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Real Humans of MBA Students: Stanford GSB Class of 2023

stanford mba class 2023

stanford mba class 2023Nell Potter, Stanford GSB MBA Class of 2023

Age: 29
Hometown: New York, NY
Undergraduate Institution and Major: Vanderbilt University; Public Policy major
Pre-MBA Work Experience (years, industry): 6.5 years, startup/media/tech

Why did you make the decision to attend business school? Why now?
I was fortunate enough to be one of the first employees at an early stage company, and spent the next 6.5 years helping build that organization. I absolutely loved my time there, but my experience was limited to this one organization. I was eager to expand my perspective and understanding of different businesses, organizational design strategies and leadership styles, and business school seemed like a great way to achieve this goal.

Why did you choose Stanford GSB? What factors figured most prominently into your decision of where to attend?
As an aspiring entrepreneur and founder, I was very attracted to Stanford’s strong offerings related to entrepreneurship and innovation, as well as the school’s emphasis on interpersonal dynamics and leadership development. I also had never lived on the West Coast, and the opportunity to explore California was exciting.  

What do you think is your most valuable or differentiating contribution to the Class of 2023?
I saw a company at all different stages in its growth trajectory, from its earliest days of four people up until it was acquired at 100+ employees. This experience has provided me with an understanding of the ever-evolving demands, highs and lows that a company faces at each stage of its growth.

Tell us a fun fact that didn’t get included on your application:
I can walk on my hands!

Post-MBA career interests:
Long-term, I want to end up back in the early-stage startup ecosystem – hopefully one day as a founder. I’m still trying to figure out exactly what I want to do post-GSB; but, right now, I’m exploring opportunities in the investing space and in operations/strategy roles at larger consumer and media companies.

Advice for Current Prospective Applicants:|
–What is one thing you would absolutely do again as part of your application process?
I spent a lot of time reflecting on who I am as a person, who I wanted to be, my various professional and personal experiences, and identifying common themes and threads between them. This was a really essential and important part of the process!

–What is one thing you would change or do differently?
If I could go back in time, I would encourage myself to start writing the applications earlier. While I think the time I spent self-reflecting was very useful, I definitely wasted time overthinking my essays, and would have been much more efficient if I had just started writing! You can always edit or stray from initial drafts, and I think the process of bringing pen to paper would have helped me work through my different thoughts and ideas more effectively.

–What is one part you would have skipped if you could—and what helped you get through it?
The waiting! The anticipation about whether or not I secured interviews was actually more painful than the actual admissions decision for me, especially for GSB because you didn’t know when you were going to hear about the interview.

What is your initial impression of the Stanford GSB students/culture/community?
It is one of the most inclusive, friendly environments I have ever been a part of. Everyone is so excited to make new friends and willing to go out of their way to include others.

What is one thing you have learned about Stanford GSB that has surprised you?
I was struck by how international my class at the GSB is. My peers are from all corners of the globe, and learning about their vastly different life experiences has been fascinating.

Has the COVID-19 pandemic affected your personal application or admissions process in any way? If so, how?
I actually think the pandemic made the application process easier for me. Like most people, I had a lot more time on my hands than I was used to, and I was able to devote that time to the application and studying for the GMAT.

What is one thing you are most anxious about in your first year?
Figuring out how to choose between all the opportunities and activities that are available to me at the GSB! I learned quickly that saying yes to every opportunity that piqued my interest was not going to be feasible; instead, I had to learn how to be really intentional and thoughtful to ensure that I was allocating my time in a way that aligned with my goals.

What is one thing you are most excited about in your first year?
Getting to know all of my classmates, and learning more about their diverse backgrounds and experiences. 

Posted in: Real Humans of MBA Class of 2023, Real Humans of MBA Students

Schools: Stanford GSB

About the Author

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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.

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