Rachelle Antoine stands inside the globe of the Gator Ubiquity Statue
Full-Time MBA student Rachelle Antoine (MBA '21).

We Are Warrington | From classmates to alumni, relationships matter

In this episode of the We Are Warrington podcast, host Andy Lord chats with Full-Time MBA student Rachelle Antoine (MBA '21) about switching career paths, being involved in UF MBA's diversity initiative and making relationships that help guide career decisions.

Andy Lord

We Are Warrington host Andy Lord.

Rachelle Antoine: It was just so funny. My first impression was, oh my gosh, his last name is Lord. He seems he’s gonna be very serious.

Andy Lord: I would have been scared. The Lord of admissions.

“We Are Warrington” is a new podcast that helps young business leaders discover what is possible by highlighting stories from the Warrington College of Business community about the University of Florida experience, business industry insights, innovative research and more. I’m your host, Andy Lord.

Today, we are speaking with Rachelle Antoine, a full-time MBA student at the Warrington College of Business. Rachelle came to UF MBA seeking a career change from the customer service industry. Is that correct, Rachelle? Were you in the customer service industry?

Antoine: No, that’s pretty right. I mean, I did a lot of different things, but yes.

Lord: As far as I remember, I think you are working at a bank at a point in time when we met you.

Antoine: Wells Fargo.

Lord: Gotcha. Well, how are you doing today, Rachelle?

Antoine: I’m doing well today. It’s finals week. I’m almost done with classes. I’m going out of town next week, so good things are coming.

Lord: Gotcha. Where are you heading next week?

Antoine: I’m headed to Georgia. I wish I knew what area. I just, my friends, we booked a place, we’re all gonna get tested and then we’re gonna go.

Lord: That sounds like fun. So you’ve been getting out a little bit here during this part, or I guess in this time of COVID-19?

Antoine: Honestly, this is the first big one I’ve done. I went down to see family a little bit this weekend. And then before that, not really most of my roommates, the biggest thing we do in Gainesville is go for walks. So we’re not doing much. And so I love going somewhere. I miss going outside. So yeah.

Lord: I understand that completely. So, Rachelle, what do you like to do when you’re hanging out in Gainesville when times are normal?

Antoine: Oh, there’s so many things. First probably dancing. I love to dance. So downtown Palominos, honestly anywhere where there’s dancing, I’ll be there. Love hanging out with my MBA friends. We do a lot of different things. So one of the things we do is a story slam. So I’m an artist, a spoken word artist. And so I like to write poems and perform them for them, for friends or different organizations. I like to sing. So I sing and play on the guitar. I’ll make music, but I can’t get past the chorus. So that’s usually as far as I go. But yeah, that’s a little bit of me. I’m kind of an artistic person, and anything outdoors, so I love going to Depot Park, love doing some walks or runs and stuff that with friends.

Lord: Awesome. I know you’re a returning Gator. You did your undergraduate degree here as well. Tell us about you graduated, what did you do after graduation when you left the University of Florida? And what was your degree in again?

Antoine: So I graduated in 2014 and I graduated with a degree in family, youth and community sciences, which is a mouthful, and a minor in non-profit leadership. And crazily enough, three months after I graduated, I moved to Colorado. And so that was kind of to where my whole goal was to really work in the nonprofit space. Part-time on my own side gig I helped start a church plant, but in my own world, I worked as a teacher for about a year, which I enjoyed, it was a nonprofit school, so we got to help a lot of different families who couldn’t probably couldn’t afford it before. I also, after that realized, okay, I love the kiddos, but don’t want to do this for full time.

