Final Reflections: Connecting past experiences with future goals

Our Final Reflections on Business School Series profiles a handful of soon to be MBA Graduates at top MBA Programs as they share with us their parting thoughts. Kayla Cartwright (Darden, ’16) has been a frequent contributor to MBASchooled over the course of her two years at Darden. Before heading off to graduate, Kayla took some time to share some parting thoughts about her business school experience in Charlottesville.

MBASchooled: What is your favorite memory of business school?

Kayla: In March of my first year I was able to travel to Manaus and Rio de Janiero in Brazil on a “Global Business Experience”. It was a great opportunity to do business in Latin America (aligned to my career goals), and to be able to former deeper relationships with friends and classmates.

MBASchooled: What part of you has undergone the most transformation while in business school?

Kayla: The fact that I came into business school not knowing what EBITDA was (I did not even know it was an acronym when people said it aloud in class — remember, non-profit background here), and am now going to work at a major global bank, is really astounding. Being able to learn about financial institutions and markets has shifted my worldview, and has also allowed me to find a meaningful connection between my past experience and future goals.

MBASchooled: Who is someone who has had a positive influence on you while in business school?

Kayla: Professors have been great, and in particular, Elena Loutskina and Yiorgos Allayannis, both Faculty in the Finance department, have pushed me to understand more about finance and markets. Elena also has pushed me personally, as a woman in business, to speak more confidently and assertively–and I know that this will make a big difference in the future. Yiorgos was an incredible facilitator of the case method, and I am now writing a case with him for a finance course– again, the fact that this is my new reality is pretty crazy, and much in thanks to these professors.

MBASchooled: Is there anything that you haven’t gotten to do that you wish you had done?

Kayla: I wish I had taken better advantage of the opportunity to get to know faculty members. We have world-class Faculty with varied life and work experiences, and at Darden, they have an open door policy. I wish I had been more deliberate about getting to know more of them.

MBASchooled: Where do you hope to be in five years?

Kayla: I hope to be leading teams to great success, and right now am particularly interested in linking my background in education reform and my next role at Citigroup to do work in Financial Inclusion. Progress in that area will allow more families to be part of the banking system in order to save time, money, and assets with the ultimate goal of breaking the cycle of poverty.

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