Meet Stanford GSB’s MBA Class Of 2019

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Meet Stanford GSB’s MBA Class Of 2019

Few people would equate the Stanford Graduate School of Business with risk. In fact, many would consider it to be the safest bet in business education.

Take income. GSB graduates earn $173,989 in total pay to start – a 26.5% jump over the past four years (and $6,800 better than its nearest rival). Better yet, they’re just down the road from Silicon Valley, the fabled home of tech innovators and deep-pocketed investors. The school has everything: prestige, elite students, deep-pocketed alumni, state-of-the-art facilities – even perfect weather! Where’s the risk?

RISK IS THE REWARD AND CHANGE IS THE CATALYST

It starts with the school motto: “Change lives. Change organizations. Change the world.” At Stanford, students are expected to be catalysts who bring out the best in others and transform the realities around them. That’s an awesome responsibility to bear. In context, Stanford’s “change” motto demands even more from MBA candidates: engaging in introspection, developing self-awareness, and ultimately embracing personal change. Doing that requires a mix of vulnerability and valor – an openness and conviction that requires a true leap of faith.

That was Anna Frances Wood’s experience. A 2017 MBA graduate, Wood describes her Stanford journey as a time to “challenge your assumptions about yourself” and “embrace a growth mindset.” Even more, it was a time for daily discomfort, where any perceived self-limit was quickly affixed with a “yet.”

“We role played firing our classmates,” Wood reminisces “Engaging in conflict was celebrated. We gave public speeches we felt unprepared for. We filmed ourselves doing it. And re-watched it over, and over. While getting feedback from our peers.”
The iconic Hoover Tower at Stanford University

CLASS RISES AND FALLS TOGETHER

At Stanford, the MBA program is geared towards helping students shed their fear of failure. That’s why experimentation and self-discovery are championed here. Forget the cliché of setting off alone to a lake cabin or mountain monastery to find enlightenment. Instead, students become authentic leaders by engaging each other. It is growth-by-team, where peers push and support each other in equal measure.

“Our curriculum enables you to challenge people much more because if they compete they must work together – then their ability to go further is much higher,” explains Yossi Feinberg, senior associate dean for academic affairs, in a 2018 interview with Poets&Quants. “We can challenge students much more academically because they rise to the challenge, but they rise cooperatively.”

It was this high risk, intensely reflective, team-driven culture that drew Julian Nicks to Palo Alto last fall. A Bain consultant, Nicks aspires to someday leave what’s “safe” and familiar and enter the social or public sector. To do this, he hopes to surround himself with people who’ll encourage him to jump – or even push him off – when it is time to “jump off the cliff.” For Nicks, Stanford was a school where students relished taking on the unknown and challenging their peers to do what scares them.

“Stanford has a culture that values these things signaled by: an essay that starts with the premise of “what matters to you”; classes on introspection such as Touch Feely or the Art of Coaching; extra activities such as TALK focused on empathizing and learning more about your classmates’ stories; and entrepreneurial culture that emphasize charting your own path,” he notes. “Even though the answer didn’t seem so clear at the time, it is so obvious that Stanford GSB was the best program for me.”

A SWEEPING CURRICULUM FOR A DIVERSE CLASS

Welcome to Stanford, a general management MBA par excellence. How good is the program? It ranks with the top business schools in every conceivable concentration according to U.S. News, finishing among the top five programs for entrepreneurship, marketing, management, finance, operations, international business, and non-profit. Home to nearly 20,000 MBA graduates, the program boasts some of the happiest alumni according to 2017 Forbes and Bloomberg Businessweek surveys – not to mention one of the most effective alumni networks based on a 2017 Economist student survey. The world’s top MBA program according to the Financial Times, Stanford is built more on values than valuations – a place where, in Feinberg’s words, students are “all in.” And it is a culture held together by a supportive spirit that honors authenticity and nurtures passion.
Students at the Stanford GSB Class of 2017 commencement. Photo by Nathan Allen

This openness may be one reason why Stanford GSB’s Class of 2019 is so diverse, with students who neither fit into a neat box nor plan to follow the traditional MBA blueprint after graduation. Take Alex Pruden. A West Point grad who speaks two Arabic dialects, this Green Beret plans to enter the wild world of blockchain startups. Then there’s Lian Boerma, a neuroscientist from the Netherlands who went into consulting before moving to Northern California to pursue a dual degree in business and education. Let’s not forget Jayce Hafner, a Virginia native who describes herself as a “farmer’s daughter, policy wonk, and aspiring writer pursuing an MBA to address climate change.” Since graduation, Hafner’s resume includes serving as a Fulbright Fellow in the U.S. State Department, where she produced a documentary film on promoting social and political change through theater. From there, she moved onto being an advisor to the Episcopal Church, where she delivered the church’s positions to bodies ranging from the White House to the United Nations.

Some diverse backgrounds, indeed. Then again, they might be hard-press to match “adversity junkie” Hiro Tien, whose life story seemingly comes straight out of a Pete Seeger folk ditty. “I was once a fishmonger, cinema usher, milkshake maker, supermarket attendant, tuition teacher, and a college drop out.”

RISKS PRODUCE REWARDS

That doesn’t sound half as fun as Chaitra Yarlagadda’s “sweet” gig. As a manufacturing manager at Unilver, she had to spot check – i.e. taste – the different ice creams. Hafner’s special talent is being able to hypnotize a chicken in under a minute. Boerma has completed the world’s longest row marathon – the 100 kilometer Ringvaart Regatta – in just over 10 hours. Impressed? At just 15, Alice Song, a Yale grad, completed her first marathon. And you can bet that Song ranks among the best-known members of the 2019 class.I’ve recently started barrel-aging cocktails,” she shares. Chances are, the “Bachata-loving Dionicio Herrera, a Barclays banker and Wharton alum, has pitched a tent outside her door. “I was named after Dionysus, the Greek God of wine and festivity.”

These first-years took plenty of big risks in their early careers, which should prepare them well for their time at the GSB. At 19, Tawanda Michael Mahere moved to China without knowing any Mandarin. Fast forward seven years and he was spearheading global growth for a desk computer company. With over four million customers in 190 customers – the firm was so successful that Google purchased it! Think that’s risky? Try being Felipe Kettlun, who had to tell his management team – some with 30 or more years of industry experience – that the strategy behind their $1.5 billion dollar energy project was too flawed (Turns out, he was right). At the same time, Tien applied the Groupon model to launch Brunei’s first group buying website. “[I was] leading a team of 15 to revolutionize the online shopping space of a country that had virtually no online shopping activities. We helped over 450 local businesses sell their services and products online, many of them for the first time ever.”

