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Kathy Baughman-McLeod, '12

Senior Advisor, Global Conservation Strategy, The Nature Conservancy

Washington, D.C.

Nationality: American

"Each of the high-caliber individuals on my MBA team had different perspectives and skill sets. There was something to learn from every single person."

State Politics to Global Leadership

When I entered the Global Executive MBA program, I was Director of the Public Policy Group, Clean Energy Business Solutions, at legal firm Bryant Miller Olive. For several years I was an Energy Climate Commissioner for Florida, and previously worked for the State of Florida's elected Chief Financial Officer as Deputy Chief of Staff. I had a lot of experience in environment and financial politics and policy, and was ready for the change a business education would bring to my career. I wanted to further my grasp of global markets and institutions within my areas of expertise—natural resources and energy.

Throughout my MBA program, I developed more self-awareness and a better understanding of where I fit on the global landscape and how to best articulate and apply my greatly enhanced leadership skills. With the combination of my past experiences and my newly acquired business acumen, I can be more effective and relevant on a global scale.

The world faces expanding natural resource scarcities and constraints. I plan to use my new skills and education to address this critical business, societal, and environmental need—and work to find sustainable and profitable solutions.

Strengths and Improvements

Many of my classmates worked in the quantitative world every day, but I had fewer opportunities to hone my quantitative skills in the policy arena. Even before I was accepted to Fuqua, I hired a tutor and took preparatory classes like calculus and accounting. Though the quantitative material was still challenging for me, I had the tools to master it. I had to work harder in that aspect than some of my classmates, but alongside leadership, management, and marketing—my strengths—it all balanced out. Each of the high-caliber individuals on my MBA team had different perspectives and skill sets. There was something to learn from every single person.

The team work was instructive because we collaborated across time zones and language barriers—the experience was truly enriching. Cultural context was important for a global team and curriculum—we learned a great deal from our professors, classes, from our in-country residencies, and from each other.

A Linear Language

I completed the program with a newfound confidence and an incredible network of friends and colleagues. I think, solve problems, and communicate differently now. I developed quantitative skills and became more efficient and rational with problem solving in complex settings, and have a full sense of the world's financial frameworks, cultural influences, and market dynamics.

The Global Executive MBA program is the best thing I have done for myself—it was absolutely transformational. It was a solid investment in my career—and even more in myself and in my family.