The 100 Best & Brightest MBAs: Class Of 2024

Amin Elsheikh was living out his dream. As a young man, he imagined himself someday working for the DAL Group, the “flagship” company in his native Sudan. Operating in spaces ranging from machinery to real estate, the DAL Group hires only the best. That includes Elsheikh, who, at 24, became the company’s youngest manager in its 63-year history.

He quickly capitalized on the opportunity, leading the firm’s truck business to its highest sales in eight years. Last April, his priorities shifted to survival when Sudan plunged into civil war. Barely escaping from his home, he left behind his savings and investments – not to mention family members and his passport. He became a migrant who often traveled on foot. Over four months, he moved through three countries before finding refuge in Dubai.

“There were no safe travel routes, and I had to go through a dozen checkpoints just to get out of the capital as the rebel militia soldiers had blocked off all routes,” he tells P&Q. “Many times, I felt my life was in the balance as we approached the checkpoints and I was arrested and questioned for half a day because they found some U.S. dollars on me. Our bus driver also had to swerve out of the way of gunfire as we traveled through the city. You can’t travel by car as the militia will stop you and steal it.”

Amin Elsheikh, Warwick Business School


One saving grace: Elsheikh had a deferred admission to the MBA program at Warwick Business School. Warwick proved accommodating, helping him wrangle a student visa and scholarship support. In the end, he reached campus a day before MBA classes started. Since then, he has taken a leadership role with the Social Impact Club, while serving in the school’s mentoring program. Knowing the Sudanese civil war has displaced millions, Elsheikh has volunteered to support Sudanese nationals looking to pursue higher education in the United Kingdom and beyond.


Elsheikh is among the 100 full-time graduates honored in Poets&Quants’ Best & Brightest MBAs from the Class of 2024. Now in its 10th year, the Best & Brightest honors top graduate business students at elite MBA programs worldwide. At an uncertain time in the world, these remarkable young people would give even a cynic hope for the future. For other aspiring applicants, this group provides a close look at the exceptional qualities of future classmates.

To compile the list, P&Q reached out to 78 graduate business programs in January, inviting them to participate. Like previous years, P&Q encouraged schools to nominate students for their “academic prowess, extracurricular achievements, innate intangibles and potential, or unusual personal stories.” At their core, the Best & Brightest personify the can-do spirit of business as a whole.

Overall, P&Q received 226 nominations from 74 business schools, with candidates judged on their extracurricular leadership, personal excellence, and the insightfulness of their responses and recommendations. As a whole, there are students from 63 business schools among the Best & Brightest MBAs. These schools range from Arizona State to Yale and include 18 non-American programs. Due to the top-to-bottom quality of the nominations overall, P&Q will run an MBAs To Watch story this summer to honor the 126 difference-makers who were not included in this year’s list.

In previous years, women have consistently outnumbered men among the Best & Brightest MBAs. Last year, the margin stood at 54-to-46, with the previous year’s difference being 56-to-44. In 2024, men dominated the list by a 55-to-45 margin. Among the selections, 59 Best & Brightest graduates hail from the United States, down from the 64 Americans on last year’s list. Another big difference: the Class of 2024 is more educated. 29 students hold graduate degrees beyond an MBA, up from 16 students with this distinction last year. That said, just 4 Best & Brightest students possess military experience.

Andrea Gutierrez Marty, University of Michigan (Ross)

Employment-wise, the largest consumer of Best & Brightest talent remains McKinsey & Company. The firm hired five members of the Class of 2024. Still, it was a steep drop-off from the 14 hires it made from the Best & Brightest list in 2023. Even more, McKinsey also shares this year’s honor with Deloitte, which will also be onboarding 5 graduates from this year’s class. In addition, the Boston Consulting Group and JPMorgan Chase are bringing on 3 members from Best & Brightest, with Apple, Citi, EY-Parthenon, and Strategy& adding 2 each. In addition, 23 students hadn’t accepted a job offer by March, though this number includes students who were weighing offers or participating in one-year programs whose programming lasted beyond spring.

