Real Humans of Georgetown McDonough’s MBA Class of 2021
Stephanie Burns, Georgetown McDonough MBA Class of 2021
Hometown: Savannah, MO
Undergraduate Institution and Major: University of Missouri, Business
Pre-MBA Work Experience (years, industry): 5.3, Automotive and Professional Services
Why business school? Why now?
After a bit of reflection, I realized I needed a change from what I was focusing on in my career (finance). The only sensible next step for me was to pursue an MBA for the opportunity to enhance skills, expand my network, and explore new subjects. There was no better time than now.
Why Georgetown McDonough? What factors figured most prominently into your decision of where to attend?
I visited McDonough and got a sense of the community by watching current and prospective students interact with one another. It was obvious to me that it would be a good fit because I didn’t have to expend any energy just existing here. I immediately felt at home.
Additionally, I knew that I wanted business school to be an exploratory time – one where I was going to grow in multiple different capacities. The advantage of the McDonough School of Business and several other prominent Georgetown graduate programs would benefit me with the opportunity of cross-program course options as well as events and collaborations with those students.
What do you think is your most valuable or differentiating contribution to the Class of 2021?
I really value healthy debate. On the teams I work with, I like to entertain different perspectives or even play devil’s advocate. I think this ensures sound logic and can disrupt old ways of thinking, which are easy to fall into in challenging or time constrained situations. I hope this will help my colleagues and I explore new ideas with more detail and confidence.
Fun fact that didn’t get included on your application?
I had never before watched cricket then went to two cricket world cup games this summer in London. I’m now a big fan!
Post-MBA career interests?
I’m oscillating between Marketing, specifically in the beauty industry, and Strategy Consulting.
Advice to current prospective applicants:
–One thing you would absolutely do again as part of your application process?
Be yourself. Your submissions have to be well-written and tailored to what the school is asking for, but it is imperative that you don’t hide your quirks; celebrate them!
–One thing you would change or do differently?
I would get more feedback from peers on my application and essays. I tried to do everything by myself and limit those I asked for assistance, but I could have also relied on those that knew me best to help make my profile more robust.
–Part you would have skipped if you could—and what helped you get through it?
Is there anyone that enjoys the GMAT? The motivation to get to school and the opportunities it would provide helped me get through it, and that there was a light at the end of the tunnel. It was also more helpful to book a test date and force myself to study, instead of pushing off the test; I had practiced both of these methods to find out which was more beneficial overall…
What is your initial impression of Georgetown McDonough’s students/culture/community?
The collaboration and camaraderie are unparalleled. We have students from a variety of backgrounds: nonprofit, medical, business, to name a few. As such, some classes are more difficult for some than others, but every single person is willing to help someone out when needed.
The best example I have of this is before an accounting midterm. Late the night before and early the morning of, there were tables of students spread out across the business school helping one another with problems they didn’t understand and sharing tips on memorizing formulas. I distinctly remember getting to school early the morning of and seeing from our atrium (which is centered in the building and gives a view of all 4 levels of the school), booths and chairs everywhere crowded with students working intensely together.
One thing you have learned about Georgetown McDonough that has surprised you?
A great program begins with great leadership, and Dean Almeida has said several times how McDonough strives to be not only the best in the world, but the best for the world. This sentiment is echoed in the MBA student body through the many unique backgrounds and goals of the students.
In essence, the value placed on using ethics in making business decisions is what has surprised me most. In classes and discussions with peers, it is quite common to hear aspirations of helping or changing the world. I’m excited to see what I know will come of myself and my peers, after being shaped by McDonough in the next two years.
Thing you are most anxious about in your first year?
Balancing social, career, and academic demands. Having 260 new friends, trying to find the perfect career, and getting good grades will be a difficult feat!
Thing you are most excited about in your first year?
To be in such a fertile learning environment and trying out new things and experiences, with the support of everyone in my class. My head is spinning from the trips, clubs, and events that have happened in only the first few weeks!