Go to page 3 to see in-depth profiles of first-year Stanford students.

For only the second time in 23 years, Stanford Graduate School of Business captures the No. 1 spot in the Financial Times global MBA ranking

With risk comes reward – and the Class of 2019 have already notched achievements to spare. As a student at American University in Cairo, Ahmad Ibrahim co-founded one of the city’s first student-run consulting firms, which catered to young entrepreneurs and small-to-mid size businesses. Impressed? As a consultant, Boerma revamped a client’s manufacturing process, expanded its “global footprint” and tripled its profits. Hafner participated in the 2015 Paris Climate Change negotiations as a representative for the Bishop of the Episcopal Church.

If you want to learn about real responsibility, set up a coffee chat with Yarlagadda. She ran Unilever India’s largest ice cream plant, which included managing over 400 people.

RECORD APPLICATIONS BOOST STANFORD’S PROFILE

When I took over the role, I did not speak the language of my workers and connecting with them was a challenge,” she admits. “By drawing inspiration from my dad’s servant leadership, I led my team with compassion and quickly became their close ally! This helped me in negotiating a long-term wage settlement with the workers union and I cherish this as a character-building experience.”

Joining the Stanford GSB can be a humbling experience, says Wood, whose 2017 class included “former Navy SEALs, professional athletes, Wall Street hot shots, even the guy that created Google Alerts.” It is unquestionably the world’s most selective full-time MBA program, offering a spot to just one out of every twenty applicants. Kate Archibald, a Poets&Quants Best & Brightest MBA and a classmate of Wood, calls her classmates a “community of pragmatic romantics – people who want to empower others and in doing so change the world.” Not surprisingly, the Class of 2019 possesses these same virtues…in spades.
The tower entrance at the end of what Stanford calls the Arrival Walk which was intentionally designed to align with the Bass Center.

Looking at the big picture, during the 2016-2017 admissions cycle, Stanford received a record 8,173 applications, a 21.7% increase over the past five years. To put Stanford’s popularity in context, Stanford enjoyed 26.6% fewer applications than Harvard Business School…but its 418 member class was also half the size of its Boston rival. To look at it another way, 89% of applicants who received a Stanford acceptance letter ultimately enrolled – just a shade under HBS’ 90.8% mark. In short, Stanford has increasingly emerged as the “cool” school – the go-to destination for the brainy, laid back, and spunky alike.

STANFORD POSTS TOP MBA GMAT AND GPA AVERAGES

Record applications wasn’t the only big news from the class, which notched a 737 GMAT – another high mark and a four point improvement over the previous year. It was also six points better than HBS and seven points above Wharton and Chicago Booth. Overall, the class’ GMAT scores ranged from 610-790. In addition, the class also mustered a 3.74 GPA average as undergraduates, also the highest performance among the top business schools. Many class members didn’t ditch academics after commencement either, with 15% of the class boasting advanced degrees.

Demographically, women comprise 40% of the class, the same share as the year before. By the same token, 41% of the 2019 class hails from overseas, up a point over the second year class. U.S. minorities also take up 29% of the class. That doesn’t tell the whole story about how diverse this class really is. Students come from 61 countries, 164 undergraduate programs, and 301 employers, providing a rich mix of cultural, regional, and professional differences.

Think Stanford wannabes get accepted for their skill with crunching waves of data and building complex models? Guess again! 44% of the incoming class actually majored in the humanities and social sciences as undergraduates. Another 37% studied engineering, math, and natural sciences. In fact, less than 20% studied business. That’s not to say they didn’t practice it. The largest bloc of the class – 21% – is represented by students who worked in investment management, private equity, and venture capital. Another 19% worked in consulting, with the tech sector accounting for another 15%. Beyond that, the class is deeply segmented, with the largest shares found in government, education and nonprofit (8%), consumer products and services (7%), and financial services (7%).

A LOCALE WITH SOMETHING FOR EVERYONE

GSB students would be hard-pressed to find a better place to spend two years than Palo Alto. Just 35 miles from San Francisco – and 10 minutes from Sand Hill Road – the region is paradise, with breezy 60 to 80 degree days where students can run “The Dish” or hike, golf, bike or play tennis year-round. Go north and students can choose between big city nightlife or rural wine country. Go south and it is Silicon Valley, home to everything from the Googleplex to the Y Combinator. Head east and it is the Lake Tahoe’s mountains and skiing. Of course, west takes students to the Pacific Ocean. That doesn’t even count Menlo Park, Stanford’s friendly neighbor and home to legendary angels like Andreessen Horowitz.

Such resources foster a virtuous cycle for students. For one, the school is able to attract the crème de la crème of guest speakers and adjuncts. Students are also just a coffee chat away from potential investors, experts, and mentors. Not surprisingly, Stanford has produced 27 of the top 100 startups over the past five years – more than any other MBA program. Indeed, Silicon Valley has become the new American dream, a place where upstart go-getters can make an impact…and a few million dollars while they’re at it.
Stanford University Graduate School of Business – Ethan Baron photo

Ibrahim is one of those dynamos who intends to leave his legacy through his ventures. Told that Stanford was “the kitchen of the future,” Ibrahim plans to learn the ingredients and tools needed to cook his startup masterpiece. “Stanford’s MBA program is the perfect Launchpad,” he argues. “In my view, it is the combination of two things. First, it is part of an institution that places so much value on entrepreneurship. Second, it is close to Silicon Valley, where many of the world’s most influential companies are built, which is unmatched in other programs. The energy and conviction that flows around this place is simply contagious!”

The GSB’s reputation and results, coupled with its tech- and capital-rich locale, also drew Tien to the Class of 2019. “I wanted to spend my two years at the epicenter of innovation and as such, it was a natural choice for me,” she asserts. “The proximity to VCs, leading tech firms, and hyper-growth startups only helped make it easier for me to decide to come to the GSB.”

Despite the legends of billion dollars firms popping out of garages and talks of “pivoting” in Town Square, just don’t mistake Stanford GSB as an entrepreneurship school, says Federico Mossa, a 2017 alum and member of P&Q’s Best & Brightest MBAs. “The focus of the majority of students is on general management,” he notes. “The first year provides a solid foundation across key business disciplines, and the second year allows you to dive deeper in your specific areas of interest.”

