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About Rachel

Hometown: Toronto, ON
Current Position: Director, Asian American Center, Northeastern
Previous University: Syracuse University
Additional Degrees: Master's in Child Development and Developmental Psychology, Tufts; Master's in Sports Leadership, Northeastern
Q: What was your educational background before you joined the Part-Time MBA program?

A: I was a competitive swimmer as an undergraduate, which really opened my eyes to the idea of equity in sports. I started to understand that I had a passion for diversity, equity, and inclusion. I got my master's degree in child development and developmental psychology because I wanted to give underrepresented kids access to a high-quality education. I taught kindergarten through second grade and loved it, but I wound up leaving teaching for personal reasons. I still felt the call of using sports as a way to talk about social justice issues. That led me to the Master of Sports Leadership program here at Northeastern.

Q: How did your work experience lead you to pursue an MBA?

A: All my work roles have had a common thread of social consciousness—making sure all voices are heard. I worked for various nonprofits while I was getting my second master's degree, including the Center for Sport and Society at Northeastern. I facilitated conversations with athletes about using their platforms to elevate consciousness and promote social justice. That led to a position with the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association in DEI and student leadership development, where I worked to make high school programs in the state more inclusive. I eventually heard about the role opening at the Asian American Center, so I applied and got the job.

The thing is, I love being in school. I consider myself a lifelong learner. And I've always had this seed of an idea in my head that I could start my own educational curriculum publishing company, but I needed to understand what really goes into owning a business. When I realized I could pursue my part-time MBA while I was working, and that there would be opportunities for me to bring my passion for social justice into the classroom, I took the leap.

Q: Are you applying what you learn on the job?

A: Yes—I manage a budget as part of my job, and now I have a much greater understanding of fiscal cycles and forecasting. At the moment, I'm taking a class in human resources management that is one of the best I've had so far. It focuses on the people side of the business. This is where my interests lie—managing teams, understanding politics and power, and dealing with discrimination at work. It's already making me a better leader.

Q:  How do you think the program is preparing you for the future of work?

A: All business is data-driven now—you need so much data just to get a business off the ground. You need to know how to collect information, perform research, do market analysis, and understand which data is meaningful going forward so you can pivot when the market changes. I've learned a lot in this program about using and interpreting data, which I didn't have enough experience in before.

Q: How will your degree empower you to achieve your goals?

A: I'm particularly interested in two concentrations, the first being Entrepreneurship. As part of my coursework, I came up with an app concept that I think will help people—I got great feedback from my professor, and now I'm going to study the business development side of it. I don't know yet whether this is something I would pursue full time, but I see definite potential in it.

I can also see myself helping younger people develop their leadership potential through mentorship and workshops, which is why I'm also strongly considering the Leading People & Organizations concentration. I'm learning so much here, and the professors make everything understandable and applicable to different situations. My career journey has been organic so far, taking me from opportunity to opportunity as I look for ways to pursue social justice, and I think that theme will continue for me.

Keep Exploring

“Academics have always worked best for me when I can apply what I learn immediately. The day after a class, I can almost always apply what I've learned to something I'm doing at work.”

“I chose Northeastern because I wanted a program that would break me out of my shell…As a result, I've become much more confident, and I'm proud of that. “

“This program offers a wide variety of concentrations that I did not find with other MBA programs. That flexibility made it possible for me to have concentrations in both healthcare management and entrepreneurship; a crucial component of pursuing my career goals.”

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