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Carroll School of Management Graduate Programs

Kristen A. Johnson, MBA '05

03/07/12
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March 7, 2012

When Kristen Johnson graduated from Princeton University with a degree in international affairs, she went directly into the world of consulting. For five years, she worked with Fortune 500 companies to build effective institutional websites and other technology solutions.

Then she decided it was time to earn an MBA.

“My background was in liberal arts,” Johnson says. “After a few years as a consultant, I realized that I needed a stronger foundation in business if I wanted to broaden my professional opportunities. I thought an MBA would provide a good transition to a new career.”

Johnson’s top priority in choosing a business school was high-quality academics. “I wanted to go to a school with an excellent academic reputation and name recognition, so that my degree would be credible whether I lived in Boston or New Mexico,” she says. “Boston College had both academic excellence and a great reputation.”

Johnson was also impressed by the Carroll School’s small size and close-knit community. “BC was a place where I sensed that I could really get to know people,” she recalls. “I knew that I would find opportunities to get involved and make a difference.”

After enrolling in the full-time MBA program, Johnson found plenty of leadership opportunities. As president of the Graduate Management Association, for instance, she worked closely with Carroll School faculty and administrators, helped institute new programs, and created opportunities for students.

“Leading the GMA was a great experience,” Johnson recalls. “I worked hard to enhance the student experience, and by the time I graduated, felt that I had made a positive impact.”

Johnson points to the Carroll School’s practical approach as another strength of the MBA program. She gained hands-on experience through the business plan competition and the consulting project. She also spent two and a half weeks in Asia as part of the Carroll School’s International Management Experience course.

“We traveled to Japan, China, Taiwan, and Hong Kong to tour factories and meet with executives of local and multinational companies,” Johnson says. “You read about rapid growth in Asia, but you don’t really know what that means until you’re in China watching 50 brand-new skyscrapers go up in front of your eyes. The experience made me realize that our world is changing in fundamental ways.”

As Johnson neared graduation, her Boston College connections helped her land a job in marketing operations at EMC Corporation. A few years later, when she was ready to shift gears, her BC connections came through for her again, helping her gain entry into a leadership development program at Fidelity Investments—a “fantastic” program that led directly to Johnson’s current position as director of marketing programs at Fidelity.

“The Career Strategies office at BC has been very beneficial to me,” Johnson notes. “My career advisor met with me regularly to help me identify my strengths, articulate my interests, prepare my story, and make connections. She arranged informational interviews for me, and introduced me to a terrific mentor. And she helped me find the job I have today.”