Meet the MBA Class of 2023: Mariama Diallo, Wharton School

Mariama Diallo

The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania

“I am a passionate, community-driven Guinean woman looking to disrupt traditional financial services in emerging markets.”

Hometown: Conakry Guinea with my adopted hometown in the US being Louisville KY

Fun Fact About Yourself: I have ten siblings and speak five languages.

Undergraduate School and Major: University of Louisville BS in Finance class of 2017

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Investment Banking Associate at Goldman Sachs’ Cross Markets Group

What word best describes the Wharton MBA students and alumni you’ve met so far and why? Committed is the word that comes to mind. That’s because every person I have spoken to is committed to helping me have a great experience at Wharton and ready to help in any capacities they can, whether it be helping figure out career moves or what to do in Philadelphia.

Aside from your classmates, what was the key part of the Wharton School’s MBA programming that led you to choose this business school and why was it so important to you? Finding a supportive community was very important to me. Pre-COVID, I used to attend the Wharton Africa Business Forum. I loved the fact that Wharton had a diverse student body and allowed them to promote not only the African continent as a viable business hub, but also to share the continent’s diverse cultures and values with other students on campus.

What course, club, or activity excites you the most at the Wharton School? I am looking forward to the taking the MGMT 806 course which is Venture Implementation. I would like to pursue an entrepreneurial venture post-business school, and that class helps you develop the tools to have a financing-ready venture by the end of your two years.

When you think of the Wharton School, what is the first word that comes to mind? Why? When I think of being at Wharton, the first word I think of is possibilities. I come from a country where education is a privilege, especially for women. Having the opportunity to get an MBA from Wharton in addition to my previous experience opens me to limitless possibilities.

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: I think it’s being able to pursue a career in banking at Goldman Sachs where people were always willing to mentor and guide you. My time at Goldman while nonetheless challenging, is my biggest accomplishment because we got to help clients navigate through the uncertainties of COVID.

How did COVID-19 change your perspective on your career and your life in general? COVID was the triggering event in pursuing an MBA. Because we were remote, I started spending a lot of time in West Africa and realized that I wanted to move back and that it was also possible to be efficient and productive while living in a different time zone as your team.

What led you to pursue an MBA at this point and what do you hope to do after graduation? Part of the reason for the MBA is that I want to rediscover myself and what I may want to do in the future. For now, all I know is that I want to disrupt traditional financial services in emerging markets and level the playing field for everyone to access fair banking systems.

What other MBA programs did you apply to? HBS and MIT

What advice would you give to help potential applicants gain admission into the Wharton School’s MBA program? Don’t self-disqualify yourself out of a program because you think you are not smart enough or do not have the right background.


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