EDUCATIONUndergraduate: University Of North Carolina At Chapel Hill
MBA Program(s): Duke University - Fuqua School of Business
MLT PROGRAMSMBA PD 2012, MBA Prep 2012
Complete this sentence, "If not for MLT..."
If not for MLT, I would not have had the confidence to know that I belonged in a top MBA program and that I was just as smart as anyone else applying to these schools. It is crazy to think about it in retrospect now, but at the time, I was even intimidated by MLT. I was not in an industry where people pursued their MBAs, had a “non-traditional” business background, and was questioned by coworkers when they learned that I was considering applying to programs. Even before the first MLT seminar, I remember reading the list of employers of the other fellows in my class and feeling intimidated—Goldman, Deloitte, Citi, etc. It wasn’t until I started working with my coach, got to know the fellows in my cohort, and kept hearing their constant reminders of why I was amazing, that I really started believing in what I was doing. They probably have no idea the impact that they made on my self-confidence. Imposter syndrome is real, and even when I start to let those thoughts invade my psyche now, I think back to that time and their words of encouragement.
Please describe the impact MLT had immediately upon completing your program.
Most MBA Prep Fellows can likely relate, but after completing the program you enter business school armed with many advantages that your other classmates have just started thinking about. Your resume is updated, you have your story and pitch ready for recruiters, you have had interview practice (STAR stories!), and you know how to handle networking conversations. If the goal was to be 100% ready for a career transition in business school, I felt like I was starting at 50% when classes began and this makes a huge difference when you are juggling everything that comes with your first year. Also, thanks to the connections I made during Professional Development seminars, I was already on the radar of many companies that I was considering for my internship. And of course, there’s the network. It was great to already have a family of people to go through this process with not only at Fuqua but all over the country at different schools.
How has MLT changed the financial/economic trajectory for you and your family?
Significantly. The career preparation I received in MLT and business school allowed me to secure a job making more than three times what I was earning before school. Before school, I was still reliant on my family for some support, but my career now has allowed me to be completely financially independent.
Has MLT elevated your personal and professional aspirations? If so, please provide an example.
Honestly...not really! I had big dreams and goals before MLT. The program has just helped me understand how to navigate achieving them.
How has MLT's community helped advance your personal and/or professional happiness?
MLT is a big family, and it’s great to know you have family everywhere. Now that I am five years removed from business school, it’s been helpful to have a reliable network of people to reach out to when thinking about career transitions. I’ve also lived in three different cities since completing business school and there’s always been at least someone from MLT there who has been there to make the move and transition easier. Not to mention, my first roommate in Chicago was a Fuqua and MLT alumna and helped introduced me to my fiancee who is also an MLT alum!
Speak to a challenge MLT helped you overcome and how did that help your trajectory (i.e. confidence that you belong, growth mindset, vulnerability).
In 2011, right after I started MBA Prep, I was laid off from my job. This was a devastating blow. How was I going to support myself financially? How will this look on my resume? Would I still get into schools? How am I going to have time to take the GMAT again and look for a job? I remember reaching out to my coach almost immediately, but Krista did not allow the self-pity to last long. She quickly gave me actionable guidance and reminded me that getting a job was my #1 priority. So that meant a few things. First, my GMAT score was actually quite good, but not great, and what I really needed was a boost to my quantitative component. So she encouraged me to take an online, accelerated statistics course at a community college to demonstrate my quantitative capabilities instead of trying to prepare for the GMAT again. Of course, she also reminded me that I had to get an A, and in the month that I was laid off, that was exactly what I did. Second, this meant I likely wouldn’t be able to afford to go on as many school visits as my peers given the cost, and she encouraged me to only visit schools that were at the very top of my list to cut down on expenses. In the end, I ended up getting a great role at Teach for America, but there was still the hurdle of tying this transition together in my story for interviews. This was the hardest part because the layoff still stung, and I couldn’t talk through my pre-MBA experience without it showing. Thanks to the (many) interview exercises we did in Professional Development leading up to business school, I was able to practice my resume walk-through to the point where it became a seamless story. If it had not been for MLT, I’m not sure if I would have the confidence to continue my MBA application process and believe that I belonged in a top program.
Share your favorite song, movie, or book, and why it appeals to you.
I know this is at the top of a lot of people’s lists now, but Becoming by Michelle Obama has easily shot to the top as my favorite book. I relate to so many aspects of her stories and I appreciate how open she is about her thoughts and experiences. It’s like a career, relationship, and parenting book all in one, while also providing insightful commentary on the socioeconomic, political, and racial dynamics we face in our country. Unlike any other book I’ve read, I have written down passages and sentences that resonate with me so that I won’t forget them.
What is your superpower?
I feel like I can talk to almost anyone and find some common ground that we can both relate to for meaningful conversation. I think I get it from my parents and my dad, in particular. He’s very personable, and it’s almost as if he’s never met a stranger. Situations where I might be nervous to engage in conversation are not as intimidating for me knowing that I have the hidden superpower to say something to put us both at ease.
What gives you hope?
My grandfather is 94 years old, and I also have a niece and nephew who are three and five. They all give me hope because I hear the stories of my grandfather and know how far we’ve come from many of the things he’s experienced in his lifetime, but also know how far we have to go and how much I want things to change for my niece and nephew. There is so much they have yet to experience and I know the work we are doing will impact the opportunities they have, just like those in the generations before me have impacted the opportunities that I was able to have.
Published in 2019