2020 Best & Brightest MBAs: Brittany Hunter, Vanderbilt University (Owen)

Brittany Hunter

Vanderbilt University, Owen School of Management

I take up space, literally and figuratively. You know when I am in the building!”

Hometown: Columbus, OH

Fun fact about yourself: Every year in April, ESPN replays the 2003 McDonald’s Dunk Contest, because it’s Lebron James’ year and you guessed it, I’m in it.

Undergraduate School and Degree:

UConn- Sports Management B.A.

UConn- Sports Management M.S.

Where was the last place you worked before enrolling in business school? Harlem Village Academy- Vice Principal Grades 3-5

Where did you intern during the summer of 2019? Microsoft in Redmond, WA

Where will you be working after graduation? Microsoft (Whoot Whoot!), HR

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School:

  • Student Government- VP of Diversity & Inclusion
  • Co-President of Out & Allied (LGBTQ affinity group)
  • Student Representative- Diversity & Inclusion Board
  • Board Member- Nashville Repertory Theatre
  • Poets & Quants- Top 10 Women in Business School 2018
  • Poets & Quants- MBA’s to Watch 2018

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? Last year, I won the school SP for Closing Bell Champion! Essentially I made it to enough of our weekly social gatherings to earn the title, which makes me proud because as exhausting as the week gets, I try to be just as social and hang out with my classmates over a glass of the finest boxed wine.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? Teaching 4th grade in Harlem. There is nothing tragic about black and brown children with the exception of having low expectations for them. My school and principal always had the highest expectations for our students and the utmost respect for their families. I made so many strong connections and bonds and teaching will forever be the hardest but most gratifying job that I will ever have had!

What was your favorite MBA event or tradition at your business school? Cosmo Week! Cosmopolitan week was dreamed up a year ago and it’s a weeklong event that shines a spotlight on our international student population. While our school is not the MOST diverse ethnically, we are acknowledging that regardless of numbers, our international students have something to teach us as domestic students. The number of people that attend the weeklong event proves to me that we are a group of individuals willing to learn.

Why did you choose this business school? I usually answer this question by saying: “Because I got in!” While that is true, I came here because I wanted to be a big fish in a small pond. After living in Harlem, NY for seven years, I knew that I could tackle a big city and leave my mark, but I wanted to see what I could do when the spotlight was on me. Would I reject opportunities? Would I spread myself too thin? Would I still be willing to go the extra mile for other people? The answer was YES to all of the above and I remained true to myself in the process.

What advice would you give to getting into your school? Get to know as many people as you can, including staff, and faculty at your respective school because that’s where learning outside of the classroom happens. There is definitely value in knowing a small pool of people and getting to know them really well. When you limit yourself to a small group you typically stick with people who are JUST like you. Stretch yourself and get to know people who are “different” than you because you can learn WAY more about yourself.

What is the biggest myth about your school? “We are collaborative NOT cut throat”…That is actually 1000% true! Business school can be hectic and you are left feeling vulnerable or inadequate at times but having a collaborative community with faculty that are always present, even outside of the classroom, makes the experience enjoyable.

Looking back over your MBA experience, what is the one thing you’d do differently and why? I would take a finance course that wasn’t mandatory. I run from numbers but that mindset is the opposite of what I taught my students in Harlem. I helped children fall in love with math and I neglected to push myself to do the same.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? Laura Maguire- She is the president of the WBA and she is the best leader in our school. The WBA hosts the most robust programming at the school with $0 membership fee. She is not only a walking example of a great ally, but she mobilizes other people to become better allies, her efforts with the “Men As Allies” group is a shining example of that.

Who most influenced your decision to pursue business in college? I had two friends really push me to go to business school. One in particular is Quindell, who attended Rochester. It was important to see someone who looked like me and someone who came from humble beginnings like myself to obtain an MBA. That’s because, like most black youth, I didn’t see much of that growing up so as an adult I didn’t think I had the ability to change my life the way this degree has. Quindell pushed me throughout the process and checked in on me during business school to ensure that I was taking full advantage of the opportunity. I intend to do the same for other people of color.

What are the top two items on your professional bucket list? To work overseas and FAIL hard. I have failed before, but I became a different person afterwards and it’s sometimes the best way to shake things up!

In one sentence, how would you like your peers to remember you? Remember, if you need advice call me SECOND, because I will give it to you straight no chaser!

Hobbies? Reading historical fiction, Listening to amazing Podcasts like Revisionist History, Criminal & The Moth and hitting the gym.

What made Brittany such an invaluable addition to the Class of 2020?

“Brittany is a force of nature. She exemplifies how a single student can elevate the experience of a community. To start with, she brings an unusual, perhaps even unique, perspective as a former basketball player at the very highest collegiate level and as an instructor at a school in East Harlem. Then there is her exceptionally outgoing personality that enables her to make friends and connect effortlessly. I really doubt that there are too many MBA students in the building she has not talked to. Add to it her real passion for advancing diversity and inclusion in the workplace. She has been a tireless organizer in getting students as well as many executives to share their stories of overcoming the exclusion that comes with being different. Above all, she has been a compelling voice for diversity and inclusion. Brittany has that rare ability to constructively speak her mind on sensitive topics in a way that instantly commands attention and respect. Thanks who she is and what she has done, the class of 2020 is far more tightly connected and engaged in difficult conversations while also having fun.”

Rangaraj (Ranga) Ramanujam
Richard M. and Betty Ruth Miller Professor of Management
Vanderbilt University, Owen Graduate School of Management


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