Finding the Motivation

I’ve talked before about how overwhelming business school is, now let me tell you how motivating it can be.

Every day, when I’m exhausted, leaving home before the sun comes up and coming home after the sun goes down…I feel encouraged.  I’ve had lots of career meetings recently, and I get so excited after every one, because I know I’m closer to my dream career.

I think the best silver lining every day is that this journey has just begun, and already so many amazing opportunities and connections have come my way.

Every week I read the Hollywood Reporter and visualize my name among those pages.

What business school has given me again, the audacity to dream big and believe for even bigger.

This blog entry is short…but it was how I was feeling once I walked through the door of my apartment.

Now I have to read an accounting case, and do my best to understand what the heck they’re talking about.



Poets and Quants

I promised this weekend that I would post a new post daily…but I never promised what those posts would be.

Sorry to be so sneaky, but I’m in the middle of trying to figure out marginal costs for a hot dog stand, corporate finance, and watch the Emmys red carpet/swoon over gorgeous people in gorgeous dresses.

I had the pleasure of offering some of my insight for the MBA Admin process to Poets and Quants, and get a shoutout as a member of the Columbia Business School class of 2017.

First off I would like to point out that my Miss USA headshot gets more action now as an MBA than it did when I was actually competing.  Also, I’m still humbled and overwhelmed to have been mentioned among a class of such amazing peers. In all honesty, school is flying by (we’ve already had A Term midterms), but I’m loving every moment of learning new things and moving toward my goals.

Look at that Blue Steel...always and forever my favorite photo shoot. Thank you Carter Studios!
Look at that Blue Steel…always and forever my favorite photo shoot. Thank you Carter Studios!

I’m off to finish yet another assignment and cross my fingers that Taraji slays the carpet, and Gaga gives me all the life.



What Am I Doing Here?!?

I’m about to be very honest, and vulnerable with you all.

I barely remember what week I’m on and I barely know what day it is, but I’m deep in business school and approaching my first few midterms and major assignments.

I’m slowly seeing the light at the end of the tunnel on Hell Week. But these last few days have been very rough.  I have been Anxiety City and the Mayor of Overwhelmed Junction. I’ve honesty had moments in statistics and corporate finance where I look at the board and feel like I’m reading martian. On a particularly rough day, as I was walking between classes, I wondered why I even wanted to come to business school.  Why did I pray and hope for something so badly, and I couldn’t even figure out what I was doing here if I felt so overwhelmed.

Now let me say, this scenario is the epitome of first world problems. I’m walking around an ivy league campus, able bodied, on a warm late summer day, wondering why God “cursed me” with the desires of my heart.

Now when I start to spiral down the rabbit hole of my feelings, I get real emo. We’re talking Hot Topic with a studded belt and side-swept Beiber bang emo. But it’s funny how God will show you something in the most unlikely of ways.

My godsister LeeLee came to town and talked me into seeing Amazing Grace with her.  To be honest I wasn’t sure I wanted to see a musical about the hymn my late grandmother Ann loved so much, but I would have taken a break to walk over hot coals if it got me out of looking at excel sheets.

Around the third scene, watching slaves be captured on stage, or seeing the embodiment of my ancestors thrown around and branded, something started to stir on the inside. My great grandparent (my granddaddy Green’s parents) were born slaves, and I’m sure they prayed and believed for something better. There are generations of ancestors who’s faith and prayers are the reason I’m here.  There are countless names I’ll never know, but I know I will meet them one day to say thank you for their belief beyond understanding. I bet my great-grandparents would be so proud to know that one of their decedents walks through the halls of Columbia Business School, and has the audacity of faith to dream so big. By the end of the play I was a sloppy mess of happy tears hearing the words to Amazing Grace and understanding them better.

I think at times I feel almost unworthy to be so privileged, because at times I lose focus on the bigger picture. What part am I supposed to play in the story of my people? Will I be able to live up to my own dreams? I have to remember that it is ultimately about following my dream, but it’s also about honoring all those who made countless sacrifices for me to get here.

It took a broadway musical (which I highly recommend EVERYONE go see) for me to get my head on straight, but I feel renewed and refreshed to take on another week.

Thanks for letting me get a little more honest.



