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Real Humans of the Columbia Business School MBA Class of 2019

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Lindy Gould, CBS MBA Class of 2019

CBS MBA Class of 2019
Lindy Gould, CBS MBA Class of 2019

Age: 29

Hometown: Rye, NY

Undergraduate Institution and Major: Wheaton College (IL), communication and political science; I also hold an M.A. in elementary education and teaching from Dominican University and a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing from Lesley University.

Pre-MBA Work Experience: I worked for seven years in education/non-profits with Citizen Schools and then Teach for America. I spent the first four years in the classroom as a middle school teacher and then three years on TFA’s recruitment team.

Why business school? Why now? Four years of teaching in low-income middle schools inspired me to build a career rooted in racial and socioeconomic equity. After my time in the classroom, I joined Teach for America’s recruitment team, focusing on building equitable hiring practices and processes. I decided to apply to business school because I realized I wanted to help all kinds of companies, not just those in the public sector, to hire and empower leaders that better reflect the diversity of our country.

Why CBS? What factors figured most prominently into your decision of where to attend? I knew being in New York City would provide a unique business school experience, and I’m still impressed every day by the opportunities that our location allows. For example, I’m currently taking one of our signature “immersion” classes, which meets each Friday at different company headquarters, including HBO, Google, and the New York Times. It’s also great to be able to hop on the subway and head to Koreatown for karaoke, run through Central Park, or use my student ID to get discounted shows at the Public Theater. It’s awesome to be a student in NYC!

I also chose CBS because I wanted to continue my work in social impact through the Tamer Center for Social Enterprise. Through the Tamer Center, I took a “Launching Social Ventures” class that focused on how to start a mission-driven organization. This fall, I’m planning to participate in the ReEntry Acceleration Program (REAP), which trains MBA students to deliver business training to incarcerated individuals. The Tamer Center also provides funding for CBS students who decide to spend their summer internship doing work that specifically advances social values.

What do you think is your most valuable or differentiating contribution to the Class of 2019? I was recently elected co-president of student government for the 2018-2019 school year. It’s an honor to have the opportunity to manage an executive board, work directly with our administration, and lead 1,600 of my peers. I’m proud to be a woman taking on a large, public leadership role, and I’m proud of my community for electing me.

Fun fact that didn’t get included on your application? I’m really lucky to have a husband, Willie, who supports my career 100 percent. It’s not always easy to be married to an MBA student! His support this year has meant that I can participate fully in the CBS community. His feminism makes me excited about the willingness of this generation of men to fight for workplace gender parity.

Post-MBA career interests? I want to help companies recruit, hire, and support diverse groups of employees that reflect the workforce of the future. This summer, I’m excited to intern in the human capital space for two great companies: ABInBev and Deloitte. I’d also like to run for public office in the next five years.

CBS MBA Class of 2019Advice to current prospective applicants:

–One thing you would absolutely do again as part of your application process? I spent a long time in personal reflection as I was writing my essays. I thought about my career experiences and what I wanted to get out of business school. I talked to numerous current students at each school to refine my ideas as I went through this process. As a result, the things I wrote about in my CBS essays are well-aligned with how I’ve spent my time since starting in August. Not only did my essays really show the admissions team that I had done my research, but this pre-work meant that I knew how to prioritize my energy once I arrived on campus.

I also was intentional about visiting schools during events that covered topics I was passionate about. For example, I attended a diversity conference, an education conference, and three women’s conferences—all at different schools. This exposure allowed me to connect with current students who were passionate about similar issues and helped me to figure out if the schools were really going to be a good fit.

  –One thing you would change or do differently? I took the GRE, but not until after a year of studying for the GMAT. The GRE was a much better fit for me, but I pushed myself to try to take the GMAT because I had convinced myself it was the “right” thing to do. I should have taken a practice GRE and GMAT at the beginning of the process. That would have shown me right away that I was more comfortable with one test over the other.

  –Part you would have skipped if you could—and what helped you get through it? I had a lot of self-doubt during the application process. There were times that I doubted if I was going to be accepted anywhere. I got through it because of the Forté Foundation’s MBALaunch program, which paired me with a group of amazing women who were all going through the same thing as me. The five women were incredibly supportive, emotionally and practically, and three of us ended up attending CBS together!

CBS MBA Class of 2019Greatest highlight so far at CBS? I’m a member of CBS Reflects, our diversity, equity, and inclusion board. Every February, the board mobilizes a school-wide survey that examines how students perceive the CBS community across lines of difference. In addition to promoting the survey through swag and fun competitions, there were also panels on topics like the #MeToo movement. It was powerful to see so many students dedicated to ensuring and improving an already inclusive community.

One thing about CBS that you didn’t expect before arriving? Since CBS is in New York City, I worried that the community might not be as strong as at other business schools. I’m very happy to say that this is definitely not the case! The foundation of our program is the cluster system, in which all students are placed in diverse groups of 70 incoming MBA students. This creates a strong home base that students remain connected to over the entire two years.

Thing you were most anxious about in your first year? (Did it end up warranting the anxiety?) Before coming to school, I bought into a lot of the stereotypes about business school students. I thought most of my classmates were going to be primarily interested in finance and not necessarily social impact—but that was very much a misconception. My friends are interested in everything from media to tech to luxury goods—and everyone is thinking about how to leverage their skills to make the world a better place.

Thing you were most excited about in your first year? (Did it live up to your expectations?) I was most excited about having the opportunity to travel and learn about business from a more international perspective. Over spring break, my friend Kyungsun Chung brought a group of us to Seoul to learn more about South Korean chaebol, his country’s system of conglomerates. Seeing the country through his eyes was a completely different experience than I could have had on my own.