So I kind of progressed. I went to a property management company, wanted to gain some administrative skills. So I could work in one of my favorite nonprofits in the area called the Family Intercultural Center at the time in Colorado. And I was in a small town in Colorado, out in the mountains, which was awesome, in the Rocky mountains, called Frisco. And then my life kind of changed when I had like a mentor who was into finance. He was an investor who’s gonna retire when he was 45. And so I said to myself, I was okay, I’m gonna learn from him. He went to my church, and that’s kind of where I started with towards finance. And so the reason I got to Wells Fargo was kind of wanting to go at my career, accelerate my career, did that for about two and a half years kind of started over and then realize it probably be quicker to get my MBA to do it that way.

Lord: So what made you look back at the University of Florida towards your MBA? What were you thinking at that point in time?

Antoine: Yeah, I think this is January, so I had already had plans January, 2018. I had already had plans to move to Florida. And so I was looking at programs and researching them and I, I went on to programs call. But UF had always been in the back of my mind, but I didn’t know for sure if I would go back or not. I did an online service. Like program we had for it just to let us know about the program. And then they talked about it. It sounded really cool, but then the free tuition really, I was wait, it’s free. And I remember asking her a question. I was wait, what do you mean? Like for students? What do you have to do? She’s like, “No, in 2018 it starts.” And that really changed my mind. And then I started to get that really, I think drew my attention.

Then I had a couple calls with Jeff, asked him a lot of questions about job search because I wasn’t really big on, I wanted a master’s degree, like getting my MBA would be huge, but I knew that for me, I didn’t want to just get a master’s. I wanted to get a master’s that mattered in terms of a job so I asked them a lot of questions about career and how they prepared you for the career. And I was really surprised by just how well versed UF was. They’re highly ranked in terms of career services and job placements and the salary. So I was a happy camper after that.

Lord: Well, that’s great. That’s great to hear. So you’ve been involved for quite a while. I know you do a lot outside of the classroom and I think for our listeners here, yes, UF is about the education. It’s about the resources that are tied to it itself. But how about that student experience? Can you elaborate a little bit more about what it’s been over the course of your two years since you’ve been here with us?

Antoine: Of course. Oh man. I was super surprised. And I said this because when I thought of getting a master’s, I did not think it was gonna be fun. I just didn’t think that business school was gonna be as exciting. But I think one of the things that surprised me was the people. And so one thing that I say to my friends all the time is every MBA has a high caliber for the most part, at least at the top rank, you have this top ranked school has really high caliber students. Where it’s specifically selective, like you have to pass the GMAT, you have to go through rigorous interviews. So you have to be a selective student. But I think what made UF stand out to me, I think in meeting the people was that UF recruited kindness. And I just think that is so interesting. I didn’t expect everyone to be so nice and helpful, especially people from so many diverse backgrounds.

So for me, that was the biggest surprise in terms of just student involvement. I think one of the things that one, the organic stuff, I can’t say that enough, but people are my favorite. Like I don’t, I feel I made friends for life here. Like not just people that I’m cool, they’re my classmates. And I’ll be done with them after I graduate. But people my teammates back in HANA, I love them, our classes, they call our class the cuddly cohort because we’re always hanging out. We’re always chatting. So that was one of the things I loved. But, and I guess in terms of involvement, things that I’ve loved, I love diversity initiatives.

So I love being involved in a diversity recruiting and being able to talk to different students from different backgrounds, whether it’s veterans, whether it’s women or people of color. So I thought that was exciting. Me getting involved in case competitions, that was an experience really putting your whole full time getting that prep. It was insane. I did one in Tennessee last year for Vanderbilt, with some friends. So that was really cool, really practical experience to do.

Lord: Wonderful. Clearly you’re an ambassador. I know you’ve been working with the admissions team on some of the initiatives that we’re putting into place. Is there anything that you could tell us about that? What it’s been working with Jeff Danso, who works in admissions and some of the things we’re trying to do at UF MBA?