Go to page 3 to see in-depth profiles of first-year Stanford students.

Stanford Graduate School of Business leads the M7 pack in a number of areas: lowest acceptance rate (5.1), highest average GMAT scores (737) and GPAs (3.73), and highest median base salary for grads: $140,000

LEADERSHIP TRAINING GROUNDED IN PEOPLE SKILLS

In fact, “leadership” and “self-growth” are far bigger passions for Stanford MBAs than entrepreneurship. Thus far, Kettlun considers the program “more of a Life School than a Business School.” Notably, the program emphasizes ‘people’ skills as a cornerstone of leadership. On the surface, such programming might seem “soft” However, Herrera viewed it as a strength that few schools could match.

“Stanford’s focuses on transformation and development of character through experiential learning,” he observes. “While it is important to be technically strong early in your professional career, leading people becomes increasingly important as you rise through the ranks. I was looking to go to business school to better understand my leadership style and refine it through various experiences. I was attracted to Stanford’s focus on developing empathetic leaders with strong interpersonal skills.”

Song joined the class for a similar purpose as Herrera. She wanted to become an “authentic” leader whose ability to connect would further her ability to sell her vision and boost her teams’ performance as her career progressed.

“I wanted to go to business school to become a better manager and leader, and lead in a style that was authentic and true to my strengths and personality,” she explains. “I was drawn to Stanford because of its emphasis on defining and cultivating personal leadership. Stanford’s classes like Interpersonal Dynamics (known on campus as “Touchy Feely”), Managing Growing Enterprises (answering tough management questions), and Leadership Labs (small group role-playing) have and will help me become a more impactful, authentic, and effective leader.”

FEEDBACK ISN’T FOR THE FAINT OF HEART

In fact, Stanford’s leadership programming takes an entirely new spin on leadership. It starts with the school’s core Leadership Labs course, which are led by one of the school’s 60 Arbuckle Fellows – selected second years who’ve been hand-selected to complete a two quarter course on areas like coaching and mentoring. Guided by faculty, the fellows produce custom experiential content that cover awkward situations like delivering feedback and managing conflict.
Stanford GSB continues to lead all schools in the Poets&Quants top 50 in average undergraduate GPA score, at 3.74, a slight uptick from last year but still 0.01 off from the all-time high mark of 3.75, set by Stanford in 2015

Another legendary Stanford course is “Interpersonal Communications,” which is better known as “Touchy Feely.” Taught through small group role playing, Touchy Feely is designed to help students gain awareness of how their communication style impacts how they are perceived. It is a tough love course conducted in a safe space, where students receive unfiltered feedback followed by group support. It is a place where students don’t shy away from hard truths – and come back to the next class more determined than ever to better connect with others. In other words, it is an environment where students truly learn. In short, the course exemplifies Stanford’s feedback-driven culture.

“I’ve gotten more feedback in the past two years than I have in my entire life,” Wood admitted after graduating last summer. “Giving personal and professional feedback is deeply ingrained in the Stanford GSB culture. It’s part of every group project, every presentation, and every night out at The Patio, our local dive bar. We’ve grown so accustomed to giving and receiving feedback that we worry our candor will ruffle some feathers in the real world.”

LOWKEY NOTES AND TALK MIXES INTROSPECTION AND PRESENTATION

The GSB could also be described as a ‘confessional culture,’ where courage often means standing up in front of peers to share life-defining events and personal passions. For example, LOWkey Notes is part of a class where students must deliver a 10 minute keynote presentation on – to borrow Stanford’s famous admissions essay question – what matters most to them and why. From the importance of the Midwest to the agonizing search for love, LOWkey Notes left a deep impression on students – and even administrators like Feinberg.

“I was there last week and I had goosebumps,” he admits. “It was tremendously moving – not only the magnitude of challenges that students are willing and able to confront, but the powerful openness that students had as well.”

For most GSB students, the highlight of their two years is TALK. Each Wednesday, you’ll find hundreds of students streaming into the MBA lounge to listen to their peers deliver 30 minute reflections on their personal triumphs, struggles, values, and vision. For presenters, it is a cathartic experience; it is a time for ripping off the facade by revealing their fears and failures –without fear of criticism. For the student audience, it is a time to connect more deeply with peers with whom they have more in common than they thought.

AN EMPHASIS ON INTROSPECTION, VULNERABILITY AND INTENTIONALITY

“I have sat next to a person in class or casually chatted with someone on ten different occasions and then am blown away by the trials they have overcome or by their milestone achievements, says Zachary Ullah, a second year. “I left with the oddly common feeling here of inspiration.

Such rites of passage have already left a mark on the 2019 Class too. Yarlagadda talks up the Stanford GSB culture, where an “emphasis on introspection, vulnerability and intentionality” has enabled her to forge strong bonds with classmates that she now considers family. At the same time, Stacey Christiansen, who’d previously earned a Biology degree at Stanford, has bought into the program’s “strong point of view” on how leadership skills should be developed.
Stanford University

“The GSB creates the most hands-on, dynamic, and real-life experiences both inside and outside the classroom that pushes each of us out of our comfort zone and challenges us to test out new things every day,” she professes. “This environment then attracts the students that seek out challenges like this and are ready to experiment, allowing you to grow personally as well as meet and work alongside the most interesting peers you can imagine.”

SUCCESS MEANS FACING WHAT SCARES THEM…AND DOING IT ANYWAY

So what will success look like to the Class of 2019? At Stanford, business is treated as a force to do good. Mahere, for one, hopes to better understand tech trends in Silicon Valley. That way, he can take this knowledge back to emerging markets to “accelerate that process” of transforming lives. In contrast, Herrera dreams of lining up a team of “rockstar individuals that I have mentored and coached” to help him build a private equity fund.

For others, their measure of success will stay true to the Stanford GSB spirit of gaining self-awareness, projecting authenticity, and pursuing risk. That’s particularly true for Haffner.

“The GSB emphasizes how important it is to know yourself well and encourages us to dig deep, to ask the why’s behind the why’s and to push ourselves into honest introspection,” she points out. “After this first year of business school, I believe that success means knowing oneself fully, not missing the opportunity to dive into one’s own complex, messy, and fascinating inner world and then using that knowledge to move in the outer world with heightened self-awareness, empathy, and purpose.”

