Impact Stories
Hannah Untereiner, 2021 MBALaunch Participant

MBALaunch Helped Hannah Untereiner Cut Through B-School Rankings Noise and Find Her Perfect Match

After earning a Bachelor of Arts degree in American studies from Yale University, Hannah Untereiner moved to Washington, D.C to work for Lidl, an international grocery store chain. Starting as an analyst on the real estate team, she helped Lidl acquire parcels of land across the East Coast and Texas where the company later built its first 50 U.S. grocery stores. Fast-forward six years, Hannah found herself pondering an MBA.

A handful of factors played into Hannah’s decision to pursue business school: recognizing many of her mentors had MBAs that helped them achieve career success; reaching a stagnant point in her career in which she desired more experience in finance and strategy; realizing she was passionate about the music business; and wanting to develop connections in an entertainment-focused city like Los Angeles.

“I’ve been singing since I could talk and picked up guitar in high school. I … got involved on the business side [of music] when I started managing my folk band in [Washington] D.C. five years ago,” Hannah explains. “In managing my band, I realized I enjoyed the business aspects, such as negotiations with venues, marketing for shows, and managing band members.”

Synergies between her real estate and music project management skills furthered her commitment to apply to business school. “Given that music has always been my primary passion, I decided to pursue the business side of the industry as my career going forward,” she says.

Alleviating Pain Points

As she embarked on the overwhelming b-school application process, Hannah realized she needed help. She received a few referrals to Forté’s MBALaunch program and “liked the fact that it was designed to walk me through the deadlines, connect me with admissions staff and current students and alumni at various schools, and create a support group of other women who were applying from the D.C. area.” Access to fee waivers from Forté partner schools sealed the deal and she joined the 2021 cohort.

I can’t imagine going through the business school application process without Forté MBALaunch.

For Hannah, one of the most challenging aspects of the b-school selection process involved cutting through the noise of school rankings to drill down to the best cultural and programming fit. By connecting her with current students, alumni, and admissions representatives at panel events, exposing her to candid conversations, MBALaunch helped her get a better sense of each program and whether she would enjoy her time there.

“Another challenging aspect was staying motivated while studying for and taking the GMAT multiple times. The small group fostered by MBALaunch allowed me to feel supported and encouraged throughout these pain points in the process,” she remembers.

In the end, Hannah found her b-school match in University of California – Los Angeles (Anderson School of Management), where she’s a full-time student bound for graduation in 2024. She describes the school’s culture as focused on “thinking fearlessly and driving change.”

Says Hannah, “I know both of those mindsets will be vital as I work in the music industry, which is rapidly changing and will need to be fearless in its approach to innovation. I also appreciate that Anderson has top-quality academics with a more relaxed and friendly culture than many other top business schools. This more laid-back-but-focused atmosphere makes it easy for me to connect with and develop meaningful friendships with my classmates.”

After finishing MBALaunch, Hannah has continued to be engaged with Forté. She attended the MBA Women’s Leadership Conference in June 2022 and the virtual Fall MBA Women’s Leadership Conference in October 2022.

Finding Funds

A standout component of the MBALaunch program for Hannah was access to business school consultants, who conducted informative Zoom presentations.

“Angela Guido [founder of Career Protocol] presented on storytelling. I found her feedback and focus on authentic storytelling to be refreshing while I was crafting my essays and preparing for b-school interviews. She is an empowering speaker who increased my self-confidence and optimism during a stressful time,” she says.

Another beneficial part of MBALaunch for Hannah was learning about the Forté Fellowship, a designation that helped her secure a substantial scholarship for business school.

“The MBALaunch staff made me aware that these Forté Fellowships existed at partner schools. Sarah Duerr specifically helped me evaluate various fellowship offers and negotiate additional funds,” she recalls.

Overall, Hannah gives her experience with MBALaunch “five stars,” adding that she “can’t imagine getting through the business school application process without [the program].”

Get Support Along Your MBA Journey

If you’re planning to apply to business school, improve your chances of getting in with Forté MBALaunch. Get access to a comprehensive application prep road map, supportive peer community, fee waivers to 40+ top b-schools, and more. Get started today!

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