McCombs School of Business | Ms. Registered Nurse Entrepreneur
GMAT 630, GPA 3.59
Foster School of Business | Mr. Automotive Research Engineer
GRE 328, GPA 3.83
Harvard | Ms. Marketing Family Business
GMAT 750- first try so might retake for a higher score (aiming for 780), GPA Lower Second Class Honors (around 3.0)
Stanford GSB | Mr. Tech Startup Guy
GMAT 770, GPA 3.7
Chicago Booth | Ms. Nigerian Investment Banker
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Harvard | Ms. FMCG Enthusiast Seeking Second MBA
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Harvard | Mr. French In Japan
GMAT 720, GPA 14,3/20 (French Scale), (=Roughly 3.7/4.0)
Tuck | Mr. Army Consultant
GMAT 460, GPA 3.2
Columbia | Mr. Investment Banker Turned Startup Strategy
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Stanford GSB | Mr. Co-Founder & Analytics Manager
GMAT 750, GPA 7.4 out of 10.0 - 4th in Class
Tuck | Ms. BFA To MBA
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Wharton | Mr. Chemical Engineering Dad
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Wharton | Mr. Ignacio
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Harvard | Mr. Tech Start-Up
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Berkeley Haas | Ms. Psychology & Marketing
GMAT 700, GPA 68%
Georgetown McDonough | Mr. Mechanical Engineer & Blood Bank NGO
GMAT 480, GPA 2.3
Harvard | Mr. Investor & Operator (2+2)
GMAT 720, GPA 3.85
Stanford GSB | Mr. AC
GMAT 750, GPA 3.5
McCombs School of Business | Mr. Athlete-Engineer To Sales
GMAT 720, GPA 3.1
Wharton | Mr. Competition Lawyer
GMAT 720, GPA 4.0
Harvard | Mr. Pipeline Engineer To Consulting
GMAT 750, GPA 3.76
Tuck | Mr. Aspiring Management Consultant
GRE 331, GPA 3.36
Stanford GSB | Mr. Certain Engineering Financial Analyst
GMAT 700, GPA 2.52
Columbia | Mr. Electrical Engineering
GRE 326, GPA 7.7
Tepper | Ms. Coding Tech Leader
GMAT 680, GPA 2.9
Harvard | Ms. Big 4 M&A Manager
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Kellogg | Mr. Danish Raised, US Based
GMAT 710, GPA 10.6 out of 12

Black History Month: Impressions From Stanford MBA Students

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ORIEKOSE IDAH

P&Q: Why is Black History Month important to you, and why should it be important to MBA students of all races and backgrounds?

Oriekose Idah. Photo by Allison Felt

Idah: Black history is American history. Black history is inextricably linked with the forming, building, and changing of this country. Black History Month is a bright acknowledgement of that fact. In the U.S., it’s a time for people of all backgrounds to celebrate the life-changing work of Black leaders from the past. For me, I spend Black History Month in perpetual gratefulness for the sacrifices of those who came before me to enable the opportunities I have today. As the saying goes, I am my ancestors’ wildest dreams, and that fuels my responsibility to honor their sacrifices and pay it forward to uplift my community. Black History Month stands as a reminder for us all.

P&Q: What did Stanford GSB plan for Black History Month and what more would you like to see done in future years?

This year, the GSB community came together to celebrate Black History Month in a number of ways. The BBSA held community building events like Spades Night and Soul Food Cooking Night. The BBSA and Allies for Black Lives groups created the Black Experiences panel, where students shared personal stories of being Black at Stanford with classmates. The BBSA continued to push for positive change at the GSB in collaborating with the administration on the Action Plan for Racial Equity. Classmates shared resources on Black history. In future years, I would like to see continued collaboration on Black History Month celebration across the entire university.

P&Q: How can Stanford GSB and other schools appeal to Black MBA candidates more?

For two years, business school becomes your home and your classmates a kind of family. It’s important that Black MBA candidates, and all candidates, can picture the GSB and its surrounding community as a future home where they will feel welcomed, safe, and able to thrive.

