Meet Yale SOM’s MBA Class Of 2023

Choosing a business school is a deeply personal decision. Many times, that decision is intertwined with a purpose. It can be a call to action to sacrifice and serve, an urge to turn scarcity into surplus or a monopoly into a community. Whether they seek access or accountability, the mission-driven are committed to a life on the frontlines.

Looking back, they can always say, ‘I did something…and what I did mattered.’

MBAs candidates may explore brands, but they ultimately choose communities. That’s the difference at the Yale School of Management. The program has adopted a non-traditional approach — cross-curricular, globally-minded, purpose-oriented — all backed by the resources of one of the world’s most respected educational institutions. Think of Yale SOM as the intersection of a liberal arts sensibility and a practical business foundation. More than that, MBAs can tap into alumni network of difference-makers — 10,000 SOM and 130,000 school-wide — who share their passion for change.


That includes Caitlin Piccirillo-Stosser, a University of Chicago alum who last served as a senior financial analyst at Home DepotPro. “For me, the biggest draw of Yale SOM was its mission: to educate leaders for business and society,” she explains. I thought that this was a unique mission compared to those of most other business schools—how the school puts the improvement of the whole of society at the forefront. Furthermore, every SOM student I spoke to during my admissions process seemed to embody that mission and truly think about how their actions and their goals would impact society.”

What is Piccirillo-Stosser’s mission? Growing up in public schools, she plans to enhance educational quality by tackling “resource scarcity and misallocation.” Her Yale SOM experience, she says, is a big part of her plan of attack.

“My MBA… will empower me to gain valuable business knowledge and skills that I can apply within the education space, thinking about how to confront challenges surrounding resources and tools for students and teachers alike. I am already starting to build an extensive network here at Yale, which will help me break into the education sector, and I know that I have so much to learn from my peers, from alumni, and from the brilliant faculty here. Further, I am excited to take advantage of The Broad Center at Yale SOM and all the resources it has to offer related to education and leadership.”

Evans Hall. Credit: Harold Shapiro


349 student…with 349 different missions, covering seemingly every issue or industry. Colin Custer, for one, cites how the Earth will be home to 11 billion people by 2100. Their demands, coupled with climate change and economic uncertainty, makes feeding them a dicey proposition. As a result, he comes to Yale SOM looking to find more sustainable solutions than traditional agriculture. In contrast, Luke Demas immersed himself in healthcare, first as an undergrad at Harvard and later working for McKinsey, the Clinton Health Access Initiative, and The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB, and Malaria. After working on the project management and finance sides of healthcare, Demas hopes to enhance delivery using a robust business toolkit.

“I witnessed situations where simple, data-backed, sustainable solutions had outsized impacts on health care delivery, and I believe many such opportunities remain. At Yale SOM, I hope to gain the perspective necessary to connect these pieces further, expand my knowledge of other components of the healthcare delivery pipeline (e.g., venture capital funding of innovative new ideas), and learn from my colleagues to better support and catalyze the resourcing, development, and implementation of such ideas.”

Roshni Walia has seen leadership gaps up close in consulting, entrepreneurship, and executive coaching. For her, the future is grounded in becoming the leader she wants to inspire in others. “In an increasingly VUCA (volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity) world, we need more leaders who can traverse multidisciplinary issues; who can show up as their whole and vulnerable selves; who can change priorities as and when needed; and who can truly understand what it means to be values-driven.,” she writes. “I want to be this kind of leader, and I want to help others to be this kind of leader. I love Yale’s approach of helping students understand the perspective of multiple stakeholders in its academic curriculum—a key skill needed for wholehearted leadership and for achieving potential.”

You could describe Walia as a bit of a wunderkind. After all, she became an accredited executive coach before she even turned 30. Indeed, you’ll find Yale SOM attracted students from all walks of life to New Haven. Take Brandon Jones. Before business school, he served as a flight commander and UH-1N instructor pilot in the U.S. Air Force. In class, you’ll probably find him seated near Renato Carregha. His claim to fame? He founded Mexico’s first cryptocurrency investment fund. A side hustle at first, Carregha grew his venture to 137 clients and $5 million dollars assets under management. Now, he intends a different mission after earning his MBA.

