It’s not that Alec Emmert seeks out dangerous situations. But he does find himself in those scenarios more often than most. Emmert, who enrolled in Wharton’s full-time MBA program last fall, grew up with a father who had a career as a foreign service diplomat. At a young age, Emmert and his family fled Colombia, where his father was stationed, when a drug cartel put a bounty on their heads. After attending the Naval Academy, Emmert deployed four times to the Middle East as an officer on a nuclear submarine. In 2011, he was a watch officer in Bahrain when the Arab Spring erupted.
“Most officers consider business school immediately after leaving the military,” Emmert said in March. “I took a different path in that I chose to work in the private sector for several years before attending business school. About two years ago, I decided that I wanted to pursue an MBA, and have spent the time since trying to get into my first-choice school, Wharton. My acceptance is a dream come true.”
In a wide-ranging interview from last March, Emmert explains more about his unique path to B-school, getting accepted to Wharton, and how he plans to use the degree as a means to launch a socially conscious startup.
Many schools have talked about it. But it was the University of Southern California’s Marshall School of Business that first reached gender parity in its full-time MBA program. And the achievement largely stemmed from the grassroots efforts of a team of current students. When Daniel McCartney, Jessica Schleder, Casey Brown, and Baylis Beard stepped on USC’s campus, they noticed found that the class before them had just 32% women. After attending a Graduate Women in Business introductory meeting, the team decided they’d do what they could to not only increase the number of women in the full-time MBA program, but they’d shoot for 50%. After a year of working alongside the school’s administration to attract top female talent, Marshall’s incoming class this past spring was 52% women.
“We thought, if we want to reach 50% and hit gender parity at Marshall, we have to do it,” McCartney told us last fall. “We can’t rely on the school. We had to push it.”
The group created a blueprint for what other schools can do to reach gender parity, which included a lot of student outreach to applicants and prospective students. It also involved administration buy-in and efforts on the school’s end to also increase outreach and communication with applicants.
For Anthony “Ace” Patterson, who recently graduated from the University of California-Berkeley’s Haas School of Business, music and art has been a part of his life since before his family immigrated to the U.S. when he was a child. “Music is one of those things that has just always been around me,” Patterson told us last February. “My mom will tell you that classical music was the first type of music I listened to, but society will say reggae and hip hop became the immediate genres I gravitated towards.”
Despite taking multiple breaks from music and his poetry, life kept leading Patterson back to his craft. Then, during the winter break of Patterson’s second year of the full-time MBA program at Haas, he met with an old friend in Connecticut. Patterson’s friend asked him a question that hadn’t been on his radar for years. He asked Patterson if he still thought about music and knew how to rap. Patterson told him he still listened to beat occasionally online and every once in a while might freestyle to them. But the question was enough to reignite a passion.
As Patterson graduated and began crafting a new career in technology with a position at Facebook, he also began cobbling together a renewed rap influence, recording multiple tracks, but this time with a purpose.
“We all love Kanye West’s College Dropout, but how many people are rapping about their graduate degrees? How many people are encouraging you to save and invest as opposed to spending? And there’s nothing wrong with spending, but how many people are thinking about those types of things,” Patterson says. “I’m not condemning other rappers. I’d rather just be the change that I want to see and do it in a dope way.”
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