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Real Humans of the MIT Sloan MBA Class of 2024

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mit sloan class of 2024Grace McLarty, MIT Sloan MBA Class of 2024

Age: 28
Hometown: Atlanta, GA
Undergraduate Institution and Major: Wake Forest University – B.S. Accountancy; University of Virginia – M.S. Global Commerce
Pre-MBA Work Experience (years, industry): 2 years in Management Consulting; 2.5 years in the Asset Management industry

Why did you make the decision to attend business school? Why now?
I was always curious about business school, but a bit intimidated by the admissions process and the time and resource commitment of going back to school. As I progressed in my career, the risk/reward trade-off started to change for me. I identified a few new areas of interest and a few key skill gaps that made business school seem like the right choice for me at this stage of my career. Most notably, I came to business school to sharpen my technical finance skills and further develop core leadership and management skills.

Why did you choose MIT Sloan? What factors figured most prominently into your decision of where to attend?
Because I did my undergraduate degree in accounting and had several years of work experience in the business world, maximum flexibility in the courses that I could take while at business school was key for me. I really liked that MIT Sloan has an intensive one-semester core program that then allows you three full semesters of coursework chosen for your specific interests and goals. I also loved the Sloan culture. Everyone I talked to during my application process was incredibly kind, raved about their experience at Sloan, and genuinely wanted me to succeed. 

What do you think is your most valuable or differentiating contribution to the MIT Sloan Class of 2024?
My roles pre-MBA afforded me the opportunity to interact with many different business units and levels of large organizations. I had a bird’s eye view into how and why organizations succeed (or fail) at achieving their objectives. I think this point of view gives me a unique perspective in classroom discussions and conversations with my peers.  

Tell us a fun fact about yourself that didn’t get included on your application:
I have been bungee jumping twice (in South Africa and New Zealand)!

Post-MBA career interests:
I plan to return to the asset management industry, broadly speaking, post-MBA. I’m inspired by the impact that the industry can have on the lives of individuals and society at large by facilitating wealth accumulation and the expansion of resources via investment products. I’m also interested in the role that fintech and emerging technologies can play in modernizing and democratizing the industry. 

Advice for Current Prospective Applicants:
–What is one thing you would absolutely do again as part of your application process?  
Stay true to yourself. There is a lot of information (true and false) out there on how to succeed in the application process. It can be tempting to take that information and try to fit your story and your application into a template that looks like the “ideal candidate.” I limited the amount of research I did on the process beforehand and focused mostly on my own self-reflection and my own reasons for wanting to pursue an MBA at each school I was applying to. The real you will be a perfect fit for the school you are meant to go to.

–What is one thing you would change or do differently?
I applied during Round 3, which definitely added stress to the process knowing that there were likely less open spots at that stage of the application cycle and that once accepted, I had less time to wrap up work and plan for the transition. Round 3 was the timeline that worked best for me in the year that I wanted to apply, so I wouldn’t necessarily change it, but it is definitely something to consider when you are thinking about your application plan.

–What is one part you would have skipped if you could—and what helped you get through it?
The time period when you are waiting to hear back after each stage is really tough. I came up with a well-defined plan b for if I wasn’t accepted that helped me to feel in control of the situation and feel confident knowing that I would be able to reach my goals either way. It also helped to remind myself that I was an active participant in this process and that the outcome did not define my past or future success.

What is your initial impression of the Sloan students/culture/community?
The read I got during my application process was spot on – Sloanies are SO NICE. It’s an absolutely amazing place to pursue an MBA/career change/personal growth because everyone is so supportive of each other and their goals. People in the community also come from such unique, diverse backgrounds and experiences. Whatever it is that you’re interested in, there’s probably someone here who knows about it and is more than willing to chat with you. 

What is one thing you have learned about Sloan that has surprised you?
We run on Sloan time here. This means that classes and events start five minutes after the scheduled time and end five minutes early to allow time for natural interactions and conversations between activities.

What is one thing you are most anxious about in your first year?
Trying to do it all… There are SO many things that I want to get involved with and participate in during my time here. I have to remind myself that I have two full years here, and I can’t do everything all at once.

What is one thing you are most excited about in your first year?
I joined the student investment fund as a way to get hands-on experience in the investment space. Together with a team of three others, I am covering public equities in the consumer sector and coming up with investment theses and stock pitch proposals for the broader fund to vote on. I’m excited to learn alongside the team and track our progress this year.

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.