For Christensen, success will hinge on risk – and her willingness to take on what might deter most. “Success for me will be to seek out and take on the newest and scariest challenge I can,” she says. I hope to use my time at the GSB to continue to push my boundaries and try things that I previously would not have thought possible.”

DON’T MISS: MEET STANFORD’S MBA CLASS OF 2018 OR A DAY IN THE LIFE OF A STANFORD MBA STUDENT

To read profiles of incoming Stanford students — along with their advice on tackling the GMAT, applications, and interviews — click on the links below.

Student Hometown Undergraduate Alma Mater Employer
Lian Boerma Assen, The Netherlands University of Groningen EY-Parthenon
Stacey Christiansen Redondo Beach, CA Stanford University Medallia
Jayce Hafner Edinburg, VA Hendrix College Episcopal Church
Dinicio Herrera New York City, NY Wharton School Barclays
Ahmad Ibrahim Cairo, Egypt American University in Cairo African Development Bank
Felipe Kettlun Santiago, Chile Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile Syspiral Technologies
Tawanda Michael Mahere Harare, Zimbabwe Beihang University Jide Technology
Julian Nicks St. Louis, MO Washington University in Saint Louis Bain & Company
Alex Pruden Tucson, AZ United States Military Academy U.S. Army Special Forces
Alice Song Alpharetta, Georgia Yale University Eli Lilly
Hiro Tien Bandar, Brunei University of Brunei Darussalam SocialBuzz
Chaitra Yarlagadda Hyderabad, India Indian Institute of Technology Madras (IIT) Unilever

Lian Boerma

Stanford GSB and Stanford School of Education (enrolled in the Joint Degree MA Education/MBA)

Describe yourself in 15 words or less:

Huge fan of Dystopian Young Adult Fiction Novels

Avid Settlers of Catan player (I get quite competitive)

Easily distracted by the local wildlife (squirrels and giant hares – very interesting for a biologist)

Hometown: Born and raised in Assen, the Netherlands but lived in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, before school

Fun Fact About Yourself: Rowed the Ringvaart Regatta, the longest row marathon in the world (100 km) with 7 colleagues. It took us 10 hours and 20 minutes. The experience taught me a lot about perseverance and teamwork.

Undergraduate School and Major:

Bachelor’s in biology, dual major in Biomedical Sciences and Behavior & Neurosciences

Research Master’s in Behavioral and Cognitive Neuroscience

Both from the University of Groningen in the Netherlands

Employers and Job Titles Since Graduation: I worked as a consultant at EY-Parthenon in the Netherlands

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: One of the consulting projects I worked on was for a manufacturer of fries and other potato products. The company wanted to cut costs to be able to invest in an additional factory to be able to expand its global footprint. With our help in identifying cost cutting opportunities, the profits for the company more than tripled. The company has been able to invest in its growth opportunities and has been steadily growing since.

Looking back on your experience, what one piece of advice would you give to future business school applicants? The best advice I got about applications is that every part of the application has to highlight a different part of you and that the entire application has to show the complete picture. So, if you talk about your amazing leadership abilities in your essays, make sure your recommenders focus on another aspect of you. If your GMAT Quant score is incredible, there is less need to showcase quantitative projects on your CV.

What I would recommend is to find a friend or coworker or family member who knows you very well and is willing to give very honest feedback on your application. A good friend of mine has read all 29 versions of my essays and has helped me tremendously in figuring out what my point is and how to get it across. I could not have written the application I have without his help!

What was the key factor that led you to choose this program for your full-time MBA and why was it so important to you? I choose to apply to Stanford because it is the only top business school that offers a joint degree with the School of Education; a program where education, business and technology meet. This program allows me to complete both a Master in Education and an MBA in two years.

I believe that to unlock everybody’s full potential, we need more a personalized and results-oriented approach to education. Technology will play an important part in making this possible in classrooms all over the world. I aspire to be a leader in this field and believe the joint degree helps me acquire the knowledge and skills needed to make that happen. The GSB has a strong focus on developing leadership abilities. Besides, Stanford’s location in the heart of Silicon Valley and its world renowned research centers allows me to be at the forefront of new technological developments.

What would success look like to you after your first year of business school? I already consider this first year a success! I made a lot of new friends, have been able to show this amazing place to old friends, and learned a lot! Both from the courses I took, the people I met and the places I visited. I am very happy we have another year ahead of us!

Stacey Christiansen

Stanford Graduate School of Business

Describe yourself in 15 words or less: Spanish-loving, soccer-playing, beach-bumming Californian (rainbows sold separately)

Hometown: Redondo Beach, CA

Fun Fact About Yourself: My favorite respite is a week waterskiing on a houseboat at Lake Powell, at the border of Utah and Arizona

Undergraduate School and Major: Stanford University, Human Biology

Employers and Job Titles Since Graduation: Manager-in-Training at Apple Retail; Engagement Manager in Professional Services at Medallia

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: I created and launched a competency-based developmental matrix to my company’s global professional services department. After identifying the obvious need for more structure in professional development, I led brainstorming sessions, vouched for my vision, defended the principles I believed in, and relentlessly pushed the project to fruition.

Looking back on your experience, what one piece of advice would you give to future business school applicants? Each of us has our own full, complicated, and intriguing story – the challenge is how to make that shine through your application. Spend time not only writing the words for the essays, but truly considering the bigger picture of the story you are telling about yourself. This is your one chance to share all aspects that make you who you are, so take advantage of this opportunity. Allow yourself to even learn more about your own motivations and aspirations through the process.

What was the key factor that led you to choose this program for your full-time MBA and why was it so important to you? The culture at the GSB stood out to me apart from the rest – from the individuals that make up the class to the leadership perspectives the curriculum is built around, the GSB culture is apparent through and through. Stanford has a strong point of view on how to cultivate essential leadership skills and the curriculum brings that point of view to life. In my opinion, the GSB creates the most hands-on, dynamic, and real-life experiences both inside and outside the classroom that pushes each of us out of our comfort zone and challenges us to test out new things every day. This environment then attracts the students that seek out challenges like this and are ready to experiment, allowing you to grow personally as well as meet and work alongside the most interesting peers you can imagine.

What would success look like to you after your first year of business school? Success for me will be to seek out and take on the newest and scariest challenge I can. Whether personal, professional, or a mix of both, I hope to use my time at the GSB to continue to push my boundaries and try things that I previously would not have thought possible. My community and peers at the GSB have helped me hone in on passions, strengths, and growth opportunities, and I hope to continue learning with every day here.

