Real Humans of The Wharton School’s MBA Class of 2021
Nikki Jenkins, Wharton’s MBA Class of 2021
Hometown: Fairfax, VA
Undergraduate Institution and Major: Duke University, Public Policy Studies
Pre-MBA Work Experience (years, industry): 5 years in technology & consumer goods; most recently as a Product Marketing Manager at Google
Why business school? Why now?
I want to lead a large business one day and start my own foundation. In order to do this, I want to develop knowledge across multiple disciplines, including finance, operations, etc. I’m also looking to get a better grasp of my management skills for the future. I was at the point in my career where I was ready for the next challenge, and business school was the perfect fit.
Why Wharton? What factors figured most prominently into your decision of where to attend?
The strength of Wharton’s brand in business is undeniable. I was seeking a curriculum with a heavy emphasis on analytics and data, which the marketing major delivers in spades.
In terms of community, Wharton was one of the first schools that reached out to me before I got in. The Wharton community welcomed me from the first time I visited and was accessible throughout my entire application process.
What do you think is your most valuable or differentiating contribution to the Class of 2021?
As one of very few black women in technology before this, I’ve learned how to navigate tough spaces and succeed across industries where I’ve been greatly underrepresented. I’m passionate about diversifying our business leaders and building the next generation of inclusive companies.
Fun fact that didn’t get included on your application?
I was a premature baby born six weeks early. I’d like to think I’ve been surprising people ever since. 🙂
Post-MBA career interests?
Marketing or strategy at an entertainment tech company.
Advice to current prospective applicants:
–One thing you would absolutely do again as part of your application process?
Take time to reflect and figure out my unique why.
–One thing you would change or do differently?
Spend more time assessing my “fit” at schools before applying.
–Part you would have skipped if you could—and what helped you get through it?
GMAT/GRE. I get test anxiety, so this was the most difficult part of the application for me. My advice would be to evaluate both the GMAT & GRE before deciding which test best reflects your skill set.
What is your initial impression of Wharton’s students/culture/community?
The entire community has been incredibly supportive and open. There’s already been several opportunities to have thoughtful conversations with my fellow classmates.
One thing you have learned about Wharton that has surprised you?
The professors are very interested in students’ pre-Wharton experiences. I’m so impressed by how often professors reach out to understand the backgrounds of their students in order to drive a collaborative classroom environment.
Thing you are most anxious about in your first year?
Adjusting to being in school again. I chose Wharton because I wanted a school to challenge me quantitatively, especially considering my non-business undergraduate degree. Now as I get ready to start classes, I may be regretting that a little bit…
Thing you are most excited about in your first year?
Meeting all of the amazing people in my class. It’s been rewarding to see some of my friends already connect with people that can help them launch their business or connect them to their dream company. I also can’t wait to travel around the world!