After several years in ad sales for the magazine industry, Joanna Lippert was working as the wholesale sales manager for a small boutique chocolate company in New York when she decided it was time to pursue a graduate degree in business.
“I wanted to help the brand become a well-known name like Godiva, but I didn’t have the tools to make that happen,” says Lippert, a Minnesota native with an undergraduate degree in history from Boston College. “I wanted to learn the analytical and brand-management skills that I hadn’t needed in my sales career.”
Lippert chose Boston College for her MBA, in part because of the strong sense of community she’d found there as an undergraduate. “Boston College alumni share a certain pride in their school,” she notes. “Whenever I meet fellow BC graduates, their eyes light up when I say I went there too. We have an immediate connection.”
At the Carroll School, Lippert made the most of the connections she made. “For me, the best thing about the program was the support I found from my classmates, my professors, and the Boston College alumni network,” she says. “My professors were always willing to work with me outside of class, and my classmates helped me in subjects like finance and accounting. We got to know each other very well, so we were able to leverage one another’s unique skills and experiences.”
Lippert was able to leverage her classmates’ experience when it came to career networking, too. As a first-year student, she reached out to friends in the second-year class for guidance in finding a summer internship. Those connections resulted in three separate final-round interviews—and a summer internship at Boston Scientific.
“Not only were my classmates willing to reach out to their former internship managers on my behalf, they also spent hours helping me prepare for interviews,” she says. “Having a strong support network at BC made an enormous difference when it came to getting an internship.”
Lippert made a point of getting involved in student life at the Carroll School. She worked as a fellow in the Office of Graduate Admissions, interviewing prospective students and telling them about the MBA program. She also served as the social director for the School’s Graduate Management Association.
“As an admissions fellow, I liked the idea that I was having an impact on the School by helping to choose the incoming class,” she says. “And as the social director of the GMA, I enjoyed getting to know my classmates and helping them feel engaged in the School. At a larger business school, I don’t know if I would have had the opportunity to make this kind of impact.”
After graduation, Lippert joined a leadership development program at the Nashville offices of Mars, Incorporated, one of the world’s leading chocolate, drinks, food, and pet care companies. “Mars was looking for leadership potential,” she says. “They saw that potential in me, through my work in the School’s administration and my role in student government.”