Jayce Hafner

Stanford Graduate School of Business

Describe yourself in 15 words or less: Farmer’s daughter, policy wonk, and aspiring writer pursuing an MBA to address climate change.

Hometown: Edinburg, Virginia

Fun Fact About Yourself: I grew up on a farm and can hypnotize a chicken in less than a minute.

Undergraduate School and Major: Hendrix College, double major in International Relations and Sustainable Communities

Employers and Job Titles Since Graduation: Fulbright Fellow, U.S. Department of State (I completed a research paper and documentary film in Trinidad and Tobago exploring the power of theater to promote social and political change). Domestic and Environmental Policy Advisor for the Episcopal Church (I represented the Episcopal Church’s positions on poverty alleviation and sustainability to the White House, U.S. Congress, and the United Nations.

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: Empowering effective climate change policy is a top priority for the Episcopal Church, and to further this end, I represented our Presiding Bishop at the United Nations during the historic Paris climate change negotiations in 2015. As a member of the Bishop’s inaugural delegation, I advocated to and strategized with diplomats and business leaders on the formation and implementation of the Paris Agreement (aimed at preventing global temperature from rising more than two degrees Celsius in this century). Civil society actors play a crucial role in macro-level policymaking and it was awesome to be a part of this historic, game-changing moment. At this conference, I was also inspired by the power of investors mobilizing finance for climate change mitigation, a realization that ultimately influenced me to apply to business school and learn more about these impactful tools to address climate change.

Looking back on your experience, what one piece of advice would you give to future business school applicants? Before you sit down to write your personal statement, spend some good time thinking about the moments in your life that have been meaningful and transformative. Write down these scenes individually and consider them in the larger trajectory of your past and your intended future: where do your gifts and monumental experiences intersect with your interests, and how can you weave these pieces together into a coherent narrative? Your personal statement is less about conveying a personal brand and more about giving the admissions committee the opportunity to see you: not simply what you’ve done, but how you think, what you value, and why you’ve chosen to tackle the things that you’ve accomplished. Own up to your sense of self: your quirks, your decisions, your beliefs. In this way, you are not only creating an authentic essay but you’re also giving yourself permission to show up completely in the later stages of your application process: during your interview, your school visits, and your chats with students, faculty and alumni.

What was the key factor that led you to choose this program for your full-time MBA and why was it so important to you? I cold-emailed the GSB’s Food and Agribusiness club the year before I applied to Stanford. I didn’t know a soul at the business school and was so excited to immediately receive a response in my inbox from the club’s co-president, inviting me to meet. We had a long coffee chat and then he took an extra chunk of time just to show me around campus. I was impressed by this student’s ability to articulate his own values and ambitions, and he seemed more interested in learning about me than in talking about himself. This is the hallmark of the Stanford GSB: a conscientious and caring community that balances introspection with keen curiosity and a world-changing focus. I left my Stanford visit wanting nothing more than to be a part of this circle facing outward.

What would success look like to you after your first year of business school? The GSB emphasizes how important it is to know yourself well and encourages us to dig deep, to ask the why’s behind the why’s and to push ourselves into honest introspection. After this first year of business school, I believe that success means knowing oneself fully, not missing the opportunity to dive into one’s own complex, messy, and fascinating inner world and then using that knowledge to move in the outer world with heightened self-awareness, empathy, and purpose.

Dinicio Herrera

Stanford Graduate School of Business

Describe yourself in 15 words or less:

Bachata-loving, first generation Dominican who is as loyal as I am reliable

Hometown: New York City (Queens), New York

Fun Fact About Yourself: I was named after Dionysus, the Greek God of wine and festivity (Bacchus in Roman).

Undergraduate School and Major:

University of Pennsylvania (The Wharton School) – Bachelor of Science in Economics with Concentrations in Finance and Legal Studies & Ethics

Employers and Job Titles Since Graduation:

Investment Banking Analyst – Barclays

Private Equity Associate – Siris Capital

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: I am the first in my family to go to college and will be the first to get my Masters. Growing up in an immigrant household, my mother always placed a large emphasis on excelling in school, so I learned from a young age the value of hard work and perseverance. Since I’ve gone to college, several other family members in my generation have begun pursuing and even graduated from college. I couldn’t be prouder of them. I hope I can encourage more family members and others from similar backgrounds to use education to excel.

Looking back on your experience, what one piece of advice would you give to future business school applicants? In every step of the process, let your true self come through in the application. There isn’t a formula or a certain type of person that gets into business school, so don’t try to fabricate someone you are not or imitate someone’s story who was successful at getting into your dream school. Admissions officers are trained to see right through it.

If you have trouble coming up with your “story,” just start free writing about yourself. You could write about how you were raised, what you stand for, what experiences shaped your values, special memories, why you made decisions you made, or even life epiphanies. I spent hours informally writing down stories about my life and ended up filling over 20 pages, single-spaced. When you are done, look for a pattern, and that is your story. Talk about what makes you the person you are today and bring in a couple of anecdotes from your free writing sessions. This will also make preparing for the interviews a lot easier since you will be able to recall and elaborate on stories that are important to you.

What was the key factor that led you to choose this program for your full-time MBA and why was it so important to you? Stanford’s focus on transformation and development of character through experiential learning. While it is important to be technically strong early in your professional career, leading people becomes increasingly important as you rise through the ranks. I was looking to go to business school to better understand my leadership style and refine it through various experiences. I was attracted to Stanford’s focus on developing empathetic leaders with strong interpersonal skills. It is clear this is a priority for Stanford through required courses like Leadership Labs and leadership programs like Arbuckle Leadership Fellows. The alignment of my goals and the school’s strength is a key factor that led me to choose the GSB.

What would success look like to you after your first year of business school? My main goal is to one day lead a team of rockstar individuals that I have mentored and coached from early on in their career. At the GSB, you are surrounded by people with the entrepreneurial bug. I’ve always wanted to build something at one point in my career and ideally, I would lead that team I’ve mentored at a private equity fund that I start. Most importantly, I plan to focus my philanthropic efforts to create a bigger pipeline of historically underrepresented populations (minorities and women) in private equity.

Ahmad Ibrahim

Stanford Graduate School of Business

Describe yourself in 15 words or less: My friends say I am young, but I believe that I was transported from the middle ages.

