2023 MBA To Watch: Kanokbhorn (KK) Saha, Georgetown University (McDonough)

Kanokbhorn (KK) Saha

Georgetown University, McDonough School of Business

“A career-driven woman who will always be there for family and friends no matter what.”

Hometown: Bangkok, Thailand

Fun fact about yourself: When I was in middle school, I had the opportunity to have lunch with Jackie Chan when he visited my school.

Undergraduate School and Degree: University of Washington, B.A. in Economics and Political Science

Where was the last place you worked before enrolling in business school? Kiatnakin Phatra Financial Group (Bangkok, Thailand)

Where did you intern during the summer of 2022? Summer Associate, U.S. Wealth Advisory Team, BlackRock (New York City)

Where will you be working after graduation? Associate, U.S. Wealth Advisory Team, BlackRock (New York City)

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School:

  1. Student Government Association – VP of Admissions
  2. Graduate Women in Business – VP of Finance
  3. Community Standards Board – Co-Chair
  4. MBA Program Admissions – Student Interviewer
  5. TA position for a finance course (Valuations)

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? Being the co-chair of the Community Standards Board. It allowed me the opportunity to lead the student body from a different perspective and uphold the University’s ethos and principles. I was able to work with students and professors to ensure that the highest standards of academic integrity and fair and ethical dealing with the community members are being accomplished.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? Being able to land an internship and full-time job at BlackRock – it was my ultimate goal of why I wanted to do my MBA. After graduating from undergrad, I was in the final round of getting an offer from BlackRock (Seattle Office) and unfortunately, it did not work out. I then had to move back home to Bangkok, Thailand, and since then, I made it a personal goal for myself to try again and come back to the U.S. with the hopes of working at BlackRock and staying in the U.S.

Why did you choose this business school? Georgetown McDonough School of Business is all about community and that is what I was looking for when deciding on which MBA program I wanted to attend. I wanted a smaller program (we are a class of ~250 students and ~60 per cohort) where I get to meet the majority of the people and connect with them on a personal level. I can confidently say that I will graduate knowing at least 70% of the student’s names in the program and have at least met or had a conversation with at least 50% of them.

Who was your favorite MBA professor? Professor Charly Porcher – he was the very first professor of our very first core class (Structure of Global Industries) we had to take during the opening term. He is a young and successful professor who is very knowledgeable in his field, but ensures that his class contents are easy to follow. He does very well at simplifying complex concepts for students to be easily understood and is very engaging during class. He goes above and beyond to help students outside of class time and does a good job at teaching his course.

What was your favorite course as an MBA? Financial Markets: Institutions and Regulations was my favorite class because the course revolved around applying real-world cases to develop a deep understanding of how banks, hedge funds, and financial institutions profit from changes in the technological, competitive, and regulatory environment. I was exposed to a lot of great conversations and concepts that will help me succeed in the finance industry as the world moves forward with technology.

What was your favorite MBA event or tradition at your business school? The McDonough Cup is our annual sports/spirit week where the different cohorts compete against each other for the big McDonough Cup trophy. The competition entails a variety of activities ranging from sports to volunteering hours to community service to miscellaneous games. It reflects Georgetown’s cura personalis approach (which means “care of the whole person”) as the university is committed not just to our academic achievement, but also to our mental and physical health, our spiritual growth, and on top of that, creating a tight-knit community where teamwork and leadership are encouraged amongst all.

Looking back over your MBA experience, what is the one thing you’d do differently and why? I would have wanted to take more classes that took me out of my comfort zone. I have a lot of love for finance, so the majority of the electives I have chosen are all finance-related classes. I feel comfortable but at the same time challenged in those classes but finance was and is my comfort zone. When I am reflecting back at all the classes that I have taken in the MBA, I wish I would have pushed myself to take classes that are in the realm of something that I would not necessarily think that I am good at such as marketing, analytics, and consulting.

What is the biggest myth about your school? That Georgetown students are privileged and snobby. It’s actually the complete opposite. Everyone in the program is down-to-earth and we are a tight-knit group that is humble but ambitious, who care for each other and the impact that we will have in the world and the careers we are going into.

What did you love most about your business school’s town? Washington, D.C. is a destination; all things lead to it. You can enjoy everything from good restaurants scene to vibrant nightlife, and the best of it all…the museums and monuments. A regular day can involve walking to the Lincoln Memorial, then strolling down the National Mall and visiting a couple of Smithsonian Museums. From there you could have a nice meal at Le Diplomate and end the night in DuPont or U Street bars. It’s the best of all worlds, in my opinion.

What surprised you the most about business school? The academic rigor and maintaining a good GPA. Business school students are often perceived by outsiders that we tend to not actually do school but I beg to differ. The academic rigor that I have experienced is demanding, but rewarding at the same time. The amount of group projects, pre-class prep, quizzes, presentations, and exams we have to do is a lot more than what I expected.

What is one thing you did during the application process that gave you an edge at the school you chose? Leveraging my international experience and career accomplishment. I applied knowing exactly what I wanted out of the MBA – my short-term and long-term goals were clear, I had a plan B in mind if plan A did not work out, and I was able to talk about my success, failures, and challenges that helped me grow as a person during my time between undergrad and when I applied for/planned to get my MBA.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? Gean McSorley – she goes above and beyond to be inclusive and is the one who plans a lot of social events for our cohort. She is ambitious and loves to find new things and places to explore around the city. I’m the type of person who does not really take that extra step to find new things around the city unless my friends invite me to join them and she is one of my peers that does that. She invites me to all the up-and-coming events in the area and is one of the main reasons why I got to experience so much of Washington, D.C.

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

1. Making it on Fortune’s 40 Under 40 list

2. Become a good resource, mentor, and influence to women who want a successful career in finance.

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

“KK exemplifies so many of the values we hold dear at McDonough: she is people-centered, global, and makes the program better not just for her class currently, but will leave a lasting legacy representing her class moving forward. She has held leadership positions across identities and functions, from VP of Admissions for Student Government to VP of Finance for Georgetown Women in Business and co-chair of the Community Standards Board. Beyond this, she supports fellow Hoyas navigate their quantitative education as a TA for our valuations course, and volunteers further for our admissions office interviewing prospective students to ensure we maintain culture and fit across the program.

Beyond these displays of impact and leadership, KK is a living example of our foundational value cura personalis. I have seen her celebrate wins with others, lift people up in busy times, and go out of her way to build connections across the community. KK keeps an incredibly busy schedule but never pauses in sharing her time or supporting others. She successfully secured and completed an internship at BlackRock over the summer, and is returning to represent Georgetown full-time in the fall. I am proud to call KK a friend and colleague, and know she will continue to represent McDonough well throughout her successful and balanced career. KK made her cohort and class of 2023 better for being a part of it.

Sadie Marsman
Assistant Director, MBA Admissions and Partnerships

DON’T MISS: THE ENTIRE LIST OF MBAS TO WATCH IN 2023

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