2023 Best & Brightest Executive MBA: Connie Brooks, UCLA (Anderson) and National University of Singapore

Connie Brooks

UCLA (Anderson) and National University of Singapore

Age: 41

“My heart is full serving as a mother to all.”

Hometown: Fullerton, CA

Family Members: James (Husband), Arya (Daughter, 11), Aurora (Daughter, 8), Ender (Son, 5), Avalynn (Daugher, 3), Aesook (Mother, 72), Duckhee (Father, 81), Janet (Sister, 43)

Fun fact about yourself: I love to travel and immerse myself in different cultures. I enjoy learning words in different languages and perfecting how they sound, and even sing in my “tenor voice”.

Undergraduate School and Degree:

California State University, Los Angeles, CA – M.S. in Biological Sciences

University of California, Berkeley, CA – B.S. in Bioengineering

Where are you currently working? Sterigenics, General Manager

Extracurricular Activities, Community Work and Leadership Roles:

University of California, Los Angeles, CA – Class President

National University of Singapore, Singapore – Class President

California State University, Los Angeles, CA – Valedictorian & Pre-Doctoral Scholar

University of California, Berkeley, CA – Regents’ and Chancellor’s Scholar

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? Being appointed as class president unanimously by my fellow classmates who are such high achieving individuals was such an honor to me.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? Selected by Senior Executive Team for the Sotera Health’s Global Leadership Academy, Leadership Institute for Women in STEM and Manufacturing program, which launched my journey into being the General Manager for a site that won the Quality and Safety Award for best facility.

Who was your favorite MBA professor? Financial Accounting professor, Carla Hayn. I knew close to nothing about finance before her course, but with her teaching style was cool and spunky. I came out of it loving balance sheets.

Why did you choose this school’s executive MBA program? After an intense 15 months, I would receive two degrees from two well-renowned universities, I get to meet amazing high-achieving individuals from all around the world – and it’s cheaper than most other programs. As I am sponsoring myself through the entire program, the last factor moved the needle.

What is the biggest lesson you gained during your MBA and how did you apply it at work? How to create a strategy plan and develop implementation plans to execute on them successfully. I’ve gone back and was able to align my company strategy to short and long-term goals for my facility employees.

What advice would you give to a student looking to enter an executive MBA program? “The more you give, the more you get.” This is a motto I live by, and it very much applies to the program. The more you put into the program, the more you get out of it. At the same time, you need to manage your time and your priorities. Professors and program administrators are understanding of the demanding situations that may arise. So as long as you communicate your needs, you’ll get the support you need to get through it.

What is the biggest myth about going back to school? That the older you get, the more difficult time you’ll have learning and absorbing. But I believe that this is not true in the sense that I was presented relevant material at a point in my professional life that made it more applicable and easier to absorb.

What was your biggest regret in business school? Being away from home and my family at great lengths, but this was a sacrifice I would have made again. I love being able to show my kids that you can go back to school at any time in your life.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? I admire Elena Azzolini the most as she demonstrates the epitome of a strong woman who can achieve anything in life. She overcame losses in her family as she started the program, she fought through illness through most of the program, and she continues to do everything with style and a smile on her face. She knows how to live life to the fullest wherever she is.

What was the main reason you chose an executive MBA program over part-time or online alternatives? As a mother of four with a full-time career, it made sense to concentrate my times being mentally preoccupied with the schoolwork in six sessions, rather than drawing it out over the course of 22 months or more.

What is your ultimate long-term professional goal? Before I started this program, I wanted to be a CEO of a company one day. However, after having gone through this, I can see myself being an entrepreneur and a CEO of my own company. After all, my kids already call me CEO of the house, so either way, I’ve achieved my not-so professional title already.

What made Connie such an invaluable addition to the Class of 2023?

“Connie’s achievements both within and beyond the EMBA program demonstrate her exceptional abilities and unwavering dedication.

Connie’s appointment as the EMBA Class President and the Graduation speaker speaks volumes about her leadership capabilities and the admiration she garners from her fellow classmates. Unanimously endorsed by high-achieving individuals, her election is a testament to her ability to inspire and unite others towards a common goal. Connie’s leadership style is characterized by inclusivity, empathy, and a genuine concern for the well-being of her peers.

Connie’s accomplishments in her professional career have been equally impressive. Her selection by the Senior Executive Team for Sotera Health’s Global Leadership Academy, specifically the Leadership Institute for Women in STEM and Manufacturing program, reflects her exceptional talent and potential. This prestigious opportunity served as a launching pad for her journey as a General Manager for a facility that received the esteemed Quality and Safety Award, further highlighting her exceptional leadership capabilities and commitment to excellence.

Juggling the responsibilities of being a dedicated student, high-achieving executive, and a caring mother of four, showcases her exceptional time management skills and determination. Connie’s ability to successfully balance multiple commitments is a testament to her strength, resilience, and her unwavering drive to succeed.

Connie’s academic, professional, and personal achievements make her a standout candidate for the Poets & Quants Best & Brightest Executive MBA Graduates award. Her ability to navigate the demands of academia, professional responsibilities, and motherhood demonstrates her tenacity, perseverance, and unwavering commitment to professional and personal growth. She serves as an inspiring role model not only for her peers and subordinates, but also for her children. I wholeheartedly support Connie’s nomination, as she embodies the qualities of a true leader and serves as an inspiration to all.”

Dr. Emir Hrnjic
Academic Director, UCLA-NUS Executive MBA


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