Hometown: Cairo, Egypt

Fun Fact About Yourself: I was born in the US, raised in Uganda, and grew up in Egypt. Have always struggled to answer the question: Where are you from?

Undergraduate School and Major: American University in Cairo, Economics

Employers and Job Titles Since Graduation:

  • African Development Bank, Research Analyst
  • Qalaa Holdings (formerly Citadel Capital), Business Analyst

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far:In college, I co-founded one of the first student-run consultancies in Cairo. With my partners, we helped young entrepreneurs scale their ventures, by connecting them to some of the best talent in top universities. While I have had the chance to work on projects worth billions of dollars at my previous firm, I’ve never derived as much meaning from any project as I have from helping small and medium businesses re-imagine the potential they could one day realize.

Looking back on your experience, what one piece of advice would you give to future business school applicants? Start early and take your time. Many underestimate how time-consuming the process can be. If you have a demanding full-time job, I encourage you to plan ahead. The more intentional you are before you apply, the more fulfilling your journey will be. For example, if your dream is to build a company, have a few ideas of what exactly you’re interested in before you come. If your dream is to work at a consulting/investment firm, prepare before you come. Look up people who share a common interest. Reach out to them. Ask for their advice. Time here passes by so quickly. So, unless you are intentional about how you spend your time, there is a high chance you will be distracted by the abundance of opportunity here.

What was the key factor that led you to choose this program for your full-time MBA and why was it so important to you? For years, I have dreamed about the prospect of building a company that can have an impact on millions, but I did not know where to start. When it was time to choose which business school to join, a managing director at my firm said “Stanford is the kitchen of the future.” He was right. For those who dream of building their own venture, Stanford’s MBA program is the perfect launchpad. In my view, the combination of two things. First, it is part of an institution that places so much value on entrepreneurship. Second, it is close to Silicon Valley, where many of the world’s most influential companies are built, which is unmatched in other programs. The energy and conviction that flows around this place is simply contagious!

What would success look like to you after your first year of business school? Socially, that picture would look like cultivating genuine friendships that will outlive my time at school, and professionally, success would be building the business plan of my future venture.

Felipe Kettlun

Stanford Graduate School of Business and School of Engineering

Describe yourself in 15 words or less: Chilean/engineer/outdoors lover (Used to climb mountains most weekends and vacations).

Hometown: Santiago, Chile

Fun Fact About Yourself: I am color blind and I only discovered it when I was 14 years old because the biology teacher showed us a color-blind test during a lecture about X-linked inheritance. I was extremely surprised no one ever noticed it before.

Undergraduate School and Major: Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, Electrical Engineering

Employers and Job Titles Since Graduation:

  • Valhalla Energy (Energy storage startup) – Strategy Associate
  • Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile – Research Assistant in Biomedical Imaging
  • Syspiral Technologies (Hardware/software development for electric cars) – Cofounder

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: Convincing Valhalla’s management team (including people with more than 30 years of experience in the industry) that our strategy for contracting a $1.5 billion dollar renewable energy project was much riskier than everyone has thought. It took two months to convince them to change our contracting strategy.

Looking back on your experience, what one piece of advice would you give to future business school applicants? I was lucky to know a few GSBers and through them reached out to several students. This was maybe the best thing I did during my application process. That’s not because they told me something I had never heard before, but I realized that all of them were so different, that there was no way there is a perfect candidate. In all of them I could see the reasons why they were accepted. But I could also see some reasons why they might not have been accepted. This was extremely useful to me, because it made me realize that I didn’t need to show myself as a perfect candidate – because no one checks all the right boxes. The superstars don’t come to business school, because they don’t need it! This made it much easier to write my essays. I actually wrote about some mistakes I’ve made in my life. At the end, I think admissions cares more about having a diverse class than having only the most accomplished people in the class.

What was the key factor that led you to choose this program for your full-time MBA and why was it so important to you? I used to think business school was not very useful. While working with some GSBers, I got the impression that for all of them the GSB ended up being more of a Life School than a Business School. I was very interested in all the self-growth opportunities at the GSB. Also, I was learning during my free time about artificial intelligence and I decided that I wanted to learn more seriously about it. I thought the best place to learn AI was Stanford. I discovered that Stanford is one of the very few universities that offers the opportunity to do a MS in Computer Science and an MBA at the same time. The package was ideal for me.

What would success look like to you after your first year of business school? For me success is as simple as being content with what you do. If I feel that I enjoyed my first year by learning new things, making friends, playing sports, etc., then it would be a total success!

Tawanda Michael Mahere

Stanford Graduate School of Business

Describe yourself in 15 words or less: The future is already here —I strive to distribute it more evenly around the world.

Hometown: Harare, Zimbabwe

Fun Fact About Yourself: I moved to China at 19, learnt Mandarin, and stayed there for 8 years before coming to business school!

Undergraduate School and Major: Beihang University, Electronic Engineering; Tianjin University, Advanced Mandarin Chinese

Employers and Job Titles Since Graduation: Beijing Tech Hive (startup accelerator), Jide Technology

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: I led global growth in a Beijing-based startup that was acquired by Google in early 2017. We were making personal computing affordable and accessible to people around the world through our $40 Android desktop computer that we sold in 140+ countries. I spent a lot of time travelling to different countries to get our hardware and software in the hands of people who could use it for education, business and entertainment. Hearing moving stories about how they used this new technology made this the most fulfilling work I have ever done.

Looking back on your experience, what one piece of advice would you give to future business school applicants? If you find yourself enjoying the essay writing and application process for some schools more than others, that’s a sign of which school’s values and culture resonates most strongly with your values! After you write your essay, only share it with people who thoroughly know and your deepest motivations, hopes, fears and ambition. These friends and family will be best suited to let you know how authentic your representation of yourself will be for the different essays.

What was the key factor that led you to choose this program for your full-time MBA and why was it so important to you? I had spent several years in Beijing’s startup ecosystem, where I set up two entrepreneurial ventures as an engineering student. As I taught myself about startups and did early-stage venture capital, I realized how Stanford University has been at the center of tech innovation and entrepreneurship in Silicon Valley for the last several decades. So I decided I had to move here and then explored which programs Stanford offered that I could be interested in. The GSB’s focus on leadership that makes a meaningful positive difference in society resonated with me so I applied to the MBA!

What would success look like to you after your first year of business school? I would like to develop a deep sense of the future of technology trends in Silicon Valley and have clear hypotheses on the implications of that technology for the rest of the world. I believe that innovative internet startups will transform the lives of people in emerging markets and want to empower myself with the knowledge to accelerate that process.

