Here’s a talk with Teresa J. Lo, an MBA candidate at Northwestern Kellogg who is passionate about marketing, traveling, and cooking. Thank you Teresa for sharing your thoughts and experiences with us!
This interview is the latest in an Accepted.com blog series featuring interviews with current MBA students, offering readers a behind-the-scenes look at top MBA programs. We hope to offer you a candid picture of student life, and what you should consider as you prepare your MBA application.
Accepted: First, can you tell us a little about yourself? Where are you from? Where did you study as an undergrad? When did you graduate? And do you hold any prior degrees?
Teresa: I am originally from a suburb of Dallas, TX and studied at University of Texas at Austin for undergrad. (Hook em!) I graduated in 2006 with a triple major in Business Honors, Marketing, and Psychology. While in undergrad, I founded a chapter of a non-profit organization that sponsors Chinese orphans for necessary medical procedures (http://chinacare.org/). The chapter is still active on the UT campus and I still keep in touch with a few of the sponsored girls and they are such inspirations to me.
After graduating I moved to New York City to become a buyer at Macy’s, where I was exposed to brands such as Chanel, Nike, The North Face, and Ralph Lauren. I lived in NYC for 5 years before applying to graduate school. I am an avid photographer, world traveler, and love to cook and bake.
Accepted: I see on LinkedIn that you’ve attended three business schools — Kellogg (current), Texas McCombs (BA), and Copenhagen Business School. What would you say are the greatest differences between these schools in terms of teaching style and community?
Teresa: I did my undergrad at McCombs, studied abroad at CBS, and am currently an MBA candidate at Kellogg. All are different from each other, but I have loved all three experiences.
McCombs is quite large, but I was in the Business Honors Program (BHP), which teaches MBA level courses and is significantly smaller and easier to navigate. The school is ranked at the top of undergrad business school and has really modern facilities. The teaching method is a mix of lecture, case study, and group work. Even though the program was competitive, I was surrounded by amazing people who constantly challenged me. I made lifelong friends, many of whom have started successful companies, worked internationally, and/or have graduated from top graduate business schools.
Copenhagen is a small city and CBS is also very small, but it is one of the best schools in Northern Europe. They teach many classes in English and focus mostly on lecture and teamwork. The grading system was a unique 1-7 scale based on a curve, so it was extremely hard to get A’s. Danes are incredibly family-oriented people and the culture is very focused on building relationships. Even though I was only there for one semester, I had a great experience and recommend it to everyone!
Kellogg has been a similarly impactful experience for me. The first word that comes to mind is “intense.” Northwestern University goes off the quarter system so each term is only 10-weeks long and we cram a lot of information into each class. I chose to come to Kellogg because of its reputation for teamwork and collaboration and it has lived up to this reputation. My classmates are incredibility smart and talented…I have accepted that I am just average compared to them! Despite the pressures of school and recruiting, everyone is extremely willing to help each other out both professionally and personally. The teaching style here is similar to McCombs, which is a mix of lecture, case study, and group work. This is the style that suits me and how I learn the best.
Accepted: What do you plan on doing once you receive your MBA?
Teresa: Luckily I am not a career-switcher. I have always had a passion for retail and marketing and want to stay in the retail industry in any area of marketing ranging from digital to brand. If there is something I have learned from the last few years, it’s that you can’t “plan” everything and sometimes have to be open to opportunities you never knew existed. If you had asked me 6 years ago, I couldn’t have foreshadowed moving to New York or working for Sephora in SF!
Accepted: Can you tell us about your internship at Sephora? What role did Kellogg have in helping you secure that position?
Teresa: I was an MBA digital marketing intern at Sephora, based in SF this summer. It was a phenomenal experience and I got to sample so many new products! I focused primary on social media and mobile opportunities, which is a fast-growing area of marketing. I chose to work for Sephora because of its best-in-class status in digital marketing and its open-minded culture. Even though I was “only an intern,” my ideas were always welcome and wanted.
Although I did some on-campus recruiting with Kellogg, I found the Sephora opportunity off-campus. I utilized my previous network in NYC, visited companies, and talked to a lot of people. The “Kellogg” brand on my resume definitely helped open doors and give me some legitimacy with regards to my passion for marketing.
Accepted: How would describe your “fit” with Kellogg?
Teresa: I alluded to this earlier, but Kellogg is all about “fit.” The type of people who come here are not only bright, hard-working, and extremely talented, but also fun, creative, and supportive. We are unlike some other schools that focus only on leadership; Kellogg is all about teamwork and collaborating with people from diverse backgrounds. Even during the stressful recruiting season, my classmates were my biggest cheerleaders and supporters. Kellogg was the only school that I wanted to go to because I knew it was the right fit.
Accepted: Can you offer some advice to our Kellogg applicants?
Teresa: Be passionate. Kellogg accepts people who have a passion for something and are passionate about coming to Kellogg. A generic “this is why I am a smart and successful candidate” essay will not cut it. Show some personality, tell us why you are unique, and demonstrate what you will bring to the Kellogg community that is unlike anyone else.
For one-on-one guidance on the Kellogg application, please see our Kellogg Business School packages. For specific advice on how to create the best application for Kellogg see Linda’s Kellogg 2013 Essay Questions, Deadlines, and Tips.
Accepted.com ~ Helping You Write Your Best