This is the time of year when MBA students from schools and institutions all across the world are graduating – finishing their MBA journey after years of preparation and study – and heading out into the world to do the “big things” that they set out to get an MBA for.
Poets & Quants profiles the ‘best and brightest’ graduates each year based on a nomination process from schools and then an internal selection process with input from Deans and Faculty.
On this week’s episode of Business Casual, John, Maria, and Caroline review this year’s list (100 Best & Brightest MBAs: Class of 2022), pick their favorites, and highlight their stories!
[00:00:07.270] – John
Hello, everyone. This is John Byrne with Poets and Quants. Welcome to Business Casual, our weekly podcast with my co host Caroline Diarte Edwards and Maria Wich Vila. This is the time of the year for a lot of joyous celebration. It’s a time when people graduate from college and universities all over the world. And of course, we are looking at who is coming out of the business schools today. And we do an annual feature. I think it’s one of the fun things that we do every single year. Very compelling, and we call it the best and brightest of well, in this case, 2022. So what we do is we go out to the top business schools in this year. We went out to 75 different business schools and asked them to nominate graduates who are representative of the class as a whole and were among the very best that they’re graduating. 73 of the schools responded with nominations. All told, over 230 students were nominated. We actually grade those profiles and statements from Deans and faculty members on the students to pick the top 100. And I think if anything, what the list always shows and the profiles that are pretty extensive on each graduate is just a wide variety and diversity of the MBA student population.
[00:01:49.130] – John
In this case, there were 56 women and 44 men chosen, so women outnumbered the men. In terms of the 100 best and brightest, 63 of the candidates were born in the US, with another 24 already holding advanced degrees. There are eight military veterans on the list. Mckinsey and Company again ranked as the largest hire of best and brightest talent. They employed six of the 100. Deloitte got five. Banning Company and BCG, each added in four. And then a wide range of companies got more than one. Accenture, Amazon, Apple, Credit Suisse, Johnson Johnson, Microsoft, Starbucks and Salesforce. And when you look at the profiles, one thing becomes very clear, the power of the MBA degree to help one transition from one career to another. There are people who gone from Apple to Amazon, from Ups to Deloitte, from Major League Baseball to Dick Sporting Goods to First Republic Bank to Goldman Sachs, people who have gone from PNG to Bain and Company. It’s really a fascinating look at the students. And also we ask them for their advice. This is, I think, a really cool part of the profile. We asked them for insights into why they think they got into the schools that they got into and what kind of gave them an edge.
[00:03:27.420] – John
And if you’re out there and you’re thinking about going to a business school program, you might want to just comb through these profiles and see what kind of advice they’re giving. Now, I’ve asked each of us to pick a few of the graduates that were featured and talk a little bit about them and kind of what they represent in one way or another. And Caroline, I think you picked obviously, you’re our international cohost, and you naturally picked three people from international schools. Why don’t you go through one of yours?
[00:04:04.140] – Caroline
Sure. Yes. So the first thing I’d like to highlight is a young woman from Saudi Arabia called Maram Albuqueri. She’s at Esade Business school in Spain. And she jumped out to me because she is a young mother with two children. I think she’s a single parent. She’s lived in eight countries already and she has two careers. So quite mind boggling how she manages to double so many things. So, in fact, she is corporate finance executive at Saudi Aramco, where she’s closed a $2 billion deal. Quite extraordinary achievement. PreMBA. I believe that she’s sponsored by Saudi Aramco, and they’re very good at picking the best and brightest from the country. So that’s a wonderful credential for her to have. And so she’ll go back and work at Saudi Aramco post MBA. So in addition to being a brilliant young professional and single mother of two, she’s also very passionate about football. So she became the chairwoman of Saudi Arabia’s first female football club, soccer to the American audience. But elsewhere in the world, we often refer to it as football. And she has at business school, she’s become the coach to the men’s soccer team. And her goal is to become a board member of the Saudi Arabia Football Federation.
[00:05:36.950] – Caroline
I thought she’s wonderful. She’s doing so much. I can’t quite imagine juggling being an MBA student with being a mother of two, as well as having been so active and on campus with football. And so I think she’s really someone to watch. I’m excited to see what she’ll do in the future.
[00:05:56.750] – John
And that’s an extraordinary story because as we know, women in Saudi Arabia have a very difficult time. And for her to break out of the pack and accomplish all that she has as a mom, no less, in a very elite MBA program is just astonishing to me. That’s such an inspiring story.
[00:06:19.130] – Caroline
Yes. She must be a remarkable person. So fascinating story. And as you say, someone who really stands out and has sort of broken the mold of what might have been expected of her otherwise.
