Leila Meliani
Home Region

Montclair, NJ

Undergrad Education

Howard University, English, 2013

Previous Experience

Harlem Capital Partners, Goldman Sachs & Co., McMaster-Carr Supply Company

HBS Activities

Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion Council, African-American Student Union (AASU), Women's Student Association (WSA), Harbus Foundation, Social Enterprise Club

“I am proud to know that someone with my background can add value to this space.”

In the January break between semesters this year, Leila Meliani participated in the Tech Club's WesTrek to Silicon Valley and arrived at a welcome epiphany. "We heard several venture capital partners speak to the need for talent – and for good advice to help get it," says Leila. "There are many entrepreneurs, but few of them have the expertise they need to scale their organizations." Leila, who has dedicated her career to the cultivation of talent, felt vindicated. "I am proud to know that someone with my background can add value to this space."

Leila spent the bulk of her career at Goldman Sachs. In her three-year tenure, she worked with the Chief Diversity Officer and Global Head of Talent on a number of initiatives including succession planning for firm partners, and multiple diversity and inclusion efforts. "I loved that job," Leila says. "It gave me the chance to see how talent is the backbone of the entire organization."

Deliberately seeking challenges

To expand her reach, Leila decided to pursue an MBA. "I wanted to go to a place where I would be really, really challenged," she says. HBS proved to be the best fit. "I have a lot of respect for the case study method. It forces me to develop public speaking skills. Every time I walk into a classroom, I get the best practice possible for being a senior executive; case studies force you to switch gears between different subjects very quickly – great practice for being as informed as possible with limited time and information."

"You leave the room with 90 or so different perspectives," says Leila. In BGIE (Business, Government and the International Economy), each case is sourced from a different country. "With a pretty diverse group of classmates in your section, you can hear from people who lived and worked in these countries."

As a member of the school's Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Council, a student-led body with representatives from each of HBS' various affinity groups, Leila meets with peers and school administrators to "improve the way women and underrepresented minorities experience HBS." Together, they work on issues such as diversifying the case curriculum and establishing gender equity policies. "I really appreciate the level of attention HBS has given the Council and other student leadership groups," Leila says.

In the summer, Leila will join Deloitte's Atlanta office where she will work in the Human Capital Consulting Practice. "I'm looking for ways to expand my skill set in areas I'm passionate about, such as organizational culture and talent strategy. These are issues all industries struggle with."