Berkeley Haas | Mr. Biz Human Rights
GRE 710, GPA 8/10
Darden | Mr. Program Manager
GRE 324, GPA 3.74
Harvard | Mr. The Builder
GMAT 740, GPA 4.0
Harvard | Mr. Consulting To Emerging Markets Banking
GRE 130, GPA 3.6 equivalent
Harvard | Mr. Comeback Kid
GMAT 770, GPA 2.8
Stanford GSB | Mr. Greek Taverna
GMAT 730, GPA 7.03/10
Harvard | Ms. Biotech Ops
GMAT 770, GPA 3.53
NYU Stern | Mr. Development
GMAT 690, GPA 2.5
Chicago Booth | Mr. Energy Operations
GRE 330, GPA 3.85
Harvard | Mr. Big 4 To Healthcare Reformer
GRE 338, GPA 4.0 (1st Class Honours - UK - Deans List)
Wharton | Mr. Steelmaker To Consultant
GMAT 760, GPA 3.04/4.0
Chicago Booth | Mr. Overrepresented Indian Engineer
GMAT 740, GPA 8.78/10
Duke Fuqua | Mr. Indian Quant
GMAT 745, GPA 9.6 out of 10
Stanford GSB | Mr. Food & Education Entrepreneur
GMAT 720, GPA 4.0
Harvard | Mr. Standard Military
GMAT 700, GPA 3.74
Harvard | Ms. Gay Engineer
GMAT 730, GPA 3.6
Harvard | Mr. International Oil
GMAT 710, GPA 3.7
Harvard | Mr. Lieutenant To Consultant
GMAT 760, GPA 3.7
Duke Fuqua | Mr. IB Back Office To Front Office/Consulting
GMAT 640, GPA 2.8
Tuck | Mr. Infantry Officer To MBA
GRE 314, GPA 3.4
Rice Business | Mr. Future Energy Consultant
GRE Received a GRE Waiver, GPA 3.3
Berkeley Haas | Mr. Campaigns To Business
GMAT 750, GPA 3.19
MIT Sloan | Mr. Special Forces
GMAT 720, GPA 3.82
Columbia | Mr. Fingers Crossed
GMAT 730, GPA 3.2
Harvard | Ms. Egyptian Heritage
GRE 320, GPA 3.7
Harvard | Mr. Investor & Operator (2+2)
GMAT 720, GPA 3.85
Harvard | Ms. Harvard Hopeful
GMAT 750, GPA 3.7

Meet the MBA Class of 2023: Kayla Williams, Northwestern University (Kellogg)

Kayla Williams

Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University

“An afro-licious lady in red who can always be found on the dance floor.”

Hometown: Bristol, PA

Fun Fact About Yourself: I’ve done Latin dance heat competitions in salsa, bachata, cha cha, Latin hustle, and merengue.

Undergraduate School and Major: University of Pittsburgh, Chemical Engineering

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: McKinsey & Company, Business Analyst

Aside from your classmates and location, what was the key part of Northwestern Kellogg’s MBA programming that led you to choose this business school and why was it so important to you? I was particularly drawn to Kellogg’s emphasis on a team-driven culture where you’re often expected to interact with all kinds of different people. For example, before you even start classes at Kellogg, you go on a week-long trip called KWEST with 20 other classmates. This was important for me because as an extrovert, I am energized by team settings and meeting new people! I’ve also spent most of my career working in teams, so I know the value of bringing diversity of thought together. It only made sense to pursue higher education through a team-based model as well.

What course, club or activity excites you the most at Northwestern Kellogg? It was the many opportunities to study abroad at Kellogg. Studying abroad has always been an enriching experience for me in the past, and Kellogg has one of the largest exchange programs with 25 different partner schools, one of the largest exchange programs. With so many options, I know I’ll be able to find a program that aligns with my interests and career interests. Currently, the Luxury Brand Management concentration through the study abroad exchange program at ESSEC in Paris is at the top of my radar. I’m fascinated by the luxury goods space and how companies market in that space. I hope to participate in this study abroad program and catch a sneak peek into the minds behind the positioning of luxury goods.

What word best describes the Kellogg MBA students and alumni you’ve met so far and why? Spunky. I know that’s a word that can mean a lot of different things to people, but that’s kind of the point. To me, it means bold and cool in a fun-loving way. I haven’t met anyone who takes themselves too seriously yet but they’re still all making bold moves whether as an entrepreneur or within an organization or otherwise. Whatever spunky means to you is likely also true, too!

What makes Chicago such a great place to earn an MBA? Chicago has something for everybody whether it’s diversity of weather, music, scenery, food, and culture. Even though Kellogg has students from all over the world, I’m positive every student can find a piece of Chicago that feels like home and a piece of Chicago that will take them outside of their comfort zone.

When I first moved to Chicago three years ago, I wanted to find “creative spaces” where I could relieve stress and express myself – and there is no shortage. Whether that be speakeasy jazz bars, slam poetry events, art museums, and more, there is always something to do.

Kellogg is known for a team-driven culture. What quality do you bring as a teammate and why is it so important to success? I think one quality I bring as a teammate is always assuming the best of others. Miscommunication and misunderstandings happen all the time and can tear teams apart. But in my experience, if you take the position of assuming the best and hearing someone out, there’s often a simple explanation to clear things up. I’m even grateful when people extend that same grace to me.

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: I led a team of 15+ cross-functional employees in preventing $5M+ in costs from frequent manufacturing line disruptions and shutdowns. I helped them create an interim inventory management process for predicting material shortages, which was the root of the problem. This was the first time I could see the impact of the work I was doing in a significant way and experience the excitement with the people I was helping.

How did COVID-19 change your perspective on your career and your life in general? It reenergized my desire to enjoy life. While COVID-19 took a lot of valuable things away from people globally, it also served as a wakeup call for me of what’s important in this short life. For me, that included spending more time with God, connecting with friends and family, dancing, and maintaining my self-care activities. With that in mind, I was privileged enough to be able to change jobs during the pandemic to have the flexible hours I needed to create time for my needs outside of work. Since then, I’ve found happiness that I’ve, quite frankly, never experienced before. My next job will need to be aligned with my interests but also still give me time to enjoy my life the way I want to.

What led you to pursue an MBA at this point and what do you hope to do after graduation? After being at McKinsey for 2.5 years, I realized I wanted to shift into brand management and marketing roles; however, with no formal background in business or marketing, I knew getting my MBA would be the best option for such a career pivot. In particular, I was drawn to Kellogg due to its reputation in marketing and the access I would have to some of the greatest marketing professors in the world. After I graduate, I hope to enter the wine and spirits industry in a brand manager role.

What other MBA programs did you apply to? Booth, Columbia, Wharton

What advice would you give to help potential applicants gain admission into Northwestern Kellogg’s MBA program? Don’t try to be anything but you. It’s easy to be amazed at other people’s accomplishments; it’s a lot harder to realize that people are amazed at your accomplishments too. Focus on emphasizing the things that you have done and why it mattered to someone, even if just one person. After all, we can’t all cure cancer.