Alumni Stories: Kylie McBride, Gies College of Business, University of Illinois

Alumni Stories: Kylie McBride, Carlson School of Management, University of Illinois main image

Kylie McBride attended Gies College of Business, University of Illinois to earn her MBA.

McBride had four years’ work experience, and just before her studies, she held the role of Senior Financial Analyst at CVS Health & Northbrook, IL.

Since graduating, she landed a Management Consultant position at Accenture & Chicago, IL.

McBride speaks with TopMBA.com about her reasons for choosing Carlson, and how she made the most of her MBA experience.

What were you doing before starting your MBA?

I was working as a Senior Financial Analyst within the Financial Planning & Analysis team at CVS Health within Corporate Finance. I would support various business leaders in creating their annual budgets and provide financial and analytical support to the business.

What factors led you to pursue a graduate degree?

I wanted to transition into consulting or a corporate strategy role. I knew an MBA would provide me with the leadership and strategic management skills that would prepare me for my new career. Additionally, the time spent during an MBA program on building your network and navigating potential career opportunities was extremely beneficial.

What factored in to your final choice of where to study?

There were three key factors I took into consideration when deciding where to study. First, did the school provide highly qualified and experienced faculty. Second, was there a consulting program and were their clients making large impacts on their respective industries. Third, did the school provide a high return on investment, both financially and professionally.

How did the school/program contribute to your career progression?

My career was transformed through the rigor of case analysis that was utilized in the majority of courses, complex problem solving through the consulting program, the ability to tell a story with complex data analyses, my public speaking skills were greatly improved through continuous presentations, and through alumni connections I was able to network my way into new industries and companies.

What was your favorite thing about the campus?

My favorite part about the campus was how easy it was to get around and the affordability of housing.

What was your single best experience on the program?

Traveling to India to conduct market research for a new product we developed specifically for the Indian marketplace and created a comprehensive 50+ page business plan.

Would you do anything differently if you could research and apply to business school over again?

I would have connected with more alumni over the course of the application process and while in the MBA program.

What do you think is the biggest myth about business school?

That the degree alone will provide you with the ticket to your new career. There’s a lot of work outside of the classroom that will provide you with the opportunities you need to transition your career (e.g. consulting programs, networking, alumni, faculty, global experiences, etc.)

What is the one piece of advice you would have for incoming students to the program?

Say “Yes” to everything and push yourself outside your comfort zone every day. The MBA program is a safe place to try new things, make mistakes, fail, and learn.

If you started over, is there anything you’d do differently when researching and applying to business school again?

Visit all the campuses for the schools I applied for because the campus and faculty have a significant impact on your MBA experience.

Niamh Ollerton, Deputy Head of Content at QS
Written by Niamh Ollerton

Niamh is Deputy Head of Content at QS (TopMBA.com; topuniversities.com), creating and editing content for an international student audience. Having gained her journalism qualification at the Press Association, London and since written for different international publications, she's now enjoying telling the stories of students, alumni, faculty, entrepreneurs and organizations from across the globe.  

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