2023 MBA To Watch: Christina Muhlestein Bates, Brigham Young University (Marriott)

Christina Muhlestein Bates

Brigham Young University, Marriott School of Business

“A girl with an amazing life, seeking to beautify the world around me.”

Hometown: Bountiful, Utah, USA

Fun fact about yourself: I am seventh of 11 children and talk to each of my family members weekly. I also have a pet chicken that I adore.

Undergraduate School and Degree: Brigham Young University, BS Chemical Engineering

Where was the last place you worked before enrolling in business school? The Missionary Department for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Where did you intern during the summer of 2022? Rothschild & Co.

Where will you be working after graduation? Sorenson Capital Partners, Associate

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School: Presidential Scholar, Cougar Capital Managing Director, Operations Track Lead, Co-founder of National MBA Faith & Belief at Work Case Competition

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? A few classmates and I helped launch the first-ever national MBA Faith & Belief at Work Case Competition. It was such a special experience to work with my classmates and share our unique faith & beliefs with MBA students and faculty from around the country. Learning the vocabulary and having the tools to bring my full, authentic self to the business world is one of the most valuable things I have gained from my MBA.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? Receiving an offer to work at Sorenson Capital Partners after graduation has been such an honor. The caliber of my co-workers and the number of exceptional mentors I will have access to far exceeded any expectations I had.

Why did you choose this business school? I chose to attend the BYU Marriott School of Business because of the high-level of student and faculty collaboration, the vast and involved alumni network, and the incredible ROI of the two-year program. BYU Marriott’s MBA program is the best kept secret in the business world.

Who was your favorite MBA professor? Gary Williams (professor of the student-run venture firm, Cougar Capital) took a chance on me when I wouldn’t have even taken a chance on myself. He taught me through real-world experience how to be a better leader, learner, and person. His mentorship changed the course of my career and life for the better.

What was your favorite course as an MBA? Commercial Real Estate Development. The course was taught by Troy Carpenter, an experienced professor and RE professional, as well as over a dozen RE professionals working across different sectors within commercial real estate. I learned more in that class about becoming a developer than I could have learned reading 1,000 books. The real-life expertise was invaluable.

What was your favorite MBA event or tradition at your business school? My favorite tradition of the BYU Marriott MBA program is the active MBA Spouses association. BYU does an amazing job at facilitating opportunities for families and spouses to become involved in all BYU activities. Some of my dearest friendships have come through this program.

Looking back over your MBA experience, what is the one thing you’d do differently and why? I would spend more time with my classmates outside of school.

What is the biggest myth about your school? Many believe that the BYU Marriott’s MBA lacks diversity; however, my cohort was made of the most diverse group of individuals I have ever worked with—they come from all walks of life, countries, beliefs, and backgrounds.

What did you love most about your business school’s town? Access to the mountains! We are 20 minutes from ski slopes, two minutes from amazing hikes, and four minutes from some of the best rock climbing in the state

What surprised you the most about business school? How accomplished and involved the faculty are.

What is one thing you did during the application process that gave you an edge at the school you chose? There was an option to waive the GMAT during the COVID-19 pandemic but I decided to study hard and take the exam anyway. It helped my application and helped me get back into the school mindset.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? Emily Britton. Emily is a rockstar. She has a degree in chemical engineering, helped start a successful solar company, and is also a single mother with two adorable little boys. She has taught me so much about what it means to be fierce, kind, and perseverant.

What are the top two items on your professional bucket list? First, I want to become the best growth investor in the country. Second, I want to build beautiful and affordable housing across the country.

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

“Christina has been a student in my courses for the past two academic years. In the second year of the MBA program, students in the venture capital and private equity course run an active fund, conducting due diligence on firms, participating as a syndicate member with top-tier industry firms, investing in companies, managing a portfolio of more than 30 active firms, assessing exit opportunities, etc. The fund is “student run” and as such, students perform all management functions and make independent decisions on investments. Christina is the fund’s current managing director, with responsibility for all aspects of the fund and its 16-student member team. She is responsible for fund performance, delegation, driving consensus among team members, and representing the fund and the university to the professional community. Christina is exemplary in leading a diverse group of MBA students from all disciplines within the program. She is dedicated, driven, thoughtful and smart.  Students within the team are required to vote on investments in a super majority, often requiring the managing director to consolidate the thought process, carefully listening to all sides on an investment decision and then bringing the team forward to a conclusion.”

Gary Williams
Teaching Professors of Entrepreneurship



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