Meet Stanford GSB’s MBA Class Of 2021

Morgan Wiley

Stanford Graduate School of Business

“Loves cooking dinner. Hates doing dishes. Appetite for new experiences, books, meaningful relationships, growth, sugar.”

Hometown: Ridgefield, CT

Fun Fact About Yourself: I cooked for Emma Watson. (I was more nervous that night than I was for any job or school interview.)

Undergraduate School and Major: Duke University, Public Policy; Culinary Institute of America, Culinary Arts

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: SingleThread Farms, Pastry Cook

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: Being a part of the SingleThread team that achieved three Michelin stars. I can’t remember a heavier silence than the moment before Chef Kyle revealed the news, and I’ve only seen that many happy tears at a (small) handful of weddings.

What quality best describes the MBA classmates you’ve met so far and why? Genuine curiosity. I’ve always hated the word “networking.” It turns conversations into transactions, and questions into checkable boxes. Since coming to the GSB, I’ve (unsurprisingly) had a fair number of conversations and answered even more questions; never once have these interactions felt forced. There is a thirst for knowledge here: about content, but even more about people. My classmates want to learn about their peers and their careers and cultures, families and aspirations.

Aside from your classmates, what was the key part of the MBA programming that led you to choose this business school and why was it so important to you? The GSB’s emphasis on creating leaders – not specifically business executives or startup founders, but choose-your-own-adventure leaders – was what drew me here. Through programs like Arbuckle Fellows, Stanford promised opportunities to both have and be a leadership coach; its countless entrepreneurship classes offered not just large lectures, but individualized mentors assigned to help you (and your idea) develop – on your own terms. As someone considering a non-traditional route after school, I came to the GSB to become a leader prepared to tackle any challenge my career might throw at me.

What has been the most surprising thing you’ve found about Stanford GSB so far? My classmates are some of the most accomplished people from the most interesting fields imaginable – but every day, I am surprised (and delighted) by the level of humility displayed. There is no résumé flaunting and GSB students are infinitely more likely to celebrate their peers’ achievements before their own. The result is an environment that feels inclusive rather than competitive.

What was the most challenging question you were asked during the admissions process? I was asked about a manager whose leadership style I had most admired. I have been fortunate to work with skilled managers in very different fields and have valued different approaches at different times – sometimes, even appreciating qualities I would have expected to dislike. The struggle I had in answering the question was a good reminder of why I was applying to business school: I wanted to better leverage my experiences and utilize the resources of Stanford to define my own leadership style.

What other MBA programs did you apply to? HBS, MIT, Sloan

What is the biggest epiphany you’ve gained about yourself or the world since you arrived at Stanford GSB? Asking for help is the greatest personal and professional gift you can give yourself. People are always more willing to help than you think and the impact they can make – as a colleague, mentor, or friend – can be exponentially greater than the challenge of reaching out.

What do you see yourself doing ten years from now? Hopefully, I will be driving much-needed change in the restaurant industry. It’s a special industry; it blends art and science to connect both cultures and individuals, and the people it attracts are among the most talented, intelligent, and conscientious I have ever worked alongside. Unfortunately, the razor-thin margins and unhealthy work cultures of restaurants often call into question whether the passions of a chef are worth the trials. I hope that in ten years, as a restaurateur, I will be shaping a new wave of restaurants that emphasize sustainability: for the business, the people, and the environment.

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