The Leading Independent
Resource for Top-tier MBA
Home » Blog » Real Humans of MBA Students » Real Humans of MBA Class of 2023 » Real Humans of the Harvard Business School MBA Class of 2023 » Page 4

Real Humans of the Harvard Business School MBA Class of 2023

Image for Real Humans of the Harvard Business School MBA Class of 2023

harvard business school mba classKathryn Webster, Harvard Business School MBA Class of 2023

Age: 26
Hometown: Greenwich, CT
Undergraduate Institution and Major: Wake Forest University; Business & Enterprise Management and Statistics
Pre-MBA Work Experience (years, industry): I spent 3.5 years in management consulting at Deloitte in Washington DC within the Strategy and Analytics space; on the side, founded and directed a nonprofit program for blind and low vision students across the state of Virginia with a goal of equipping youth to be college and career ready and gain confidence and independence

Why did you make the decision to attend business school? Why now?
I was getting too comfortable…and I hate being comfortable. I was ready to embark on my next journey of challenge in life to push myself to learn more, think harder, lead stronger, and change the world in the most positive way. Given how content I was at work, I didn’t want a new job…I wanted a brain accelerator that would allow me to stretch academically and professionally, with the highest emphasis on leadership development. To me, HBS was the perfect answer.

Why did you choose HBS? What factors figured most prominently into your decision of where to attend?
Ever since I was a little girl, I dreamed of attending Harvard. As a blind business woman, there is nothing I want more than to surround myself with the strongest and most talented thought leaders in the world – and HBS scratched that itch. I chose HBS because of the intellectually stimulating case method, the dedication to learning and leadership, the passion for advancing the world of business, and the priority put on diversity across the student body by proactively investing in the leaders of tomorrow.

What do you think is your most valuable or differentiating contribution to the Class of 2023?
If you looked at me and my guide dog, you’d guess blindness. As the first totally blind student to attend HBS, that’s an easy answer, so I’ll take this question in a different direction. My most valuable contribution to the class of 2023 is my ability to blend grit with empathy in my professional, academic, and personal circles. While introverted, my curiosity of subject matter and others compel me to approach each day with an intentionally wholistic mindset, where diversity of thought and pure strategy drive every decision I make. I try to perfectly balance strategy and emotion in an authentic manner, rather than prioritizing just one – we sometimes miss these nuances in business.

Tell us a fun fact that didn’t get included on your application:
I had a blast sky diving in June before coming to HBS!

Post-MBA career interests:
Corporate strategy/leadership

Advice for Current Prospective Applicants:
Dig deeper into your mind than you thought possible – pull out authentic pieces of you, that when bundled together, shape a beautiful and qualified candidate. We have it in us, but you have to tell that story so we can see you as someone with shining potential, not just proven success. Really think about how you will ‘give and get’ from the MBA experience, not just get.

– What is one thing you would absolutely do again as part of your application process?
Sit in on a class, talk to alumni, and learn about the breadth of current students…why they really love HBS

– What is one thing you would change or do differently?
Don’t wait to apply in future rounds…do your research and hit ‘apply’ on the short list of schools where you really see yourself learning and growing.

– What is one part you would have skipped if you could—and what helped you get through it?
Definitely the GRE. I got through it by inner-channeling my high school years of Geometry and mesmerizing about my future years in graduate school…that and coffee, great friends, and a lot of vocab flashcards

What is your initial impression of the HBS students/culture/community?
It is a family – shout out to Section E – we protect each other, have each others’ backs, and genuinely want to build fellowship and connection. The community at HBS is the hardest thing to explain, but the most powerful and enriching experience of my life. Imagine being surrounded by some of the brightest students/business leaders…and every single one of them caring about your success, too.

What is one thing you have learned about HBS that has surprised you?
The kindness and interest in others is contagious. People are not solely driven by their resume and extensive expertise or experience. Students and faculty alike genuinely care about going to the next level of conversation and authentically connecting with others.

Has the COVID-19 pandemic affected your personal application or admissions process in any way? If so, how?
Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to visit in person for the interview or in-class visit.

What is one thing you are most anxious about in your first year?
There is so much to do and never enough time – I am most anxious about juggling all of the amazing opportunities, while being able to look back and know that this first year will be one of the best of my life. Time allocation is hard with social, academic, and professional, but one step at a time.

What is one thing you are most excited about in your first year?
I am most excited about writing a business case alongside a professor

Lauren Wakal
Lauren Wakal has been covering the MBA admissions space for more than a decade, from in-depth business school profiles to weekly breaking news and more.