“I am an avid consumer of podcasts and lover of all things Ethiopia and Ethiopian culture.”
Hometown: Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Fun Fact About Yourself: I run a podcast called Injerger Podcast with a dear friend talking about the international student journey in the U.S context and a YouTube Channel, HabeshChef, that teaches Ethiopian food cooking.
Undergraduate School and Major: Smith College, Biochemistry major and Economics minor
Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Lucy Investment Partners, Project Manager
Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: Managing a project from end-to-end in a transaction advisory firm in Ethiopia
What quality best describes the MBA classmates you’ve met so far and why?No Ego: My Darden classmates exude confidence and self-awareness but on top of that, everyone comes with an aura of curiosity, wanting to add value and learn rather than from an egocentric position.
Aside from your classmates, 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 Case Method: During my interview, I had the opportunity to sit in a finance class. I come from a non-traditional background, so I have limited knowledge of finance and I hadn’t read the case for the class. However, the lively discussion in class and the thoughtful questions students ask to drive the conversation helped me understand what was being discussed. Students stepped into the role of the CEO and answered questions defending the CEO’s state of mind. I remember getting goosebumps in class listening to the back-and-forth between students. I realized that the learning that happens in these classroom conversations is unmatched.
What club or activity are you looking most forward to in business school? I am looking forward to career treks as they will be the first direct exposure to companies after a few of our business classes. I will have a better understanding of various aspects of business by the time we visit so I will have deeper insights and challenging questions.
What led you to pursue an MBA at this point in your career? I am a career-switcher. My background was largely in biochemistry research and development which wasn’t giving me much space to do impactful work. I realized that the healthcare space was not where I wanted to be a couple of years after I graduated, and I knew I wanted to go to business school. Tuck Business School’s Bridge program on the Smith College Campus first exposed me to business fundamentals and I knew right after that I loved the business world.
How did you decide if an MBA was worth the investment? An MBA gives me access to endless opportunities and the confidence to start my own business at some point.
What other MBA programs did you apply to? Goizueta, MIT Sloan and Georgetown
How did you determine your fit at various schools? I knew I wanted to head into the General Management and Operations route, so I looked at schools that had strong curriculums in these. I prioritized a hands-on environment learning with colleagues who are down-to-earth and knowledgeable. One of the things I didn’t have as priority but realized was a great resource was an alumni base. I understood how valuable they are as a resource when I interacted with Darden Alumni and saw how responsive, helpful and extremely accessible they are.
What was your defining moment and how did it shape who you are? My defining moment came when I lost my job a little more than a year ago due to restructuring in the company. As an international student, I didn’t have a lot of financial backing or the ability to find another job quickly. It was a very hard time, but it taught me a lot about resilience and the value of humor when looking at life. It shaped me to be fearless and a risk-taker because the worst-case scenario is really not that bad especially, if you learn to laugh at it.
What do you plan to do after you graduate? I plan on joining a big multi-national company and working in operations and supply chain.
Where do you see yourself in five years? I see myself starting my own manufacturing plant in Ethiopia