2023 Best & Brightest MBA: O’Shae Bridges, MIT (Sloan)

O’Shae Bridges

MIT, Sloan School of Management

“A resilient college football player turned scholar, entrepreneur, and inventor, driven to empower marginalized communities.”

Hometown: Norcross, Georgia

Fun fact about yourself: I hold a patent for a projectorless simulator with an adjustable size canopy, which enabled Lockheed Martin to reduce advanced fighter pilot training time and cost.

Undergraduate School and Degree:

  • Middle Tennessee State University – BBA in Computer Information Systems
  • Boston University – MSc in Computer Information Systems

Where was the last place you worked before enrolling in business school? Lockheed Martin Corporation – Senior Systems Architect

Where did you intern during the summer of 2022? McKinsey & Company – Atlanta, Georgia

Where will you be working after graduation? McKinsey & Company – Associate

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School:

  • Black Business Student Association – Co-President (22’-23’)
  • Black Business Student Association – Co-VP of Events (21’-22’)
  • Management Consulting Club – Cluster Pilot Mentor
  • Teaching Assistant – 15.365 Overcoming Obstacles to Entrepreneurial Success
  • MIT Dean Fellowship (Offered to 5% of Class)
  • MIT Sandbox Venture Funding Awardee
  • MIT Sports Summit Showcase

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? While Co-President of the Black Business Student Association (BBSA), I collaborated with a committed executive board to promote a supportive community for Black students at MIT Sloan. Our mission was to build a vibrant and inclusive environment that empowers Black students to be themselves, fostering exceptional talent. Through our efforts, we inspired and motivated other students, increasing the number of BBSA’s members from 67 to 99 in one year. I initiated key programs, including dinners around the country, application support, and social media outreach, to attract prospective students and showcase our community.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? Co-founding the 2020 Freelancers Conference is my most noteworthy professional achievement. In response to the product launch delay of my co-working community building startup caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, I organized a virtual conference aimed at supporting freelance workers. The event drew 1,325 attendees from 24 countries and successfully raised $5,000 for the Freelancer Relief Fund. With the participation of 32 accomplished speakers and support from 12 sponsors, the conference demonstrated my commitment to entrepreneurship and community building.

Why did you choose this business school? With a passion for building community-centric startups, I chose MIT Sloan School of Management for its collaborative entrepreneurship culture. I knew the curriculum created for the Entrepreneurship and Innovation track would grant me access to resources that would allow me to explore various paths to entrepreneurial success. Additionally, MIT Sloan’s alumni network of 30,200 active companies generating over $1.9 trillion in annual revenue would provide me with the network and exposure that could increase my chances of building a successful venture.

Who was your favorite MBA professor? Don Sull, a highly regarded Senior Lecturer of Competitive Strategy, was my favorite professor. His use of unique case studies and his assertive teaching style compelled students to develop a quantitative mindset, encouraging us to make data-backed assumptions when analyzing the strategic trajectory of an enterprise. Through his teaching methods, Don cultivated an environment that fostered comfort in operating in uncertainty. As a result, my ability as a strategic thinker improved significantly during his course.

What was your favorite course as an MBA? 15.388 Venture Creation and Tactics

The Venture Creation and Technology (VCT) course enabled me to establish strategic goals and execute experiments that demonstrated traction for my venture, Home Team. By leveraging digital advertising experiments on platforms like Meta and Google Ads, I validated that out-of-market sports fans had a desire to connect with like-minded fans who attended watch parties at sports bars. I collaborated with four Boston sports bars to host 14 test events that attracted roughly 700 participants, yielding valuable insights that are informing my development of a minimum viable product (MVP). The course’s action-oriented learning principles have been key to my successes.

What was your favorite MBA event or tradition at your business school? Fall 22’ Under-represented Minority Fall Retreat

The Under-represented Minority (URM) Fall Retreat united African Business Club (ABC), Black Business Student Association (BBSA), and Hispanic Business Club (HBC) students for a weekend-long event focused on community building and connections with URM Alum. Held in Washington D.C., the retreat provided diverse cultural experiences and thought-provoking exhibits at the National Museum of African American History and Culture. This experience exemplified MIT Sloan’s commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion through fostering a sense of belonging and community among students.