Antoine: I think I’m a natural recruiter. Like anything that I love, I’m gonna tell a lot of people about it. And so I remember talking to, I was hey, if you do anything, let me know. And the year I came in, Vlad was, they were planning that first diversity recruitment weekend. And I’m like please let me get involved because I was an ambassador. And so I think for me being a part of that, I got to talk to so many students. And I think a lot of the students had imposter syndrome. They’re I don’t know if I could do this. I don’t know if I could apply. And I think one of the things I loved was telling them, no, you’re here. Like we chose you for a reason. Like you have the qualifications, like I will help you if you need anything help with the interviews or anything that.

Like that to me was huge because it just made me realize how there’s a need for diversity students, whether it’s women, whether it’s people of color, whether it’s veterans to feel hey, you got this, you can do this because if you’re coming from a different background without any business, it could feel, I think, intimidating sometimes going to business school. So I think I’ve been really impressed by that. And I’ve also worked with Jeff on Jumpstart Initiative. So me and Jeff have done some presentations together where we were able to show kind of students, the kind of like why UF is worth it, why the MBA is worth it.

And so I’ve gotten to show people, hey, here’s why I think it’s worth it for me as a student. ‘Cause I think a lot of times why people of color don’t go to business school is because taking off two years of school sounds crazy. And you have to see what’s the ROI on that. So I’d say that’s definitely one of the things that I love doing and love telling. And I’ve gotten a lot of good feedback from students on LinkedIn after we’ve connected.

Lord: Gotcha. Last summer you did your internship at Owens Corning. Correct? What was your location and what were you doing over that internship?

Antoine: So I actually was remote ’cause of the whole COVID, but my internship, so I was focused on marketing, but my project was I was in one of their three businesses. I was in roofing, and my question was okay, how do we win with Hispanic contractors? They have 20,000 contractors in their base and they get a portion of the money from, I think their contract or network. And so it’s how do we win with them? What’s the go to market strategy? Can you do a market size of what the actual market is worth? And then what, what do we do once we get there?

And so it was an interesting project and it, and imagine it was in eight weeks, it was supposed to be 12, got condensed eight weeks. And I think for me, I’ve never had marketing experience before. I’ve never done this and it’s a heap, they gave me a ton of responsibility. Like these markets, it’s a $2 billion business on its own. And so that was quite the experience. I honestly just hit the ground running. I met with so many people to try to get a feel of what the businesses like. And then I think a week before my product.

So I did some analysis. I worked with a lot of marketers. I worked with, I think I did like 30-plus interviews over the summer. And I was able to come up with a strategy, come up with a market size tool through Excel and I was able to present, within seven days before my presentation, my project kind of changed a little bit. So I mean, and it’s super crazy. ‘Cause it’s what’s great about that is that’s business, things may change very quickly. And so having to change that story, change our presentation, I was able to work with my managers really well and then was able to present. And I got really good feedback.

I wondered how it would be to present virtually from my house in my living room. But I think it went really well. There was over 50 people on the call, including VPs and I think other leaders in the group and yeah, I was able to get an offer, which made me feel extremely happy and very proud of myself. ‘Cause it was a crazy summer, but it was really, really good experience. And it made me feel like, I see why they prepared us the way they did like in the fall and the spring, I feel okay, I can do this. You know, it just kind of solidified that.

Lord: Gotcha. That’s great to hear. Let’s reverse the clock a little bit. So I know when you came into UF MBA, you might’ve had one idea in mind and I think you were pushing finance as your concentration, as you know we have seven tracks at this point, as far as our concentrations go, it looks you took the jump over to marketing. Did that happen before the internship or was this clearly after or how did you make up your mind at that point in time? And maybe you can talk about the resources that helped you guide you down that path and what led you to becoming a marketing concentration?

Antoine: Yeah. I definitely came in finance, finance heavy. That was what I wanted to do. I didn’t really know what finance was completely about. I knew a little bit and I was like okay, I’m gonna go towards this. I think what made me start changing, so my process was okay, I’m gonna go for it towards finance, probably 80 to 90% of what I applied for was finance jobs. And then the last 10% I left open for sales marketing, and LDPs, like general leadership development programs just to see. And I’m really glad that I did that. ‘Cause that’s what opened the door for marketing. But along the way, as I was interviewing for finance jobs, I had talked to a lot of different alumni.