Legally Brown

From the moment I told my pageant sisters that I had “a completely brilliant plan,” I was going to an ivy league business school…I felt like Elle Woods! I even answered people that questioned my plan with, “what, like it’s hard?!?” (It was, but I we’ll save that for another time.)

Let’s be honest, my bschool app about competing at Miss USA was one step down from Elle’s Harvard admission video where she talked about soap operas and law jargon. And believe me when I say I fully embrace it.


Today is the official start of classes, and thankfully I’ve done the reading, so I won’t get totally owned like Elle on the first day. But I’m not afraid to welcome the strange badge of honor that I carry…I mean think about it, how many MUO titleholders have attended an ivy league business school.

I even had the pleasure recently of seeing my name on Fortune Magazine’s website, along side my title.


“Columbia Business School’s Mackenzie Green won the Miss District of Columbia USA in 2010.”

It’s crazy, amazing, and humbling to have my name included among so many amazing MBA candidates.  But my hope is, like Elle, I leave and amazing and glitter covered trail of excellence behind me when I graduate in 2017.

With today being the first day, I wanted to take a moment to celebrate the official start of being Legally Brown…now to find something pink to wear today to celebrate!



My Superhero Origin Story


This post was inspired by two things…I saw Fantastic Four yesterday (p.s. it wasn’t what the reviews made it out to be), and a classmate of mine from college.

The guy in the picture is my classmate King (that’s really his name, and it’s amazing). We worked on a group project together, and called me Superwoman. I can always count on King to remind me that I’m Superwoman, or to watch Orphan Black. He and his wife are two of the kindest people I’ve ever met, so this post goes out to you King.

Since I’m Superwoman, this post is my superhero origin story…an explanation of how I became the Type A, hardworking, overachieving, former jock turned beauty queen that I am now.  This is post was my business school essay for a particular Ivy, and I previously posted it on my last blog.  But two days out from beginning my next super adventure, it seemed only fitting that I shared this story again.

I remember the day vividly. I was six years old and attending my first end of the season banquet for the Kenwood Country Club swim team. I sat on the floor in front of the stage, while the parents and big kids occupied the tables scattered around the ballroom. My heart skipped a beat every time my coach picked up a trophy, announcing the winner. Girls High Point, 6 & Under High Point, Most Improved, the list continued to rattle on. I was one lone chocolate chip in a sea of vanilla ice cream.    I started to feel my little heart sink further with every name. Finally, I heard my name; it felt like I was floating, this was my moment. But, like the final scene from the movie Carrie, my award was a joke. The coach handed me an egg timer, my award, person with the busiest schedule. The coaching staff thought it would be funny to talk about how busy I’d been, juggling horseback riding, summer math emersion program, and swim team.

I watched as my dad leaned over to my mom, I’m guessing he said he was going to bring the car around, because when I looked back, after fixating on a carpet speck to keep from crying, I saw my mom. She mouthed the words “it’s okay”. When the award banquet ended and we stood at the front entrance waiting for my dad, I burst into tears. I have very nurturing parents, but in that moment my mom turned and said, “stop! Now you dry your tears,” she said through my sniffles, “don’t let them see you cry.” “If you don’t like the way they made you feel tonight, you can fix it. You can work and train, and your father and I will support you, but remember this feeling…and don’t ever let anyone make you feel like this, you shut them up with your success.”

The next year, I came back a beast. I set standards, crushed and silenced crowds with my times. I traveled the country and Australia, leaving a trail of heartbreak behind me, and competing every year at the Junior Olympics. I broke records that existed long before I, or my family would have even been allowed to set foot on some of those pool decks. I took my mother’s words to heart; I decided that no one would ever out work me. If I had to lose it would be only if I had done everything I could and left it all in the pool.

That night twenty years ago has stuck with me. Whenever I’m faced with what feels like an improbable task, I look at it as an “egg timer moment.”

In 2006, I was defined by my athletic prowess for more than a decade of my life before heading to college. My identity came from what I did in the pool. However, while juggling a learning disability and a double major my first year of college, I realized I could either major in swimming or focus on school. I walked away from the sport that defined and molded my character. I had a panic attack as I cleaned out my locker. I had to relearn and meet the new “MacKenzie.”

