Favorite Companies Of The MBA Class of 2022

“A company I admire is Google because of its strong commitment to its values. These values are most evident in the sacrifices Google makes. The company renounced lucrative AI contracts with the U.S. Department of Defense to improve weapons because leadership believed it clashed with its stated goal of using AI for societal benefit. Similarly, Google retracted its potential re-entry into the Chinese market out of censorship concerns, which may have undermined its goal of promoting free speech and freedom around the world generally. As future business leaders, business students should realize that, even if such decisions have real consequences on a company’s bottom line, they should remain true to and uncompromising of their values.”
Joseph Mourad. Wharton School

“In the home furnishings industry there are many inspiring, innovative and creative small companies that are changing how we buy furniture and home decor. Williams-Sonoma, Inc., however, is one large, well-known, and long-standing company that is exemplifying how and why I want to change my industry. Led by a powerhouse female CEO and run by a majority female executive suite, Williams-Sonoma not only advocates for more female leadership but also affects positive and sustainable influence and change on a local level. Everyone can learn from this company for its multi-level, from-the-ground-up, diversity-driven mentality. This company’s leadership understands and reflects its consumer demographic and is at the top of the industry because of it.
Evanne Timberlake, University of North Carolina (Kenan-Flagler)

“One of my favorite companies is Procter and Gamble. P&G is a classic consumer goods company which has been around for almost 200 years. Today, it owns many of the brands everyone uses on a daily basis. One thing business students can learn from P&G is the ability to make changes when necessary, no matter how big or small. Less than a decade ago, P&G decided to drop or sell over half of their brands and concentrate resources on the ones that drove the large majority of their profits. Some businesses may be hesitant to reduce the variety of their product selection due to the concern of losing market share or potential sunk costs of investments already made. However, most business professionals have the ability to realize when a change needs to be made, but it takes discipline and decisiveness to actually implement that change at the right time.”
Shreedhar Patel, Indiana University (Kelley)

“This is a tough one, but I’m going to say Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream. The two founders, Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield, demonstrate how businesses can be socially conscious and make a profit. The company supports numerous social justice causes, such as same-sex marriage and BLM, while making bomb original ice cream flavors. They also use their marketing platform as a popular ice cream brand to provide commentary on current issues. The company was also one of the first to oppose use of Recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone in cows due to its negative impact on family farming. They have also used their packaging to support the family farm organization, Farm Aid. The company even created the Ben & Jerry’s Foundation, which encourages their employees to give back to their communities and offers grants for social justice programs. From them, I think business students can learn how to have a sense of humor, run a successful business and support important social causes.”
Payal Saini, HEC Paris

Jordan Budisantoso, UCLA (Anderson)

“Though not necessarily a “favorite company,” a company I’ve admired (as both a teacher and user) is Remind, a school and teacher platform that allows educators to communicate with students and parents. I remember reading years ago that every Remind employee (from the interns to the engineers to the co-founders) conducts live customer support calls with teachers for one hour every week. I’m not sure if they still do this, but employees would wear a blue cape in order to inform their coworkers that they were busy conversing with actual teachers and shouldn’t be interrupted. And while many companies preach customer obsession, too often people just acknowledge this wisdom as important without actually putting that advice into action.”
Jordan Budisantoso, UCLA (Anderson)

Dyson is a company that I truly admire. Its obsessive focus on design, experience, and innovation is the core of its success. Very few companies are willing to take a risk on spending millions of dollars reimagining and reinventing common house items in such mature markets. Dyson has managed to turn boring chores into exciting experiences and gotten people to actually enjoy vacuuming. What we could all learn from Dyson is not just to aim to create products that work, but to craft gratifying experiences for the humans using these products.”
Lucy Yiran Liu, INSEAD

“Being a person who loves outdoor activities and has hiked 23 National Parks, REI has been a big favorite of mine for a long time. Their original Co-Op business model was innovative and helped support those who pursued outdoor activities on a budget. Now, their outdoor programming and knowledgeable staff have built each store into a community of sharing stories, techniques, and ideas. The impact REI has had on the outdoor equipment industry is profound as they have worked to educate and bring together a new generation of explorers.