[00:06:30.960] – John
Yeah, that’s fantastic. I stumbled across a guy at the Cornell school graduating this year, Brandon Carnell. He’s from Levittown, Pennsylvania. And what I like about him is I mentioned this earlier, is how people use the MBA to transition into whole new field. So he had been a consultant at Deloitte. He worked in the strategy and analytics part of the organization. And he’s using his MBA to go to Apple as a program manager. He interned at Apple during the summer, which obviously he got through Cornell. He was the President of the high tech club at the school. And you look at his involvement at the school, and it’s just remarkable. And it’s clear to me that he’s not only an exceptional young man, but more importantly, he’s made already at the school an incredible contribution. Besides being President of the high tech club. He was an interviewer in the Johnson admissions group. He was a Johnson board fellow. He was co vp of events at the Jewish Business Association. He was a big red tech strategy commercialization fellow. I don’t even know what that means, but it’s impressive. He was a mentor for strategic product and marketing immersion.
[00:07:48.810] – John
He was a teaching assistant on a course called Designing Data Products and a teaching assistant on a course called Business Strategy. And it just tells me, wow, this guy was actively involved in helping Johnson, the school, become the best community it possibly could be. And here he is going off to Apple, his sort of dream job. He said this opportunity to work at Apple fulfilled his dream in spades. And he’s so excited to start this summer. And I can only imagine that this guy has just such an incredible feature ahead of Future of Hatepin Maria, who stood out to you?
[00:08:29.450] – Maria
Yeah. Obviously, everyone was really impressive. But for me, Jen Burka at the Yale School of Management really stood out because she actually started or is in the process of starting and launching the school’s first real impact investing fund, which for me was really interesting because Yale is a school that we all associate with the social enterprise sector. And I know that they have done a lot with impact investing in terms of having clubs and events. But it was a little surprising to me, honestly, that they didn’t actually have a fund where people could get hands on practice and experience. And so I thought it really took a lot of initiative for her to try to develop the fund. And then the little article overview of her, it details all of the steps she had to go through to launch the fund. And so it’s really, you know, a lot of tenacity. This is not just a regular club because it actually involves real money. And so I was really impressed with the amount of tenacity that she has because I don’t think she’s going to be a beneficiary necessarily of the club because I think it’s going to start or really get going after she has left.
[00:09:33.070] – Maria
But I was really impressed with the amount of effort she put in to improve the lives of the forthcoming generations of Yale students.
[00:09:40.250] – John
Yeah, that sounds terrific. That really does. Carolyn, I know you have a couple of others as well.
[00:09:45.190] – Caroline
I do. So of course, I was very interested to see which fellow Brits were on the list. So I have picked out James Cochran Diet, who is at London Business School. So he’s someone else who has a lot of different things to his profile. Quite fascinating. So he’s a graduate from Durham, which is a top British University where he studied history and international relations. And then he went into the military. So he traveled to a lot of different places, had some very interesting responsibilities in the British Army. I thought it was quite fun to read that he commanded a division of 90 horse mounted ceremonial guards for the official celebrations for Her Majesty the Queen. So, you know, he must be a very safe pair of hands, right? Because they’re not going to take any chances with that. That’s a very important event. And so prior to joining Lbs, he also works at KPMG in the global cybersecurity team. Critical experience there and very Hot topic as well. And I’m sure that brings an interesting extra dimension to what he can share with his fellow classmates. Whilst he was at KPMG, his team set a Guinness World Record for a marathon learning initiative where they were teaching 1200 children about online safety.
[00:11:10.590] – Caroline
So having four kids myself, I appreciate his efforts to make sure that kids are safe online. And so he is an aspiring entrepreneur. So he’s been involved in a lot of entrepreneurial related activities and internships while he’s at Lbs. And he’s interested in clean tech. He’s currently working on a clean tech idea to help solve the UK’s plastic waste predicament. And he is leading the school’s military and business club, which is the largest MBA military club in Europe. So obviously the military candidates are often military students are often known for their leadership skills. If he’s leading the military club, you know that he’s really very highly regarded as a leader. He’s also a military reservist and continues to do that. So, for example, he is on the monitoring board at one’s Worthy of Prison, which is a big prison in the UK. And he led a project with the National Health Service during the Pandemic. And he helped to build the UK’s largest ICU hospital from scratch within less than two weeks or within two weeks. So quite extraordinary the number of things that he’s done. And I think it’s great to see someone like him at London Business School.
[00:12:27.310] – Caroline
I know that sometimes London Business School actually they struggle to get candidates from the UK because often the UK candidates are going abroad. And so I know that they are very pleased to get the top candidates from the UK who choose to study there, rather than going to other schools in the US or in Seattle and so on. And he talks as well his profile about how much he’s enjoyed being an ambassador for the city as a Londoner himself with his very international classmates. So I can see how he’s someone who would really stand out at London Business School and be very much appreciated as a classmate and also by the administration. I’ve always contributions to the school.