One thing I loved about our program is that you get to connect with a lot of leaders. And so I was looking at Johnson & Johnson, their finance LVP, and I spoke to one of the guys and through our chat he was a huge influence on me on changing my mind, ’cause he’s like, I’m someone who I didn’t want to, I want to work with collaboratively across teams. I had a great time at J&J Vision. He got the offer, but then he ended up not liking the actual day-to-day work. And I asked him his reasoning why. And he just said like I’m more of a people person. I to collaborate across teams and I want to push the strategy, very similar to me. I’m a people person. I want to lead a business. I want to be pushing the strategy behind it. Not that finance can’t do that.

But in that specific role, I started to think more about what are some of those roles that lead to there? I remember talking to, I talked to a lot of friends, honestly, because they knew me. They knew I wasn’t like, I remember asking Chelsea Crete I said, “Hey, what do you see me in?” And I’m like don’t think about my current concentration of finance. What do you see me?” And she’s like, “Marketing or sales.” And so that was okay. And then I had other conversations, I think with Roger and another students, I think probably spoke to, I spoke to a ton of people from alumni to career coaches, to friends in the program. And that helped me, and also when I took finance, that was the final knock on the door.

When I took finance, I was like okay, I started questioning. But then, so I had gotten an early in the year after National Black, I had gotten an offer from E&J Gallo for the finance program. And I was happy about that, but I kept recruiting and I got an internship when I was applying currently in the role for Owens Corning. And I just thought it was a general LDP, had no idea had anything to do with marketing.

Actually didn’t think it was marketing until, I didn’t know it was marketing until the third interview. It was kind of funny ’cause it really, it showed where my strengths were and after being there, I didn’t think I was gonna assess them. I was super happy with E&J Gallo and I was gonna say yes to them, just kind wanting to get the offer, just to have some competition in there in my offers. But they really changed my mind in the way that the people were amazing. The projects were challenging, it was fun. And they kind of won me over. So that’s kind of that weird, I ended up deciding and my offers was finance and marketing. And just because of the challenge and the different, the enjoyment of the projects that I liked so far, I chose Owens Corning. So that’s kind of how that process went. It was kind of figuring it out.

Taking finance, I think solidified the final round. But before that it was the conversations. It was not knowing I was doing a marketing. I was applying for an apartment marketing internship that opened up that door. Yeah. That’s kind of what led me there. And then after taking marketing in the spring, it solidified that, yeah, this is for me even working this summer proved yeah, I definitely want to be in the marketing field.

Lord: Gotcha. You know, a lot of people say that come from, let’s say undergraduate degrees that maybe not a lot of math was involved so much. What would you say to somebody that doesn’t really have the strongest quantitative background as far as their pre-academics go?

Antoine: Even though I went the finance route, it’s not because I feel I’m super quantitatively strong. I mean, I was able to make it obviously, but I think for the students who don’t have that background do it, I say if you don’t know until you try. And I think a lot of everyone knows, like even when you’re in the program, they know that people are coming from backgrounds that do not have previous accounting or previous knowledge in these areas. So they’re gonna work with you.

Like I’ve worked with professors and ah, I don’t know about this. Like when I get a finance and I’ve talked to a bank, I’m like I don’t know how I’m gonna do this. And I was able to pull it out and every semester, there might be, ’cause I don’t know. And then I get through it. So I would say, go for it. Don’t let that stop you because if you’re willing to put the time and the effort to practice.

And I think one of the things that helped me a lot was I asked students for help. And I used to in undergrad, I used to be not for groups, study groups. ‘Cause I felt they never led to any success or they didn’t really do anything. But because of the high caliber of students, because students want to do well and work hard. My group study sessions were the best thing. They helped me so much. Especially when I financed my quant background one, being able to study with friends who have been in finance, who have worked for hedge funds or who have worked for as financial advisors were huge to my success as a student.

