2023 Best & Brightest Executive MBA: Kizzie Davis, Texas A&M (Mays)

Kizzie Davis

Texas A&M University, Mays Business School

Age: 43

“Army Veteran, Servant Leader, Passionate, People Builder, Passionate, Volunteer, Inspirational, Speaker, Believer, Athletic.”

Hometown: San Antonio, TX

Family Members: Preston Davis (deceased), Michelle Davis, Preston Jr, James Thomas, and Caleb Davis.

Fun fact about yourself: I really love ice cream. So much that sometimes I will eat ice cream for breakfast. Typing this right now makes me want to get up and eat one of the four different options of ice cream I have in my freezer. Although I love ice cream, I do eat ice cream in moderation, like only once a day instead of 2-3 times a day.

Undergraduate School and Degree: UTSA-Bachelor of Science; UTSA-Master of Social Work-Concentration in Veteran Affairs

Where are you currently working? Lemonade-Underwriting Operations Manager

Extracurricular Activities, Community Work and Leadership Roles:

Women’s Self-Defense Instructor for non-profit DC

Vice Chair of the Board for the Lemonade Circle

Spartan Racer

Volunteer-food pantries, community rebuilding projects, and shelters

Lead for DEIB efforts

Krav Maga Instructor at STW Krav Maga

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? Graduating with an A GPA. I’m proud of my ability to balance a rigorous academic workload, a full-time job, and life and still exceed the minimum GPA that was required to remain in the program.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? The courage to leave the only job I’ve known since separating from the Army to secure a new job with more responsibility and leadership in an effort to further my career. I’ve been able to make immediate positive impacts in my new role in the short five months I’ve been with the company.

Who was your favorite MBA professor? Dr. Ken McFarland. Dr. McFarland equipped each student with lifelong skills to be great Aggie Leaders in this world. Dr. McFarland’s Leadership classes always challenged you to triage yourself and what you’re projecting as a Leader and as a person. One of the most challenging, but rewarding exercises we participated in during a few of his class sessions was Dialogue. These dialogue sessions made me become comfortable with being uncomfortable, an invaluable skill in leadership and in life.

Why did you choose this school’s executive MBA program? I had the option to attend my alma mater’s EMBA program, but my mentor suggested that I look into the Texas A&M program. When comparing the two programs, I chose the Texas A&M EMBA program because I was ready to be challenged in ways that would help me grow professionally. I expected that this EMBA program would challenge me. Not only was I challenged, but I was also transformed. The Texas A&M EMBA has a motto of You, only better, and that is what you experience throughout the entire program.

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 EMBA program was how to expand my strategic thinking around operational efficiencies. I’m currently utilizing these skills as I am helping to lead the creation of a new organizational structure after an internal realignment at work.

Give us a story during your time as an executive MBA on how you were able to juggle work, family and education? My second semester was where I had to balance work, family, and education the most. I was helping my mom through some personal challenges, I had multiple projects at work, as well as the school workload. After the first semester, I realized I needed a schedule if I was going to continue to be successful in this program. So, each week I wrote out every assignment that needed to be completed, time with my mom, and anything that I could fit in during my breaks or lunch at work in a planner. I stayed committed to this system I created. This allowed me to not only juggle work, family, and education in the second semester it helped me through the remainder of the program.

What advice would you give to a student looking to enter an executive MBA program? Decide exactly what you want from an EMBA program before you start researching schools. As you compare schools, consider the long-term benefits of the school you plan to attend, such as the network. For example, Texas A&M has a strong network that aligns with the core values of the school.

What was your biggest regret in business school? Not asking for help during that first semester. I could have finished the program with a 4.0, but ended up making A & B’s during the first semester because of some of my own cultural programming and beliefs that I needed to and did overcome during the program.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? Anil Kumar. The first time Anil spoke, you could barely hear him, but what he said was that he wanted to gain more confidence and speak up more than he did. Watching Anil’s transformation throughout the program was amazing. Anil has a newfound genuine confidence that he carries. I admire Anil for being so open with his goal at the beginning and actually applying everything this program taught us to achieve that goal.

What was the main reason you chose an executive MBA program over part-time or online alternatives? I chose the executive MBA over the part-time or online alternatives because I felt I would benefit more from what an EMBA program had to offer versus any other alternative.

What is your ultimate long-term professional goal? My ultimate long-term professional goal is to be CUO, COO, and CEO.

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

“It is with great pleasure and pride that I recommend Kizzie Davis for inclusion in the 2023 Poets and Quants Executive MBA Best and Brightest list. I have had the privilege of knowing Kizzie over the past two years and am deeply impressed with her many accomplishments and singular character. Kizzie exemplifies the Poets and Quants characteristics of academic excellence, contribution to her classes, extra-curricular involvement, professiona1 achievement, executive intangibles, and the advancement of her unique personal story.

Kizzie was the top student in two of my courses in the EMBA program and Texas A&M University’s Mays School of Business. In my “Leadership’ course, she took every opportunity to grow her capacity to lead herself, lead teams, lead leaders, and lead globally. While she entered the program with great insight and ability, she graduates two years later, having demonstrated tremendous growth and development. In my “Executive Performance” course,

Kizzie greatly enhanced her abilities by focusing on mind. body, and soul. She also served as the conscience” to her cohort and the pacesetter for her learning community.

Kizzie’s commitment to education is exemplary. She views education as a key to changing the world for the better, which is why this EMBA is her second Master’s degree. She has expressed to me her interest in seeking opportunities to explore and engage her community through initiatives centered around holistic education, civic engagement, career and identity

development, advocacy, and community outreach. Her central tenant is servant leadership. As an Army Veteran, Kizzie demonstrated her spirit of commitment and sacrifice for her country. She continues that spirit through her work as the Vice-chair of The Lemonade Circle, a nonprofit organization dedicated to empowering young women of color in grades 5 through 12. She also serves as a resource and confidant working with survivors of sexual assault and is in the process of creating a new chapter of a nationwide organization that will focus specifically on the needs of US women veterans.

As her professor. what has been most inspiring has been watching her personal transformation into a person to limitless executive potential and promise. In the middle o1 her two-year EMBA journey. Kizzie took the opportunity to change companies, and I was able to get a glimpse of what lies ahead for her.

Texas A&M University is exceedingly proud to be submitting Kizzie for your consideration. She will provide a significant degree of depth and substance for your program.”

Ken McFarland, Ph.D.


Questions about this article? Email us or leave a comment below.