Katherine Danielson served for seven years in the U.S. Army as a broadcast journalist and public affairs specialist. Her work was consistently published on military news stations as well as international media outlets such as CNN, BBC, Reuters, and Al Jazeera. She was deployed to Iraq to cover the final year of the U.S. military mission across Southern Iraq as part of Operation New Dawn. Her documentary “Return with Honor” received the Keith L. Ware Journalism Award for Informative News Programming. She was awarded the Bronze Star for her successful operation in over 45 combat missions.
Upon discharge, Katherine attended the University of Texas at Austin and concurrently, co-founded Zen Monkey Overnight Oatmeal. Zen Monkey created the first pre-packaged overnight oats/bircher muesli in the United States. At Zen Monkey, as Head of Sales and Marketing, she drove the shift from the natural/specialty grocery channel into the conventional grocery channel. As Co-Head of Operations, she developed and streamlined production and supply chain management. Zen Monkey is sold in grocery stores across the USA and is also available online. Zen Monkey continues to drive innovation in the category and has become the gold standard for on-the-go, ready-to-eat overnight oatmeal. Katherine took a step back from day to day operations to pursue her MBA at the University of Cambridge Judge Business School in 2020.
- What led you to take the Cambridge MBA?
The Cambridge MBA’s focus on experiential learning and the specialised Concentrations emphasised the kind of experience I wanted to have from my MBA. I learn by doing. I jump in, get my hands dirty, and figure things out. I needed a place where that was not only allowed, but also encouraged through the curriculum and the faculty’s attitude towards learning. As a veteran and entrepreneur, I am no stranger to risk and uncertainty or to discipline and hard work. I wanted to find an environment where those characteristics would be appreciated and promoted.
- What do you want to get out of the MBA in the next year?
As part of my Cambridge MBA journey, I am taking this time to analyse my business experience and examine what I learned as a journalist and an entrepreneur in a more formalised business framework. I am bridging theory and application. I want to deepen my understanding of finance, organisation structure and management, and how to take an operation from one stage of growth to the next.
- Where do you see your MBA journey taking you in your future career?
I have decided to pursue a career in investment banking. Post-MBA, I have accepted an offer from Citi as an investment banking associate in the Consumer and Retail Group.
- Why do you think the MBA is a good step for ex military personnel from around the world?
The Cambridge MBA is the best step a veteran could take. Transitioning into civilian life is difficult. The first few years out of the military can be very disorienting for a person’s identity, direction, and sense of purpose. I was fortunate to go to school right away and use my military benefits to get my undergraduate education, but I watched many of my peers struggle. I believe being in school created a new sense of identity and purpose while giving me time to explore opportunities and discover the next step in my career.
The Cambridge MBA would expand upon what you have learned in the military and help you translate that into business language. The military already develops many of the strengths and skills, and the leadership and critical thinking necessary to be successful in business. The Cambridge MBA can bridge that transition and cultivate the necessary communication, management, and quantitative knowledge for success in your next chapter outside of the military.
For more details on our range of CJBS and MBA scholarships, including those candidates with a military background, please visit our scholarships pages here>