Meet the MBA Class of 2022: Sabrina Jean-Baptiste, Wharton School

Sabrina Jean-Baptiste

Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania

“Queer, first-generation daughter of Haitian immigrants. Hard-working, resilient, and determined. Kind and supportive friend.”

Hometown: Bridgeport, Connecticut

Fun Fact About Yourself: I studied French and Hindi during high school and undergrad and spent two summers in college working at non-profits based in India and Mauritius.

Undergraduate School and Major: Yale University, Psychology

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Goldman Sachs, Industrials Investment Banking

Aside from your classmates, what was the key part of the school’s MBA programming that led you to choose this business school and why was it so important to you? Although I was initially drawn to Wharton for its renowned finance curriculum, what I found most compelling was the versatility of the opportunities offered in and out of the classroom. Wharton has so much to offer that I felt that there wasn’t a single area I was interested in that I wouldn’t be able to explore during my time here.

What quality best describes your MBA classmates and why? My classmates are exceptionally talented, driven, and successful, but what struck me the most about them is how kind, supportive, and authentic they are. People are constantly going above and beyond to help and support one another as we begin the next two years of our journey of personal and professional growth. Building a strong sense of community in a predominately virtual environment is no easy feat, but I’m inspired by how intentional and driven my peers have been in doing just that.

What club or activity excites you most at this school? I’m really excited to join Out for Business at Wharton and fulfill my role as a Reaching Out MBA fellow on campus. The strong and diverse LGBTQ+ community was one of the many factors that drew me to Wharton. I look forward to working with my peers to partner with and serve local queer non-profits in order to strengthen our ties with the queer community beyond the walls of Wharton.

What makes you most excited about getting your MBA at Wharton? What makes you most nervous about starting business school? What makes me most excited and nervous about beginning my MBA this year are one in the same. Although I was initially nervous about starting business school this year due to COVID-19, I couldn’t be more glad that I did. I believe that the Class of 2022 has an unprecedented opportunity to adapt and take a leadership role in shaping what the upcoming year and beyond will look like. Although this year will be challenging, I am confident that it will help us grow and develop as future leaders, who are fully equipped to take on difficult challenges and operate successfully in any environment.

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: At Goldman Sachs I had the opportunity to work in a wide range of roles across investment banking, credit rating advisory, risk management. I’m proud of the countless number of times I was able to work directly with the senior management teams of Fortune 100 companies across sectors to solve critical business and financial challenges.

What led you to pursue an MBA at this point in your career? I decided to pursue an MBA at this point in my career to take advantage of the opportunity for personal growth. Although it’s both possible and important to work on personal development while on the job, business school offers an unparalleled opportunity to focus on self-development full time. The opportunities to do so on a daily basis at Wharton are endless.

What other MBA programs did you apply to? Columbia Business School

What was the most challenging question you were asked during the admissions process? The most challenging question I was asked during the admissions process is a seemingly obvious one: ‘Why an MBA?’ Although applicants devote a considerable time to preparing for the GMAT, it’s just as important to devote time to self-reflection. Clarifying your goals and communicating them during the application process will not only help your application, it will help you start thinking about how you can shape your MBA journey from day one.

How did you determine your fit at various schools?  I determined which school would be the best fit for me by speaking to current students and alumni, going on campus visits, and attending diversity and recruiting events.

What was your defining moment and how did it prepare you for business school? My defining moment in life occurred during my junior year of high school when my family lost our home in a house fire. We also lost my wonderful seven-year-old nephew Kyle in that fire. It was the most difficult time of my life by far and the experience isn’t something I’d wish on anyone. The experience taught me that it was okay to be vulnerable and to lean on family and friends during difficult times. It also helped shaped me into who I am: someone who is resilient and can overcome even the hardest of circumstances.

What have you been doing since you were accepted to prepare for business school? Since getting accepted to Wharton, I’ve had the opportunity to participate in two organizations that have been instrumental in getting me prepared for business school: Management Leaders of Tomorrow (MLT) and Toigo. Through the MLT MBA Professional Development program, I was able to build my network, receive one-on-one coaching, and work on clarifying my career goals. As a Toigo Fellow, I had the opportunity to interact with professionals from all areas of finance and work on further building my quantitative skills pre-MBA.

What is your favorite company and what could business students learn from them? I’m inspired by all organizations that strive to empower underserved communities by enhancing financial literacy. While at Goldman, I had the opportunity to volunteer with FREE, a non-profit started by two Goldman employees to help break down barriers to economic opportunity by creating and offering personal finance classes. I hope that their work inspires business school students to devote time to serving their communities, regardless of the jobs they take after business school.


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