Can you tell us about your background, including your pre-MBA industry and role?

I am a joint degree MBA/MPP (Masters in Public Policy) candidate at Harvard Business School and Harvard Kennedy School of Government. I graduated summa cum laude from Howard University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration and Political Science. Prior to my return to academia at Harvard, I was a management consultant advising clients in the financial services industry and a residential real estate broker primarily serving first-time home buyers in the Chicago, Illinois market.

At what point did you decide to pursue an MBA and your other degree program, and why?

I was blessed to have a dynamic career before pursuing my dual master's degrees. I climbed the corporate ranks as a consultant, dabbled in entrepreneurship by working part-time as a real estate agent, and was heavily involved as a second-grade tutor and board member for a non-profit organization focused on the Chicago Public Schools system. My professional and community positions convinced me that the intersectionality of business and government created an incredible opportunity to use corporate structures as a vehicle to facilitate positive social impact. Thus, I pursued a program that allowed me to learn expansively and ultimately identify a career path that would allow me to combine my passions and purpose.

How have you leveraged your unique educational experience at HBS?

Being an HKS/HBS joint degree student ("Jointee") has allowed me unbridled access to world-renowned faculty whose experiences span the public and private sectors. One-off conversations with professors have literally led to entire career shifts for me. I was introduced to my first MBA internship through a case in my Joint Degree Seminar Class. I have had coffee chats with a former United States Governor, Fortune 500 CEOs, revered thought leaders, and international diplomats solely because of events on campus and in the classroom. I have been elected as Co-President of the Black Investment Club and as Section Senator for the HBS Student Association which has provided me access to Harvard leadership and insight to capital planning and university affairs. Just one of these individual experiences alone could be considered life-changing, and consequently I feel my life changing and perspective expanding every single day.

What has been the highlight of your HBS experience thus far?

HBS has remarkable intentionality behind all of the pieces of the MBA program. The section experience, curriculum, and campus are each optimized for learning across breadth and depth and have transformed how I think about the world from an institutional and macroeconomic level. My highlight has been the magic of it all—the special moments with classmates ideating our future aspirations, the surprise guests that show up to class and bring cases to life, and the random excursions where life-long memories are made. I know my classmates will be future elected officials and industry titans, and joining this community surrounded by such authentic and humble people has been a blessing. This is truly a magical place.

Do you have any advice for prospective students considering a joint degree program?

I would encourage anyone who has wide ranging interests to chase their dreams with fervor. Being a student at HBS and HKS allows me to explore my intellectual curiosity through public and private lenses and to recognize that solutions to the world's challenges require humility, flexibility and nuance. I love the physical (and symbolic) bridge I cross connecting the HBS and HKS campuses and know that studying at both institutions will develop me into a thoughtful and impactful leader now and into the future. To those thinking about applying to become a Jointee, DO IT! This experience has been invaluable.