Brandon Lovell
Brandon Lovell
Home Region

Bronx, NY

Undergrad Education

New York University, 2012

Previous Experience

Accenture

“More people can do this if given the opportunity.”

When pushed, Brandon Lovell fights back. In his high school years in the South Bronx ("not the worst neighborhood, but pretty bad"), Brandon saw many students being bullied. The experience was formative: on the one hand, it motivated him to defend himself; on the other, it led to trouble. "I found myself hanging with not necessarily the right crowd," Brandon says.

After graduating from high school and spending a couple years searching for a purpose, Brandon was introduced to Year Up, a nonprofit program founded by a HBS alum Gerald Chertavian (MBA 1992) that places urban youth in corporate internships. In 2009, Brandon earned a position at a New York investment bank; after six months of training, he obtained his formal internship where he "learned about investment banking and management consulting: I knew that was something I wanted."

At first, the internship – in which Brandon fulfilled IT service functions – proved to be a powerful step forward. But when Brandon's ambitions grew beyond "fixing computers to wanting to be a management consultant, I found some resistance; I was told I was too 'ambitious.'" At this point, Brandon was still living in the Bronx. "I didn't know much about the world; it was too easy for me to believe the doubters. But my mom and my grandfather instilled strength in me. They always said, 'Don't quit. Show up the next day.'"

Brandon did show up the next day. And the day after that. He found a more empathetic attitude from a recently hired investment banker who gave Brandon insights on how he got his job – and encouraged him to go to college. "That started the journey that ultimately led to HBS."

On the move – with a smile

Over the next eight years, Brandon's journey took him from the completion of his undergraduate degree at New York University to the formation of his business, Movers with a Smile, to a management role at a fintech startup and ultimately landing his dream job as a management consultant at one of the world's most established consultancies, Accenture.

Again, Brandon's ambitions grew. "I realized," he says, "that to fulfill my aspirations to be a CEO I'd have to check a lot of boxes, both for optics and to give myself confidence." Given his experience at Year Up, where the founder and many of the key donors had HBS MBAs, his first choice for graduate school was no surprise. "I had HBS in my mind even before getting my bachelor's," Brandon says.

At HBS, Brandon is no longer embattled, but he continues to fight – for others. "People before me, who are not from my community, have invested a lot of capital and time in Year Up," he explains. "I am trying to give back the same way they did." At Accenture, for example, Brandon worked on diversity recruiting, helping to increase the number of minority interns and fulltime employees. Additionally, he assisted with launching the “Big Buddy” internship program. On campus, Brandon organized a site visit of ~20 students from a high school in the Bronx, including an event with Senior Associate Dean Jan Rivkin and one-on-one conversations with HBS student volunteers and Professor Steven Rogers.

"That's what I'm excited about – fostering change for students coming behind me," says Brandon. "There's a community that has hovered and prayed over me – that's why I'm here. I know I'm not unique; I know tons of people who could've been here. More people can do this if given the opportunity."