2020 MBAs To Watch: Chanda Foucher, Purdue University (Krannert)

Chanda Foucher

Purdue University, Krannert School of Management

“I’m an easily amused, loyal, even-tempered leader who values justice, joy, and adventure.”

Hometown: Chicago, IL

Fun fact about yourself: I’ve won escape rooms on four continents – Africa, North America, Europe, and South America. I couldn’t find one in Asia and I haven’t been to Australia, but victory on 6/7 continents should be in my near future!

Undergraduate School and Degree: Xavier University of Louisiana, BS Psychology / Pre-Med (Chemistry minor)

Where was the last place you worked before enrolling in business school? The Decarceration Collective – Project Manager

Where did you intern during the summer of 2019? I was a Customer Success Intern at Autodesk in San Francisco, CA. We extended the internship to run through my last year of business school. I’ll have the opportunity to work on more projects and potentially help with onboarding a new intern for summer 2020.

Where will you be working after graduation? Undecided

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School:

  • Krannert HR Graduate Case Competition – 1st place team award, individual “Best Q + A” award
  • 2019 PowerShift Case Competition – Second place (First round)
  • 2019 National Black MBA Association Case Competition – Finalist
  • Purdue SHRM (Society for Human Resource Management) – President
  • Krannert Out – VP Finance
  • Men As Allies – Co-Chair
  • Krannert Graduate Society of Black Managers – Social Committee Chair
  • Academic Honors
  • Purdue Foundry – Graduate Assistant
  • Purdue Krannert Grade Appeal Committee

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? Winning the Krannert HR Graduate Case Competition against schools from all around the country my first semester was a huge confidence builder. It solidified my drive to re-brand myself as an HR professional and confirmed that returning to school was the right decision. Winning both an individual award and a team award was the highlight of my semester and motivated me to seek out additional case competitions.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? My second consulting project was a 9-month assignment at a manufacturing facility in The Netherlands. Not only was I new to the industry, but I was also new to international travel, with only one stamp on my passport at the time. I was out of my comfort zone in every possible way. Despite challenges overcoming language barriers and cultural differences, the project successfully accomplished more than the contractual guarantee, which led to a glowing evaluation from my Chief of Operations. My clients made me feel welcome and appreciated and they hosted a going-away party for me on my last day. After this project, I believed in myself more than ever.

Who was your favorite MBA professor? Cara Putman taught Employment Law the second semester of my first year. She’s an engaging lecturer who teaches in a way that made me look forward to class every day. In addition, she’s personally invested in her students’ success. She continued to support me even after the class ended by writing recommendations, offering career advice, and supporting my academic curiosity. For example, her Business Ethics class conflicted with another class I needed, so she gave me one-on-one guidance on frameworks and reading material so that I would still have access to the knowledge. I appreciate her commitment to her students and admire her accomplishments.

What was your favorite MBA event or tradition at your business school? Claudine Meilink in the Krannert Professional Development Center (KPDC) organizes city treks to San Francisco every December, where we visit different companies and network with alumni. Most of the expenses are covered for students, which gives us access that would be practically impossible for a typical student on their own. This positive experience influenced me to accept an internship in San Francisco, which I hadn’t even considered in the past.

In addition to that, we get two consecutive weeks off for spring break. Krannert has a large international student body, representing at least 20 countries. With the extra week, everyone has more opportunities to join other city treks, explore the US on their own, travel to visit friends or family, study abroad, or even do short term internships. This shows Krannert’s commitment to global opportunities both in the classroom and in life experience.

Why did you choose this business school? Michelle Hadley and Scott Nelson found me at a grad school fair, then invited me to visit campus several times. On each visit, they made me feel so welcome and valued, it was an easy decision to choose Purdue. My career coach, Wendy Dukes, also gave me honest and direct feedback to help me decide.

In addition to the warm fuzzies from the staff and students, Purdue also has a lot of resources that excited me. The Foundry supports business startups, the Recreational Sports Center offers swimming lessons and rock climbing on campus, and the business school provides free tutoring for any core class. I felt like I’d be supported in accomplishing both my academic and personal goals, and I was correct!

