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Real Humans of MBA Students: Boston College Carroll MBA Class of 2023

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boston mba class of 2023Bianca Adams, Boston College Carroll MBA Class of 2023

Age: 25
Hometown: Chicago, IL
Undergraduate Institution and Major: Ohio State University, Visual Communication Design
Pre-MBA Work Experience (years, industry): Shortly after graduating undergrad in 2018, I started an online fashion business called August Bay Clothing Co. I ran August Bay for 3 years prior to attending BC.

Why did you make the decision to attend business school? Why now?
Although I come from a design background, I have always had a strong entrepreneurial spirit. I started August Bay at age 21 with a “learn as I go” mentality. I quickly learned the complexity of business and the reward of being able to build a brand from scratch, connect with my customers and community, and build a retail strategy to differentiate my brand in a very saturated industry. In March 2020, I was on track to open my first storefront in downtown Chicago. Covid-19 not only halted my immediate growth plans, but completely changed the industry as a whole. After reflecting on my business goals, my personal aspirations, and the way the world was changing in response to Covid-19, I knew it was time to take a leap, attend business school, and sharpen both my business and leadership skills.

Why did you choose Carroll School of Management? What factors figured most prominently into your decision of where to attend?
When searching for a business school, I had three primary factors I considered, location, scope of courses offered, and alumni network. I grew up and attended college in the Midwest. It was important to me to diversify my experience and branch out to a new part of the country. Boston was the perfect fit for me because it has the big city feel while also sharing the beauty of the Northeast. Boston is a city that prioritizes education and there are many resources here for young professionals. The program structure at Carroll School of Management was exactly what I was looking for in a business school. Starting with an array of foundational courses then crafting a schedule of electives, allows me to first develop a well-rounded skill set, then focus in on areas of business that align with my career goals. The alumni network at Boston College is one of the most valuable aspects of the Carroll School of Management. Brilliant minds have come out of the Carroll School of Management and as an emerging leader I am thrilled to be a part of such a vast, diverse network.

What do you think is your most valuable or differentiating contribution to the Class of 2023?
One of my favorite aspects about my cohort is the diverse backgrounds and past experience of everyone prior to attending the Carroll School of Management. I have the opportunity to learn from previous teachers, coaches, artists, veterans, mental health providers, etc. My most valuable contribution to my class is my background in entrepreneurship. I have a unique skill set that many people my age haven’t had the chance to develop yet. I am a creative thinker, a risk taker, and I have a unique perspective I can bring to class discussions. I understand the value in diversity of thought and I am happy to contribute in my own way.

Tell us a fun fact that didn’t get included on your application:
When I am not studying or working I like to spend my free time on the slopes. I have been a skier my whole life and it brings me so much joy! My family ski trip is the highlight of my year. Nothing makes me appreciate the beauty of this planet quite like skiing. I included a photo of my favorite peak in Big Sky, Montana. 

Post-MBA career interests:
Through running my own business and diving into my course work at BC, I have developed a strong interest in business strategy. My post-MBA career goal is to work in strategy for a major global retail brand. I am eager to immerse myself in the retail industry at a large scale and innovate on the future of retail.

Advice for Current Prospective Applicants:
–What is one thing you would absolutely do again as part of your application process?
Take advantage of the opportunity to connect with current or past students. Hearing the perspective of people who have been through the process was extremely helpful in answering questions and getting a sense of the culture of BC.

–What is one thing you would change or do differently?
There is not much I would change about my application experience because I ended up at a wonderful school; however, one thing that comes to mind that I would do differently is, I would spend more time researching what companies have good relationships with the schools I am applying to. I am fortunate that the Carroll School of Management has some great career partners; however, this was not a detail I focused on in the application phase of my journey.

–What is one part you would have skipped if you could—and what helped you get through it?
Taking the GMAT was definitely the most undesirable part of the application process. At times it can feel tedious to study for and the subject matter doesn’t seem relevant to business school. What helped me get through it was changing my perspective and viewing the test as a way to warm up my brain for the problem solving and critical thinking I was about to embark on in business school. Through the GMAT process, I was able to brush up on my study skills and get back into the school mindset before starting classes full time in the fall.

What is your initial impression of the Carroll School of Management students/culture/community?
I was fairly nervous to start my MBA journey in a new city without knowing anyone. From the very first day, it has been an extremely warm, welcoming community of students and staff. The culture at the Carroll School of Management is rooted in community over competition. I could not be more thrilled with my network of dynamic, bright classmates. The Carroll School of Management has done a great job of facilitating events, pairing us with second-year mentors, and ensuring that we have access to the resources we need to achieve our potential. Although it has only been a few short weeks, I already feel like I am a part of the Eagle family!

What is one thing you have learned about Carroll School of Management that has surprised you?
The Carroll School of Management’s catalog of career resources has been extremely impressive. I knew that Carroll School of Management had a large emphasis on career development, but I have been pleasantly surprised by the vast resources and the personalized help and coaching. As someone who is striving to make a career switch from entrepreneurship to corporate strategy, I am feeling very confident that between my career advisors and the extensive alumni network at BC, I will be successful in finding a career path that is right for me. 

Has the COVID-19 pandemic affected your personal application or admissions process in any way? If so, how?
Yes. Like many, Covid-19 has caused me to pause and reflect on the things that are most important to me. The pandemic was the catalyst to me deciding that now was the right time to head back to school and shift my career path. Going through the application process while the world was just starting to “open up” filled me with excitement and anticipation. Having the entire application process virtual was challenging at times, but the excitement and goal of being in person in the fall made all those challenges worth it!

What is one thing you are most anxious about in your first year?
One thing I am most anxious about in my first year is finding the “perfect” summer internship. Career searching while taking classes full time is a lot to juggle. Fortunately, the Carroll School of Management has amazing resources and provides very personalized help. It is also comforting to know that all of my classmates are feeling these same anxieties and we can lean on each other through the stressful times and celebrate each other’s wins!

What is one thing you are most excited about in your first year?
I am most excited to expand my scope of knowledge and develop my leadership skills. I studied design in undergrad and have gained business skills from my time as an entrepreneur, however I haven’t studied business in a formal setting. I am eager to lean into the quantitative courses and leadership training offered at the Carroll School of Management to round out my skill set. Carroll School of Management is not only a great program academically, but emphasizes the importance of leadership and gives us tools and opportunities to emerge as strong, future leaders. Oh, and getting to attend college football games again isn’t so bad either. Go Eagles! 

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.