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Exit interview with Tanisha Drummer, MBA 2007

Tanisha (right) on a hiking trip in Porto Alegre, Brazil during the Brazil Service Learning Trip. Left to right: Terry Cumes MBA 2004; Katherine Boas MBA 2007; Pete Clarke MBA 2006; Tanisha Drummer MBA 2007.

Rita Winkler: Hi Tanisha and congratulations on your recent graduation. Can you tell us a bit about yourself?

Tanisha Drummer: I'm a Midwest girl at heart with a little East Coast flare. I grew up in Cleveland, Ohio, but call Chicago home. I moved to Chicago for college and never left. In fact, I'll be returning to Chicago after graduation.

RW: Before you applied to the GSB, what did you do professionally?

Tanisha: I was a Strategy Consultant at Accenture in the Retail and Consumer Industry where I worked on a range of clients in apparel, hardlines, drug stores, and service.

RW: Why did you apply to Stanford?

Tanisha: Because I was looking for the greatest growth experience possible. Stanford represented this for me. I love the small, inclusive, collaborative culture. I'd lived and worked in the Midwest and East Coast, and the West Coast represented a completely different environment in which to live and learn. I liked the emphasis on social innovation and entrepreneurship. And the School's culture and values were directly aligned with my personal values and career goals.

RW: Describe your experience here at Stanford.

Tanisha: This has been the most significant personal development experience of my life. I expected to come here and learn about management, but I didn't expect to be pushed so much as an individual. I wanted growth and that's what I got!

The first year was challenging, but that was balanced by friends who supported and helped me through it.

This is a play hard, work harder school. People are focused, but love to have fun.

RW: I'd like to follow up on the challenges. What were some of the challenges you faced and how did you overcome them?

Tanisha: Sure. The first year was challenging for me. I was not expecting the intensity that came with first quarter, but I relied on help from classmates and worked with the staff at Student Life to get tutors in a few classes.

RW: What were some of the academic highlights that you think will be particularly useful in your future career?

Tanisha: Managing Growing Enterprises with Joel Peterson and Interpersonal Dynamics ("Touchy Feely") were my favorite classes. Each placed an emphasis on understanding people, which is at the core of any successful organization.

RW: What type of leadership opportunities did you pursue here at the GSB?

Tanisha: Quite a few. I participated in a variety of professional and social clubs, including the Black Business Students Association, Marketing Club, Admit Weekend Committee, Admissions Ambassador, Women in Management, Wine Circle, and I took a leadership role as President of the Black Business Students Association.

RW: What have these opportunities taught you about your own leadership style?

Tanisha: I've learned that personal development is constant and necessary to becoming a better leader and manager. I learned there were some qualities and behaviors that were holding me back from being a better leader.

Leadership styles vary as much as personalities and I learned that each has advantages and disadvantages.

My leadership style is more reserved and I learned that it can be just as powerful as that of a more outgoing leader.

RW: Can you give a personal anecdote that you'd like to share with our audience so they get a sense of the culture at the GSB?

Tanisha: Absolutely! Imagine a place where you can drop money on the floor and have it returned; borrow eggs, an air mattress, and a Range Rover all within 5 minutes; have a classmate tutor you into the wee hours of morning; and party in Las Vegas with people you've just met...this is what life is like at the GSB.

RW: Last question. What advice do you have for prospective applicants to the GSB?

Tanisha: The application process should be an introspective process. In addition to determining what you want to achieve, think about who you are as a person and how you want to achieve it.

Not everyone is a fit for this experience, so it is important for you to understand the community. The community is what enables how you will achieve your goals.

RW: Thanks Tanisha and best wishes for your future!

Editor's Note: Tanisha Drummer returned to Accenture as a Strategy Consultant.