MBA programs can increase the number of cases in both the core and elective curriculums that feature protagonists of color. Schools can increase Black and Brown members of staff and tenured faculty. Schools can provide comprehensive training for students, faculty, and staff around diversity, equity and inclusion. And importantly, schools can proudly proclaim their dedication to diversity alongside metrics to hold themselves accountable. All these tangible measures could go a long way in showing Black and Brown students that the GSB could be home.

Melanie Okuneye. Photo by Allison Felt

MELANIE OKUNEYE

P&Q: Why is Black History Month important to you, and why should it be important to MBA students of all races and backgrounds?

Okuneye: Black History Month is important to me for the following key reasons. Firstly, to celebrate the successes of black Americans in history that have allowed more recent Black immigrants to benefit from opportunities for black people, and to celebrate the successes of Black leaders today that have succeeded despite all odds.

Secondly, Black History Month encourages engagement in difficult discussions that highlight the range of issues that affect different groups within the Black community. It also highlights the diversity within this community related to gender, language and culture, socio-economic background, and sexual orientation.

Most importantly, as future leaders, it’s imperative to have reflected on ways in which communities are affected by historic events and therefore have a genuine view on what needs to be done to improve the situation of other races. Too often today’s leaders are uncomfortable discussing issues of race and do not have thought-out ways of making a positive impact on the Black community, especially descendents of slaves. It is important to have people of all races engage and gain perspectives on issues of race and identity to have a broader positive impact on the world around them. This is particularly true for those like myself that identify as Black in the US, but grew up between Nigeria and the UK (which celebrates Black History Month in October in a much different way). I’ve learned a lot about how I can have lasting impact on various Black communities in the US by listening to people share their experiences.

P&Q: What did Stanford GSB plan for Black History Month and what more would you like to see done in future years?

There were two ways in which we celebrated Black History Month at the GSB. The first was by fostering community and the second was by creating platforms in which people could engage in discussion.

The BBSA had a virtual Spades night, some BBSA hikes, and virtual brunches. One of the MBA1’s created a playlist that included early 2000s black artists too. The BBSA hosted panels where members could share their experiences of diversity and inclusion on campus or discuss case studies around Black history. This was incredibly impactful and allowed for members to educate others, share openly and honestly, and highlight the intersectionality within the black GSB community.

In future, I would love to see more engagement from more non-Black students who can truly show themselves as allies, and crossover events with other diversity groups where we can learn about each other’s cultures and history. I would like to see events which encourage self-improvement for members of the BBSA too. So many of the issues affecting the Black community are based in years of history and it is important to be intentional around creating a level playing field for us versus our peers to ensure that we can have the largest impact for our communities and future generations. Self-improvement topics could include financial literacy, personal branding and communication all within the context of Blackness.

P&Q: How can Stanford GSB and other schools appeal to Black MBA candidates more?

There are five ways in which business schools can appeal to black MBA candidates more: Increase admissions outreach to more cities and schools in the southern USA, where there are higher proportions of descendents of slavery, and seek to admit Black international students that are not just directly from Africa; Improve funding for Black students; Share stories of Black alumni that we can connect with and see ourselves as in future (this will improve as schools increase the number of Black students in each class); Increase visibility of a Black community at each business school that comes together and supports each other and Black prospective students to find resources that make them feel at home, such as Black hair stylists, barbers, restaurants or caterers; Have more Black faculty and incorporate diversity in cases, classes, and discussions, especially from an international perspective so that everyone is engaged in the conversation and can apply it to the regions in which they may live and work after school.

WES ADAMS

P&Q: Why is Black History Month important to you, and why should it be important to MBA students of all races and backgrounds?