Julian Nicks

Stanford Graduate School of Business

Describe yourself in 15 words or less: A passionate, strategic business thinker who always seeks ways to make his community better

Hometown: Saint Louis, Missouri

Fun Fact About Yourself: I have a fraternal twin brother, Justin, who works at Anheuser Busch in Atlanta. He is my better half who always challenges me to be better.

Undergraduate School and Major: Washington University in Saint Louis (Class of 2013); Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with majors in Finance and Mathematics

Employers and Job Titles Since Graduation:

  • Associate Consultant, Bain & Company (Sept 2013-Aug 2015)
  • Senior Associate Consultant, Bain & Company (Sept 2015-Aug 2016)
  • Bain Extern, Civic Consulting Alliance (Dec 2015-Mar 2016)
  • Consultant, Bain & Company (Sept 2016-Aug 2017)

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: My biggest accomplishments are those where I was able to use the skills I gained at Bain to impact communities I care about, especially in the social space. This includes working with my childhood church to develop a strategy for growth, working at Civic Consulting Alliance to help CPS develop alternative accountability strategies to school closure for charter or projects aimed at increase equity in the justice system, or volunteering on political campaigns. Using my God given talents to make the world around me better, are always my proudest achievements. (I know I didn’t answer the question by being singular, but it was too hard to pick!)

Looking back on your experience, what one piece of advice would you give to future business school applicants? In all things, be genuine to who you are and not to what you think you need to say, and trust everything else will work out. Maintain peace of mind around the GMAT, recognizing it works out in the end (all of my friends got into top schools even those who started off struggling with less than a 600). Write your essays to truly reflect who you are and not what you think admissions wants to hear. Choose recommenders not based on title, but actually people who know you well and you value as a mentor. Bring your authentic self to the interview and let them see what makes you. When picking your skills, trust how you feel about what place resonates with you and your personality, and do not over focus on the logic of the choice. If I focused on logic I would not be at Stanford today, and I have no regrets! If you do all these things, I truly believe you will end up in the right place for you. Hopefully that’s Stanford, but if not, I guess the other places are cool too!

What was the key factor that led you to choose this program for your full-time MBA and why was it so important to you? I chose Stanford GSB for the culture. When making the decision for which business school to attend, I knew there were two things that would be the most important skills for me to develop to be successful in the business world: 1) self-awareness and leadership and 2) a higher risk appetite.

As an aspiring social or public sector leader, I always tell people one day I will have to “jump off a cliff” and I want to be surrounded by people who would encourage me to jump (or in the worst case scenario push me off). In other words, I will need to one day leave the safe and amazing world of consulting (which I will be returning to immediately post school) for the unknown of getting involved in government or non-profit at a much lower salary and unclear career trajectory. I need friends and peers who will hold me accountable to doing it, friends that if I was still in consulting 10 years from now as a Bain partner who would challenge the notion that the title alone is a signal of my personal success. Stanford has a culture that values these things signaled by: an essay that starts with the premise of “what matters to you”, classes on introspection such as touch feely or the art of coaching, extra activities such as TALK focused on empathizing and learning more about your classmates’ stories, and entrepreneurial culture that emphasize charting your own path. Even though the answer didn’t seem so clear at the time, it is so obvious that Stanford GSB was the best program for me.

What would success look like to you after your first year of business school?

Oddly I think I am largely at a point of calling my first year a success. I had four goals coming into the GSB that I have largely already accomplished or at least are well on my way to doing so: 1) Built learning and expertise in social public sector through elective curriculum and secure job in local government. I will be joining the Detroit Mayor’s office this summer. 2) Improve career skills around leadership and self-awareness. 3) Build global perspective by traveling to 12 new countries in 2 years (I will have traveled to 6 new countries by the start of MBA1 year with my MBA1 class, so I am well on track!). 4) Last but most important, build balanced habits and have fun. I have been able to prioritize myself along with career in a healthy way building great new friends, investing in my spiritual well-being as a Christian, and at least making improvements in sleeping and exercising more (although there is still room for improvement here.

Alex Pruden

Stanford Graduate School of Business

Describe yourself in 15 words or less: Former U.S. Army Green Beret looking for a new adventure at the intersection of tech/business

Hometown: Tucson, AZ

Fun Fact About Yourself: I speak two dialects of Arabic

Undergraduate School and Major: United States Military Academy (West Point), International Relations & Arabic Language Studies

Employers and Job Titles Since Graduation: U.S. Army Infantry, U.S. Army Special Forces

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: Having the opportunity to serve my country and defend its citizens and values over the course of three deployments to the Middle East.

Looking back on your experience, what one piece of advice would you give to future business school applicants? Give yourself plenty of time to complete the application. Everything is important, but the essays are where you really have the chance to differentiate yourself from the crowd. Make the most of that opportunity

What was the key factor that led you to choose this program for your full-time MBA and why was it so important to you? I chose to attend the Stanford Graduate School of Business because of the unparalleled opportunities to learn about entrepreneurship from both leading scholars and successful founders from the heart of Silicon Valley. I also appreciate the diversity of the campus, and being surrounded by classmates who are as passionate as I am and who inspire me by their accomplishments and ambitions.

What would success look like to you after your first year of business school? Successfully founding and leading my own startup in the blockchain technology space, while balancing my responsibility to be a good partner to my wife and father to my son.

Alice Song

Stanford Graduate School of Business

Describe yourself in 15 words or less: I’ve recently started barrel-aging cocktails. They’ve been well-received here at the GSB.

Hometown: Alpharetta, Georgia

Fun Fact About Yourself: I ran my first full marathon when I was 15.

Undergraduate School and Major: Yale University, Economics and Mathematics

Employers and Job Titles Since Graduation:

  • P. Morgan – Investment Banking Analyst (2011-2013)
  • GTCR – Private Equity Associate & Senior Associate (2013-2015, 2015-2016)
  • Eli Lilly – Alzheimer’s Sales & Marketing, Charles P. Bonini Fellow (2016-2017)

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: At Eli Lilly, I led a team of sales reps, trainers, marketers, doctors, nurses, and consultants to develop the product launch strategy for a new Alzheimer’s drug. We developed the go-to-market plan for every city across the US, covering hundreds of sales reps. With input from the cross-functional team, we created a new sales structure to effectively reach medical professionals and patients upon drug approval. By broadening access, we would have impacted millions of Alzheimer’s patients and their families.

