2022 MBA To Watch: Alicia Davis, Columbia Business School

Alicia Davis

Columbia Business School

“Tenacious and authentic, while striving towards building a better world and connecting with others.”

Hometown: Queens, New York

Fun fact about yourself: My hairstyles are my favorite way to express myself. I love experimenting with colors and styles so much that it can sometimes be hard for people to recognize me from month to month

Undergraduate School and Degree: Georgetown University, School of Nursing and Health Sciences – B.S. International Health

Where was the last place you worked before enrolling in business school? Diversity Innovation Hub Program Manager, Mount Sinai Health System

Where did you intern during the summer of 2021? Kearney – DC Office

Where will you be working after graduation? McKinsey & Company – Generalist Consultant, DC

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School:

  • Co-President of Black Business Student Association
  • Peer Advisor Board Chair
  • VP-Marketing of Follies
  • VP-Allies of Cluster Q
  • Above & Beyond Award
  • Second Year Fellow
  • Leadership Fellow

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? I am most proud of my time as co-president of the Black Business Student Association (BBSA). After a year of school being hybrid and navigating the height of COVID conditions, there were many traditions that had been lost, as well as opportunity to reimagine BBSA in a way it hadn’t existed before. With our first-year class being comprised of the largest number of Black students ever in CBS’ history, I knew we had a unique opportunity to do something special. Being co-president of BBSA allowed me to push new and exciting initiatives, develop into a leader, and really bring BBSA to the forefront of the CBS experience for the entire student body. Our board has been able to achieve so much in a year and has stretched me to grow as a leader.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? I am most proud of my last role as Program Manager of the Diversity Innovation Hub at Mount Sinai. To me, that role was the culmination of all my past work experiences in health technology, public health, and diversity to make a significant impact. As such, I was able to build an incubator program for women, Black, and Latinx founders building digital health solutions for underserved communities in NY. I felt good about accepting the challenge to create something from scratch and navigate the possibilities, especially during the beginning phases of the pandemic.

Why did you choose this business school? When I was applying to business school, Columbia checked all my boxes except that I thought that I wanted to branch away from my hometown of New York. However, I realized that there is no better place to get your MBA than both New York and CBS. As someone with a myriad of passions, CBS was a place I could explore all my professional and personal interests uninhibitedly through programs in the school or opportunities in the city. CBS’s access to the highest levels of all industries and expansive network is unmatched.

Who was your favorite MBA professor? My favorite MBA professor is Stephen Meier who I’ve taken Strategy Formulation, Future of Work, and, currently, a Global Immersion class exploring the African Consumer in Ghana. From my first class with him during the core, Professor Meier has been one of the most accessible professors and I appreciate the breadth of his expertise across the different classes I’ve taken with him. He has always made the learning experience relaxed and meaningful at the same time.

Looking back over your MBA experience, what is the one thing you’d do differently and why? I truly dove head-first into everything CBS had to offer from leadership, networking, and resources. I have a lot of passions and really appreciated exploring those to the fullest. However, if I could go back, I would love to have seen what I could have accomplished if I had focused myself to go deeper on 1-2 of my passion areas rather than exploring the breadth of everything I wanted to have an impact on.

What is the biggest myth about your school? The biggest myth of my school is that it’s a “commuter school” and hard to get to know people. Even with people living in different neighborhoods and with social distance rules, you can’t stop CBS students from congregating and socializing with each other. From clusters to clubs, the community thrives and you’re never at a loss for an opportunity to be apart of it. There’s always so many things going on and so many new people to meet and I think most people have taken advantage of that.

What surprised you the most about business school? I’ve been surprised by how diverse people’s paths are here. I used to think business school alumni went straight to Wall Street but at CBS people are using their degrees to break into tech, art, education, sustainability and more. Business truly touches every facet of our society and the students at my school prove that.

What is one thing you did during the application process that gave you an edge at the school you chose? I think I proved myself as a community builder through my past involvement, essay, and interview presence. I wanted to establish that wherever I went to school, I was going to be invested in leaving it better than I found it. I think CBS really valued that quality in me and has continued to nurture that since I’ve been accepted.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? I admire Mo Kamaly, who it seems like I was destined to be lifelong friends with. He is my learning teammate and has served in leadership with me in Follies, our cluster board, and through the Peer Advisor program. I think Mo is exceptionally bright, humble, and kind. He consistently shows up for the CBS community and puts the needs of others before his own. He is truly loyal and always follows through on his commitments, and as such has had such a positive impact on so many people in our school

Who most influenced your decision to pursue business in college? One of best friends, Sonovia Wint, influenced my decision to go to business school. We had the same major in college and I was able to see how an MBA could open doors for my career and allow me many options to have a meaningful impact on society. She set an example that business school was accessible to me, even though I had no quantitative background and that I could forge my own path with it.

What are the top two items on your professional bucket list?

  • Launch my startup and become a household name for haircare technology
  • Be invited as a commencement speaker for my alma maters.

How has the pandemic changed your view of a career? The most obvious thing is that the pandemic has underscored the ability for many of us to do our jobs from anywhere in the world. I think this really has advanced the case for globalism as people found they could do their work from cities that suited them best rather than being bound by location. However, this has also caused me to examine what factors create fulfillment and what work culture really entails. I think I’ve learned that I prefer a job that offers flexibility and works to reimaging what culture and connectivity looks like across multiple formats. I also have come to value ways in which we can adjust our workplaces to balance professional and personal needs.

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

“Alicia has led with impact, intention, and purpose in the CBS community.  She served as co-president of the Black Business Students Association and was a key leader in helping the broader community navigate difficult but important conversations around race.  As co-president of our Peer Advisors, she helped lead the team of MBA students dedicated to making the transition for over 600 entering first year students a fun, informative and amazing experience. A positive culture carrier through and through, Alicia was an active Follies participant as a dancer and comedic actor. An invaluable leader in the Columbia community, a firm believer in her agency, she carries herself with grace and dignity.”

Michael Robinson, MBA ’01
Senior Director, Admissions
Columbia Business School

DON’T MISS: MBAS TO WATCH: CLASS OF 2022

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