Amanda Renee Johnson

MBA 2015
  • Home Town: Ann Arbor, Michigan
  • Pre-MBA: Ops Management at an industrial supply company

Amanda Renee Johnson

Post Graduation Goals:

Working in Operations Management at a company with a great culture (industry TBD!)

Favorite GSB Memory So Far:

Section Olympics. I had a blast playing sand volleyball and cheering on my section mates in all sorts of activities like trivia and tug-of-war.

I wake up, check email, and get ready for class. We get lots of emails, so I like to stay organized and keep a clean inbox. After getting ready I head to campus. I live off campus but it’s only about a 15-minute walk to class.
This morning I have 2 classes – Optimization and Simulation Modeling and Economics. In Economics we’re learning about concepts of utility and how sharing risk can increase utility. My undergrad econ class did not cover this much, so I’m learning a new topic.
Lunch time in Arbuckle! I meet up with a few of my friends – Karen, Huy and Michal. We all get a laugh in about Michal’s excitement.
I chat with Kiana, a second-year MBA. Last summer she did a GMIX at a resort in Spain that I want to apply to, so she gives me tips about my application. It’s great to hear personal stories about her experiences.
Walk home from campus and catch up on email for a few minutes.
Now, this is what I call effective multitasking. I decide to treat myself to a pedicure, but I also use the time to prepare for a talk I have in a few weeks called LOWkeynotes. I’m preparing a 9-minute talk about Chicago youth violence that I’ll do in front of classmates, faculty, and staff.
More LOWkeynotes preparation. I’m watching past year’s talks and other resources given to me by the a MBA & MSx Communication Programs team. I really want to have an impactful talk, so I’m trying to hone in on a great arc for my talk.
I grab dinner with my boyfriend, Doug, who’s Stanford GSB Class of 2006. We met in Chicago a few years ago and now we live together off campus. Thankfully I made some food over the weekend, so we have leftovers. Tonight we’re eating ceviche and corn chowder. Not too shabby for a business school student!
Every other week I meet with a group of 7 women in a WIM (Women in Management) Group. We have trained facilitators who lead our conversations and we are fortunate to have a facilitator who is also a GSB alumna. We meet at the alumna’s house off campus in Menlo Park. I really appreciate the escape from the fast pace of GSB life and the support from the women in this group.
It’s been a busy day away from home, so I finally get some time to spend with my boyfriend. We chill out and catch up for a bit before I have to dive into homework for tomorrow’s classes.
Finish up homework for Finance, Data & Decisions, and Marketing classes tomorrow.
Get up, get ready for the day, and walk to class.
Usually we don’t have classes on Wednesdays, but this Monday was President’s Day, so we moved Monday classes to Wednesday. Today in Finance class FPG (the short hand name for Professor Francisco Perez Gonzalez) teaches us about the Capital Asset Pricing Model and the Modigliani-Miller theorem. FPG surprises us by bringing chocolate M&Ms to class so we have a fun way to remember the Modigliani-Miller theorem.
I grab a cup of tea in Arbuckle between classes. I’m a bit tired this morning so I need an extra kick to get through my next class.
I catch up with my good buddy Whitney in our Data & Decisions class. We’re in a study group together, so we get to bond over our joys and struggles over statistics.
During lunches we have all sorts of interesting presentations called BBLs (Brown Bag Lunches). Today I go to a talk by Gopi Kallayil, Google's Chief Evangelist for Brand Marketing. He talks about creatively engaging customers in the digital age. It was a really fun and useful talk!
Today in Marketing we do a case about Gillette razors. Who knew you could talk about razors for 90 minutes? But it’s a fun conversation about an industry I didn’t know much about before the class. Oh yeah, and it isn’t necessarily normal to have roses on your desk during class. There was a group of guys promoting a charity event this weekend, so they gave me a rose. Lucky me!
I meet with my LOWkeynotes coach, Martha. She’s a really talented and supportive coach. I feel very fortunate to get to work with her on my talk.
I squeeze in a little homework and dinner before I have to head back to campus.
Another opportunity I take advantage of as a first-year is having a Personal Leadership Coach. These second-year students are Arbuckle Leadership Fellows so they’ve gotten coaching training all year. Tere is my coach and I meet with her every week to talk about whatever’s on my mind. I feel really comfortable with her so she helps me work through all sorts of topics that are causing me anxiety, stress, sadness or uncertainty.
On Wednesday nights I take an “across the street” class. We refer to classes taken in schools other than the GSB as “across the street.” I’m taking a class called Agriculture in Film that’s a part of the Earth Systems department, and in this class we watch and discuss various movies related to food. I’m considering a career in food, so this is a fun way to explore that industry. Today we watch a movie called, The Real Dirt on Farmer John.
I have to do laundry and pack because I’m heading to LA tomorrow for a summer internship interview. I do some homework while I’m waiting for my laundry to be done.
I wake up a little bit earlier than normal on Saturday because I’m heading to a conference in San Francisco called the Childhood Obesity Bay Area conference put on by the Slow Food organization. I’m interested in health and the food industry, so it’s a great opportunity to meet people in the industry and get ideas about how I want to be involved while at the GSB and beyond.
We arrive in SF and join the hundreds of other conference attendees. The first presenter of the day is a doctor from UCSF.
Over lunch at the conference I chat with Awara, a second-year MBA student and one of the presidents of the Food and Agriculture club. We run into Austin and Michelle from the class of 2012, who are very active in the food scene. We also meet Julia, who is an MBA student at Berkeley Haas Business School, and the president of their food club.
We have several other presentations throughout the afternoon at the conference. My favorite is a talk by Todd Putman, the Chief Marketing Officer of Bolthouse Farms and former VP at Coca Cola. His main message is that we need to emotionally inspire people to eat healthier, not just tell them to eat healthier. He also shares with us a fun website called the food porn index. He’s very inspiring and handles really tough questions from the audience well.
I take an Uber to the train station and take the Caltrain back down to campus. It’s nice to have an hour to myself and my thoughts. I zone out and watch the towns go by on the way from San Francisco to Palo Alto.
Doug meets me at the train station and we head to dinner at a Mexican restaurant in Palo Alto. After a long day and big dinner I take a well-deserved nap!
Tonight is The White Party, the GSB’s annual charity party. This year the event is at the Computer History Museum. Everyone dresses up in white clothes and we raise money for various charities that we vote on as a student body. It’s fun to see everyone dressed up!
I leave the party a little early to head home and get a good sleep. It was another great week at the GSB!