Meet The MBA Class Of 2025: Inspiring, Inventive, Impactful by: Jeff Schmitt on September 03, 2023 | 14,505 Views September 3, 2023 Copy Link Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Email Share on LinkedIn Share on WhatsApp Share on Reddit Picture a Formula 1 race. Think 90 minutes of gunning 230 miles per hour. Imagine G-forces as strong as a space launch pressing against you the whole time. On top of that, you’re stuck in a cramped cockpit where temperatures can top 110 degrees. To race an F1 car, you need conditioning – cardio and endurance – to fend off the fatigue. Lose focus for a split second and you could spiral out control into a deadly pileup. While every driver can take corners and hit top speed, races are often decided by a split second. That’s because F1 races require strategy, knowing when to push and how to take angles. It is a mix of spatial awareness, timing, instinct, and reflexes honed since childhood karting. To win, the best drivers must be audacious in ambition and patient in practice, a tight-rope walker ever aware of his surroundings and deliberate in his movements. Nicholas Latifi, London Business School TWO YEARS OF POSSIBILITIES Nicholas Latifi was one of these elite F1 racers – among 20 in the world. He was a member of Williams Racing, home to 114 wins and 331 podiums over the past half-century. Latifi himself notched three Top 10 finishes from 2021-2022—the culmination of 15 years of unwavering conviction. That’s not to say there weren’t a few humbling moments along the way. “I failed my first driving test even though I was a racing driver at the time,” Latifi jokes. “I’m not the only racing driver to have done the same!” Now, he is channeling his energies into a new pursuit: An MBA degree at the London Business School. A member of the Class of 2025, Latifi is looking forward to the school’s globally diverse student body – an advantage he enjoyed with his team at Williams. While Latifi is currently weighing whether to enter the family business or the commercial side of motorsports, he already understands the best part of business school is that anything can happen over the next two years. “This openness to possibilities is another key reason for pursuing an MBA degree, he tells P&Q. “I want to put myself outside of my comfort zone and in a position where I can learn from a group of diverse, intelligent, and accomplished individuals and broaden my horizons to life outside of motorsports.” A 14-YEAR-OLD COLLEGE STUDENT Maud Chifamba, Wharton School Latifi could add creative, courageous, and committed to the list as well. This fall, you’ll find another cohort of talented, full-time MBA candidates descending on campus – with Poets&Quants covering the incoming classes of 45 world-class business schools. This incoming class hails from undergraduate programs as different as Haverford College, Howard University, Universidad de Los Andes, Chulalongkorn University, and the Pearl Academy. They studied disciplines as different as Aerospace Engineering, Architecture, Political Science, Decision Sciences, and Radio, TV, and Film. After graduation, they worked as project managers, teachers, veterinarians, copywriters, and, entrepreneurs. You’ll even find a few lawyers mixed in! At the same time, they held positions in blue chip firms: Google, Eli Lilly, Morgan Stanley, Dropbox, and Coca-Cola. Some students were pioneers in their countries and their fields. Take the Wharton School’s Maud Chifamba. Born in rural Zimbabwe, Chifamba has been fascinated with business since she was selling vegetables in the market as a 6-year-old. Chifamba’s family lacked the money to send her to school, so she taught herself at home. At 14, she became the youngest university student in Africa thanks to a full-ride scholarship. After graduation, she became the country’s youngest chartered accountant. Along the way, she headed up the Zimbabwe Youth Council, which focuses on the needs of over five million young people in the country. Chifamba further contributed to her country’s well-being by acting as a trustee of the Universal Service Fund, where she led the financial end of projects that included connecting 1,900 schools to the internet and building another 200 computer labs. While Chifamba is accustomed to serving others, she was happy when the Wharton community came to her aid this summer as she adjusted to a new city – and continent. “A Wharton alumni member based in Philly was busy helping me source, find, and store furniture from the graduating class. A [second-year] helped me find accommodation (in the midst of co-signer troubles), and a classmate – Fran – helped me pay for the accommodation when I couldn’t process a payment from Zimbabwe due to sanctions. I did not know any of these people before my Wharton admission. When they were helping me, the only thing we had in common – or the only thing they knew – was the Wharton MBA.” A DARING RESCUE As a whole, the Class of 2025 hasn’t been hesitant to lend a helping hand. In many cases, this call was expressed through military and public service. Before enrolling at Duke University’s Fuqua School, Henry White oversaw a Patriot Air and Missile Defense unit in the Middle East. His classmate, Rebecca Grimesey, worked in the Department of Defense commanding an “elite cell of intelligence specialists.” In the U.S. Coast Guard, Brennan Dougherty managed the New York Container Inspection branch, with over half of his work involving hazardous materials. Equally impressive, Dougherty – a Michigan Ross first-year –can make this claim… “I have my license to navigate any size ship in the world!” Shefali Agrawal, UC-Berkeley (Haas) Most recently, Pierre Benjamin – a lawyer by training – acted as a deputy head of accounting and internal controls in the French Ministry of Defense. His defining moment came during an operation in Mali, where he devised a solution that enabled 400 isolated French forces to receive water. “Military and civilian convoys were constantly under