When Michelle Mittelsteadt began her MBA studies at the Carroll School of Management, she was a PhD chemist, intent on becoming a research-and-development manager. But something pulled her off the R&D track and into another field that became her real passion.
That something was, in a nutshell, the Carroll School experience.
Mittelsteadt points out that while giving students a solid technical grounding in their chosen area of concentration, the rigorous graduate program also exposes them to all aspects of management. In her first semester, she took a core course in accounting with the illustrious professor Pete Wilson.
Wilson added a particular value to the study of accounting. He made it “exciting, which is a challenge, with accounting,” Mittelsteadt recalled. “It totally changed what I wanted to do, and I decided that I wanted to do something with finance and accounting.” She had taken the science route ever since her undergraduate days at Cambridge University in her native England, but Mittelsteadt decided to make finance her field.
Wilson’s influence on her professional trajectory extended beyond the classroom.
Chatting with an executive of PricewaterhouseCoopers at a dinner, Wilson mentioned that he knew a student with a science background who was good at accounting. The executive agreed to interview Mittelsteadt for an internship, which she wound up doing in the summer after her first year. By the end of the summer internship, she was told that a full-time position would be hers after graduation, if she wanted it. She joined the auditing firm’s valuation group in Boston, in May 2001.
But that was hardly the end of Mittelsteadt’s Carroll School experience.
The alumnus was one of four Carroll School students from her year hired directly out of the MBA program, and she became the lead recruiter of MBA students in the valuation group. There was no doubt that one of her regular destinations would be Chestnut Hill.
“PricewaterhouseCoopers felt it had been very successful with Carroll School graduates. People coming out of the graduate program have a solid financial training, and they’re good team players. That makes them a good fit for the culture there,” says Mittelsteadt, who had completed her PhD in chemistry at Syracuse University in New York and spent five years at PwC.
Now, Mittelsteadt is doing the same work—financial analysis—in the valuation group at Ernst & Young in Boston. She points out that the breadth of her studies at the Carroll School, and its core curriculum, prepared her well for these tasks. Putting an overall value on a business “requires understanding the business from a number of angles, and the MBA program gave me this broad understanding,” she notes.
“The Carroll School was a great experience. I had a wonderful time there,” said Mittelsteadt, whose close friends from the 2001 MBA class include godparents of two of her three children. Now she reaches out to undergraduates at BC and other institutions, as a recruiter for her financial-analysis group at Ernst & Young.