Alexandra “Lexx” Mills, Ross MBA Class of 2021
Hometown: Bowie, Maryland
Undergraduate Institution and Major: University of Maryland, Baltimore County | Gender & Women’s Studies
Pre-MBA Work Experience (years, industry): Education: 3.5 years as a teacher in Baltimore, D.C., and Malaysia as a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant | Economic development: 2 years in impact investment in Baltimore
Why business school? Why now?
Teaching is one of the most rewarding and hardest things I’ve ever done. As a teacher, I felt limited in the impact I could have in the neighborhoods that my students lived in. Thus, I transitioned into economic development. Over the last two years, I witnessed how investment could catalyze development in communities of color. I see investment in real estate and businesses as a tool for economic development in Black communities when used thoughtfully. I decided to pursue business school to build the business and financial skills necessary to evaluate and direct investment opportunities. I aspire to one day utilize these skills to serve communities like the ones in Baltimore where I taught.
Why Ross? What factors figured most prominently into your decision of where to attend?
I learn best through action. One of the key factors that attracted me to Ross was the unparalleled opportunities for experiential, real-world learning such as the student-led venture funds, the seven-week Multidisciplinary Action Project (MAP), and resources to launch your own business, etc.
Another key factor was the level of diversity. Business school is an incredibly challenging environment and witnessing the diversity signaled to me that this was a space where I would be supported and a school that shared my values.
There are so many more reasons, but I’ll conclude with the culture. There is a contagious energy here that bleeds passion for the school and the people you share this experience with (past and present). The culture is a big driver for why the alumni network is so strong and engaged.
What do you think is your most valuable or differentiating contribution to the Class of 2021?
From teaching to working in impact investment on a major urban real estate development, I think that I have a unique perspective on how businesses can affect positive change and the role that communities play. I’m thankful to see the growing national conversation around socially responsible business and am looking forward to engaging in it.
Fun fact that didn’t get included on your application?
When I’m eating something that I really enjoy, I hum and dance while eating it.
Post-MBA career interests?
Real estate investment and investment management.
Advice to current prospective applicants:
–One thing you would absolutely do again as part of your application process?
One thing I would absolutely do again is to create a vision board with my target test scores, schools, and fellowship opportunities! Looking at the board daily and affirming my success in this process brought me peace during a very hectic time and motivated me to keep going.
–Part you would have skipped if you could—and what helped you get through it?
I would have loved to skip the GRE, but no such luck! I was able to get through it in two key ways:
- I set a study schedule that enabled me to study consistently. For me that was studying from 5-7am before work every day and longer on the weekends.
- Looking at that vision board I mentioned earlier!
What is your initial impression of Ross’s students/culture/community?
It’s a very vibrant, inviting community with a lot of people who are willing to help you succeed, including alumni. It’s truly a joyful space to be in.
Thing you are most anxious about in your first year?
I do not have a quantitative background whatsoever and am seeking to develop my finance and investing skills through coursework and experiential opportunities. I know that the learning curve will be steep and that this endeavor will require a lot of perseverance and willingness to struggle!
Thing you are most excited about in your first year?
I’m most excited to gain hands-on investing skills and experience through the student-run Real Estate Fund. I’m also just as excited to sing in the school rock band, Risky Business!