attack. With the help of Malian entrepreneurs, we set up a camouflaged supply chain with operators of different ethnicities depending on the potential bandits on the route. Thanks to this solution, the isolated soldiers finally had access to this fundamental resource.” Benjamin wasn’t alone among the Class of 2025 in orchestrating a rescue. Working as a foreign service officer in the U.S. Department of State, Shefali Agrawal sprung in action when COVID-19 hit. “I helped organize evacuation flights to repatriate U.S. citizens, legal permanent residents, and their families from Pakistan to the United States,” writes the UC-Berkeley Haas first-year. “I led a team of 50 volunteers from within my organization and worked closely with leadership and counterparts across the U.S. government to safely return over a thousand passengers to their homes. On flight days, our team worked check-in at the airport. I will never forget how moved I was to see hundreds of Americans assembled at the airport, eager to return home, all because of my team’s efforts.” PREPARING FOR SPACE FLIGHT Along with service, versatility defines the Class of 2025. For Alex Bowman, business school is a homecoming. A rescue diver and Ironman, Bowman earned his bachelor’s degree in Biology from the University of North Carolina before becoming a fighter pilot with the U.S. Navy. Now, he is returning to UNC’s Kenan-Flagler Business School with the dream of establishing a dental practice. Harley Zhu is a first-generation high school and college graduate, who has earned degrees in Economics and Education. A former Teach for America instructor, Zhu has already made the transition to consulting as an implementation associate. By the same token, Sasha McNair started out as a ballerina who’d performed at iconic venues like the White House and the Kennedy Center. Several years later, she was partnering with Deloitte’s Office of the CEO to develop a DEI practice for Federal agencies that she grew from 5 employees to over 100 in just six months! McNair’s classmate at Emory University’s Goizueta School, Betzaira Herrera, has already shifted between several industries and organizations. “I started my internship experience as a senior in high school, working as a Talent Acquisition Intern at PepsiCo in Chicago. In college, I had three internships: I was a Campus Recruiting Intern at Chick-fil-A Support Center in Atlanta, a Law Enforcement Operations Intern at the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, and a Campus Recruiting Coordinator at a management consulting firm in Chicago called West Monroe Partners. I started my post-college career at PepsiCo in Dallas as a Talent Acquisition professional managing recruiting operations and diversity relations. After 5.5 years at PepsiCo, I left to join Allstate Insurance Company to join the experienced Talent Acquisition team as a Senior Diversity Recruiting Consultant. To summarize, by my current age of 30, I’ve managed to work at five different industries, two Fortune 100 companies, and at the third largest restaurant chain brand in the country.” Matteo Memmo, Georgetown University (McDonough) Yeah, but has Herrera been to space? Nick Callegari has come close has a mechanical design engineer for SpaceX. Here, the Yale SOM first-year oversaw the design, manufacturing, and testing of the Dragone 2 spacewalk structure, which will be used on an upcoming Polaris Dawn mission. “I have flown on a Zero-G flight with future astronauts to assist with training operations for one of my Extravehicular Activity (EVA) structure designs. It was a riveting experience that led to some valuable insights.” A WITNESS TO HISTORY ON JANUARY 6TH Forget space – David Iwanowski’s NBA Championship ring will be the envy of MBAs at USC’s Marshall School. Before business school, he worked as the research and innovation analyst for the Milwaukee Bucks. In a nutshell, he was the analytics whiz who fed the statistical patterns to coaches and player that informed game strategy – the kind that helped the Bucks hoist a Championship banner in 2021. Before joining MIT’s Sloan School, Jake Daniels was busy developing television shows for NBCUniversal. Ironically, that’s where Matteo Memmo was devoting his time getting a show cancelled. “[During COVID], I was given the opportunity to work on generating new forecasting models and analyzing the current sports portfolio,” explains the Georgetown McDonough first-year. “I built a comprehensive analysis on the NHL broadcast deal and presented my work to the President and CFO of NBC Sports. I argued to consolidate some of our portfolio by not renewing the NHL deal and instead focusing on sports properties with more cohesion within the portfolio. My analysis helped executive leadership make the decision to not renew the NHL deal and instead look to acquire rights to Big Ten College football – a $7 billion multinetwork deal that was finalized in late 2022. This deal offers millions of new viewers, supports the already existing Sunday Night Football broadcast deal, and positions NBC to have a major foothold in Saturday sports broadcasting.” Some class members have been witnesses to history. Exhibit A: Harleigh Bean, who was most recently the director of operations and strategic planning for Maryland Congressman Steny Hoyer, House majority leader from 2019-2023. In this role, Bean watched as the January 6th insurrection played out. “In college, I studied terrorism, insurgency, and political extremism. Never did I envision experiencing firsthand what those courses encompassed. That day, twelve of my colleagues and I barricaded ourselves in the Capitol, waiting with bated breath as we listened to the attackers pillage the office. Though my faith in democracy was tested, I remained committed to my office and my job.” Page 3: Profiles of 28 MBA candidates from the Class of 2025, including Harvard ,Wharton, Chicago Booth, and more. Continue ReadingPage 1 of 3 1 2 3 Comments or questions about this article? Email us.