“I want to disrupt the field of entrepreneurship in Latin America and support the creation of world-class startups from the region.”

Evans Hall. Credit: Harold Shapiro


Yes, the Class of 2023 may bond over a shared purpose to more equitably share resources. That said, they’ll also discover another unifying force over signature dishes at Pepe’s. Just ask the alumni.

“SOM is in the home (New Haven) of the best pizza in the U.S.,” asserts Julia Frederick, a 2021 grad. “I will confirm that the pizza is delicious!”

In all seriousness, the Class of 2023 brings some serious bona fides to Evans Hall. Exhibit A: Achal Shah. When he took over an AI team at Amazon, his Alexa AI technology was only operational in the United States. A year later, he had expanded it to 8 languages across 14 international markets! Colin Custer achieved equally impressive results at the One Acre Fund, where he headed operations in Uganda. In 2019, the program was “on the brink of closure,” he says. Morale had hit “rock bottom” due to rampant corruption and revenues reduced by 50%. In response, Custer made some hard decisions that produced results worth of a Yale case study.

“Within three months, we’d turned performance around enough to avoid closure,” he says. “The following year, we not only exceeded our own internal targets, but had some of the best results of any of One Acre Fund’s seven country programs. By the time I left to attend Yale, we’d trained and promoted several Ugandan staff to senior leadership positions previously only held by foreign-educated staff, recorded the lowest fraud ever in Uganda’s program history and, most important, helped a record number of Ugandan farmers grow more food for their families.”


Two years ago, Luke Demas also endured a shock when he moved to Malawi. Working with the country’s Ministry of Health to combat HIV, he was quickly swept up in a new threat: COVID-19. Worse yet, he was relying on support from countries that were themselves “scrambling” for resources like medicines and clinical devices to fight this new threat.

“I had to balance theoretically correct “answers” with realities on the ground. In a country with few trained anesthesiologists, for instance, increasing the number of ICU beds or ventilators was largely infeasible. Despite many frustrating moments, my ministry colleagues and I articulated the needs of the country and coordinated with aid organization to bring the needed products into Malawi. While there are still many challenges to overcome given the uncertain future of the pandemic, especially in sub-Saharan Africa, I am proud to have supported the country during such an uncertain time.”

Helping people overcome uncertainty — distress, even — became Edward Wang’s calling. In Beijing, he launched a “mutual-help” organization four years ago called the Speaker & Listener Club. Catering to people with depression, the club connects people with “similar emotional experiences” through events in their cities. The club was an outgrowth of an effort he started as student in Amsterdam to help peers share their feelings.

“When I moved to Beijing for a job, I set up The Speaker & Listener Club and started to operate it after work,” Wang writes. “In each activity, participants gathered and shared different life stories with each other. As of 2020, we have hosted over 50 club activities and invited philosophers, street singers, cancer patients, and professional travelers to voluntarily share their experiences. We have built partnerships with national psychology organizations, local anti-suicide volunteering programs, and local mutual support groups for depression, trying to help as many people as we can. In the future, we will continue to encourage lives, change lives, and save lives.”

Yale SOM MBAs meeting in the new normal


And what does Wang do to treat himself. Well, let’s just say he isn’t afraid to take a leap of faith. “I fixed my acrophobia with a 17,500-foot skydive,” he writes.

Think that’s a great story? Wait until you hear from Morgan Yucel — who describes herself as a “potent combination of Boston brash, SoCal whimsy, and Vermont socialism.”

“I once punched a kangaroo—but it was in self-defense,” she jokes.

The rest of the class? Well, Roshni Walia had already read 125 books in the first six months of 2021. Caitlin Piccirillo-Stosser spent a decade as a competitive Irish step dancer growing up. Renato Carregha collects framed insects in his spare time, while Luke Demas started his own maize farm in Africa. And let’s just say Malcolm Davis owns a long memory.

“I started a loan company in elementary school; my dad (my only customer) still owes me money (I still have the signed contract),” claims the Disney senior finance analyst.

Next Page: Class Profile and Interview with Assistant Dean

Page 3: 12 Profiles of Yale SOM MBA Candidates

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