Real Humans of SMU Cox’s MBA Class of 2024
Hometown: Lafayette, LA
Undergraduate Institution and Major: Southern Methodist University, Finance Pre-MBA Work Experience (years, industry): Real Estate Investment and Development (5 years), Co-Founder, Districtt – consumer furniture rental company based in Dallas, TX and Atlanta, GA (2 years)
Why did you make the decision to attend business school? Why now?
The startup I co-founded, Districtt, was heavily reliant on supply chains, and the disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic hindered our ability to scale. When it became clear that these issues would persist, I decided to exit the business and apply to business school. While my previous work experience taught me how to be a self-starter and innovative, I recognized that there were some gaps in my skill set, specifically in data analytics. Business school was the best way to fill in these gaps and figure out the next step in my career.
Why did you choose SMU Cox? What factors figured most prominently into your decision of where to attend?
Having attended SMU for my undergraduate degree, I knew the value Cox provided from both an educational and networking standpoint. Dallas has seen tremendous growth over the last decade and is increasingly becoming the home to industry leaders, with many Cox alumni playing an influential role in that growth. SMU’s emphasis on connecting its students to the vast network of alumni in Dallas creates a wide range of opportunities that is hard to find elsewhere.
What really stood out to me about the MBA program, however, was its emphasis on data analytics. No matter what field you’re interested in pursuing, data analysis is in its future. I found that SMU offered many courses that integrated data analytics into other business functions – marketing, operations, finance, etc. This was a unique offering that made SMU especially attractive.
What do you think is your most valuable or differentiating contribution to the Class of 2024?
I am a strong believer in the power of networking and enjoy helping people reach their career goals however I can. I look forward to organizing events that foster strong bonds within the class so that we can be a resource for one another as we navigate the career search and beyond.
Post-MBA career interests:
Strategy and Management Consulting; Business Development in Energy, Healthcare, or Supply Chain
Advice for Current Prospective Applicants:
–What is one thing you would absolutely do again as part of your application process?
I’m glad I didn’t give up on the GMAT exam. I initially struggled to get into the test-taking mindset and did not perform well on my first couple of tries. However, after finding a great tutor and dedicating myself to the practice material, I achieved a score I was proud of. It also helped me improve my mental math skills which have better prepared me for school and case interviews.
–What is one thing you would change or do differently?
I would have done more mock interviews. While I put a lot of effort into preparing my interview answers, I didn’t spend enough time getting feedback on them. Now that I’ve had the opportunity to do mock interviews with the career management team at Cox, I realized there were some minor tweaks in my answers that would have made them more impactful.
–What is one part you would have skipped if you could—and what helped you get through it?
I would have skipped the supplemental essay explaining why I was no longer with the startup I co-founded. There is a lot of pressure to have the perfect application and having to explain a failure made me nervous about my strength as a candidate. However, after talking with friends who had been through the process, I realized that if schools didn’t allow for previous failures, there would be no one to admit! This made me more comfortable with showing vulnerability.
What is your initial impression of the SMU Cox students/culture/community?
It is a very tight-knit community – not just within the class but with the 2nd year students, one-year MBAs, and staff/faculty. Everyone is eager to know one another and help wherever they can.
What is one thing you have learned about SMU Cox that has surprised you?
The sheer diversity in backgrounds. I was expecting a lot of business backgrounds but there are people from all different walks of life – engineers, teachers, healthcare workers, etc. This variety allows for a lot of different perspectives which makes for a very interesting learning environment.
What is one thing you are most anxious about in your first year?
Learning how to say no. There are so many opportunities to get involved with interesting projects and events, but there are not enough hours in the day to do it all. It has been difficult to pass on some of these opportunities, but I’m learning how to prioritize and figure out where to focus my efforts.
What is one thing you are most excited about in your first year?
Building strong relationships with my classmates and seeing them accomplish their career goals!