So I would say, don’t let that stop you. I’m one of those students who was definitely worried about the quant background and can I do this? But that first mod really shows you, I mean, you’re taking quantitative modeling and you go in how in the world am I gonna do this? And you come out oh, I just did it, so.

Lord: Wonderful. Let’s talk about the curriculum that prepares you guys. Faculty. Can you share any experiences maybe from a favorite class or material that you’re learning, that’s highly influencing you and maybe changing the way that you look at the world?

Antoine: I’d say there are two professors that probably were my favorite. So first in UF, they really front load a lot of things. So you’re taking your accounting, taking finance, a lot of that heavy things in the beginning, which I appreciate because this year is a little, you have a little more freedom this year, in terms of electives. So the first year I took accounting and I was nervous because I had never taken accounting and I’m like oh my goodness. Am I gonna be able to do this?

And our Professor Madsen, he was one, so passionate about accounting, which is not something I feel you hear a lot of. And then two, he really made it fun. So we played even this for group projects, we had this, we played monopoly, I think for one of the games. And we had to fill out our accounting sheets through it. And I was like, fill out financial statements, fill out everything. And I was like, this is accounting? And it just made it, I don’t know, just very practical for me, but also in a fun way. Also it allowed us MBAs to be competitive with each other, which was great. So you got to trash talk people. He just made me understand it and like it, I didn’t leave hating it.

Lord: Great.

Antoine: It was like huge, I was relieved. And then too, I think Dr. Yang Yang’s class for product development, I told myself even before taking the class and I’m oh, I think this will be interesting. I think I might be involved in, want to be in innovation or product development. After taking your class it was just one, so eyeopening, it was interesting. And then even this summer, just applying some of the skills that she told us, like different things about blue ocean strategy, looking across consumers that are near non-consumers.

So when we looked at the Hispanic market, trying to see okay, where are they that we’re not reaching them? What are other markets doing that we don’t, that are not even in our business? So I remember it looking at McDonald’s or other companies that were doing well with Hispanics. So a lot of the things that she taught me in her class, I applied even in my summer project. And so yeah, a lot of those classes were actually really practical when you did them.

Lord: That’s great to hear. Let’s talk about the resources, those that support you while you’re in the program, from the curriculum, the academic advising side, and then something that I love to hang our hat on, which is our career services office and the help and the preparation with our MBA students. Could you speak to that a little bit?

Antoine: Of course. So, man, I was so shocked at how much I had to learn coming in. I think I was surprised at how the business career services really prepares you for the job search. And you talked about the business career services. It’s huge. I think in other, I don’t know how it is in other programs or schools, but I loved ours because they took a fine tooth comb through my resume. Like we had so much prep and us being a small program. I got a lot of focused attention.

So I met with Carly and we had okay, what are you wanting to do? What are you looking for? How do you prepare your resume? And then we did mock interviews getting our star stories, even between friends within the classroom, because we were, it was such a serious thing, right. It was like hey, we hit the ground running to get ready for National Black, which was the kickoff of I’m recruiting. So they really, kind of like it’s a pressure cooker. I feel they kind of put us in of getting ready for interviews. And you shine.

And I think this year I’m the cap mentor, which is a career in peer mentors. I have 40 graduate students under me. And that first year of learning all those career, like stories, I learned, like there’s a process to getting a job. Like there’s a process to standing out when it comes to applying. And I didn’t know this previously, like I’ve told everyone about this. I said, I’m a natural sales person, I think. And just telling people what I love. And I’ve helped my brother with his resume. I’ve told my friends about it. I’ve helped my cap mentors prepare their resume. They’re like, “Where did you learn this?” I was like, “MBA. They really get you ready.” So I would say it is top tier, ’cause I felt when I went into interviews and when I went into let’s say National Black last year, or just in the recruiting process, so much more solid.

