Meet Stanford GSB’s MBA Class Of 2021

Wes Adams

Stanford Graduate School of Business

“California-raised. Howard-inspired. Passionate mentor. Basketball addict. Purveyor of corny humor.”

Hometown: Anaheim, CA

Fun Fact About Yourself: I opened for Sean “Diddy” Combs as the student speaker during the 2014 Howard University Commencement ceremony.

Undergraduate School and Major: Howard University ’14, Finance Major

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Goldman Sachs Asset Management, Client Relationship Manager

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: No organization or community can function at an optimal level if its people can’t bring their unique personal qualities to the table. This belief powered my focus on mentoring young professionals at Goldman Sachs, especially those who were historically underrepresented at the firm. I coached students through GS’ diversity recruiting initiatives and engaged with senior leadership to make diversity a core priority for my team’s hiring strategy. I was thrilled to bring my passion for mentorship to life professionally by bolstering the pipeline for diverse talent to enter and thrive at the firm.

What quality best describes the MBA classmates you’ve met so far and why? Inclusive! I’ve really appreciated the fact that GSB students are committed to building and sustaining a community that welcomes each individual’s authentic self. My classmates actively seek to understand and embrace what makes us different, rather than use it as a basis for assumption or exclusion. This open and inclusive culture inspires me to be authentic, broaden my perspective, and grow as a leader.

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 strategic focus on social innovation, along with its holistic leadership development approach, were the primary factors that drove my decision to attend. Being closer to family didn’t hurt either!

I knew that I wanted to not only develop the hard skills that would prepare me throughout my career, but also the emotional intelligence that would elevate my ability to serve and influence others. Through courses like Leadership Labs and Touchy Feely, the GSB provides a unique platform for self-exploration and leadership experimentation. I was really excited about Stanford’s thought leadership in the social innovation space and have already benefited from the robust experiential resources available to gain first-hand social impact experience. For example, I am an investment associate on the GSB Impact Fund FinTech deal team. Through this experience, I’ll be able to directly address social issues, like lack of access to the financial system, in a tangible way by deploying real capital to social enterprises.  

What has been the most surprising thing you’ve found about Stanford GSB so far? I have been inspired by how socially-oriented my classmates’ career aspirations are. The common thread I’ve witnessed is an unwavering passion for driving innovation that will have a lasting, positive social impact. In business school, it’s easy to lose sight of the world around us and solely focus on our individual growth and professional opportunities. It is exciting to be part of a community that prioritizes changing the world for the better and will hold me accountable for leading responsibly.

What was the most challenging question you were asked during the admissions process? What matters most to you and why? This question forced me to reflect on my life journey, be vulnerable through describing experiences that have shaped me most, and to articulate the impact I aspire to have on the world. Preparing my response to this question was both challenging and rewarding. The clarity that I found through the application process gave me a small glimpse of what makes the GSB such a special community. I now feel that glimpse becoming my reality. It’s been thrilling to continue exploring my passions and motivations with an amazing community of peers to support me along the way.

What other MBA programs did you apply to? I also applied to Wharton, Kellogg, Berkeley Haas, and Michigan Ross

What is the biggest epiphany you’ve gained about yourself or the world since you arrived at Stanford GSB? As I reflect on my time at the GSB thus far, I recognize that I began the experience with an incomplete view of my leadership style and the impact that it has on those around me. Throughout the quarter, my classmates and I had the opportunity to delve beyond the role-based definitions of leadership into the specific behaviors that drive genuine and sustained influence. As I tested different leadership behaviors and received valuable feedback throughout the quarter, I elevated both my self-awareness as well as my view of the possible impact I can have on my community as a leader.

What do you see yourself doing ten years from now? Regardless of where my career takes me, I ultimately want to be remembered for the growth and improved welfare of the people and communities I serve. My dream is to lead a social enterprise that integrates innovation and capital across the private, public, and social sectors to promote economic and educational development in the most disadvantaged U.S. communities. Though it’s difficult to imagine exactly where I’ll be in ten years, I’m confident that my GSB experience and family will prepare me for the journey.

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