“Child-like excitement and diligent work ethic wrapped up in a pint-sized package.”
Hometown: Great Neck, NY
Fun Fact About Yourself: I spent the last year on photography sets learning how to manipulate the five senses to drive purchases of ice cream, chicken nuggets and America’s Favorite Sandwich – the Whopper!
Undergraduate School and Major: Northwestern University – Human Development & Psychological Services, Spanish
Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Restaurant Brands International – Merchandising Manager
Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: About a week before I was set to transition to a new role in consumer insights, the supervisor I was to work under left the company. So a person with no professional marketing experience was about to become a one-woman team! I read every document I could, met with former insights managers at the company, and even went back to my college marketing notes to make sure I was prepared. About three months into the role, I was considered the voice of the consumer and the insights expert. Senior leaders trusted my recommendations and looked to me for guidance. It was the steepest learning curve I’ve ever experienced but showed me what I can handle in the future.
What quality best describes the MBA classmates you’ve met so far and why? Their inclusivity! When I was applying to MBA programs, I was told that “Sternies” are the kind of people who “open the circle.” Literally. Be it social or professional, Sternies include you in the conversation, and they don’t puff their chests out or monopolize conversations to make themselves stand out.
But I didn’t believe it until I experienced it myself at a recent leadership conference. My Stern peers actively tried to include me in conversations with company reps and encouraged me to speak up – there was no competition, and we shined both as individuals and as a group representing Stern.
Aside from your classmates and location, what was the key factor that led you to choose this program for your full-time MBA and why was it so important to you? I was slightly concerned that everyone at b-school would be finance-focused and coming from a career in creative marketing for a fast-food company, I would be the odd woman out.
However, Stern really promotes the IQ+EQ culture, and I saw that regardless of anyone’s individual strengths and backgrounds, we all value empathy and teamwork. This was a place where people would appreciate a variety of experiences and we could help each other round out our collective strengths.
What club or activity are you looking most forward to in business school? Stern Women in Business! When I was applying to school, I’d reached out to SWIB to see if any of the members would be willing to chat with me and give me the down-low on Stern. A member reached out to me instantly and moved around her personal schedule to make sure she had enough time to get to know me and help me out before my interview. She wanted to make sure a fellow lady-boss had every tool she needed to go kill it in the boardroom – I want to be that resource for next year’s applicants and beyond!
What was the most challenging question you were asked during the admissions process? “Have you really been to Disney World 15 times in the last 4 years?” which was asked during my Stern interview. In my Pick-Six visual essay, I’d shown pictures of me in places I’m passionate about, one of which is Disney. It was a risk to pick something “unprofessional,” and I couldn’t gauge what the interviewer thought at first – but she was genuinely interested in what made me love it so much! I dove into a story about cast members saying “Happy Birthday, Princess” to little girls, the popcorn smells and musical memories, and my favorite place in the parks (it’s the Kilimanjaro Safaris ride in the Animal Kingdom).
The interviewer loved my passion – she said she’d never had a conversation like that with any other candidate and loved how I thought about the Disney guest experience start-to-finish. A tough question that turned into a great conversation!
What led you to pursue an MBA at this point in your career? My work has primarily been creative in nature – but I always envied the marketers who could see a problem, find the right data sources, and mine for answers to make a change for the business. I want to move into a more strategic marketing role in the future and I knew it was time to close some of the skills gaps I saw between myself and the people I admired at the company.
What other MBA programs did you apply to? Columbia, Kellogg
How did you determine your fit at various schools? Talking to current and past students was key – people LOVE to talk about themselves. I set up calls with students at each of my target schools and just let them talk for a while. Not about classes or recruiting – every top school has great classes and recruiting opportunities – but about their lives. What do you and your classmates do outside of school? Are you participating in any clubs or projects that are exciting for you? Do you feel like there’s more competition or collaboration at XX school? Have any of your peers pushed you to try something new? I wanted to hear what they were passionate about, and see if those passions lined up with mine.
What was your defining moment and how did it shape who you are? When I decided to join Burger King’s leadership development program in Miami after college. I didn’t have family or friends in the city. After studying psychology, I was still exploring career path options. But I saw a company that excited me – they operated like a start-up, acquiring new brands, and trusting good people to do BIG work. So what better place was there to start my career, grow personally and professionally, and figure out my strengths and passions along the way?
Where do you see yourself in ten years? In a leadership role with an international brand and creating great products and experiences for consumers worldwide. Oh, and I hope I’ll have a dog by then! First I’ll need an apartment without carpets though…