Real Humans of Stanford GSB’s MBA Class of 2021
Brigitte Hackler, Stanford GSB MBA Class of 2021
Hometown: Huntington, IN
Undergraduate Institution and Major: Indiana University, Accounting & Technology Management
Pre-MBA Work Experience (years, industry): Three years at a Venture Studio launching B2B SaaS companies and a year in public accounting prior to that
Why business school? Why now?
I love to learn. I went to business school in undergrad, and while an MBA had always been on my radar, it was never something I had definite plans to pursue. I’d been reading a lot of behavioral economics books in the past few years and as I learned more about Stanford’s MBA program, I realized I could really bring these books and topics to life through the program – inside and outside of the classroom. I was at a point in my career where I had some direction, but was ready to learn in a completely new environment to take me to the next level.
Why Stanford? What factors figured most prominently into your decision of where to attend?
I loved what I was doing in my job prior to the GSB, so it had to be a perfect fit to go back to school. When I visited the GSB, I felt at home. I was excited about the school’s focus on building relationships and interpersonal skills. I also found the social innovation research coming out of the GSB inspiring. The location and weather were added bonuses.
What do you think is your most valuable or differentiating contribution to the Class of 2021?
I grew up in a small-town in the Midwest and have been working with entrepreneurs outside of the big US tech hubs on the coasts, which brings a unique perspective to the GSB. I love sharing what I’ve learned from helping multiple businesses and entrepreneurs get up and running and seeing many of the obstacles they face.
Fun fact that didn’t get included on your application?
I’m an avid podcast consumer! I listen each morning to help me stay connected to current events. Keeping up with what’s going on outside of daily life at the GSB is important to me and this is one way I incorporate new perspectives.
Post-MBA career interests?
I’m interested in the idea of how we create and measure value, both financial value and societal value, and the ways value gets distributed through business. I’m exploring the social innovation space with this in mind. I ultimately want to find ways to solve social problems with sustainable economic models.
Advice to current prospective applicants:
–One thing you would absolutely do again as part of your application process?
Take a lot of time to reflect and be honest. Figure out what makes you “you,” and what has influenced your life so far.
–One thing you would change or do differently?
I honestly wouldn’t change what I did; I got a lot out of the time and reflection I put into my application, but also practiced balancing it with other priorities and realities of life.
–Part you would have skipped if you could—and what helped you get through it?
It would’ve been nice to skip the GMAT…peanut butter M&Ms helped get me through it.
What is your initial impression of Stanford’s students/culture/community?
It feels inclusive; everyone wants to get to know their classmates and find personal connections with each other, which is special. We’re also a very social group that excels at planning gatherings.
One thing you have learned about Stanford that has surprised you?
I’ve been impressed by the program’s emphasis on being good humans and treating people well. I knew the GSB had a reputation for building interpersonal dynamics, but I’ve been pleased to see the program embody the message of recognizing the humanity in those around you and building connections.
Thing you are most anxious about in your first year?
Balancing the exploration of new opportunities with narrowing my focus. I’m exposed to so many amazing new ideas and resources at Stanford. I want to be open to new opportunities that I didn’t even know existed, while at the same time prioritizing my own goals for why I came here in the first place.
Thing you are most excited about in your first year?
I’m excited to continue to meet amazing people and build those deeper relationships. The professional and personal backgrounds of my classmates are truly amazing and I have a lot to learn from them. I’m also excited to push myself out of my comfort zone here. The GSB provides a unique environment to experiment and challenge yourself in ways that are harder to recreate elsewhere. I’m eager to take advantage of those opportunities.