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Real Humans of Northwestern Kellogg’s MBA Class of 2022

Ashley M. Abraham, Kellogg’s MBA Class of 2022

 Age: 27
Hometown: Washington D.C. Area
Undergraduate Institution and Major: Pepperdine University | Sociology major (Conflict Management certification)
Pre-MBA Work Experience (years, industry): Teach For America Corps Member, Secondary English Educator (3 years, Education); Posse Foundation, Career Program Manager (1 year, Non-Profit); U.S. House of Representatives, Oversight Committee Legislative Fellow (1 year, Government)

Why business school? Why now?
I decided to go to business school to grow my understanding of how value is created and communicated in our society. Throughout my career, I have witnessed the role that strategy creation and implementation play in determining an organization’s next steps and thus its impact. I felt that an MBA would support my growth as a leader and strategic thinker that aspires to drive innovation, especially in disenfranchised communities.

Why Kellogg? What factors figured most prominently into your decision of where to attend?
I knew Kellogg would challenge me academically and personally. The Kellogg representatives I met embodied intelligence, EQ, and humility, so I knew it was an environment that helped craft individuals into better people and leaders. When it came to academics, I loved that students had the option to follow a major or pathway to better explore and prepare for post-MBA roles. Researching these majors and pathways gave me insight into the variety and caliber of courses offered at Kellogg. I also appreciate Kellogg’s student-run culture paired with the support structures that allow students interested in a variety of paths to excel. The student-staff culture, network, and career opportunities were the key factors I weighed in my decision.

What do you think is your most valuable or differentiating contribution to the Class of 2022?
As our society deals with a variety of complex issues outside of the business school walls, I believe my experiences bring a unique perspective to the classroom and small group gatherings. My desire to learn more about solving the lack of access to resources in certain communities shifts the way I interpret a lot of what we learn in class. Thinking through this context will allow me to initiate thought-provoking conversations with my peers about how we not only impact our future companies, but also our larger society.

Fun fact that didn’t get included on your application? 
I white-water rafted the Nile River for 6+ hours!

Post-MBA career interests? 
I am recruiting for consulting and healthcare currently and hope to become a founder of a social enterprise in the near future.

Advice to current prospective applicants:
Be self-reflective and lean into what differentiates you. Be proud and bold about what you have to offer a school community.

–One thing you would absolutely do again as part of your application process?
Speaking with current students and alumni about their experience (the bright spot throughout the process)!

–One thing you would change or do differently?        
I would visit schools earlier in the process to understand what they offer and how students operate in the space. This would have helped me envision what I wanted out of my MBA experience earlier in the application process.

–Part you would have skipped if you could—and what helped you get through it?
I would have skipped the first few months of my individual GMAT studying. Once I joined a class to equip me with the best tools, as well as a study group for motivation and accountability, I was in a much better place.

What is your initial impression of Kellogg’s students/culture/community?
Collaborative, full of humility and fun!

One thing you have learned about Kellogg that has surprised you?
The larger program’s camaraderie. This camaraderie has allowed us to operate and build meaningful relationships despite the pandemic. From students to professors, small group interactions remain genuine and frequent.

Thing you are most anxious about in your first year? 
I am most anxious about balancing the desire to explore new career paths with my desire to lean into my existing passions (while also dealing with the other priorities of a business student). Thankfully, I have found multiple amazing communities at Kellogg to support me in this journey already.

Thing you are most excited about in your first year?
I am most excited to contemplate and apply our course learnings in the context of our current economic and health disruption. For example, in one core course, we are learning how to run regressions related to impactful decisions in the healthcare industry, and in other core courses, we are discussing strategy implications for consumers’ shifts to the online marketplace. Kellogg has amazing experiential learning opportunities like the Global Lab that I cannot wait to take advantage of as I explore post-MBA career paths.

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

Schools: Northwestern / Kellogg

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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