Lauryn Hale
Lauryn Hale
Home Region

Detroit, MI

Undergrad Education

University of Michigan, 04, BBA Marketing and Business Administration

Previous Experience

American Express, marketing

HBS Activities

African American Student Union, Marketing Club, Social Enterprise Club

“The case method experience plays on the strength of classmates who push and challenge each other.”

Growing up in Detroit, Lauryn Hale inherited an interest in business from her father, an accountant. That interest was reinforced through her high school participation in LEAD, an innovative University of Michigan program that introduces young people to business issues such as accounting, finance, and marketing.

But Lauryn's college experience redirected her interests. "When I interned with KPMG, I realized accounting wasn't my passion," Lauryn says. A subsequent internship with American Express, "confirmed a love for marketing." After college, Lauryn's short-term internship became a full-time job at American Express where she was placed on a new team that developed strategies for the company's latest offer, bank partner cards. Over the course of three years, Lauryn's team created strategies for MBNA, Citibank, Bank of America, and others.

Tying independent passions to common goals

Mentors at American Express and Management Leadership for Tomorrow, an innovative nonprofit program that helps minorities explore opportunities for a business education, encouraged Lauryn to expand her leadership potential. "Once I visited HBS and observed a class, it became my dream school," Lauryn says. "I sat on a bench after class and just imagined what it would be like to go here."

Motivated by a desire to change her career path toward brand management, then education, Lauryn came to HBS to "build a network of opportunities. There are so many ways to take on leadership roles in extracurricular clubs and activities," she says. In her first year, Lauryn co-chaired a committee for the African American Student Union (AASU), helping assemble a panel for Prospective Students' Day; she has been elected one of the co-presidents of AASU for next year. "I am learning how to lead my peers, who are all extremely talented and opinionated," says Lauryn. "You have to set common goals and establish a vision first – that means being transparent and soliciting everyone's advice."

HBS classes reinforce a similar model of leadership. "The case method experience plays on the strength of classmates who push and challenge each other," Lauryn says. "You hear truly diverse perspectives in an open discussion that forces you to defend your ideas while helping each other grow. Many times, you leave the room with an opinion that's the opposite of the one you came in with."

Building brands and minds

For her summer internship, Lauryn has accepted a brand management position with General Mills in Minneapolis. "My immediate goal is to work in brand management," Lauryn says. "But my bigger ambition is social. I want to apply what I learn about branding and business management to my own start-up nonprofit in education."