University of Michigan, Ross School of Business
“A Black first-generation Eritrean American woman who is committed to improving economic and educational equity.”
Hometown: Memphis, TN
Fun Fact About Yourself: I have traveled to four countries in Africa (Eritrea, Sudan, South Africa, and Morocco) and have a goal to visit all 54!
Undergraduate School and Major: The Ohio State University (Finance)
Most Recent Employer and Job Title: KIPP Memphis, Financial Literacy Instructor
What word best describes the Michigan Ross students and alumni you’ve met so far and why? Supportive – In the MBA search process, finding a community that embodied the motto “Lifting as we climb” was important to me. I have yet to meet a Rosser who has been unwilling to chat and share their experiences. The students and alumni were encouraging and motivating throughout the application and GRE/GMAT testing process.
Aside from your classmates, what was the key part of Michigan Ross’s MBA programming that led you to choose this business school and why was it so important to you? I found the Consortium network and program at Ross to be really impressive and contributed to a large degree in my decision-making. As one of the largest Consortium classes, the CGSM community at Ross is surprisingly tight-knit, and everyone attempts to pay it forward in their own way.
What course, club, or activity excites you the most at Michigan Ross (and why)?
The many-run student funds, especially the Social Venture Fund and the Zell Lurie Commercialization Fund. I learn best by doing and the student-run funds are the best way to apply the theoretical concepts we have learned. Also, I have a keen interest in entrepreneurship and venture capital within financial literacy and edtech and the funds are the best way to learn how to communicate with founders and VC firms in a way that resonates.
When you think of Michigan Ross, what is the first word that comes to mind? Why? Innovation. I recently learned that Ann Arbor, where Michigan Ross is located, is the most educated and smartest city in America. With so many people gathering from different backgrounds and areas of expertise at Ross and across the university, there are many opportunities to cross paths with people and create/do something impactful in different fields.
Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: My biggest accomplishment would be when I was a first-year math teacher at a turn-around elementary school and exceeded the goal for the number of students to perform at the proficient and advanced level on the end-of-year state math test. I describe this as my biggest accomplishment because the journey to that goal included many challenges: from about 20% of my students being non-English speaking to keeping 30 8-year old students engaged and focused for 90 minutes. The journey also included many moments of reaffirmation, like when students developed a genuine joy for learning and would sit with me during recess and after school asking for more math problems.
How did COVID-19 change your perspective on your career and your life in general? I taught virtually for a year-and-a-half during the pandemic. While it was difficult and there were plenty of reasons to be frustrated, I saw it as an opportunity to be creative and scrappy with the resources I did have. Also, I quickly learned the value and importance of setting boundaries with my time (started listening to Cal Newport) and prioritizing what I had to complete versus what would be nice to complete. In terms of my life in general, I developed an overall appreciation for slowing down and the outdoors as a great way to reset mentally and physically.
What led you to pursue an MBA at this point and what do you hope to do after graduation? I love being intellectually challenged and have a joy for education, which makes sense why I taught in the classroom for four years! For the past two years, I was teaching personal finance and business and enjoyed creating content on topics like tax and investing for students who look like me. While I have a passion for financial inclusion, I also felt I had so much more to learn. I was eager to pursue a full-time MBA program because I wanted to immerse myself in an environment and learn from faculty and peers who are shaping the future of business and the financial services industry.
After graduation, I hope to work in consulting as I believe it is the best place for a career switcher like myself to develop professionally while continuously solving problems and being intellectually stimulated.
What other MBA programs did you apply to? Tuck, Sloan, HBS, Wharton, Scheller, McCombs, and Haas
What advice would you give to help potential applicants gain admission into Michigan Ross’s MBA program? Do not go at all alone – there are tons of communities out there, and it is an amazing feeling when you have a support system of people going through a similar experience. Pre-MBA programs I was a part of included Forte MBALaunch and Admit.me, where I found a community of people to vent, strategize, and celebrate with as we got accepted into our respective programs!
DON’T MISS: MEET MICHIGAN ROSS’ MBA CLASS OF 2023 or MEET THE MBA CLASS OF 2023: PACESETTERS WITH A PURPOSE
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