Lord: Thanks, Rachelle, that’s great to hear. We’re gonna go ahead and take an ad break and we’ll be right back with you shortly. The UF MBA full-time program is ready to provide you with an immersive experience that can help you reach your professional goals. Ranked as a top 10 public program by “The Economist”, “Financial Times”, and “US News and World Report”, you’ll benefit from being more than just a number. Our small cohorts allow you to build meaningful relationships with classmates and have a jumpstart on building your network. With scholarships available for up to 100% tuition, you’ll see why our program was ranked number two in return on investment by “US News and World Report”.

Learn more about how you can have access to the same benefits that helped Antoine thrive in the program by requesting information at the link in the podcast episode description or at www.warrington.ufl.edu/podcast/episode2. Again, it’s www.warrington.ufl.edu/podcast/episode2.

Okay. We’re back. I’m here with Rachelle Antoine, a UF MBA student, Rachelle, just digging back into your UF MBA experience. Maybe you could speak to what you want to leave as your legacy, or what has your impact been here on UF MBA?

Antoine: I think for me, when I think about the impact I want to leave, coming to business school was such a new experience for me. So I’m black if you don’t know, or hearing, I’m also Haitian, my parents were born in Haiti and came to the States a little later. And for me there are very few black students just across the board in business schools. And I think one of the things that was really huge to me was, oh, wow, business school’s opened such a door for me. I want to bring people of color into that mix. So that was my whole thing about that’s why I wanted to get involved and have gotten involved with diversity initiatives and Jumpstart.

And that’s why for me personally, like as a black person in the UF MBA program and kind of gleaning from what I learned in Colorado, I was in the mountains, I was one of the few black people who lived there. I learned that okay, if I’m the only black person that someone sees, I want them to understand my experience. I want them to understand what it’s like to be black in America. And that is hard, right? Especially if you don’t have a lot of space.

So in this program, I feel I’ve had the opportunity to own my blackness. And to show people hey, I’m black and I’m owning that, right? Like when a lot of the Black Lives Matter and things were happening, I spoke with students and honestly, what was super encouraging to me was a lot of students reached out to me to have conversations. And to me, that was my favorite thing.

That’s the impact I think, the legacy I want to leave is let’s have conversations because I think when you think about Black Lives Matter and people of color on social media, everyone can be loud and really strong and proud and everything that. But it’s hard when it comes to everyday environments. And so being able to have conversations, real conversations with someone you know that we can both be respectful, but we can also realize this is a big issue, right? Like racism is a thing, systematic racism is a thing. And I think most people know me as this anyways.

You will see me, I’m really tall and I’m also loud and I’m black. So I think I’m all those things. And so I want people to know who I am, but I also want people to break the stereotypes to what people think of black people based on what they see on TV or anything that. But also just opening this conversation. So I’d say that’s the legacy I want to leave. And I’ve tried to do that with every conversation I have. I try to get as many people of color to the program as I can. So that’s kind of the impact I’d love to leave.

Lord: Thank you for sharing, Rachelle, that really does mean a lot. And that definitely opens up eyes on people myself and those that are around us on campus looking to really do a little bit more outreach and change the profile of our programs across the board. So it is an exciting time for voices yours to be heard. And we’re definitely supportive of everything that you stand for and where you’re leading us. For sure. For other students that are following in your footsteps, what advice would you give to a future UF MBA student, or a future MBA student across the board? Any kind of insight, knowledge, little things that you’ve picked up that you’re excited to share with maybe those that are gonna walk behind you as you lead them?

