2023 MBA To Watch: Adam Hayes, Michigan State (Broad)

Adam Hayes

Eli Broad College of Business, Michigan State University

“A meticulous and steadfast leader who strives to motivate others while achieving excellence.”

Hometown: Houston, Texas

Fun fact about yourself: I really enjoy collecting refrigerator magnets of destinations I’ve visited. I’ve collected about 30 magnets so far.

Undergraduate School and Degree: Morehouse College, Bachelor of Arts – Political Science Major; Economics Minor

Where was the last place you worked before enrolling in business school? Amazon.com LLC – HR Business Partner II

Where did you intern during the summer of 2022? Chevron Corporation – Houston, Texas

Where will you be working after graduation? KPMG Advisory – Houston, Texas

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School:

  • Graduate Assistant – Broad College Dean’s Office & Multicultural Business Programs
  • Black and Broad MBA Liaison
  • 2022-2023 Black MBA Association President
  • 2022-2023 Russell Palmer Center Peer Coach

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? I am most proud of the work that I have done as the Black MBA Association President and Black and Broad MBA liaison. This past academic year, both entities collaborated on a number of projects as relationships between MBA and undergraduate students were fostered. Essential topics such are career management and financial literacy were also explored during an event in which MBA students and undergraduate business students could collaborate and share experiences. My partnership with Black and Broad has positioned me to teach minority students at the Broad College on the importance of proper investing and budgeting.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? I am most proud of the work that I completed while working as an HR Business Partner in Amazon Logistics (AMZL). During my tenure, I was able to identify a bottleneck within my AMZL region. I used the knowledge that I acquired during my previous role to build an HR Business Partner wiki page that established transparency, streamlined standard work, and bolstered regional HR readiness. Over the course of 3 months after its launch, the wiki page helped with the onboarding of over 15 new HR Business Partners in the South Texas region and served as a tool for frontline managers to use to access important site-level references. Furthermore, I earned the trust of Senior HR leaders and I was given projects that stretched me to the next level of my Amazon career.

Why did you choose this business school? I chose to come to Broad because of the unmatched engagement that I received from the admissions department. I gained acceptance to a few MBA programs, but I felt wanted by the Broad College. Therefore, I made it a point to attend Broad. I was also geographically mobile and willing to relocate to achieve my long-standing goal of earning an MBA.

Who was your favorite MBA professor? My favorite MBA professor is Dr. Judith Whipple. Unfortunately, I only was able to take one of her classes as I am an HR and Strategic Management Concentration, and she specializes in Supply Chain Management. In her introductory Supply Chain Management course, she did an amazing job of relating contemporary topics to the class discussion and her lesson plan. Prior to joining the Broad MBA, I worked at Amazon.com LLC in fulfillment operations and I acquired a lot of knowledge of inbound and outbound operations. Dr. Whipple’s course refreshed my operations knowledge and positioned me to intake new supply chain concepts that were outside of my area of expertise. This was extremely valuable! In addition, Dr. Whipple always makes herself available to all Broad students as she often frequents the social areas throughout the Minskoff Pavilion.

What was your favorite course as an MBA? My favorite course would have to be Corporate Strategy. The course is taught by Dr. Gerry McNamara and he brought great insight and zeal to the course. Upon graduating from Broad, I will work in consulting and I thought it would be helpful to better understand the why’s behind the decisions that corporations make. Thanks to Dr. McNamara and how he structured the class, I have a better understanding of how firms position themselves for success in the future. Having gained perspective into how firms address acquisitions, spin-offs, and joint ventures was invaluable.

What was your favorite MBA event or tradition at your business school? My favorite MBA tradition is the annual Thanksgiving Potluck. The potluck has been a great way for MBA students of all backgrounds to come together, celebrate, and experience dishes from various cultures. I thoroughly enjoy trying the foods that both our international and domestic students bring to the potluck. As a native Texan, it has been fruitful to embrace both Indian and Asian dishes that I would not have experienced otherwise. These potlucks and other multicultural events that we have on and off campus truly embody the diversity that the Broad MBA has to offer students and faculty alike.

Looking back over your MBA experience, what is the one thing you’d do differently and why? During the first year of my MBA experience, I spent a lot of time with MBA stakeholders. I would have liked to build more connections outside of the MBA community with entities such Black Student Alliance, Black and Broad, Multi-Cultural Business Programs, and other DEI student resource groups. There are a lot of students within these organizations that want to accomplish business-intensive goals; I am just now starting to interact with those students. For the remainder of this year, I am looking forward to advising students as they continue to pursue their endeavors.

What is the biggest myth about your school? Prior to attending Broad, my mentors were apprehensive about me attending the college over other programs. They thought that Broad’s ranking would have a direct impact on my employment opportunities post-graduation. That was not the case. I would soon find out that I could leverage on-campus career fairs, core MSU firms, Handshake, and the National Black MBA Conference and Exposition to my advantage to get in front of firms that I wanted to consider. These resources, along with my due diligence to complete applications and prepare for interviews, helped me achieve multiple offers.

What did you love most about your business school’s town? Coming from major cities, I was accustomed to being restricted by the hustle and bustle of large communities. East Lansing gave me the opportunity to slow down my pace mentality, focus on my physical health, and identify new endeavors.

What surprised you the most about business school? I did not think there would be as many resources for students to leverage to position themselves for employment. The Broad College has an entire department dedicated to preparing students for interviews and finding internships and full-time roles. When I found out that the Russell Palmer Center had interview suites for students to use to conduct interviews, I was blown away!

What is one thing you did during the application process that gave you an edge at the school you chose? I would infer that my due diligence to complete my application in a timely manner gave me an edge. My work experience instilled in me the importance of meeting deadlines and moving on to the next task. Therefore, I managed my graduate school application the same way. I made it a priority to complete my application a week prior to the early application deadline. As a result, Broad arranged my follow-up interview soon after and it was then up to the college to decide whether I gain admission. I would take the same approach if I had to facilitate that process again.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? I admire Ajinkya Virulkar. Ajinkya is the most selfless person that I’ve met since moving to Michigan. His genuine curiosity is admirable. In the classroom, his willingness to learn and be curious is a joy to embrace. Outside of Broad, Ajinkya is always a pleasure to be around and learn from. His preparation and approach to life will position him to achieve anything he puts his mind to.

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

  1. Advance my client/ customer engagement skills.
  2. Establish myself as a resourceful consultant that both my firm and external partners can rely on.

What made Adam such an invaluable addition to the Class of 2023?

“A peerless student mentor, Adam has been a leader in our program since the day he arrived.  His multiple leadership roles in the program have left an indelible impact on the MBA student community and the undergraduate population at the Broad College. Notably, the DEI work that Adam has contributed to our organization has positioned us for many successes in future classes. His academic and professional successes are grounded in a service mindset, and I’m very excited to see his journey post-MBA unfold.”

Wayne Hutchison
Managing Director
Full-Time MBA


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