Working as a financial analyst, Danielle Chatman-Moore (MBA ’21) had spent nearly two years immersed in Excel spreadsheets and data analytics in her full-time job. She soon discovered that her favorite part of the process was calling her clients, reviewing the findings of her corporate tax analysis and talking about future plans.
To do more client-facing work like this, Chatman-Moore transitioned to a technology company, acting as a consultant to businesses investing in enterprise software. “When I talked to clients and was in the trenches, solving problems, I was 100% engaged. That’s when I knew I was passionate about consulting,” she explained.
Kick-starting the future
Ever since high school, Chatman-Moore knew she wanted an MBA. She was just waiting for the right time.
After her husband was admitted to MSU’s Educational Technology program, he encouraged her to think about her own future — specifically one in Broad’s Full-Time MBA program.
“I craved opportunity to create change on a larger, more impactful scale,” she said. “After I met Director of Graduate Admissions and Enrollment Scott Smith, learned about the program and met other MBA candidates, I was sold. The connectedness I felt was genuine. I knew I’d found something rare.”
Getting a head start
Once a year, hundreds of future female MBAs gather for the two-day Forté MBA Women’s Leadership Conference to encourage, support and learn from one another. Here, forward-thinking women from Forté sponsor schools like MSU to network with MBAs from around the world, spend time with potential employers and surround themselves with inspiring energy.
This summer, Chatman-Moore — who was chosen as a Broad MBA Forté fellow — had the chance to attend.
“The conference was a rally cry,” she explained. “It was an opportunity to be assured that I’m already equipped to be successful, there are experiences waiting for me post-MBA and there is a large community of women to support me at every stage. I was so glad to meet women with such unique backgrounds from business schools all over — and we’re going to be connected by an organization like this.”
Although she gleaned important points from each Forté MBA Women’s Leadership Conference speaker, two messages stood out to her. “They set the tone for the conference,” she said.
Morgan Stanley Vice Chairman of Wealth Management and Senior Client Advisor Carla Harris spoke to future MBAs about the importance of taking risks, owning mistakes and building a coalition. “She sat beside Dana McNabb, president of Big G Cereals, and they touched on this truth: People will remember you based on how you handle mistakes. It’s important to behave in a way that stakeholders are willing to spend their currency on you — speak highly of you — when you’re not in the room.”
Jessica Bennett, author of Feminist Fight Club, also stood out to Chatman-Moore as she discussed the gender-gap nuances faced by women in the workplace, provided strategies to fight back and gave hope for a fair future with gender parity.
Chatman-Moore also joined breakout sessions about nonprofit work (a career path she hadn’t considered until the conference), blending management and technology, and real-life consulting experiences from women with different backgrounds. “There was so much I didn’t know about the world of consulting,” she said. “I’d been exposed to a specific style. I was able to clarify that consultants don’t ‘know’ things other people don’t — they know how to figure things out with deep curiosity, tact and humility.”
Building a network
After an impactful precursor to the Full-Time MBA program, Chatman-Moore is now ready to dedicate the next two years to learning all she can.
“The education I receive will be top notch — that’s a given. I know I’m going to come out prepared, with an amazing internship and post-MBA opportunity waiting,” she said. “The cherries on top are what I look forward to most. I’m ready to build solid relationships with my cohort and create allies who will advocate with me. We’ll be in link step as supporters of women in the boardroom and the classroom.”