What is your best advice to an applicant hoping to get into your school’s MBA program? Come visit campus and connect with at least one student and one recruiter. The recruiters are your best resource throughout the application process. Most students are also happy to share their experiences and answer questions you may not feel comfortable asking faculty or staff. If you can’t come to campus, reach out on LinkedIn. Krannert staff and students are among the most approachable and helpful groups of people I’ve ever met.

What is the biggest myth about your school? Although Krannert may be perceived as “Quant Heavy” or “Left-Brained” – which can be intimidating for some students – there are many opportunities to showcase “right-brain” skills as well. Two of my closest friends in the program, Michael Rouse and Alex Alan, are great examples. Michael joined an improv comedy group, The Crazy Monkeys, which he leveraged on case competition teams with his quick thinking and creative solutions to problems. Alex developed branding for the Krannert Student Government Association as the VP of Marketing and created publications that rival what you’d expect to see from industry leaders. Creativity and self-expression are valued here just as much as crunching numbers.

Looking back over your MBA experience, what is the one thing you’d do differently and why? I would have prioritized health and fitness from the beginning. I believe that leaders should show that you don’t have to choose between health and career, but that a healthy body equips you to be more productive in all areas of your life. One of my biggest goals for this time in my life was to train for a triathlon, and I’m still not quite there. I should have protected time on my calendar to exercise and cook at home from the beginning. The triathlon is still on the horizon, it just may take a little longer than I expected.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? Jonathan Santeliz is one of the most interesting and admirable people I’ve ever met. I never imagined that I’d know someone who had experience with organic farming in France, Peace Corps in Morocco, advocating for diversity in the federal workforce in Washington DC, among others. He always has insightful contributions to class and he invited me to collaborate with him on launching Men as Allies at Krannert. He also shares resources about different ways to get involved and experience all of Purdue, not just Krannert business school. He’s been consistently supportive and motivating and I appreciate the way his life choices make his values evident to anyone who meets him.

Who most influenced your decision to pursue business in college? My brother, Dr. Kwame Foucher, most influenced my educational decisions. I went to a Historically Black College/University (HBCU) for undergrad because he did. When he went to business school, I knew that I would also go one day. He shared stories about his classes and different considerations in business, which helped me in my career and ultimately led to my enrollment at Krannert.

What are the top two items on your professional bucket list?

1) In my experience, too many Americans feel like they are not valued at work. I’d like to write a book that will empower American employees to understand their rights and love their jobs.

2) Because there is currently a lack of representation of women, particularly Black women, within the ranks of board membership, I aspire to gain a position on several socially responsible, global companies that align with my values and lifestyle.

In one sentence, how would you like your peers to remember you? I’m honored that people tell me they value my ethical compass and compassionate ability to evaluate situations from various perspectives.

Hobbies? I love escape rooms, studying Spanish (particularly Latin Pop music), travel, endurance sports, hiking, meditation, walking, comedy, and self-care. Like most people, I love spending quality time with close friends and family, which led me to create a tradition of cooking home-made meals for many of my classmates.

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

“From the first day of MBA orientation, Chanda stood out among her peers as an individual who is dedicated to self-improvement and excellence for everyone. She did not come to business school simply to obtain a degree. She came to Purdue University’s Krannert School of Management for the full experience and ensured her peers did as well.

For the last two years, Chanda set a tone for advocacy amongst her peers – not just advocating for others but also advocating for yourself. From inclusion to self-care, Chanda sets the bar high. She is VP of Finance of Krannert OUT, Krannert’s LGBTQ+ club, and also partnered with another student from her cohort to start a Men As Allies chapter on campus. She also promotes self-care and many of her cohort will agree that Chanda was the impetus for them to be more aware of their health – both physical and mental. Chanda took the time to invite peers over to cook a healthy dinner from her latest subscription box and to get to know them on a more personal level.

One of the things I admire most about Chanda is her commitment to her values and goals. Chanda could have secured any number of internships, yet, she chose not to interview with companies that did not align with her personal values, holding out for months until she found an internship that met her criteria with a company she could be proud to work for in the future. This paid off tremendously as she had a fantastic experience in San Francisco, a city she came to love and will soon call home.”

Claudine Meilink
Krannert Professional Development Center
Interim Director; Associate Director, Corporate Outreach


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