[00:13:12.720] – John
Well, you listen to those accomplishments already and you wonder if you’re near mortal like me, how could I ever get in? But I need to point out too that people we’re talking about are really incredibly extraordinary and that’s why they’ve been chosen not only by their schools in being nominated for this annual feature that we do, but then selected by us as one of the top 100 in the world. I am really very eager to see people who come from generally undergraduate majors where you might not expect them in this school. And there’s a woman, Lulu Carter, who is graduating from the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth, who was a history major in school, actually at Dartmouth College. But what I really like about her is that she has a passion for growing women’s professional sports and basically helping women and girls in the US gain greater access to professional sports. And she had been a consultant with a boutique in New Orleans, of all places called Trip Wise. And it’s a small growth consulting firm. She applied to Tuck. They accepted her. And what was interesting to me is how she kind of tailored her MBA experience to fulfill that passion to increase access to professional sports by women and girls.
[00:14:49.700] – John
First thing she did, in fact, was she participated in a first year project with Under Armor that was focused on high school female athletes. Then for her internship, she ended up at Major League Baseball, where she did a five year demographic analysis of baseball attendance, helped secure and interview the chief marketing officer of the MBA, who happens to be a woman for Tux Women in Business conference keynote. She also did a part time internship during her second year with the leading research and consulting agency in sport called Future Sport and Entertainment. And basically she literally talked her way into a job as a senior manager of strategy now at Dick’s Sporting Goods. So I find it really fascinating that this young professional has been able to kind of customize her MBA program at Dartmouth Tuck and tailored in a way to allow her to get a job where she can actually pursue her passion of increasing access to professional sports for women and girls. It’s a great story. Okay, now, Maria, who’s your next one?
[00:16:11.130] – Maria
My next one is Suhani Gelota from Stanford GSB, who I mean, talk about a slacker. In addition to getting her MBA at Stanford, she’s also getting a PhD at Stanford Medical School because really lazy. Before business school, she started a nonprofit in the slums of India. And one of the coolest things about her is that she actually won an award from Queen Elizabeth at Buckingham Palace, where they spoke about topics like slum governance. So I thought that she was just incredible because I think a lot of people in the applicant pool talk about social enterprise or they say things like, well, even though right now I work at a hedge fund, one of these days, if you let me into your business school, then I’m going to start then I’m going to have a change of heart and I’m going to start a nonprofit. But then you find people like this who have actually done so much. And so I love that she’s actually walking the talk because she’s going to continue to while she continues to get her PhD work on developing yet another social enterprise that is spinning out from her existing social enterprise.
[00:17:20.540] – Maria
And I think it’s also interesting to note that she was a Knight Hennessy Scholar, which, as if getting into Stanford business school isn’t difficult enough, a Knight Hennessy Scholar is essentially you get a full ride. It’s incredibly difficult to get. I don’t know how many they give each year. I believe Derek Bolton, who was the former head of admissions for Stanford, is now, or at least as of recently, he was leading the Night Hennessey selection process. And so just the fact that she was chosen for that is probably a pretty good indicator. So I think we’re going to see some amazing things from her, which we’ve already seen, but I think she’s going to continue to be someone who really does improve the world, change the world in a positive way.
[00:17:59.230] – John
Yeah, that’s really amazing. And another Royal connection. Caroline had a Royal connection, too, from London Business school.
[00:18:07.560] – Caroline
The Queen keeps on popping up.
[00:18:12.890] – John
Queen, you also picked someone from NUS, the National University where you spent some of your early career in Singapore?
[00:18:21.920] – Caroline
I did, yeah. I spent most of my time studying at INSEAD in Singapore. And then when I worked at in Seattle, part of my team was in Singapore. So we traveled there a lot. And actually, this young woman jumped out to me as well because she’s from Indonesia. And when I graduated from in Seattle, I went to work in Indonesia for a couple of years with the World Bank Group. So I have great affection for her country. And so this is Aileya Jati Safira. She’s at NUS National University of Singapore. She was working in private equity in Jakarta before the MBA, and that’s quite a male dominated industry. So for a young Muslim woman getting into PE, she’s already a mold breaker. She’s also married and has a child. And for young Muslim women, mobilizing your family to follow you off to business school outside of your home country is not always the easiest thing. So she’s definitely someone who knows how to make things happen. Right. And she’s become President of the NUS MBA Student Council. In fact, she’s the first woman President. She also runs a jewelry business on the side. And knowing Indonesia, they have so many wonderful handicrafts and such beautiful things that you can get there.
