Meet the MBA Class of 2024: Sandy Uwimana, Stanford GSB

Sandy Uwimana

Stanford Graduate School of Business

“An often-singing, always-laughing Rwandan-American passionate about developing equitable healthcare solutions and building strong teams.”

Hometown: Rochester, NY

Fun Fact About Yourself: I have been asked to come up on stage at not one, but two major concerts! I was serenaded by the Pentanonix in 2014 and danced onstage with Lizzo in 2019. I’m convinced I have a fairy godmother who loves concerts.

Undergraduate School and Major: I went to Harvard College and majored in History of Science, with a specialization on the interaction between medicine and society. This degree allowed me to still complete my pre-med requirements while exploring the relationship between medicine, politics, race and gender. I was always interested in healthcare but wanted to understand beyond the doctor’s first-person perspective. I look back and realize that widening my angle in college allowed me to better understand the complexity of healthcare and, in many ways, it launched my career into the health technology space.

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Senior Director of Customer Success, Buoy Health

Aside from your classmates, what was the key part of Stanford GSB’s MBA programming that led you to choose this business school and why was it so important to you? I kept myself anchored around one question throughout the process: “Which program will help me become closer to the person that I want to be?” Applying to business school, I felt equally motivated by professional and personal goals. I wanted to go to business school to pause, reflect and grow into a stronger people-focused leader.  Stanford GSB stood out to me because the programming emphasized interpersonal skill development and intentional introspection coupled with deep relationship formation. When I spoke to current MBA candidates at the GSB, I was stunned by how much they mentioned the changes they were already personally experiencing as part of their classes. From taking courses such as “Touchy Feely” and “Leadership Laboratory”, to engaging with TALK and the Impact Fund, students raved about the way the program challenged them to be better. Ultimately, while evaluating programs, I learned that it was important to me to be surrounded by peers and faculty that focused on more than just the bottom line for their organizations, and I felt that Stanford GSB had the most to offer.

What has been the most surprising thing that you’ve learned about Stanford GSB so far? Classes matter, and they will challenge you. It’s funny because I knew that I was entering a graduate school program, but I don’t think I internalized that I would actually be learning quite so much inside (and outside) of a classroom. I won’t lie: it was definitely an adjustment after years of working. However, I have been surprised by how much I’ve learned in a quarter. It’s been quite nice to feel proficient in attempting finance-speak with my finance-savvy father and feel more confident about my data manipulation skills. But don’t believe anyone who says that business school is all fun and games with no schoolwork- there’s a lot to learn!

What quality best describes your MBA classmates you’ve met so far? Give an example why this is true. Curious. My classmates are insanely curious. What I find most inspirational is that their curiosity goes beyond the expected; while they will chase down the latest big idea in their field or do research on one of their 100 hobbies, they will also sit with you and express immense curiosity in getting to know you. I have been surprised by how genuinely people will ask for more details about my life, with the real intent of learning more about me (and not just to keep a conversation going). This curiosity has encouraged depth and connection in even early friendships- I often walk away feeling like I’ve really gotten to know people after just a few conversations. 

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: In 2020, I was able to work with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and the Commonwealth of Virginia to launch a COVID-19 product to support their constituents navigate the healthcare system during a time of great uncertainty. This project was super impactful for me as an Massachusetts resident and gave me an opportunity to give back to my community during the early pandemic. It was amazing to partner with multiple stakeholders across both the government and private sectors and it pushed me to think creatively about how to get the product into as many hands as possible. I am so proud to have helped ensure that millions of residents were able to find out the latest in terms of Covid-19 testing and vaccination efforts.

Describe your biggest accomplishment as an MBA student so far? Serving as a Vocal Director for the GSB Show has already been such an impactful experience for me. The GSB Show is a yearly musical that is entirely written, produced, scored and performed by GSB students. Being part of this iconic tradition and being able to tap into my (truthfully quite rusty) vocal skills has been restorative to me. I didn’t realize how much I had missed being part of a creative community. Even just a few weeks in, I know that the GSB Show is going to be a highlight of my two years here. I can’t wait for everyone to see the show in April- it’s going to be mind-blowing!

What has been the biggest epiphany you’ve gained about yourself or the world since you started your MBA program? I can always be bolder. It’s funny because I’ve never considered myself timid, personally or professionally. But I’ve realized that I can put ceilings on my ideas or assume that someone more capable or knowledgeable will do a better job with an idea. Being at the GSB has challenged me to think bigger, even bigger than I thought possible. After receiving this feedback from my Leadership Labs Squad (#Squad68forever), I’ve been making a point to push myself past my own limitations. I’ve started to write down all of my new ideas in a journal. As I read back through them, I intentionally say aloud, “Why shouldn’t I go after these? Why can’t I also be bold?” I’m making sure to remind myself that at the GSB, opportunities are plentiful, and now is the time for me to shoot my shot and take a chance!

What advice would you give to a prospective applicant looking to join the Stanford GSB Class of 2024? Reflect deeply and often throughout your process. But don’t just reflect on your application: reflect on what you want to get out of an MBA career-wise and the person you want to become and/or remain along the way. The beauty of this program is that it is simultaneously challenging you intellectually as well as personally. You will grow and develop, but it’s ultimately up to you if you move closer to your goals. Take the time before your program to think deeply and think about how you can intentionally make good use of these two years. Lastly, once you submit your application- close your laptop and breathe a sigh of relief. You’re done! It’s out of your control, so take a walk, call a friend or watch some TV. It’s easier said than done but trust me- looking back, you’ll appreciate relaxing and spending some time enjoying yourself much more than worrying about the next step.


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