In an age of social media, REI continues to expand in-person social gatherings around a common interest. I believe my fellow business school students should look at the model REI has championed and contemplate its impact. Brands, whether in the tech or consumer space, can have a ripple effect beyond their products. With the right marketing and engagement, brands can help customers bond and expand their life’s vision.”
Jim Fiene, Duke University (Fuqua)

“It’s difficult to pick a favorite company, but one for which I feel genuine affection at the moment is Penzeys Spices; their promotional e-mails always get me thinking about the value of authenticity. Of course, authenticity is important if you’re shopping for spices, but I’m delighted by the way it seems to permeate their marketing strategy. When their e-mails talk about current events, I always feel as though the message is coming from a fellow human being rather than from “a brand.” I also enjoy that they’re completely transparent about the economics of their promotions—if they send you an e-mail telling you that vanilla extract is 50% off this week, they’ll explain that they’re losing money on vanilla extract and ask you to please order something else as well. I enjoy the weekly reminder of the value of honesty and a simple ‘please’.”
Anna Lincoln-Barnes, Yale SOM

“While it is hard to pick, I find Apple to be very unique. From the outside, I find it very independent in its decision-making without caring much about what its competitors are doing. It seems like they don’t care much about the general practices (in the market) and focus solely on their goals without any compromise. This focus and precision can very well be seen in their unique and unconventional designs. They are all about being different and are able to attract customers from all over the world with the least bit of marketing. To me, it is a broad example of being bold, believing in your own ideas, and accomplishing them so well (even if it is not conventional) that it earns appreciation and success without having to chase too hard. It’s also the key to being unique, and I think this is something that business students can learn from the success of Apple.”
Megha Reddy Yeruva, Washington University (Olin)

Mafalda Oom Torres, IESE Business School

“At the moment, McKinsey & Company is definitely the firm with which I identify the most. At McKinsey, we have the opportunity to face complex problems that required robust and insightful analysis along with creative solutions, in a highly challenging environment with teams and engagements across the globe. At McKinsey, we gain a new family. The internal team together with the client side work towards a common goal always upholding both organizations’ core values.”
Mafalda Oom Torres, IESE Business School

“My favorite company is Nike, which demonstrates the importance of staying true to your brand purpose and messaging. Nike has made, what some may call controversial business decisions. However, these decisions not only solidified their purpose of equalizing the playing field for all, but also amplified their messaging of uniting the world through sport. As this relates to business students, when you first begin your career, the advice you’re given is to develop your brand – who you are and how you present yourself to the world. Each decision you make affects your brand. If your core values or goal in life is part of your brand, then it’s best to double down on those and ensure each action you’re taking is aligned with your values and goals. You’ll see that it’s always best to stay true to yourself.”
Alexia Sabogal, University of Michigan (Ross)

“I think Starbucks is a pretty neat company. They do an excellent job of investing in professional and personal development for all of their employees – from the corporate leaders down to the baristas at your local shop. I admire companies who invest in their people, and am a big believer that this pays a lot of dividends for the individuals and the companies themselves.”
Gonzalo Roque, Northwestern University (Kellogg)

“One of my favorite companies is Pixar, the maker of movies like Toy Story, Finding Nemo, Inside Out, and Coco (just to name just a few of the magical movies they’ve created). It is a highly innovative company looking for creative solutions to their problems, which we can all aspire to do. Unlike some other Hollywood companies, they have peer-to peer reviews for constructive feedback so the team members can learn from one another. Additionally, they create movies that take you on a whirlwind of emotions, where the characters go through losses, transformations, and gains. They find a delicate balance of tragedy mixed with hope and positivity. For business students, it is a good reminder that MBA is one component of our journey and that even if we run into adversity, there will be moments of sheer happiness and joy.”
Shivani Handa, Indiana University (Kelley)

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