Wes Adams

Adams: Black History Month is an inspiring reminder and celebration of the powerful legacy that we have a responsibility to carry forward. I feel lucky and privileged to be Black. This month is a chance to embrace our vibrant culture, beauty, and legacy of excellence and resilience in the face of so much adversity. Black History is American history, and its lessons remain relevant for all of us who value equity and prosperity. This past year has been a sobering reminder of how much work is left to be done. It troubles me that it takes extreme tragedy and loss of innocent lives for injustice and inequity to be recognized. However, It’s been inspiring to see both a renewed activism within the Black community and an entirely new wave of allyship from outside never before seen at this scale. This month is a reminder to everyone that we all have a role to play in supporting each other and creating a more equitable society.

Black History Month is also a source of energy and focus for my career. I am a beneficiary of the sacrifices made by courageous Black leaders before me. As a finance professional before the GSB, I witnessed and experienced the freedom that financial access and empowerment can unlock. I feel an existential responsibility to work fearlessly in service of communities that have been underserved by the financial system. Throughout my career, I hope to honor the heroes that made it possible for me to even be at the GSB. I, too, want to be measured by the opportunities I create for others.

P&Q: What did Stanford GSB plan for Black History Month and what more would you like to see done in future years?

The celebration of Black History Month has been a collective GSB community effort and experience. This year, we focused on storytelling. BBSA hosted a Black Experiences panel, during which an amazing group of Black GSBers shared their stories with over 125 of their classmates. I was really inspired by the courage they exhibited. They embodied the diversity of the Black experience as they described their unique upbringings, professional passions, and intersectional identities. BBSA hosted the event in partnership with the Allies for Black Lives group, which our classmates formed in 2020 to empower GSB students and alumni to advocate for racial equity.

We have also doubled down on supporting one another within the BBSA community this month. It has been an incredibly difficult year for all of us, especially within the Black community. Our members really stepped up to plan some fun events throughout the month, including Spades Night, golf clinics, and virtual small group dinners. We are also gearing up for our annual Stanford Black Business Conference on April 14, which will convene and celebrate innovative Black business leaders from across the globe.

In future years, we should engage more with the local community. It is easy to get caught up in the GSB and Silicon Valley bubbles, but we have a powerful opportunity and responsibility to support the community around us—whether it’s mentoring high school students, hosting professional development workshops, or supporting Black-owned small businesses. BBSA is planning a few community service initiatives for the spring quarter that we look forward to. We are in the process of transitioning leadership to a fantastic group of MBA1’s and can’t wait for the Class of 2022 to take Black History Month to the next level.

P&Q: How can Stanford GSB and other schools appeal to Black MBA candidates more?

At the core, I believe that Black MBA candidates want to feel welcomed and supported. They want to be a part of a diverse and inclusive community that embraces their authentic selves. All MBA programs across the country, including the GSB, urgently need to increase representation. This includes students, tenure-track faculty, lecturers, guest speakers, and university staff. I think that I’m in alignment with GSB leadership in stating that the GSB isn’t where it needs to be on that front. However, I’m encouraged by the direction we are headed together.

In light of the tragic murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and too many others, the BBSA community felt an urgent need to challenge and encourage the GSB to lead in this moment. In June, the BBSA presented a proposal of racial equity initiatives to the Dean and Senior Associate Deans of the GSB, ranging from financial aid reform, to DEI training, to strategies to increase Black representation. Many of the BBSA’s proposals were adopted in the GSB Action Plan for Racial Equity released last summer. I’m proud that the BBSA has built an active partnership with the GSB administration that has enhanced accountability and created a more robust feedback loop between GSB leadership and our community. The GSB recently awarded its first round of fellowships, which aim to address generational wealth gaps that disproportionately impact Black admits, especially those who were first-generation college students.

I believe that the effort here at the GSB and the broader racial equity movement we are experiencing in this country must be about results, not promises. I’m excited to see that the GSB is taking action. However, I believe that continued collaboration between the BBSA and GSB leadership team will be critical to ensuring that Stanford achieves its Action Plan’s objectives to increase racial equity both within and outside the GSB community.

DON’T MISS INSIDE STANFORD’S GROUNDBREAKING DIVERSITY & INCLUSION PLAN and AT STANFORD GSB, REFLECTIONS ON BLACK HISTORY

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