Meet the MBA Class of 2025: Kate Woods, USC (Marshall)

Katherine (Kate) Woods

University of Southern California, Marshall School of Business

“Curious, adventurous, and loyal. I value learning about other people with diverse backgrounds.”

Hometown: New York City, NY

Fun Fact About Yourself: I love gardening so much that I created my own garden on my fire escape in New York City.

Undergraduate School and Major: Vanderbilt University, Child Development and Cognitive Studies (double major)

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP – Financial Analyst

What has been your first impression of the Marshall MBA students and alumni you’ve met so far. Tell us your best Marshall story so far. My first impression was, “Wow, I have found my people!” I have never experienced so many like-minded, highly motivated, friendly, yet totally different and unique people in one group. I started making strong connections and close friendships with Marshall students as soon as I arrived in Los Angeles, just a few days before orientation. I was nervous to move across the country by myself, not knowing anyone and just hoping I would find a couple of friends. I constantly find myself in awe of how my peers will go out of their way to meet me and help me when I need support. Just last week, I left my wallet in a classroom, and a Part Time MBA student found it and emailed me. He took it with him to keep it safe, but he was not going to be coming back to campus for at least a week. I told him I did not have a car but would find a way to get it. Instead, he offered to drive across town and delivered my wallet to me the next day. He also provided some great MBA advice!

What makes Los Angeles such a great place to earn an MBA? Los Angeles has so many amazing business opportunities; coming from New York City, it was important for me to stay in a big city that had many different industries to explore. On the other hand, I was looking for a city with a more laid-back vibe and better weather. I love being outdoors, and my MBA classmates are always planning outdoor activities, especially at the beach. Spending time enjoying great weather, hanging out on the beach, or playing any sport you can imagine has made our class even more united.

Aside from your classmates and location, what was the key part of USC Marshall’s MBA programming that led you to choose this business school and why was it so important to you? USC Marshall’s Graduate Career services was an integral part of my decision to choose the MBA program. I entered the MBA program knowing I wanted to pivot careers, but needing additional guidance in deciding the specific role that is best suited for me. They are supporting me in exploring various industries and roles for my career.

What course, club or activity excites you the most at USC Marshall? GWiB (Graduate Women in Business) is at the top of my list. I have already found so many women here who, like me, have experienced challenges as a woman in business. Unfortunately, all too often, women are not supporting each other in the workplace. This has uniquely bonded us. I am so grateful to now be surrounded by women who are so happy to support each other, as well as men in the program who are able to appreciate these challenges and want be part of the solution. I am excited to learn about potential career paths, and I am excited to join the Healthcare Leadership Association. I came into this program with a passion for healthcare and am thrilled to see how many different paths Marshall Students and alumni have taken in the industry. I am also looking forward to joining the Marshall Business Competition Program, because Case Competitions are something I have been extremely excited participating in. I know I will want to join all of the social and recreational clubs, but if I must choose, I am most looking forward to the Marshall Outdoor Club and the Marshall Wine Club!

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: Leading a team of high school interns. It was so rewarding to be a resource for them to discuss their future and get excited about it with them. My firm partnered with a high school that provided students with a corporate work study component that aimed to provide students job experience and exposure to a wide variety of industries. Most importantly, it provided a safe atmosphere where they would excel and be appreciated for their contributions. This markedly improved their confidence and allowed them space to think about their futures after high school and set clear goals.

What advice would you give to help potential applicants gain admission into USC Marshall’s MBA program? Be yourself! Do not overthink the process and let go of preconceived notions you may have about what you think an MBA admissions team would want to hear from you. Highlight your passion and personality. Being admitted based on an application and an interview where I expressed my authentic self gave me confidence to start my MBA journey at Marshall, knowing that they accepted and appreciated my originality. Don’t be afraid to get personal, because Marshall wants to know why you are applying and what makes you a good fit and vice versa.


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