA programming that led you to choose this business school and why was it so important to you?  There were a number of reasons, but ultimately came down to:

* Support from Stanford GSB – Whenever I reached out, I did feel fully listened to. Stanford really cared about me as a person.

* Location – given my interest in startups, I knew GSB is perfectly located to achieve my post-career goals.

* Class size – I really wanted to get to know my classmates by the end of two years. I feel like I’ve already interacted with at least half of the class!

What has been the most surprising thing that you’ve learned about Stanford GSB so far? How rigorous the academics are! Right now, I am taking 20 credits (the maximum), and I can say that I definitely feel the workload, but am excited to truly embrace these subject topics.

What quality best describes your MBA classmates you’ve met so far? Give an example why this is true.
Vulnerability is a quality that I would use to describe the culture of a Stanford GSB class, as it is a key element in the program’s approach (e.g. TALK and Interpersonal dynamics). The GSB curriculum places a strong emphasis on self-awareness and personal development, and encourages students to be open and honest about our weaknesses and areas for improvement. This creates a culture where vulnerability is not only accepted but also encouraged. Personally, that helps build deeper connections with my classmates and develop a more authentic leadership style. Indeed, the GSB community fosters an environment where we can learn from our failures and be vulnerable about our mistakes, which helps us to become better selves.

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far:  Definitely a lot of great memories come to mind. They include driving Rules Engine to General Availability at Chronicle Security to doing a Mission Control rotation with Spanner (one of world’s largest distributed databases). A more recent example for me has been working with a lot of entrepreneurs as a fellow at MVP Ventures. Hearing founder stories is always inspiring and breathtaking to me!

Describe your biggest accomplishment as an MBA student so far? My classmate and I have built a team at Stanford to explore the fertility space. Ultimately, we were one of eight teams out of 60 to get accepted into the iconic Stanford class called Lean Launchpad. This class is a competitive and sought-after program that provides students with a unique opportunity to develop and launch their own ventures. This program involves intensive coursework, hands-on projects, and mentorship from experienced entrepreneurs and industry experts. There have been a lot of learnings so I am definitely glad I got a chance to do it the first year.

What has been the biggest epiphany you’ve gained about yourself or the world since you started your MBA program? It is somewhat very self-explanatory now, but the fact that even after GSB, there is so much to grasp about leadership. During an MBA program, I am learning about various leadership styles, strategies, and approaches that have been effective for different individuals and organizations. So far, I had the opportunity to further develop my own leadership skills through Lead labs, hands-on projects, team assignments, and interactions with peers and faculty.

However, no matter how much I learn and grow during the MBA program, the journey toward becoming a great leader never truly ends. This is because the world is constantly changing, and the challenges and opportunities that leaders face are always evolving. As a result, I will need to continue to learn, reflect, and adapt my leadership approach throughout your career.

What advice would you give to a prospective applicant looking to join the Stanford GSB Class of 2024?

1. Know Yourself: Devote time to introspect on the reasons behind your desire to pursue an MBA and what you hope to achieve from the program. This self-reflection will aid you in expressing why you are a perfect match for Stanford GSB and what you can bring to the table.

2. Know the Program: Familiarize yourself with your target MBA schools and what sets them apart from other programs. Acquire knowledge about the curriculum, the teaching faculty, and the resources available to students.

3. Be Yourself: Be authentic and true to yourself in your application materials. Admissions committees want to get to know the real you, so be honest and let your personality shine through.


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