What separates the Best & Brightest from their classmates? You could say they were as indispensable as they were unforgettable. They were the class coaches, champions, and confidantes – the ones who set the pace and the expectations and raised the bar as fast as they raised their hands. They weren’t just seeking to claim credit or add bullets to their resumes. Instead, they simply wanted to experiment and grow, always serving their peers and relishing the moment. Like their peers, the Best & Brightest sometimes felt like imposters who didn’t have the answers. Despite this, they led by example – and their classes were stronger and more connected because of them.

Elsheikh more than met that bar. As he nears graduation, he hopes to return to Africa as a consultant to help communities find “win-win” solutions that drive mobility and deepen connection. “Business and personal development targets and positions are great goals,” Elsheikh adds. “For me, having a positive impact on the world is a good legacy to leave behind.

Another such student is Andrea Gutierrez Marty, a spring graduate from the University of Michigan’s Ross School, who’ll be joining PepsiCo. Marcus Collins, a marketing professor at Ross, describes Gutierrez Marty as the “ideal” MBA student.

“Andrea embodies everything that makes for an ideal MBA student: she’s informed, yet open. Confident, but humble. Driven, but empathetic. And most of all, she is unbelievably curious. I can teach frameworks and theory, but I can’t teach someone to be curious. Her curiosity unearths discourse in the classroom—and through the hallways—that makes everyone around her better, me included. She is truly a leader and best.”

Chang-Min Song, Indiana University (Kelley)

At the UC Davis Graduate School of Management, you’ll find Tess Sussman, a Harvard graduate and former women’s basketball coach. Cyrus John Aram, a lecturer at the school, describes Sussman as a once-in-a-generation leader among the 10,000 professionals he has managed over 28 years.  

“What separates Tess from the standard MBA is her courage. During a recent rigorous interview process with a leading management consulting firm, a panel of experts (with over 120 years of experience and pedigree) noted Tess is “the most exceptional early career individual we have evaluated in years” and that her “sense of doing the right, hard thing” is what stands out.”


For many, the ‘hardest’ thing was making transitions into new careers. Take Cornell University’s Frank Hager. He moved from coaching baseball to being an investment banker at Morgan Stanley. At Indiana University’s Kelley School, Chang-Min Song became an assistant brand manager at Kellogg’s – after entering business school as a DJ. His classmate, Olivia Ramos, realized her dream of making it in aesthetics after working in retail management. You could call Anvesh Jagini the most interesting person in the Class of 2025. Fluent in six languages, the University of Rochester Simon grad started out as an aerospace engineer before moving in pharmaceutical packaging, fund-raising, and hospitality – even winning the Best New Restaurant Award by the Catering Association in Hyderabad, India. What will he do for an encore? Join McKinsey, of course. While Giovanni Sobrero was once tapped to launch a new department at Amazon, he enjoyed an equally prestigious honor in business school.

“I am most proud about representing Imperial College Business School at Number 10 Downing Street together with a delegation of other MBA students. The focus of the visit was on how the UK promotes diversity of talent shaping future industry and business leaders to drive the future and growth of the nation. It was a very rewarding experience to network with senior leaders from different industries as well as MBA students from Harvard Business School.”

Sobrero isn’t alone in operating in rarified air. A theater major in college, David Russell pursued a military career. He eventually rose to be an executive officer in the Joint Enabling Capabilities Command. Here, he helped fill the need for aid to Ukraine through both public and private sector sources. As a Columbia Business School MBA, he even found himself moderating a discussion with the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Before joining Emory University’s Goizueta School, Sai Konkala worked as a producer at CNN. Here, he became more than a witness to history.

“As a Live Producer on February 24, 2022, during Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, I played a pivotal role in orchestrating CNN International’s breaking news coverage. With just three minutes in the break, I coordinated six reporters, six producers, and six camera teams spanning six different cities, bringing them together seamlessly to cover the unfolding events… CNN International was among the first to air the footage and break the news. Our swift and comprehensive coverage earned numerous accolades, including a News Emmy and a prestigious DuPont-Columbia Award, which the team shares.”

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