Our Stories

Finding Her Voice

Smigelski gains new confidence for consulting field

Katie Smigelski
Consultant, Boston Consulting Group (BCG)

Vanderbilt MBA 2020

Although she is outgoing, Katie Smigelski was not usually one to speak up and offer her opinion during her undergraduate classes at Notre Dame. So as she looked to pivot into management consulting from her position as a senior analyst for direct marketing, loyalty, and personalized marketing for a national drugstore chain, it was important for her to find a program where she could get to know people at a personal level. That’s what drew her from the greater Chicago area to Vanderbilt.

“With the small class size and enthusiastic professors who push you to participate,” Katie says, “I feel like I have come out of my shell and really engage in the classroom to provide my opinion or thoughts on different subjects. I have also learned a lot about how to be a great leader and team player, and to take advantage of the environment to hear the opinions of other students. This has helped me get a lot more out of the time in the classroom.”

But the classroom is far from the only place where Katie has gotten more involved. She was chosen to serve as president of the Owen Strategy and Consulting Club during her second year. In addition, she was director of events for the Owen Marketing Association and a volunteer teaching assistant for finance classes.

Katie also attended women’s leadership conferences—one in Dallas and another in Chicago—sponsored by Deloitte and EY. The women among her peers at Vanderbilt, she says, have been especially helpful. “Women are a minority in my program,” Katie says. “While this might seem intimidating at first, it has actually been a blessing as the women here have become super close and supportive.

“Going into consulting, I think this environment prepares you for a traditionally male-dominated industry and shows you how important it is to support other women.”

Fun Fact: Katie, a “huge fan” of country music and was able to attend the Country Music Awards during her second year in Nashville.

Women are a minority in my program. While this might seem intimidating at first, it has actually been a blessing…