For as long as she could recall, Kristina Koch (MBA ’16) had always envisioned a career in sports. Koch seemed to be on track for this — she had previously played hockey competitively as a member of Austria’s women’s national team, earned a bachelor’s degree in sports and leisure management, and taken on a number of roles with the International Hockey Federation in Switzerland.
Building on her unique background, in the second year of her full time MBA program at the Rotman School of Management, Koch found herself applying, interviewing and securing a position with Deloitte’s Toronto office as a managerial design consultant.
“While playing and working in sports, I always considered how to make teams come together and perform better. Now I apply these same principles to consulting.”
—Kristina Koch (MBA ’16), managerial design consultant, Deloitte
Today, Koch works with a team that advises corporate clients on how to create high-performing teams and introduce processes so that they can operate more efficiently and effectively.
“At the time, accepting this position and moving out of sports really was unknown territory for me. Now, I realize that my experience, interests and personality really fit well with my current role,” says Koch. “While playing and working in sports, I always considered how to make teams come together and perform better. Now I apply these same principles to consulting.”
“It’s a step I wouldn’t have considered had it not been for my time at Rotman,” she adds.
Coming to Rotman
As soon as she walked through the doors, Koch knew that she wanted to come to Rotman. After seven years working — and steadily advancing — in the sports business sector, Koch was looking to up her game and develop her leadership and management skills.
“At Rotman, you are exposed to so many smart and accomplished people,” says Koch.
“Everyone here made me think bigger and gave me the confidence to go further.”
She felt especially lucky to learn from female faculty members who had impressive careers in academia and industry, such as Tiziana Casciaro and Beatrix Dart.
Outside the classroom, Koch looked for ways to get the Rotman community excited about sports and business. While president of the Sports Business Club during her second year at Rotman, Koch’s team hosted engaging speakers and partnered with the CBC to organize a successful sports marketing case competition. (Koch is also remembered for her work in bringing the Stanley Cup to Rotman for a day for students and faculty to enjoy. Read more about this in her recent interview with Poets & Quants.)
Preparing for the Next Step
Koch also took advantage of opportunities to broaden her knowledge in different areas within sports and business in the summer between her first and second years at Rotman. To better understand broadcast operations, she worked at the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2015 in Montreal. Koch also completed a second internship working with the NHL’s Toronto office, where she helped organize the 2016 World Cup of Hockey.
When it came to exploring post-graduation opportunities, a job in consulting focusing on shaping productive business practice and teams caught her eye. With support from Rotman career services, Koch’s application found its way onto the desk of a partner at Deloitte. She was brought in for a successful interview.
“The job seemed like something so out-of-the-box for someone with my background. I’m glad I got out of my comfort zone and pursued this amazing opportunity at Deloitte” recalls Koch. “So many people here at Rotman have shown me that you have to believe in yourself and go for the opportunities that come your way.”
Written by Rebecca Cheung