Alicia Ling Rice University, BA in Cognitive Science, 2008 MIT Sloan School of Management, Class of 2014 Hometown: Princeton, NJ Pre-MBA Work Experience: Target Corporation (merchandising for Target.com and enterprise risk management) and management consulting at Accenture Why did you decide to pursue an MBA? When I was at Target, I worked with a small team of five people and we were responsible for running the entire women’s Junior’s apparel category for Target.com. This experience made me realize that I loved the autonomy and immediate accountability of working with a small group to achieve really large goals. In particular, I am interested in ways to encourage people to create more music and art. As a result, I decided to pursue an MBA to gain additional business knowledge and meet other classmates who share my desire to use start-ups as a vehicle for pursuing a certain goal. What advice do you have for women who are considering business school? I would advise visiting the schools to get a good sense for the culture and to learn what students end up doing after graduation. Both of these vary from school to school, and they will make a huge difference in the business school experience. What's the most surprising you learned about business school during the application process? I was surprised at how personal the application process became, but it really helped me articulate what I wanted to do next. As you continue through the interview process and admitted student weekend, it also becomes clear that the admissions officers genuinely want to get to know you and create a class that fits well together. Do you feel prepared for business school? Yes, I was excited for business school because the students come in with an incredible range of backgrounds. Some have formal business backgrounds and others do not, but the common thread between everyone is having a huge abundance of curiosity, passion and drive. What do you do in your free time? In my free time, I like to play the piano, listen to music, and attend music events. I also play tennis and love doing any outdoors activities. Please share something about your experience with Forté. At a recent Forté lunch, I met a second year Forté Fellow who shares my interest in start-ups and her guidance on transitioning into the start-up scene has been invaluable. I have learned that the Forté community is very supportive, and I am excited to participate in future Forté events. I always liked Ray Bradbury’s quote when he said, “I like to play. I’m interested in having fun with ideas, throwing them up in the air like confetti and then running under them.” As I move forward in my career, I hope to continue “playing” and enjoying the journey along the way.