Looking back over your MBA experience, what is the one thing you’d do differently and why? Throughout my MBA experience, I came to understand the immense value of MIT’s vast network. Although I primarily engaged with the Sloan School of Management community, I now realize the missed opportunities to connect with like-minded MIT undergraduate and graduate alumni who share my passion for building community-centric ventures. As an alum, I am committed to leveraging the diversity of the MIT network to achieve my venture goals and to strengthen the community of BIPOC startup founders in the Southeast region of the US. The power of the MIT network is undeniable, and I am determined to make the most of it.

What is the biggest myth about your school? MIT Sloan School of Management is not just for quants! With a broad range of industries and disciplines, they take a holistic approach to business education. The welcoming and diverse community, along with an extensive curriculum covering finance, strategy, innovation, and leadership, supports students to achieve their aspirations. Regardless of your background or passions, MIT Sloan has the resources to help you make your impact in the business world.

What did you love most about your business school’s town? Attending business school in Cambridge, MA has been a game-changing experience! The vibrant and diverse community of students from across MIT and Harvard is filled with driven and passionate individuals. Whether it’s overhearing conversations at the local YMCA about building AI solutions for mental health or chatting with students at a coffee shop about creating entrepreneurial ecosystems in Kenya, it’s evident that everyone is deeply committed to making a positive impact on the world. Being surrounded by such innovative and motivated individuals has challenged me to think bigger and push my limits. Through these connections, I’ve built valuable relationships that have opened doors to new opportunities and accelerated my personal and professional growth. I am grateful for this stimulating environment that has positioned me for success, and I’m excited to see what the future holds.

What surprised you the most about business school? Business school was an incredible experience! The professors and staff were highly knowledgeable and well-connected, providing access to invaluable resources and opportunities. Thanks to their dedication, I gained expert mentors and access to potential investors for my venture. Their hands-on approach expanded my understanding of the business world, giving me the skills and connections required to achieve my professional goals. I’m grateful for their investment in my success and impact on my journey.

What is one thing you did during the application process that gave you an edge at the school you chose? My application strategy involved regular communication with students and admissions representatives to keep them updated on my goals. This proactive approach showcased my commitment to excellence and ambition, providing concrete data points for assessing my fit for the MBA program. Through this, I presented a compelling narrative for my potential as a business leader.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? Amber Gonzales-Vargas, a dual degree student at MIT Sloan and Harvard Kennedy School, embodies a deep commitment to creating positive change for marginalized communities. Her work in creating financial opportunities for Latino-led non-profits reflects selflessness and dedication, inspiring others to action. As a captivating speaker and energetic leader, Amber serves as a powerful reminder that we all have a responsibility to use our talents to advance social equity.

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

  • Successfully build an entrepreneurial venture that has achieved a valuation of $100 million or more.
  • Develop an entrepreneurial ecosystem out of Atlanta, GA that fosters the success of the most accomplished BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, (and) People of Color) founders in the US.

What made O’Shae such an invaluable addition to the Class of 2023?

“Since beginning his tenure as Co-President of the Black Business Club (BBSA), O’Shae has worked tirelessly to find ways to bring build community for Black students across MIT. His tenure as BBSA President came at a crucial point at MIT Sloan. We were transitioning to our new normal after COVID-19 and O’Shae understood that building community is critical for students’ sense of belonging. Whether he was securing a venue to bring MIT’s community together to watch Wakanda Forever, reaching out to the Student Life Office to find a photographer for BBSA’s solidarity photo (with Black students as well as BBSA allies, wearing their kente cloth-embroidered MIT sweaters), or setting up a monthly check-in with BBSA’s staff advisors in administrative offices such as Admissions, the Career Development Office, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and Student Life. O’Shae understands the value of creating and sustaining community, of connecting with his allies and supporters, and of maintaining relationships with his peers as well as members of the school administration. He navigates conflicts with ease, always seeing room for a “yes”. He is a vital member of the Sloan community and will continue to be a community builder and leader after he graduates.”

Bryan Thomas, Jr.
Assistant Dean for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
MIT Sloan School of Management


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