2022 Best & Brightest MBA: Hensley Sejour, Carnegie Mellon (Tepper)

Hensley Sejour

Carnegie Mellon University, Tepper School of Business

“Humble and empathic life-long learner that loves the details.”

Hometown: Spring Valley, NY

Fun fact about yourself: I started playing Ultimate Frisbee© in graduate school and have coached College Women’s and Semi-pro Men’s teams while in business school.

Undergraduate School and Degree:

Lafayette College, BS Chemical Engineering

Georgia Tech, PhD Chemical Engineering

Where was the last place you worked before enrolling in business school? BP, Senior Process & Process Safety Engineer

Where did you intern during the summer of 2021? Apple, Remote (Cupertino based)

Where will you be working after graduation? Amazon, Senior Product Manager – Technical

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School:

Consortium Fellow
President, Design & Business Club
VP of Strategy, African Business Collective
VP of Corporate and Alumni Relations, Data Analytics Club
Student and Administration Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Roundtable

Accelerate Leadership Center Communications Coach

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? Winning the 2020 Kellogg Design Challenge (KDC) was a top highlight of business school. The multi-week case competition allowed me to work with designers from outside the business school and classmates with very diverse backgrounds. As someone with a strong interest in design and product development, I enjoyed the workshops offered through the competition and the direct implementation of the concepts.  It provided a very early view of the product development process and is the main reason I chose to pursue product management at Amazon. Winning is always nice too!

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? As an engineer in the oil and gas industry, I was fortunate enough to have responsibility for highly visible and important production units. One such unit was a main bottleneck to a refinery in Toledo. I was able to implement operation improvements that later became very valuable to the company. New environmental regulations led to a new $250 million project. Based on the successful improvements I had made, I was named the lead engineer for the project. Throughout the course of the project and due to the improvements I oversaw, I discovered that the new specifications could be achieved with small changes and the project could be cancelled. It required very detailed analysis that had to be carefully communicated at the executive level for the recommendation to be accepted. Not only did I learn how to distill complex technical information, but I made a significant impact on the bottom line of the company. Based on my recommendation, the money was saved and reallocated to very important renewable fuels efforts at BP.

Why did you choose this business school? As an engineer, I was naturally drawn to the analytical reputation of the Tepper program. I felt I could strive in that environment and could easily relate. Ultimately, what led me to choose Tepper was the Accelerate Leadership Center (ALC). Amongst the schools I was considering, it was a unique approach to leadership development. I liked that it was a core requirement for graduation and that they offered dedicated leadership coaches throughout the course of the program.

Who was your favorite MBA professor? My favorite professor was Sunkee Lee who taught our Corporate Strategy Course. Although it was Professor Lee’s first time teaching the course, the effort he put into the class was more than evident. He was vibrant and down-to-earth. He led dynamic class discussions and brought in great speakers. The most memorable moments were the anecdotes from his own life that brought humor to the class and drove home whichever topic we were discussing at the moment.

Looking back over your MBA experience, what is the one thing you’d do differently and why? Tepper has a strong and vibrant entrepreneurial community that I wish I had tapped into more. I don’t consider myself one, but I’ve witnessed the success of classmates and alumni who thought the same but went on to be very successful entrepreneurs. As someone who constantly has ideas for ways to improve our daily lives, I should have tried one or two of them out through CMU’s Schwartz Center.

What is one thing you did during the application process that gave you an edge at the school you chose? Contacting current students and meeting them in person was the key to choosing Tepper. The students were very welcoming and when I visited campus, they took time out to have candid conversations about their experiences. In that one visit, I learned more about the program than I would have read online. One student even took time out to review my essays. Without those interactions, I wouldn’t have chosen Tepper, nor would I have had insights on how to properly craft my essays.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? The MBA classmate I admire the most is Katterin White Salazar. Katterin was one of the first classmates I met in person in the time of COVID. I admire Katterin because she always has a positive, practical, and fun outlook. Katterin always made an effort to not let us become Covid hermits. She constantly checked in with our friend group and offered Covid-friendly social activities to stay connected. Most importantly, when I was taking school way too seriously, she was always there to bring me back down to earth.

Who most influenced your decision to pursue business in college? My mentor Dotch Phillips was very influential in my decision to pursue my MBA. Dotch took me under his wing after I lead a chapter of BP’s African American affinity group, BPAAN. I learned early lessons on being a strong leader from our time in BPAAN. He implored the importance of learning the core business and displaying confidence. He credited his development in those areas to his pursuit of his own MBA. As a Consortium Fellow, himself, he helped guide me through the process and evaluate the programs I was considering.

What are the top two items on your professional bucket list? I would love to live aboard on an international assignment. Throughout my career, I’ve had opportunities to travel for meetings and conferences, but the trips were never long enough. I enjoy being fully immersed in any city I visit so living abroad for an extended period would be a welcomed experience. The other would be to serve on a corporate board. During my time at Tepper, I’ve learned a bit more about the role of corporate board members and the impact they have in decision making. I want to play a strong role in driving the future of a corporation.

How has the pandemic changed your view of a career? As most have learned throughout this pandemic, I’ve learned to put work in proper perspective. As our lives were upended, how and why we work had a reckoning. I’ve learned to place less emphasis on my career as a definition of who I am. I now view a career as a way to make an impact on the world and meet amazing people along the way.

What made Hensley such an invaluable addition to the Class of 2022?

“Hensley is dedicated not only to his own learning, but to the development and growth of his fellow students in a pronounced way. He works as a Communication Coach with the Accelerate Leadership Center and an apt summary of the feedback he receives in that role – where he works with other Tepper Masters students – is that he is thoughtful, patient, and generous. He is a strong guide, allowing others to arrive at their learnings in their own time. He is also endlessly curious, having participated in a variety of programs and initiatives offered by Accelerate, on topics ranging from design thinking to literature and lots of places in between.”

Laura Maxwell
Leadership Coach in the Accelerate Leadership Center

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