I took my passion and focus to University of Miami TV station. I had been a dominating force in the water; I figured it was only logical that on UMTV, I would be the next Robin Roberts. My first segment was an in-depth piece on then injured Pittsburg Steelers’ Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, and the perils of concussive injuries. To say I was a hot mess is an understatement. At the end of the segment, as the cameraman counted down, I signed off, and the red light atop the camera when blank. I felt the same pitiful, judgmental gazes I’d felt sitting on the floor at Kenwood. I walked back to my dorm and threw myself across my bed, drained and marinating on what the producer said, “not everyone is cut out to be on-air, and you might just be one of those people. Maybe you’d be better on radio.” My egg timer moment returned.

I was relentless, I was ready to silence the snide remarks and questioning glances towards the girl in a “boys’ club.” I became a repository of sports trivia; I filmed myself constantly refining my on camera appearance, and practiced incessantly reading stories out loud to my roommate. Next semester I nailed the audition but was assigned commentary segments, round table discussions and sideline segments instead of anchoring. I did not let that deter me; I was determined to be the best-prepared member of the team. I eventually sat behind the anchor desk for not one, but two shows. I was nominated for three SunCoast Emmys, and won two. I even had the distinct honor of being elected, by the Executive Board of UMTV, to manage the station. As manager, I was tasked to create and oversee content for eight UMTV shows. Additionally, I worked on the renewal of the station’s contract with Comcast South Florida. The same boys that mocked me, worked for me.

As my 20th birthday approached, I wondered how I would even begin to top what I’d done at such a young age. I wrote out a list of everything I wanted to do in my 20s, my bucket list. First, was a full marathon, I hadn’t run more than a mile during swim dry land training. I systematically broke down the task, found a training plan, all the while handing my daily tasks, and 5 months later crossed the finish line at the Walt Disney World Marathon.

Over the years, growing up with a mother, who was a former runway model, pictures of her gracing Parisian and Italian runways surrounded me. Ever year, we watched Beauty Pageants and I dreamt of gracing a stage – but I could barely walk in heels!

So my second bucket list item, I wanted my Cinderella moment. I decided to compete for Miss USA. I had no experience and didn’t know how to get started. I didn’t grow up a painted baby competing in the Toddlers and Tiaras pageant system. My time outside of school was spent either in swim practice, or mucking stalls and washing horses. Growing up my classmates complained I reeked of either chorine, or hay and horse manure. I researched and developed a spreadsheet of all the elements it would take to have my Eliza Doolittle transformation. I convinced a world-renowned pageant coach, she coached seven girls to Miss Universe titles, to take me on. I trained, practiced, and pushed myself to give my best effort. In seven months I transformed, I’m proud to say that on my first try I won the Miss District of Columbia title and headed to Miss USA in Las Vegas. There are a wealth of skills I learned that translate to the world of business, poise, confidence, professionalism in all situations. I honed my oral presentation skills, thinking quick under pressure, and adapting to all sorts of social situations. I’m a statistical anomaly, because parents are more likely to have a son play in the Super Bowl, than they are to have a daughter compete in Miss USA.

My father, Ernest Green, was part of the landmark group The Little Rock Nine, the nine black students that integrated Little Rock Central High School in 1957. My father was the lone senior and thus became the first African American to graduate from a segregated high school. I grew up looking at countless magazine articles, newspaper clips, and presidential letters. I sat through his Congressional Gold Medal ceremony, statue unveiling, the issuance by the US Mint of a silver dollar and US Postal Service commemorative stamps, in honor of the Nine.

“To whom so ever much is given, much is required,” is a motto I’ve heard repeatedly. I’ve been given a lot, and I expect a lot from myself in return. I have grown up with a man who left an indelible mark on the world, and that’s what I want to do. I’ve been given an incredible legacy, and I want to use it to give be a history maker, a game changer, and inspire generations to dream bigger.

I have faith in myself, and my abilities to step out and into the role of my full potential, and to follow my dream. I am not afraid of the challenge that lies ahead, but excited by the opportunity to grow and learn in a new environment. If given the opportunity to do so, I will not disappoint those who take a chance on me. I am a fast learner, hard worker, dedicated, and a team player. It is ultimately about potential and the ability to lead, that I believe is one of my qualifications. Above all, I am honest, poised, confident and focused.

Why me? Because there is no one better.

Why now? Because there is no better time.

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