Looking back on your experience, what one piece of advice would you give to future business school applicants? Use the application process to take stock of where you’ve been and where you want to go. What do you want to achieve in your career and your life? How can business school help you attain these goals?

Take the time to do a full inventory and answer these questions honestly. This will help you in the application process, but more importantly, will also serve as a framework to guide you during business school and beyond. Answering these questions has helped me better prioritize my time and get more from my business school experience so far.

What was the key factor that led you to choose this program for your full-time MBA and why was it so important to you? One of the reasons I wanted to go to business school was to become a better manager and leader, and lead in a style that was authentic and true to my strengths and personality. I was drawn to Stanford because of its emphasis on defining and cultivating personal leadership. Stanford’s classes like Interpersonal Dynamics (known on campus as “Touchy Feely”), Managing Growing Enterprises (answering tough management questions), and Leadership Labs (small group role-playing) have and will help me become a more impactful, authentic, and effective leader.

What would success look like to you after your first year of business school? Success will be: (a) a higher comfort with risk-taking; (b) greater confidence to bring my full authentic self to work; (c) better understanding of myself and my strengths as a leader, and (d) a network of strong friendships.

Hiro Tien

Stanford Graduate School of Business

Describe yourself in 15 words or less: An adversity-junkie who thrives in difficult situations. Rebels at stagnation too.

Hometown: Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei

Fun Fact About Yourself: I was once a fishmonger, cinema usher, milkshake maker, supermarket attendant, tuition teacher, and a college drop out.

Undergraduate School and Major: University of Brunei Darussalam, Accounting & Finance

Employers and Job Titles Since Graduation:
Founder – Escape Square (the largest escape room company in Brunei)
Founder – SocialBuzz (the parent company of Groupon-equivalent of Brunei)

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: I take pride in founding the first group buying website (Groupon-like) in Brunei and leading a team of 15 to revolutionize the online shopping space of a country that had virtually no online shopping activities. We helped over 450 local businesses sell their services and products online, many of them for the first time ever. I then started over half a dozen local businesses in sectors of retail, entertainment and e-commerce. I believe the best has yet to come; I’ve just decided to spend the summer at Google’s new artificial intelligence focused venture capital fund, Gradient Ventures.

Looking back on your experience, what one piece of advice would you give to future business school applicants? Really sit down and reflect on what you are looking for in life. Find out what is truly important to you and be true to yourself. These will show up in your essays and interviews, so they better be authentic and coming from deep down. Get the GMAT out of the way as soon as you can too and leave ample time for the rest of the application, don’t underestimate how much time goes into the essays and recommendation letters. As for the interview, just be yourself, that’s the best thing you can do going in.

What was the key factor that led you to choose this program for your full-time MBA and why was it so important to you? Stanford’s overall reputation in tech and entrepreneurship drew me here. I wanted to spend my two years at the epicenter of innovation and as such, it was a natural choice for me. The proximity to VCs, leading tech firms, and hyper-growth startups only helped make it easier for me to decide to come to the GSB.

What would success look like to you after your first year of business school? I came to Stanford GSB with an open mind and decided to soak up as much as I can. My long-term goal is to help my home country, Brunei, diversify its economy away from the oil and gas sector and I see multiple pathways going forward. Success out of business school to me means that I’m progressively working towards my long-term goal, be it through venture capital or starting of my own company.

Chaitra Yarlagadda

Stanford Graduate School of Business

Describe yourself in 15 words or less: Passionate Engineer. Servant Leader. Firm believer that business is a force for doing good.

Hometown: Hyderabad, India

Fun Fact About Yourself: Made ~20mn liters of ice-cream a year as a Manufacturing Manager – tasting ice-creams was a part of my job!

Undergraduate School and Major: Indian Institute of Technology Madras (IIT), Masters & Bachelors in Electrical Engineering

Employers and Job Titles Since Graduation:

Unilever, Manufacturing Manager

Unilever, Management Trainee (Unilever Future Leaders Program)

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: I led a team of 5 engineers and 400 workers to manage operations at Unilever India’s largest ice-cream plant. I left a sustainable impact by improving the plant efficiencies and executing long-term projects towards business growth. What remains close to my heart is the meaningful relationships I formed with my team and the community I built.

When I took over the role, I did not speak the language of my workers and connecting with them was a challenge. By drawing inspiration from my dad’s servant leadership, I led my team with compassion and quickly became their close ally! This helped me in negotiating a long-term wage settlement with the worker union and I cherish this as a character-building experience.

Looking back on your experience, what one piece of advice would you give to future business school applicants? Enjoy the process of writing essays as it is a great opportunity to discover yourself – your values, aspirations and priorities. I shared my essays with 3-4 of my closest family and friends and this allowed me to discuss in depth about what life means to me and get authentic inputs on the story I am narrating through the essay. At GSB, we reflect and discuss on the central theme of our essays, introspecting often about what matters the most to us! Hence, the essay is a beginning to a wonderful journey of self-discovery.

What was the key factor that led you to choose this program for your full-time MBA and why was it so important to you? GSB was the only school I applied to. The MBA program here stood out to me for 3 reasons:

  1. A mission which aligns with my motto – ‘Business as a force for doing good.’
  2. A strong emphasis on interpersonal skills and executive communication.
  3. A community which can shape my personal and professional perspectives.

Stanford GSB’s mission to “Change Lives. Change Organizations. Change the World” resonated strongly with me. Unilever inspired me to use business as a force for good and I felt that GSB would prepare me for the journey. I was also attracted by opportunities for community-building and leadership development such as Touchy Feely, Executive Challenge, LOWKeynotes (a keynote style presentation about ideas that could change lives, organizations and the world – L.O.W.) and TALK (a student-led GSB tradition where the whole class comes together once a week to listen to the unique stories of two classmates). On speaking to the Alumni, GSB resonated as a place where I can truly learn and grow.

What would success look like to you after your first year of business school? I have three priorities for my first year of business school: Build meaningful relationships, active engagement in a dialogue about sustainable business and improve my executive presence

The culture’s emphasis on introspection, vulnerability and intentionality has helped me form strong bonds with friends here who I now consider family. Through Sustainable Business Club, I found a platform to deepen my understanding of shared value creation through business. Experiential courses such as “LeadLabs” and “Essentials of Strategic Communication.” and the communication resources on campus have helped me towards my third goal.

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