[00:19:44.610] – Caroline
So I’m delighted that she’s doing that. And she’s looking at expanding her sales internationally. I’m sure that she’s got a lot of potential there. She worked for her internship with an organization called Angels of Impact, which is a social impact investment firm supporting Indigenous women led community based enterprises across Asia. Pack. So very worthwhile endeavor. So again, someone who’s doing a lot of interesting things, very worthwhile things. I think it’s inspiring. How many of these young people are really looking to have a very positive impact and have already been doing that in their lives and continue to do that during their MBA, and that’s a key part of what they want to achieve post MBA. So again, I think she’s someone who says that her career goal is to establish events that employs young Indigenous talents from Indonesia. So someone who’s really looking to leverage her talents for the benefit of people who may not have the advantages that she has. So someone I very much admire and look forward to seeing how her career evolves.
[00:21:00.950] – John
That’s terrific. I wonder if, Caroline, you have three candidates that you talked about here, who he profiles in the top 100. How similar are these three to the people you tend to work with and help get into business school?
[00:21:16.990] – Caroline
Yeah, very similar, actually. And that’s one of the things that I love and I’m sure Maria loves about the work that we do is that you work with an incredibly diverse range of people who are doing extraordinary things and very different things. And so that is what I really love about my job and the fascinating stories that they have to tell and something that I really appreciate. But what I do compared to when I was admissions director, Lindsey, when you’re admissions director, we were working in the admissions office. You are getting through so many files. It’s a constant production line. You don’t have much time to spend on any individual candidates at all. How fascinating they are. You’ve just got to keep moving on and plowing through. And with the work that we do now, I get to really get to know these people quite well over several months, often. So that’s a really fun part of my job, is to get to spend a lot more time and understanding the incredible backgrounds and what makes them tick and helping them pull out the elements that can really make them stand out to business schools.
[00:22:23.750] – Caroline
And it’s very inspiring the things that people have achieved and often the challenges that they have overcome. So that’s a really fun part of my job.
[00:22:33.310] – John
Yeah. And I think that really comes through in these 100 profiles. If you want to know essentially who you’re going to be at school with, I think going through these profiles will give you a very good impression of who is going to be sitting next to you in the class, because there is a universal nature to these profiles in terms of the top MBA schools and the kind of people that they attract and what people do with their education once they graduate. Another would stand out to me was this woman. Her name is Annabelle Reeves, and I’m just going to say he’s graduating from Southern Methodist University, the Cox School of Business with an MBA. A school. It’s not the top 25, but she’s actually using your MBA to move from First Republic Bank, where she was a credit analyst to Goldman Sachs in their private wealth management organization. And this is a person who majored in psychology at UT Austin. So another sort of unlikely undergraduate major with a business career and then an MBA and moving into Goldman Sachs, one of the Premier investment banking firms in the world and a really cool job.
[00:23:57.120] – John
And I’m sure she would not have been able to do that without the MBA. And I think that just speaks to the power of the MBA to transform one’s life and to help them achieve their dream. Now, Maria, I think you have one final candidate to highlight. Who is it going to be?
[00:24:13.380] – Maria
Yeah. One more person who caught my eye was Chikezi Anatchu from Arizona State’s, WP Carey School of Business. And I think the reason that he jumped out to me was because, first of all, he had already gone to school to be a lawyer. Now, oftentimes when people are lawyers and they try to make the jump to an MBA program, it can be somewhat challenging. But I like that he sort of gives hope to people that as long as you have a really well thought out reason for getting the MBA, that it can indeed be a great switch. And then another reason I wanted to highlight him is that he will be going to McKinsey as an associate after business school. And I think we spoke in on this podcast before about how it’s not necessarily the school that makes the person, it’s the person that makes the school or in this case, the person who gets the job offer. And so even though Arizona State is not necessarily this posh school, that is sort of the most famous one for sending people to elite jobs like this, I think this is just further evidence that as long as you not get out of the park during that case interview and as long as you do well during the interview process, you don’t have to go to a top three, top five, even top ten school to get some of these very coveted postmba positions.
[00:25:31.070] – Maria
This guy is yet more living proof of that adage. So Congratulations, Tikezi. You’re really an inspiration.
[00:25:39.050] – John
Yeah, I love that story. And as I mentioned, the SMU Cox MBA, who’s going to Goldman Sachs. That’s another you might not have expected that, but this just tells you you don’t have to go to Harvard, Stanford and Wharton and Seattle London Business School to achieve your dream. There are a lot of other schools out there you can stand out and you can get pretty much whatever job you want if you are totally into it and deserving of it. All right. Well, look, take a look. I love this feature. This is one of my favorite things that we do every year. It’s the best and brightest of 2022. You can find it on the website. 100 incredible, compelling stories that are also inspiring people who got into these schools are graduating really at the top of their classes and going off to do wonderful things. This is John Byrne with Poets and Quants. You’ve been listening to Business Casual our weekly podcast.