Forté Fellows
Emily Liner

Forté Fellow of the Month: Emily Liner

Emily Liner

Emily Liner

Georgetown University, Government, 2008
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Kenan-Flagler Business School, 2015
Hometown: Bay Saint Louis, MS
Pre-MBA Work Experience: Politics (I’m clearly a career changer!)

Why did you decide to pursue an MBA?
Before I came to business school, I worked in political campaigns for five years. Through this experience, I realized that political leaders need partners in the private sector to help advance their ideas and policies. I am seeking an MBA because I am interested in how corporations can lead social change through areas like sustainability, best practices, transparency, corporate governance, and stakeholder engagement. I also have a special interest in women’s advancement, work-life balance, and workplace diversity.

What advice do you have for women who are considering business school?
Aside from the career opportunities – which are plentiful! – I think that more women should consider business school as an opportunity to engage in leadership and personal development. You will learn so much about yourself in business school, from study group assignments to participating in activities to preparing for behavioral and case interviews. Additionally, many business schools make a point of incorporating leadership development into the program. In fact, this is a hallmark of Kenan-Flagler’s MBA program and one reason why I chose to come to Chapel Hill.

What’s the most surprising you learned about business school during the application process?
By researching and visiting different business schools, you discover ways in which they have very different cultures and personalities, as well as ways in which they are similar, like curriculum and resources. So, when you are deciding which business schools to apply to, and ultimately to enroll in, your biggest consideration should be personal fit. Remember, no matter where you go, you’ll be able to take classes in your priority function, travel internationally, do a real-world consulting project, use a Bloomberg terminal, and (almost always) recruit for the same firms.

Do you feel prepared for business school?
I have to admit, I thought that studying for the GMAT was great preparation for business school. I have seen direct links from some of the material on the test to concepts in my core classes.

What do you do in your free time?
I have to begin with a caveat. What you’ve heard is true: You have very little free time during your first year. You really have to maximize your time outside of class to knock out homework, prepare for your upcoming lectures and assignments, and stay on top of your internship search (even at this early phase where you’re just planning out your internship search!). But that doesn’t mean that you don’t have time for fun. I feel like all of us in the program are genuinely friends, and we spend a lot of time together hanging out. But you do have to make a point to set aside time for your favorite activities so that they don’t fall along the wayside. I love to practice yoga, swim, and read The New Yorker. I just have to remind myself that it’s ok to stop what I’m doing to enjoy these activities!

What would you tell your younger self about the MBA application process and being an MBA student?
DO IT! I never considered pursuing an MBA when I was an undergrad, because I thought they were only for bankers and management consultants. Now I know that an MBA can open literally any door for your career, no matter what your interests are. (And now that I might become a management consultant, the MBA certainly helps!)

Please share something about your experience with Forté.
I learned about Forté from a work colleague who applied and enrolled in business school a year ahead of me and encouraged me to join. I am so happy to have found this network of amazing young women and mentors. It is inspiring to know that there are so many talented women out there who share my interests and goals and want to support each other.

Business leaders are the people who ultimately decide how workplaces function, in any industry. So if you are passionate about women’s advancement and you want to help more women reach leadership roles, and if you want more flexibility in work-life balance, you need to become the person who has the power to promote employees and define the core values of the company.

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