Antoine: Man, I think networking seriously, and not seriously in the boring way, but take it seriously. And have one and meet people. I think a lot of times, like I think one, okay, some of the best conversations I’ve had have been in interviews where I may not have gotten the interview or maybe I didn’t get that interview that well, but I made a connection for next year. So this happened a lot last year, last year I made a connection. I remember I was in South Florida, I was at Goldman Sachs. It was 15 or 16 students. And that was when I was looking into the finance area, and a UF MBA walked right up to me and he was hey, he walked into and I he like, “Hey, you’re UF MBA. I’m UF MBA. I graduated this year. If you want a job in South Florida, I will help you.” And he gave me his card and I was wow, I still have his card to this day. And this year, even though I didn’t go to finance, I was able to pass his information to other UF MBA students.

Like I had someone from Exxon last year who said, “Hey, Rachelle, I think you need to go get more finance experience if you’re gonna go, but I love you, and I think you’re amazing person, come back next year and I will hire you.” And so just stuff like that, where sometimes it doesn’t go the way you want, or it may go the way you want, either way, like trying to really make real connections is the best way to get a job. And so for me, I said take networking seriously in terms of try to learn people and be curious. So don’t just try to learn them as a transactional way, but really try to make a friend because you never know that person can be a mentor.

I met someone from Disney. I was one of the speakers, like the moderators at professional development day. And I got to talk with the moderators. That’s the reason I wanted to moderate was I got to talk to the speakers and she’s a mentor for me now. She’s like, “Anytime you need help in the marketing field, I’ll help.” So networking is huge.

And really follow what BCS tells you to do. So I was like, “Okay, whatever.” But seriously, the mock interviews, the having your stories ready to go, researching the company. Like, all the things that they’re telling me to do, recruiting is a lot of work, and it can be a lot of pressure, but taking the time to really craft up those stories, taking the time to really meet with your career advisor and see what you want, taking the time to apply, apply, apply, apply, apply, and follow through on what they’re saying is super important. Because they’re there for your success as well. So I think that was super huge for me.

And make friends. Don’t forget to make friends, I’ve made the best friends, favorite thing in the program. It obviously is about a career. But to me, having friends, I have friends like after I graduate school, I have friends in P and G I’ll have friends at General Mills. I’ll have friends across the board, and who knows, we can help each other. If they need a job at Owens Corning I might be able to help them. If they need a job, if I need a job one day, they might help me in the future. Or if we want to start a company together, you always hear about friends coming up with business propositions together. So I think you definitely make connections and don’t make it about just coming in and leaving. But connecting with the students around you is huge. So that’s my advice.

Lord: Don’t be a wall flower. It sounds like that’s what you’re saying. Rachelle, we’ve talked a lot about you spending time in this MBA program and the amount of time it takes to get through an MBA program, but many folks outside of a classroom are investing in themselves personally. What are you doing to invest in yourself beyond the classroom?

Antoine: So I would say one of the first ways I invest in myself, which I think a little bit might be counterintuitive is first by resting. So I realized if I try to work seven days a week and try to keep myself always busy. It’s not the most productive for me. So the thing that I do to invest in myself is one, rest, which sounds counterintuitive, but it really helps me take my time.

So when I’m working, I’m fully there 100%. And then when I’m not, I have time to really breathe to really think. And then secondly, through, I love reading different books. And so I have audio books because they’re the most efficient. So if I’m on a long drive, one of the books I’m reading now or through audio book is “How Brands Grow”. Someone recommended that to me and I love it. And so for me, really keeping audio books on, I love podcasts. I don’t know, all those things. So those are kind of my top things that I do to get information and invest in myself.

Lord: Gotcha. So when you say you rest, so what does that mean? Are you taking a catnap or are you talking about taking a full 12 hour nap because that’s it, I’m done?

Antoine: No, that’s actually a good point. I figured out my rest systems. So I think a lot of people when they hear rest, they’re like, yeah, you just do nothing, but actually rest for me is filling. If I do the things that I love. So a perfect rest day for me would be I would wake up late, probably nine or 10. I’ve made myself breakfast. If I was by a beach is what I used to do in West Palm. I’d go to the beach in the morning. I would go to a gallery and walk around and browse it. I love museums. Then I would journal, maybe write a spoken word, do some poetry. And by six, the end of the day, I might read a book as well, but by six then I’d hang out with friends.

