2020 Best & Brightest EMBAs: Niki Allen, Georgetown University (McDonough)

Niki Allen

Georgetown University, McDonough School of Business

“I am a woman in STEM who loves learning and spending time with family.”

Age: 39

Hometown: Washington, D.C.

Family Members: Spouse: Ross Allen Sr. | Sons: Ross Allen II (22), Coby Davis (21) and Rece Allen (18)

Fun fact about yourself: I am a former athlete and huge sports fan (my son plays football at Wake Forest University)

Undergraduate School and Degree: Bachelor of Science in Business Administration | Southern Illinois University Edwardsville

Where are you currently working? Boeing Vice President HR Technology Transformation

Extracurricular Activities, Community Work and Leadership Roles: Southern Illinois University Analytics Advisory Board Member, Shelter House Executive Sponsor, and Volunteer, Thurgood Marshall College Fund Executive Sponsor, Member of Executive Leadership Council

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? Delivering two Enterprise-wide, Global HR technologies while also pursuing my EMBA.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? Being recognized as a Leading Woman of Color in STEM (2015) at the Women of Color In Technology annual conference. This was a huge achievement for someone like me who experienced homelessness and other trauma during my childhood.

Who was your favorite MBA professor? Bardia Kamrad is my favorite MBA professor because he demonstrates a genuine concern for all program participants. Additionally, Bardia continues to improve the program offerings for each cohort.

Why did you choose this school’s executive MBA program? Georgetown was one of few programs in the Washington, DC area that offered a consistent in-person program, whereas other universities were largely online. This was something that was extremely important for me as I wanted to obtain in-person instruction while also forming meaningful, life-long connections with my cohorts, professors, and program administrators.

What did you enjoy most about business school in general? I enjoyed meeting new people and expanding my network.

What is the biggest lesson you gained during your MBA and how did you apply it at work? The biggest lesson I gained during my MBA process is to understand that everyone has varying levels of capability and it is important for myself as a leader to unleash that capability in the most optimal way possible.

Give us a story during your time as an executive MBA on how you were able to juggle work, family and education? Shortly after the program began, my company faced a significant public crisis. This crisis resulted in significant amount of additional work demand for me. Additionally, the public nature of the crisis resulted in scrutiny during class sessions from both my professors and my peers. Despite these expressed sentiments, I know it was important to remain professional and continue to meet the commitments of the program and work.

What is the biggest myth about going back to school? The biggest myth about going back to school was that things would be predictable and structured. However, as most are aware, things such as the COVID-19 pandemic can completely derail the best-laid plans. So again, being adaptable is key to completing the program successfully.

What was your biggest regret in business school? My biggest regret was not being able to travel for our final capstone due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? I most admire Pat Collins, CFO of the Department of Commerce Credit Union. Pat is an extremely hard worker and prioritizes inclusion and transparency when working in groups. This made our interactions very productive as teammates.

“I knew I wanted to go to business school when…I realized my technical background needed some strengthening in terms of business acumen.”

What is your ultimate long-term professional goal? Chief Information Officer or Chief Operating Officer for a Fortune 100 firm.

In one sentence, how would you like your peers to remember you? I would like my peers to remember my work ethic and my professionalism.

What are the top two items on your bucket list? Watching Serena Williams play live and watching my sons realize their wildest dreams.

What made Niki such an invaluable addition to the Class of 2020?

“Niki is one of my favorite students of all time. She’s smart, conscientious, and devoted to the collaborative learning approaches that are central to the program. Much of my class covers new technologies such as artificial intelligence and the ways that businesses are deploying these technologies to offer new services. At Boeing, Niki is at the forefront of those efforts, and she drew on that expertise to enlighten and enliven the discussion. Niki personifies excellence through their contributions to the class, her academic performance, and her professional achievement.”

Stephen Weymouth
Associate Professor


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