Meet the MBA Class of 2025: Paige Prieto, Columbia Business School

Paige Prieto

Columbia Business School

“Mom and veteran, passionate about leaving a better planet for the next generation.”

Hometown: Flower Mound, TX

Fun Fact About Yourself: My family and I moved to NYC from Germany by way of Tokyo! My husband and I left our jobs in Germany in March and then spent the next five months traveling with our toddler across Asia followed by a California-to-New York road trip.

Undergraduate School and Major:

Baylor University, BA in Russian

Air Force Institute of Technology, MS in Logistics

Most Recent Employer and Job Title:

United States Air Force, Logistics Officer

Last Position: Mobility Planner at United States Africa Command in Stuttgart, Germany.

What makes New York City such a great place to earn an MBA? I see living in NYC as the ultimate adventure for my entire family. As part of a dual-career couple, (my husband is also attending CBS!) it was important to be somewhere we could all have access to opportunities and experiences that only NYC can provide – our toddler included.

Aside from your classmates and location, what was the key part of Columbia Business School’s MBA curriculum programming that led you to choose this business school and why was it so important to you? Columbia Business School’s learning team model is an important aspect of the CBS experience for me, both academically and personally. Learning teams are groups of about five students from diverse professional and personal backgrounds. Coming from the public sector, I know that I will learn a lot from my team and am excited to have a core group to lean on as we tackle the first semester.

What has been your first impression of the Columbia Business School MBA students and alumni you’ve met so far. Tell us your best CBS story so far.  One of my favorite CBS moments was grabbing a coffee with two current students during my campus visit. Both students (a fellow veteran and a mom) were so kind and welcoming: their genuine enthusiasm for CBS made me want to be a part of this community even more.

What course, club, or activity excites you the most at Columbia Business School? I am excited about the Three Cairns Fellowship. Being at the very center of business, there are so many opportunities to work with impactful companies and nonprofits. This fellowship provides a great way for me to hone my business skills and make a difference, exactly what I hope to accomplish at CBS and beyond.

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: The biggest accomplishment of my career was not a single moment, but covered the past two years as I coordinated aircraft movements across Africa while simultaneously caring for my daughter. Whether it was sourcing her prescription formula during a worldwide shortage or sourcing aircraft for a Presidential-level diplomatic mission, both situations called for me to activate all my expertise and skills to achieve no-fail missions on unbreakable deadlines.

What do you hope to do after graduation? I am passionate about solving the tough problems that our planet faces, mainly “How do we make our everyday items more sustainable?” As a military logistician, I was constantly amazed by the power of supply chains. My team and I transported blood from Kuwait to the frontlines in Syria. During the COVID-19 pandemic, we sourced protective equipment in Germany and delivered it to healthcare workers in South Africa. Even though this gratifying work, I discovered the supply chains we use to alleviate so much pain and hardship also have major problems that need to be addressed: namely the unintended negative effects on workers and the environment. I believe these challenges are best addressed through the private sector.

Due to its massive scope, I see private sector Consumer Products as an exciting place to magnify my impact. Even a small shift in operations can have an extraordinary effect. Reducing plastic packaging, selecting socially responsible suppliers, or carbon-neutral transportation; each of these compounded over entire product lines mean a huge impact on our world.

What other MBA programs did you apply to? NYU Stern and Yale School of Management

What advice would you give to help potential applicants gain admission into Columbia Business School’s MBA program? Make an effort to connect with current students and alumni that share similar interests or backgrounds. For me, it was important to talk to other parents, particularly mothers about their experiences. These conversations helped me imagine my future in granular detail. Not only does this help you personally, but it can give your essays the specificity needed to show the Admission Committee that you are driven to be a part of the CBS community.


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