“Pun-loving, ice-breaking, whiteboarding session aficionado with a mission to constantly create meaningful moments for others.”
Hometown: San Diego, California
Fun Fact About Yourself: After 28 years in Southern California thriving as a beach volleyball lover, amateur boogie boarder, sailing instructor, and general ocean fanatic, I am stuck with a perpetual pile of sand in my shoes.
Undergraduate School and Major: UCLA, Business Economics Major and Italian Minor
Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Mercer, Senior Associate Consultant
Aside from your classmates, what was the key part of NYU Stern’s MBA programming that led you to choose this business school and why was it so important to you? I have always learned best by doing: the faster I get to start applying new knowledge, tackling messy exceptions, and having a hands-on impact, the better. While many schools lean into the theme of “experiential learning” in their programs, I believe it simply doesn’t get more hands-on, in a more collaborative model, than Stern. Whether it’s the experiential learning courses, DBi study abroad opportunities, Stern Solutions, or more – I felt that Stern had the ingredients I need, in the style I learn from best, to design the career I hope for.
What course, club or activity excites you the most at NYU Stern? The Leadership Fellows program, part of Stern’s Change: Studio programming, brings students together on a journey to harness their leadership strengths and hone their skills in “Daring, Dreaming, and Driving Change” – all while learning as much from veteran leaders as from fellow classmates. I am so excited to hopefully participate in such a meaningful leadership development program that is both highly collaborative and deeply introspective all at once.
What excites you the most about living in New York City and how do you see it enhancing your learning experience? New York City broadens your perspective and teaches you so much just by you choosing to exist in it – something I felt simply by sitting right by campus in Washington Square Park for 10 minutes in the days before I decided which MBA program to attend! For me, this is exactly what getting an MBA is all about: I was not just looking for a “business school in a bubble” experience, but a holistic life experience that challenges me to get out of my comfort zone every day in every way. Not to mention, as one of the densest centers of business, culture, and creativity in the world, I have no doubt NYC will bring lessons from the classroom to life the second I walk out of each lecture!
What does EQ (Emotional Intelligence) mean to you and when have you seen its value in your career? To me, EQ is about both understanding and seeking out the incredible value that comes from ensuring others feel heard, understood, valued, and represented. It has been the foundation of so many of the authentic, trusted, client and colleague relationships I have formed in my career. I strongly believe that leaders should work constantly to strengthen those “EQ” muscles. It’s not just because it’s the “right thing to do,” but because again-and-again, I have seen it lead to stronger solutions and happier, more creative, more inspired teams.
Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: In 2019, I was asked to project manage a global task force to shape a new consulting practice area, which was focused on addressing the workforce impact of technological disruption. During that year-long whirlwind rotation, I facilitated dozens of solution design sessions, created white papers and marketing collateral with colleagues from Singapore to Germany, and tested numerous joint value propositions with corporate partners – all to shape this high-level concept into practical insights and relevant solutions. It was the toughest and most rewarding assignment I had ever undertaken.
While the effort gave me the chance to reach hundreds of consultants and contribute to driving thought leadership and new revenue for our firm, I also got to build so many new skills: shaping roadmaps to tackle lofty goals, leading collaborative design processes to effective outcomes, and handling tricky roadblocks while embracing their accompanying learning moments. These skills helped me grow into a trusted driver for some of our firm’s most high profile, innovative projects. That accomplishment of becoming a go-to partner-in-crime for my colleagues, when they faced the most ambiguous client challenges, has been the most meaningful career accomplishment for me.
How did COVID-19 change your perspective on your career and your life in general? In HR consulting, I built a deep appreciation for the advantage that purpose-driven leadership and well-designed company cultures can create not just for an organization’s employees, but for customers and broader communities as well. This year, that advantage became clearer than ever, as I supported clients facing challenges that tested their company identities, values, and priorities in the face of COVID-19. I am proud that I helped them shape urgently needed strategies to address everything from flexible working to diversity, equity, and inclusion. But the challenges and opportunities that COVID-19 highlighted also made me realize that I don’t just want to be on the consulting side giving advice. I want to move into the heart of an organization, get closer to the “end-users” I impact through my work, and grow into a purpose-driven leader myself who holds my organization directly responsible for the extended impact we make.
What led you to pursue an MBA at this point and what do you hope to do after graduation? I wanted to jump into the dense, amazing sandbox of whirlwind learning opportunities that an MBA offers, to support a pivot from an outside consulting advisor to a strategic driver within an organization. It wasn’t just the broad classroom knowledge I hoped to gain, but also the perspectives of a bright, collaborative, and diverse community of classmates, as well as many fast-paced and meaningful opportunities to get my own hands dirty.
What advice would you give to help potential applicants gain admission into NYU Stern’s MBA program? Use the process to be truly introspective about both the big and little things in work and life that engage and drive you, give you energy, and make you who you are. In turn, hare those things candidly and enthusiastically in both your application and interviews. Stern’s unique “Pick Six” personal expression essay is very special because you can convey anything you want to, truly in your own words (and images!). Then, with admission, you know that this program sees a place for your whole self in this amazing community as exactly who you are, and who you aspire to be!
DON’T MISS: Meet NYU Stern’s MBA Class Of 2023