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Class of 2016 MBA Mama Graduates: Darden Edition

Here at Clear Admit we recently announced a new content partnership with MBA Mama, an online platform providing ambitious women with tools and resources to leverage an MBA and strategically navigate family/career planning. Today, we are excited to feature our first MBA Mama post, which highlights the impressive feats of three 2016 graduates from UVA’s Darden School of Business.

Our thanks to MBA Mama for sharing these inspiring stories with us, and our congratulations to MBA Mamas Mimi West, Kate Myers and Jessica Pearson.

The following post has been republished in its entirety from its original source, MBA Mama.

Class of 2016 MBA Mama Graduates: Darden Edition

Mimi West and her husband, both Mormon, were raising twin boys in Utah before she applied to Darden’s MBA program. West holds a bachelor of music, vocal performance from Brigham Young University and was an opera singer and music teacher. According to a recent article on Darden’s blog, like many Mormon women, West was expected to work within the home, not outside of it. West says:

I expanded my vision of what I was capable of. Prior to MBA school, I was at home with my twin boys for three years. As the primary caregiver, I also worked as an opera singer and owner of two small businesses. I wrote articles for online publications and designed software programs during my boys’ naps. I taught music lessons and performed in stage productions at night. It was fun and exhausting. I knew the lifestyle wasn’t sustainable.

I discovered through building my ventures just how much I enjoyed business. I developed a dream to get an MBA “someday,” and my husband Michael was 100 percent supportive of this dream. In fact, he lovingly pushed me to apply to grad school many years sooner than my original plan. I surprised both of us when I got into a top business school, and so Michael quit his job at Adobe and we moved to Virginia.

After graduation, West’s family will move to Minneapolis, where she will begin a full-time role in Land O’Lakes Inc.’s marketing division.

2016 MBA Mama Graduates

West and her boys!


2016 MBA Mama Graduates

Pictured above is Darden MBA Mama graduate Kate Myers with her partner, Eric Benson, and her enthusiastic five-year-old Isaac Benson. Kate is a bad-ass strategist with experience in media and technology. Her LinkedIn tagline is Strategy, Execution and Mischief.

2016 MBA Mama graduates

Isaac wears mommy’s graduation cap!

She chose to get her MBA in her mid-thirties to gain additional skills and perspectives to lead innovation in the business of media. Kate is currently vice president or business development for Inside Higher Ed and previously worked as a product manager and director of business partnerships and strategy for NPR. Kate says:

I wouldn’t have been able to get through the Executive MBA program at Darden, including receiving one of the faculty academic awards, without my amazing partner and my son.

Kate also contributes her years of expertise to the MBA Mama team as a strategy adviser to help our team grow and monetize our brand.

2016 MBA Mama Graduates

Darden MBA Mama Jessica Pearson

Jessica Pearson, pictured here with her two boys, Sam and Luke, graduated from Darden’s EMBA program along with Kate in the Class of 2016.

Jessica is a licensed architect with more than 19 years of experience and has spent her career delivering quality projects on time and on budget while building consensus among a wide variety of constituents. Her career has included time in construction, architecture practice and municipal planning.

I sought my MBA because I am passionate about expanding my effectiveness as a partner for my clients. Now I am interested in applying these new skills with my design abilities to assist companies with strategic planning, change management, operations and solving problems using tools like design thinking and lean principles. Sustainable practices in construction and real estate are also important to me as evidenced by my LEED AP certification.

Posted in: MBA Mama, MBA News, News

Schools: UVA / Darden

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