Meet the MBA Class of 2025: Martha Wong, Northwestern University (Kellogg)

Martha Wong

Northwestern University, Kellogg School of Management

“Down-to-earth and intentional sister, daughter, and friend seeking balance as a recovering perfectionist.”

Hometown: Milwaukee, WI

Fun Fact About Yourself: I played on the boys’ golf team throughout high school because we didn’t have a girls’ team. I look back now and am shocked (but happy) that I did this because I was very shy at the time, and it was quite an intimidating experience!

Undergraduate School and Major: Marquette University (Accounting and Finance)

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Waud Capital / Associate

Aside from your classmates and location, what was the key part of Northwestern Kellogg’s MBA curriculum or programming that led you to choose this business school and why was it so important to you? Kellogg’s 1Y program was a huge factor in my decision. I knew I wanted to go back to private equity after my MBA, so I did not feel that I needed to be in school for two years. The 1Y program allows me to bypass some core classes and dive right into the engaging electives that Kellogg has to offer. Another unique part of Kellogg is the Advanced Private Equity Experience (APEX) program, which is a program designed for students who have a background in private equity and want to return to it after Kellogg. It’s a great way to connect with alumni and classmates in the industry.

What makes Chicago such a great place to earn an MBA? I will caveat that am biased because I am from the Midwest and never want to leave. Chicago is a great city that has a lot to offer, no matter what your interests are – foodies, sports enthusiasts, artists, and avid shoppers (me). Evanston is convenient because it is close to downtown, but you also benefit from living in a smaller community. Selfishly, I avoid Chicago traffic when I go home to Milwaukee, so it is quite convenient from that perspective too.

Kellogg is known for a team-driven culture. What quality do you bring as a teammate and why will it be so important to the success of MBA class? Positivity and remaining unfazed in chaos. Having a positive attitude makes a big difference when working in teams, especially when things get stressful. As the oldest of five, I grew up in a naturally chaotic environment, so I have learned how to remain calm in almost any circumstance. Positivity and my unbothered spirit allow me to be a good team member.

What course, club or activity excites you the most at Northwestern Kellogg? I am excited to go on “Mystery KWEST” (Kellogg’s Worldwide Exploration Student Trip). KWEST is a week-long trip in late August led and planned by roughly five second-year students for roughly 20 first-year students per group. Students rank over 30 locations (both domestic and international). One of my main goals this year is to push myself outside of my comfort zone, and I can’t think of a better way to put this plan in motion than going on a trip where I won’t know the destination until departure.

What has been your first impression of the Kellogg MBA students and alumni you’ve met so far. Tell us your best Kellogg story so far. Diverse. As someone who was an undergraduate business major and spent six years in finance, it has been a new experience to be around people who don’t know or care what EBITDA (Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation, and Amortization) is. There is so much to learn when in a group of people with such diverse backgrounds.

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: Even though I have had the opportunity to work on very challenging and engaging deals in investment banking and private equity, my biggest accomplishment has been forming strong bonds with coworkers and management teams – many I now consider friends. I often say that I am only in finance for the colorful (and at times crazy) personalities, but people are truly what keep things interesting at work and in life. I feel so lucky to have crossed paths with incredible individuals.

Looking ahead two years, what would make your MBA experience successful? I only have to look ahead one year! Coming out of Kellogg with meaningful friendships and really forcing myself outside my comfort zone by saying “yes” to new experiences would make the MBA experience successful. It wouldn’t hurt to use all this extra time to get in better shape either.

What other MBA programs did you apply to? I only applied to Kellogg’s 1Y program!

What advice would you give to help potential applicants gain admission into Northwestern Kellogg’s MBA program? Take the time to determine what you want to get out of an MBA program, and be authentic about it when you are applying. I only applied to Kellogg’s 1Y program because it really was the perfect option for me – I didn’t want to leave the Midwest and knew I wanted to stay in private equity. From there, I was able to craft a very authentic story and express my genuine interest.


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