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Student Spotlight: Kathy Lee (’19) Reflects on the Forté MBA Women’s Conference

This post is a part of the Student Spotlight series where we highlight a current Anderson student or alum to learn about his/her experiences at Anderson. 

Kathy Lee

Student Blogger: 
Kathy Lee ’19

Bellevue, WA

University of Notre Dame, Marketing & English

Pre-MBA Career: 
QBM Trading International and Microsoft

Post-MBA Goals:
CPG Marketing

Kathy Lee is an incoming UCLA Anderson MBA student from the Class of 2019. This past weekend, she attended the Forté MBA Women’s Leadership Conference in Seattle, WA at Amazon headquarters. In the below blog post, Kathy reflects on the conference,  advice for prospective MBAs, and her future at UCLA Anderson. 

In my past role, I rarely had the time to dive deep into the issues and leadership styles of women. One of my top goals of my MBA is to connect with and learn from women leaders, and the Forté Women’s Leadership Conference, started by the Forté Foundation, provided an excellent platform for me to get a head start.

This year, Amazon held the event at their headquarters in Seattle, Washington from June 16 – 17, and I had the chance to connect with over 600 attendees from 49 MBA schools. With 59 participants, UCLA Anderson led the way with the largest group of women from the Class of 2019, showing that our community embodies the core value of “driving change”.

UCLA Anderson was the most represented business school with 59 attendees!
UCLA Anderson was the most represented business school with 59 attendees!

UCLA Anderson’s Parker Career Management Center not only equipped us in advance with comprehensive resume and 30-second pitch preparation, but advisers also arrived early to coach group sessions. Dean Judy Olian, who spoke to us at our annual school dinner, even joined my group of speed networking practice, and gave each of my group members personal tips on how to improve our 30-second pitches. Additionally, during dinner, several local alumnae offered useful advice before we embarked upon our MBAs.

The conference theme this year was ‘RISE’, and emphasized that as women, we must rise to the top, whether it is the C-Suite or the summit of Everest, and the journey getting there will be most significant. Some personal key takeaways from keynotes, C-suite dialogues, workshops and panels were:

  • Confidence is an ability to move towards something without holding back
  • Take a negotiations course, always negotiate, and influence other women to negotiate
  • Surround yourself with people who will never let you quit.

We also had time to connect with students from other schools, and network with corporate recruiters at the Career Expo & Networking Reception. The conference provided strategic tools to help me navigate both my MBA experience and entire career.

Keynote speakers displayed at the Forte MBA Women's Leadership Conference
Keynote speakers displayed at the Forte MBA Women’s Leadership Conference

For prospective MBA students, I highly advise attending this conference in order to learn from successful women and meet new classmates. I am very excited that I will already have more than 50 friends when I arrive on campus on the first day of school!

When applying to business school, applicants will constantly hear that “fit” is imperative in choosing the right MBA. I wholeheartedly agree that researching not only the academic requirements but also the program’s culture is key to ensure that the entire MBA experience, including conferences like Forté, is what you are looking for. Additionally, I felt that I came to really grasp a program’s culture after I heard current students give personal stories during information sessions and webinars.

An exceptional experience, the Forté MBA Women’s Leadership Conference helped me gain confidence to start my MBA. Having the strong Anderson community and Parker Center was one of the unique advantages to attending the conference. This experience proved that Anderson genuinely strives to “share success” so that everyone can win and ultimately achieve their goals.

UCLA Anderson annual dinner on Thursday night before the conference kicked off
UCLA Anderson annual dinner on Thursday night before the conference kicked off

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