Lord: There you go.

Antoine: My perfect rest day.

Lord: So obviously no MBA coursework is what you’re saying there.

Antoine: So it’s interesting because, so I do all the things that I love, like spoken word or I write, or I look at poetry, but those things really help me creatively solve problems. Spoken word helps me with writing and presenting, communicating. So I feel like I’m doing creativity on the other side of my brain so that when I go back to business school, it helps in the other side.

Lord: I love it. That makes it so much sense. So what do you do to stay motivated, Rachelle?

Antoine: Well, I work out.

Lord: Nice.

Antoine: Yeah, for me. I wouldn’t say I work out hardcore. I have really awesome roommates who are with me. And so they are either runners and they go to the gym all the time. For me, I’m more of a low key one, but I would say I dance a lot. Dancing keeps me happy. And especially when things are not going right. I started this trend when quarantine happen, where I would go on a walk, I call it my dance walk. It’s super interesting.

But basically I walked down and I start dancing. I have headphones on, I have my dance playlist and I start walking, if I hear a good jam I start dancing, no matter who’s watching. And I keep going. And there’s just a freedom to be able to do that outside. Not really caring, and it’s been really fun. I’ve had a lot of awesome punks or friends see me and it’s awesome. It’s really a lot of fun.

Lord: That’s awesome. Well, thanks for sharing, Rachelle. I have to ask you, what’s your spirit animal?

Antoine: Ooh, my spirit animal. Okay. The number one thing came to mind immediately was a white tiger. And I’ll explain this. So a white tiger, because a white tiger is super unique. It’s different, but it’s also beautiful and strong. So this is a powerful animal, it’s majestic. So I think that this is someone I want to be, I want to be a beautiful kind being, I want to stand out, but I think I also want to be seen as someone who’s strong who can stand by what she believes in can make good decisions and change the world really. So that’s kind of my spirit animal, I think. Or I’d like to be.

Lord: Love it. I know we’re coming to our wrap up here. So I did want to ask you, what’s your future look now, you’re graduating the program here soon. You don’t have to let the cat out of the bag. I know you have some choices ahead of you that you have to make, which is great. We only want our students to have a ton of options whenever they’re getting out of our program. Do you want to maybe share with our audience what it looks like for you?

Antoine: So right now in probably the next month or so I’ll make a decision about where I’m going, but either way, like all the offers, the opportunities I’ve gotten from getting my MBA from UF has been priceless. It’s like if you look at, gosh, where I was last year and working and not liking my job before getting into business school to where I am now and having all these career opportunities and having all the learnings that I just learned from the class learning, from just learning how to stand up for myself, be confident and own who I am. I just, I’ve learned so much. And so for me, I’m really excited.

I’m excited to be a leader. And my future goals are to be hopefully a VP in a company. And so hopefully you’ll see me as a VP in, in the next coming couple years now, or maybe 10 years. I’m not sure what the timeframe is, but yeah, that’s kind of how it looks for me right now.

Lord: Go Gators.

Antoine: Go Gators.

Lord: Go Gators. Rachelle, it’s been an absolute pleasure talking with you today and thank you so much for all of your insight of what it’s truly like to be a UF MBA student.

Antoine: Of course, I’m so happy to be here. Be be a Gator guys, this is awesome. So thanks for the experience. I appreciate it, Andy.

Lord: Great. Thank you so much. And thank all of you for listening to, “We Are Warrington”. You can keep up with all things Warrington in the Warrington Newsroom and on social media @UFWarrington. See you next time. Stay motivated and keep investing in yourself.

To learn more about an MBA from the University of Florida, check out mba.warrington.ufl.edu/podcast/episode2