Meet the MBA Class of 2024: Cherise Brookes, Washington University (Olin)

Cherise Brookes

Washington University in St. Louis, Olin Business School

“A fearless, Caribbean woman who is poised to leave a mark at WashU and beyond.”

Hometown: St. John’s, Antigua & Barbuda

Fun Fact About Yourself: I am currently writing a fictional book about a young Antiguan woman with supernatural powers. I hope to publish the first of this trilogy in 2024.

Undergraduate School and Major:

The University of the West Indies (UWI), St. Augustine Campus: Bachelor’s in Psychology and Sociology (double major)

Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI), IU School of Social Work: Master of Social Work (school’s concentration)

Most Recent Employer and Job Title:

R.M.B. Sales & Services, Assistant Manager

Bubbles Beyond Borders Antigua: Counselor

What has been your favorite part of St. Louis so far? What makes St. Louis such a great place to earn an MBA? My favorite part about St. Louis so far is that it’s a diverse city that’s fun and super affordable. There is so much to do and explore. We have an amazing zoo that’s right next to campus, and there is also a cool park. The food here is incredible, and the music and culture of the city are vibrant. I truly love this city and the fact that you can leave campus and instantly experience the unique culture that St. Louis has to offer.

You completed your global immersion earlier this year. What was the best part of the immersion experience for you? What was the biggest takeaway you gained? The best part of the immersion experience for me was being able to experience different cultures with my classmates and learn how business is conducted in multiple countries. We got a chance to live like Spaniards in Spain and fully immerse ourselves in that culture. Now I have a greater appreciation for Spain, all while completing core courses there. Then we went to Paris and Chile, and it was a really cool experience reflecting on each culture while navigating life as a student in each new country we flew to. Only a world-class institution like WashU Olin Business School can pull off taking 90 students around the world and back in 41 days. I will treasure my experiences for a lifetime.

Aside from your immersion and classmates, what was the key part of Washington Olin’s MBA programming that led you to choose this business school and why was it so important to you? I really wanted to be in a business school that had a small, tight-knit community where I could flourish and get the support I needed to start my own business. When I spoke to admissions, I felt that they wanted me at WashU and were interested in my personal development. I also loved the focus on entrepreneurship and how it is sprinkled throughout the curriculum to foster that entrepreneurial mindset. That’s priceless and unique to Olin. Additionally, with so much funding available for female startup founders, it was a no-brainer. I just had to pick Olin!

What course, club or activity have you enjoyed the most so far at WashU Olin? Just recently, I had the opportunity to complete a course called Strategic and Crisis Communication. This course was unique because it involved many simulations that placed students in real-life situations that members of the C-suite would typically deal with. We also studied and evaluated how real-life CEOs and public figures dealt with crises. As an MBA student entering the startup world, it’s important to understand how to handle crises and what happens behind the scenes in the planning process at the C-suite level. At the end of the course, I was made CEO and had to make a speech addressing a particular crisis that my company faced, all while my classmates acted like the press. These experiences are unique to Olin and enable us as MBAs to grow our soft skills and prepare us for the real world.

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: My biggest accomplishment in my career, to-date, is the many lives I have been able to touch as a social worker and counselor. I hope that with my startup, I will be able to change the lives of even more women globally. I am excited to use my voice, fearless despite all odds, and poised to leave a mark that’s bigger than the 108-square-mile island I call home.

Describe your biggest achievement in the MBA program so far: I entered my first-ever pitch competition at WashU through the Skandalaris Center for Interdisciplinary Innovation and Entrepreneurship. I was really nervous as it was my first time pitching my business idea to an audience. However, I killed it! I was one of the four best pitches that received a prize. This experience set the foundation for my startup journey. A small step for any individual but a giant step for a woman from the small nation of Antigua and Barbuda.

What is one thing you have recently read, watched or listened to that you would highly recommend to prospective MBAs? Why? I am currently reading Managers’ First Aid Kit: A Practical Guide to Remedy the Three Most Common Managerial Challenges. I would highly recommend this book because when you start a company, you will have to manage yourself, others, systems and processes. This book is divided into those three sections, and it teaches you to become a master of each.

What advice would you give to help potential applicants gain admission into Washington Olin’s MBA program? I think it’s important to connect with current students who are enrolled at WashU. This is the perfect way to get firsthand knowledge of the program and judge personal fit. Additionally, sharing that you did your research and spoke to students in an admissions interview really sets you apart from other MBA candidates.


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