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Real Humans of Harvard Business School MBA Class of 2022

Emily Brinkman, HBS MBA Class of 2022

Age: 27
Hometown: Edina, MN
Undergraduate Institution and Major: University of Wisconsin – Madison, Industrial Engineering & French
Pre-MBA Work Experience (years, industry): 4 years, Manufacturing/Supply Chain

Why business school? Why now?
As an engineer, I found myself interested in GE’s business practices beyond the scope of the work that I was doing.  Attending business school now is a way for me to evolve and progress my understanding of business across functions and industries with the hope that I can participate in a high-level leadership role in the future.

Why HBS? What factors figured most prominently into your decision of where to attend? 
When I came to HBS for my interview, I fell in love with the Case Method.  I’ve always enjoyed school, but I felt even more engaged in the classroom than I did in undergrad.  It really facilitates great learnings from peers as well as the faculty.  I also chose HBS because of the alumni network, and the beautiful campus definitely didn’t hurt!

What do you think is your most valuable or differentiating contribution to the Class of 2022? 
Coming from a lesser represented industry, I can approach cases with a unique lens that will differ from many of my classmates who come from corporate backgrounds.  My boots on the ground experience can help me and my classmates keep reality in check when discussing and examining business cases.

Fun fact that didn’t get included on your application? 
I have visited all 50 states.  It wasn’t on my application, but I brought it up in my interview!

Post-MBA career interests? 
While I know that I’m interested in working in the corporate sustainability space, I am also looking forward to exploring new industries and discovering opportunities that I didn’t realize existed with the resources that HBS provides.

Advice to current prospective applicants:

  –One thing you would absolutely do again as part of your application process?
I focused a lot of time and effort on my essays, and I think that paid off.  I wanted to make sure that the essays sounded like me, and not like generic MBA applications, so I only asked for edits/advice from my partner and my immediate family.  They know me best, and they weren’t afraid to give me critiques and push me on things. Ultimately, I think that made a huge difference.

  –One thing you would change or do differently? 
I would have started earlier! It takes a lot of time and effort to apply, and I wish I had given myself a couple more weeks to not feel so time-crunched at the end.

  –Part you would have skipped if you could—and what helped you get through it? 
I definitely would have skipped the GMAT if I could have! But what got me through it was taking time to rest and remembering that all of the work I put into the application would be rewarding in the end.  Make sure to take breaks and be kind to yourself.

What is your initial impression of HBS’s students/culture/community?
Everyone is so welcoming and excited to get to know each other.  There is a very collaborative vibe around campus.

One thing you have learned about HBS that has surprised you? 
I’m pleasantly surprised by the discussion group model at HBS. Essentially you are assigned a discussion group to meet with every morning before class, and mine has been invaluable so far.

Thing you are most anxious about in your first year?
I am a little anxious about recruiting this year, especially since I am not planning to go through one of the traditional recruiting tracks.  Luckily, I have already reached out to CPD and they have been super helpful so far.

Thing you are most excited about in your first year? 
This may sound cheesy, but I am excited to get to know more of my classmates.  Even just a few weeks in, I can already tell that everyone here has a different story to tell, and I can’t wait to hear more of those stories.

Posted in: Real Humans of MBA Class of 2022, Real Humans of MBA Students

Schools: Harvard Business School

About the Author


Christina Griffith  

Christina Griffith is a writer and editor based in Philadelphia. She specializes in covering education, science, and history, and has experience in research and interviews, magazine content, and web content writing.

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