2023 Best & Brightest MBA: Allison Lyons, Yale School of Management

Allison Lyons

Yale School of Management

“Pivoter to strategy consultant, avid Jets fan, high school coach, and budding chef.”

Hometown: Fairfield, CT

Fun fact about yourself: I went to high school in the area. Since returning to New Haven, I now help coach my high school’s Junior Varsity Girls’ Basketball team and Junior Varsity Girls’ Lacrosse team. It’s been an absolute blast – I’ve never coached before, and it’s a highlight to my day!

Undergraduate School and Degree: University of Pennsylvania, BA in Economics and BA in International Relations

Where was the last place you worked before enrolling in business school? United States Federal Government, National Security Professional

Where did you intern during the summer of 2022? McKinsey & Company, Summer Associate, Stamford CT

Where will you be working after graduation? McKinsey & Company, Associate

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School:

  • General Management Club Leader
  • Student Government Representative to Career Development Office
  • Consulting Club Case Team Leader for group of seven first-year students
  • Tutor for Microeconomics (MGT 404), Modeling Managerial Decisions (MGT 405), and Investor (412)
  • Teaching Assistant for Negotiations (MGT 887) and Supply Chain Management (MGT 873)

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? One of the extracurricular achievements I’m most proud of has been the number of resources that the General Management Club has put together for the SOM community. The pandemic affected the club’s cadence of events on campus. This year, the other co-leaders and I sought to become more active and deliberate with events at SOM. In addition to holding more events focused on recruiting (office hours, panels, trainings, etc.), we’ve focused on bringing in more outside speakers, to include two CEOs and other industry leaders in a lunch-and-learn series.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? One of the skills I developed, which is transferable across my career. I feel very lucky that I was able to develop this skill early on; I learned how to wade through large amounts of information to make a confident decision. More importantly, I learned that by making a decision and moving forward, I can gather more information and course-correct.

Why did you choose this business school? SOM’s motto to educate students for business and society drew me to apply. The saying really resonated with me, because it focused on the role of the private sector in tackling some of our world’s most complex challenges. I had seen that the infrastructure for employment and education are the cornerstones for thriving communities, and I wanted a part in it.

What sold me on SOM was how much they lived the motto – demonstrated by the classes, the clubs and activities, and the close-knit, passionate community. The latter was especially important to me. Going to business school was going to be a lot of change, and I knew it would be easier if I felt like I was part of a community.

Who was your favorite MBA professor? My favorite professor at SOM is Lorenzo Caliendo. He led an International Experience to Uruguay, which included in-classroom learning followed by a weeklong trip to Uruguay where we met with companies across industries. It was a fascinating trip where we touched all facets of the Uruguayan economy while being introduced to Uruguayan culture. Professor Caliendo was so passionate and knowledgeable – it made for a once-in-a-lifetime experience. I would take every class Professor Caliendo teaches, but last year he was teaching electives while I was taking the 1Y core, and this year he is teaching the core, so unfortunately it didn’t work out!

What was your favorite course as an MBA? My favorite course at Yale SOM has been Security Analysis and Valuation, taught by Matthew Spiegel. This class was one of the hardest classes I’ve taken at SOM but also one of the most rewarding. We conducted in-depth industry and company valuation analyses, then wrote reports that we had to defend to our classmates. It was a great lesson in gathering and analyzing our own data – and it was really fun to defend the results, especially when we had an unexpected recommendation!

Looking back over your MBA experience, what is the one thing you’d do differently and why? I wish that I went to more speaker series hosted by Yale SOM. The student-led clubs and SOM administration host great programming. It has included CEO fireside chats, panels with alumni, and discussions with the United States Surgeon General Vivek Murthy and President of Ukraine, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. I’ve prioritized attending these events this year, and don’t like to think about what I missed in the beginning of 1Y!

What is the biggest myth about your school? I have heard that because SOM is a newer school, potential applicants may be concerned about a smaller SOM alumni community. I can’t speak to the size of the alumni base, but can speak to the helpfulness of the alumni community! I have found alums across industries to be extremely generous with their time and advice, which has been much appreciated by everyone in the student body, including me.

What surprised you the most about business school? When I applied to Yale SOM, I was drawn to the SOM community. I also knew that business school was going to be a learning experience. I was surprised by how closely entwined the community is to the learning experience. There is a lot of camaraderie at SOM. This creates an environment where people feel comfortable sharing – and learning – from their peers, whether that’s in a structured classroom setting, a spirited lunchtime discussion, or a club event. The learning experiences extend beyond the traditional academic sense, as with the personal narratives of peers in Voices.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? This is a tough question, as I am so impressed by my classmates! One of my classmates that I especially admire is my good friend Jimmy Bryn. Jimmy is a US Army veteran, a dual degree earner at the Yale Law School, and recently co-founded SOM’s newest club, the Aerospace and Defense Club – a great addition to SOM’s professional clubs.

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

1. I want to be a trusted mentor or sounding board for people within my community or industry. I’m so appreciative of the people who have helped me thus far, especially with the pivot from the public sector to business school to McKinsey. I hope I can be a similar resource for others going forward, whether it’s making a daunting career pivot or navigating the industry.

2. There are a lot of things I want to accomplish in my career, but I want to make sure I never forget to give back. For example, I want to take the skills and expertise I learn at McKinsey and later apply it in volunteer opportunities for local nonprofits focused on children, such as the local Boys and Girls Club. Whether that’s through a Treasury role or COO role, I look forward to figuring it out!

What made Allison such an invaluable addition to the Class of 2023?

“Allison Lyons brings so many amazing attributes together in one person and is an amazing member of the Yale SOM community. She’s a leader of the General Management Club, a case leader in the Consulting Club, her class’s Student Government Career Development Rep, and an overall curious, insightful, kind, get it done person. New to student government, she took on the SG CDO role this year, already having a job and no self-interest. That’s carried through as she’s worked with the first-year rep, cohort and club leaders, and the CDO team. On top of it all, she’s fun to work with! Allison consistently comes from a place of contribution, compassion, and responsibility and represents all the ways Business & Society can manifest.”

Abigail R. Kies
Assistant Dean, Career Development


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