Meet the MBA Class of 2024: Jaylen Hackett, MIT (Sloan)

Jaylen Hackett

MIT, Sloan School of Management

“Community builder working to make changes in local communities through nationwide initiatives.”

Hometown: Mobile, Alabama

Fun Fact About Yourself: I drove from the top of the US to the bottom

Undergraduate School and Major:

The University of Southern Mississippi | Major: Economics and Political Science

Harvard Kennedy School of Government | Master’s in Public Policy

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Fellow, Black Economic Alliance Foundation

What has been your first impression of the Sloan MBA students and alumni you’ve met so far. Tell us your best Sloan story so far. They are down-to-earth, a pleasure to be around, and care about people. They have a startup spirit and look to make innovative changes.

Aside from your classmates, what was the key part of MIT Sloan’s MBA programming that led you to choose this business school and why was it so important to you? I like the team model of the courses held in the fall semester. I also like the tracks that people can take, specifically the entrepreneurship and innovation as well as the enterprise management track. Coming from Harvard Kennedy School of Government, I love how I will also be able to take courses from a consortium of schools in the area and I can craft my learning in a very non-limiting way.

What course, club or activity excites you the most at MIT Sloan? There is so much I want to learn from faculty and classmates. One thing I have been excited about since applying is taking part in MIT’s Impact Investing Initiative(Mi3). Coming from the foundation world and having worked on many national initiatives from the non-profit side, I am excited to learn and engage in ways of investing private capital that yields return that can be supportive for public purposes.

Action Learning Labs are one of MIT Sloan’s biggest attractions. Which lab interests you most? How does it fit with your interests? It is definitely between the USA Lab and Entrepreneurship Lab. In the USA Lab, students address contemporary issues, seeing them through the prism of history as well as through the on-the-ground experiences of people at work in America’s small cities and rural regions. This aligns with work I have already accomplished and am passionate about in solving problems to support others. The Entrepreneurship Lab will allow me the opportunity to work with a team to create and use our minds to innovate, something I want from my Sloan experience.

When you think of MIT, what are the first things that come to mind? How have your experiences with the Sloan program thus far reinforced or upended these early impressions? When I think of MIT, I think problem-solvers, innovators. I think of easy-going people who also get things done. I think of people who care about the world and want to make it a better place. From talks with future classmates and current students, that seems to be the case.

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: It was providing recommendations to support the growth of the My Brother’s Keeper Initiative within the Obama Foundation, which supports boys and young men of color nationally. I was able to support this work over the past year.

What is one thing you have recently read, watched, or listened to that you would highly recommend to prospective MBAs? Why? There are tons of resources available for the standardized tests. I feel the most important part is thinking about what you want to take from business school. Business school is a place where many people make career shifts or explore passions. I may miss the mark with this for most, but I really enjoyed Jeen-yuhs, the Kanye West documentary. It was a story of finding a passion and finding creative ways to be successful within that. In coming to business school, you want to prepare and think about where it will take you, what you are passionate about, and, potentially, what you want to create.

What other MBA programs did you apply to? None, Sloan was the only program I submitted an application to.

What advice would you give to help potential applicants gain admission into MIT Sloan’s MBA program? From my experience, Sloan loves leaders and innovators. If you can express how you plan to make a difference or change the world in some way, there is potential there. With limited spots, you have to prove you are a diverse candidate and your presence in the classroom will make your classmates better, more well-rounded individuals.


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