Meet the MBA Class of 2025: Deborah Carey, London Business School

Deborah Carey

London Business School

“U.S.-Africa private sector policy wonk pivoting back into the management of impact-driven companies.”

Hometown: Satellite Beach, Florida, USA

Fun Fact About Yourself: I summited Mt. Kilimanjaro while studying Kiswahili full time in Tanzania!

Undergraduate School and Major: American University, International Relations (BA) & International Economic Relations (MA).

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: U.S. Department of Commerce, Policy Advisor*, Office of Policy and Strategic Planning in the Office of the Secretary

*On rotation from my permanent role as International Trade Specialist covering nine African countries.

What makes London such a great place to earn an MBA degree? London is a hub for global financial institutions, international businesses, and exceptional higher-learning institutions. Growing up, my dad had a mantra: ‘Don’t let school get in the way of your education’. As an MBA student, I aim to be in an environment that provides academic rigor alongside daily exposure to as many industries and cultures as possible. I could not think of a better convening city than London to fit that criteria.

London Business School is one of the most culturally and professionally diverse MBA programs in the world. How do you see these global perspectives enhancing the value of your business education over the next two years? During periods of work experience outside my home country, exposure to differing ideas and cultural perspectives made me more empathetic and aware of the need to seek out context in all situations. As I prioritized MBA programs, LBS impressed me as an environment in which I would continue to be challenged to reflect on my identity and be encouraged to have insightful conversations to challenge the status quo.  Over the next two years, I know I will be surrounded and inspired by my classmates and professors who are employing their lived experiences to identify solutions to pressing global problems. The learnings I will have from this exposure to more professional and cultural contexts will continue to serve me throughout my career, even unconsciously.

Aside from your classmates and location, what was the key part of London Business School’s MBA programming that led you to choose this business school and why was it so important to you? Beyond LBS’s exceptional academics and campus life, I was most drawn to LBS due to the ability to undertake multiple internships or experiential working opportunities during the two-year program.  While I am clear on my ‘why’ for pursuing a MBA, I can envision myself in many various sectors and roles to satisfy that ‘why’. I am excited to test drive different roles and industries to home in on where I’d like to contribute post-MBA.

What course, club or activity excites you the most at London Business School? I am most excited by the Social Impact Club. It has been clear through conversations with alumni that LBS boasts many students who are actively working to improve our world by applying business solutions in context. I am looking forward to learning about new innovations or new ways to approach old problems through my impact-driven classmates in this club. With my policy background, I am also excited to see how the efforts of this club could be extended to collaborate with the private sector-driven efforts of international organizations and other public sector stakeholders.

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: I was an organizer of the U.S.-Africa Business Forum, which took place on Day 2 of the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit. Here, President Biden launched his Africa strategy and convened 50 African heads of state in D.C. for the first time since President Obama’s inaugural U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit in 2014. In particular, I was honored to co-lead the partnerships committee (managing the guest list of 350 U.S. and African CEOs) and the interagency deliverables committee which galvanized commitments of $15 billion in new investments as a part of the Summit.

What do you hope to do after graduation (at this point)? I plan to pivot back into the management of scaling companies operating in the African region, either in financing soft and hard infrastructure development or leading the operations of companies that are providing goods or services that improve people’s lives. I aim to always keep a foot in the world of policy and hope to one day serve my country again as a thought leader in U.S.-Africa commercial engagement – but with a deepened understanding as a former business leader operating in the region. The relationship between government and private sector is synergistic and there is immense potential to deepen cooperation and collaboration between companies and government entities to better serve their customers and citizens. In my career, I aim to always operate at the intersection of these two different but complementary sectors.

What advice would you give to help potential applicants gain admission into London Business School’s MBA program? I would encourage those applying from non-traditional MBA backgrounds (such as public sector and NGO) to fight past the imposter syndrome and apply with conviction if they believe the MBA is the appropriate next step for their career. In doing so, I would encourage them to seek out LBS alumni who also come from non-traditional backgrounds to support them in the process. This was hugely helpful to me!


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