Meet Yale SOM’s MBA Class of 2018


Tafadzwa Mahlanganise

Yale School of Management 

Describe yourself in 15 words or less: I am cheerful, passionate about Africa’s development, and always strive to put God first in everything I do.

Hometown: Harare, Zimbabwe

Fun Fact About Yourself: My name, Tafadzwa, means we have been pleased. After my mom gave birth to three boys in a row, my family was overjoyed to finally have a baby girl.

Undergraduate School and Major: Davidson College, Economics

Employers and Job Titles Since Graduation:

International Monetary Fund (IMF), Research Analyst, July 2013 – June 2016

Harvest Fresh, Pre-MBA Intern, July – August 201

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: After a year working at the IMF, I was selected to join a 20-person team working on the Fiscal Monitor, one of three flagship publications of the IMF. On this team, I worked on designing policies to solve pressing macroeconomic issues, including coming up with policy recommendations to boost growth through innovation, entrepreneurship, and investment across the globe.

Looking back on your experience, what advice would you give to future business school applicants?  

GMAT: Once you have made the decision to apply to business school, start by getting the GMAT out of the way. Definitely take the exam seriously and give yourself about three months to study. There are some good resources online. The Graduate Management Admission Council

(GMAC) offers two practice tests. I would take one at the beginning and one a week before taking the exam. I also found Magoosh very helpful in keeping me organized and motivated during my GMAT study period.

Essays: The essays usually ask your reasons for wanting to attend that particular MBA program, your work accomplishments, and your career goals. Talking to current students and alumni from your target schools is very useful in getting to know the schools and what sets them apart. I also encourage you to visit schools to get a feel of the classroom experience and school culture. Once you understand the MBA programs, it becomes easier to write good essays. Give yourself enough time to write more than one draft. Have friends from the MBA programs look at your essays for feedback.

Recommendations: Choose people who really know you and can speak to your experience, accomplishments, and weaknesses to write your recommendation letters. Also give them enough time to work on the letters. Don’t forget to thank them at the end.

Admissions Interviews: There are online resources with lists of possible interview questions for most schools. Go through the questions before your interview. Current students are always helpful in getting you ready for the interview.

What led you to choose this program for your full-time MBA Yale SOM’s close knit and collaborative community, integration with the rest of the university, global reach, and commitment and ability to educate leaders for business and society appealed to me the most. I am really excited to be attending Yale and look forward to the immense opportunities and possibilities SOM will bring.

Tell us about your dream job or dream employer at this point in your life? I am passionate about sustainable development in Africa. Given that 70% of people in Sub-Sahara Africa depend on agriculture for livelihood, I would love to work towards increasing productivity along the agriculture value chain system. I will be happy knowing that I am contributing towards reducing output loss, adding value to primary products, empowering small-scale farmers, and creating the much needed employment – a crucial step in alleviating poverty and moving the continent forward.

What would you like your business school peers to say about you after you graduate from this program? At the end of my two years at SOM, I would like my peers to say that I experienced tremendous growth. I hope to grow both personally and professionally, by taking the time to develop meaningful relationships, learning in and out of the classroom, helping my classmates whenever I can add value, getting out of my comfort zone by taking advantage of new experiences (e.g. embracing ice hockey), taking the hard classes that sound interesting, and increasing my worldview by traveling internationally.

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