The Stereotype-Defying MBAs In The Class of 2018

Columbia's Amrinder Singh Chawla

Columbia’s Amrinder Singh Chawla

Class members were also swayed by a school’s sense of community. Amrinder Singh Chawla was initially stunned by how responsive and helpful Columbia Business School students and alumni were when he reached out to them. During his campus visit, this sincerity ultimately tipped Chawla’s decision in Columbia’s favor. “The warmth and openness with which every member of the CBS community treated me made me feel right at home and sparked a feeling in me that CBS was the place where I could see myself spending the next two years of my life.”

Location, as always, played a big part, too. That was one differentiator for Georgetown, which is just three miles from the White House. “Georgetown is uniquely positioned at the intersection of policy and business,” explains Gershon Blyden. “In addition to being home to some of the most influential people in the world, Washington, D.C., offers a burgeoning tech community, proximity to Wall Street, and access to visiting global leaders.” The University of Texas’ Josh Berrington echoes Blyden when he talks about Austin. “McCombs has created an inspiring and supportive environment for budding entrepreneurs at all stages. The unique backdrop of Austin provides built-in resources and tools that are accessible to those interested in furthering their startup ideas.”


What is the Class of 2018 seeking after graduation? UCLA’s Anna Goldberg hopes to become a chief inclusion officer, who can use inclusion to produce bottom line results. After Yale, Webber Xu describes his dream job as helping African nations develop renewable power. Columbia’s Elsbeth Grant also plans to give back by producing more technological equity among school systems by working in the U.S. Department of Education. For Emory’s Ashley Johnson, a successful career would involve running a national network of community centers that offer education and sports to young people.

UCLA's Anna Goldberg

UCLA’s Anna Goldberg

Beyond a role, they’re also seeking the right atmosphere “At this point in my life,” explains Washington University’s Kelvin Taylor, “I am looking for an employer that is large and stable but that still thinks like it’s a start up. A Saint Bernard that wants to move like a Jack Russell if you will.” Like MBAs before them, the 2018 Class is looking to grow and contribute in their roles. “My dream job, says Carnegie Mellon’s Ademola Adeogun, “is one that allows me to bring my vast business and academic experience to bear in shaping the strategy, achievements and long-term goals of the organization.”

To do that, students like HEC Paris’ Christine Weitbrecht plan to pursue entrepreneurship. “I would like to have my own business at some point in my life. While I don’t quite know yet what kind of product or service I would like to sell, I really like the idea of having to manage everything from financing to production and marketing… I also immensely enjoy making sure that all parts of an operation work well together, so having my own business would be the ultimate test of my abilities.”


In the end, the incoming MBA class will spend the next two years together. During that time, they will stumble and doubt themselves. Some will wonder if they truly belong. Over time, they will reflect and learn, adapt and persevere. Their confidence will grow. Eventually, the y will become sources of inspiration and insight. Hopefully, they will be remembered as their best selves.

Minnesota's Thomas Cloyd

Minnesota’s Thomas Cloyd

When asked what he would like his classmates to say about him after graduation, the University of North Carolina’s Matthew Lyde Cajuste wished to be seen as reliable.“No matter how difficult times get, you can always count on Matt to make you smile, give you his honest opinion and work as hard as needed to get the job done.” Northwestern’s Quasie Jones takes it a step further, picturing himself as a steadying force for his peers. “Quasie is the guy I call when I have incredible news, but also the guy I call when my world is falling apart.” When classmates reminisce about UCLA’s Colin Meade, he hopes they talk about a guy who spread goodwill. “My number one goal every day is that, after every interaction with someone, that person leaves either having been helped or just feeling more positive about life.”

Other first years hope to eventually be seen as examples by their peers. Notre Dame’s Jack Pelzer, who authored a musical about the life of actor Brandon Fraser, would love for his peers to say he made them “look like rock stars.” “Success only comes when everybody has each other’s back,” he adds. Others, like Wharton’s Tala Al Jabri, aspire to be the one who broadens the conversation. “I would like my peers to say that I am a troublemaker who breaks with convention and enacts feasible business strategies that promote inclusive prosperity and social good. What’s life without a little bit of fun and disruption?” Naturally, the University of Minnesota’s Thomas Cloyd dreams of someday earning the ultimate accolade from his classmates: “I can’t wait to work with him again.”

When graduation does come in two years, let’s pray that the Class of 2018 earns a toast as good as the one that Northwestern’s Brian Quimby hopes to receive:

“I’ve always had the hope that on the day I graduate and are cryin’,

My B-school classmates will shake my hand and say, “You’ve done an awesome job, Brian!”

Good luck Class of 2018!


In the coming months, Poets&Quants will be featuring incoming classes from more than 40 full-time MBA programs. Here is a sampling of the exceptional students that you’ll be seeing:

Frances Dixon / Harvard Business School

Justin Rosenthal / Northwestern University (Kellogg)

Eugenio González De Peña / MIT (Sloan)

Victoria Yunger / University of Chicago (Booth)

Jordan McNulty / Columbia Business School

Saumya Jain / Wharton

Alicia Jane Flanagan / Cornell (Johnson)

Alexander Kovacevic / Duke (Fuqua)

Nahry Tak / U.C.-Berkeley (Haas)

Edward Adlard / London Business School

Louise Brennan / IE Business School

Rashi Kakkar / University of Toronto (Rotman)

Kyle Collins / University of Virginia (Darden)

Edward Norwood / University of Michigan (Ross)

Webber Xu / Yale School of Management

Vanessa Vasquez / UCLA (Anderson)

Josh Berrington / University of Texas (McCombs)

Allie Esslinger / New York University (Stern)

Christine Weitbrecht / HEC Paris

Ashley Johnson / Emory University (Goizueta)

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