Kyle Richardson, a Full-Time MBA Student and summer intern at at Eli Lilly and Company, was inspired to pursue his MBA by a man he befriended working as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Rwanda. This man, who was a villager orphaned by the Rwandan genocide, helped Kyle discover the transformative possibilities of business, inspiring Kyle to further his education and career through the MBA program at the George Washington University School of Business.
Name: Kyle Richardson
School: MBA, George Washington University School of Business
Expected Graduation Year: 2018
Hometown: Washington D.C
What do you think is your program's greatest asset?
With a special combination of uniqueness and impact, George Washington University School of Buisness (GWSB)’s greatest asset must be the Consulting Abroad Project known as CAP. Students are placed on teams of four to five students and they work on a real-world business case for a company in one of five select countries. The team is matched with an organization in late January/early February and work on the project until May, when they travel to the host country and present their recommendations. I was fortunate enough to work on a business strategy case with a consulting firm in Buenos Aires, Argentina and aside from being a great academic and professional experience, I strongly believe that it has helped me perform better in my current summer internship.
How have your cohorts/classmates influenced your MBA experience?
Immensely. Identifying CAP as GWSB’s greatest asset was difficult because just as important is the student body itself. As an individual who prides myself in having strong global awareness (I recently visited my 50th country!), the diversity in personal and professional backgrounds is unparalleled. Every business school has the same general curriculum, but it’s hard to match the thought and care that goes into creating our semester teams within our respective cohort. Each individual brings a unique understanding and perspective of the world and business and that is where we truly gain insights into the business leaders we all strive to become.
What are some activities you are involved with outside of class? How do you balance your time?
What I am most thankful for thus far in my MBA experience has been the opportunity to serve my peers and the program as the MBA Association President (MBAA). In the span of six short months, we have increased our budget by over 400%, we have solidified our mission and values by introducing a new GWSB pledge, we have improved our social area with refurbishments and new amenities, and we have begun delivering on strategic goals like securing $15,000+ to support our students in housing and travel to attend the National Black MBA Conference in Philadelphia this year. Although balancing my time was often difficult, I have zero regrets because I am sure that the efforts of myself and my team have gone strides in making GWSB the place we are so proud to call home.
When did you decide you wanted to pursue an MBA? What inspired you? Did you pursue your MBA in order to switch careers?
I was inspired to pursue an MBA by a friend in my former village in Rwanda named Patrick. I had been determined to go to law school and spent the entirety of senior year studying for the LSAT-- oh how things can change. As a Peace Corps Volunteer in Rwanda I founded a bakery which brought the first fresh and healthy baked goods to the community. Patrick was a young and hard-working employee there, but more than that, he was a young man orphaned by Rwanda’s 1994 genocide who struggled to pay for his next meal. That job allowed Patrick to not only pay for his next meal, but it allowed him to joyously purchase his first cellphone, a moment I will never forget and what called me to the transformative possibilities of business.
What resources and support did your school offer you through the career search?
At GWSB we are fortunate to have support and leadership of the F. David Fowler Career Center (FDFCC). Everyone there truly cares about our career success and are willing to go the extra mile to see us succeed. While the DC market does impact certain career opportunities, the career center is not there to get a job for you, but rather is there to support you in whichever job you hope to land. With personal initiative and hard-work, combined with the insight and support of FDFCC, there is no job you can’t attain!
Advice for Future Applicants
What are some dos and don’ts in the MBA preparation process?
The biggest “do” is career, career, career! What surprised me the most about the MBA experience was how quickly the recruiting process begins. I began the program in August and career fairs and interviews were already happening by the beginning of September. So, while the MBA experience is holistic and you should dive at every chance you get to experience everything you can, make sure that you focus on what you want to do and why you want to do it. Have your resume and pitch prepared because if you’re able to secure a summer internship by October or November, the rest of your first year is going to be so much more enjoyable. For me there’s only one “don’t”, don’t wait. Do everything now because time really flies and before you know it you’ll be done with your first year and wondering why you didn’t do x, y, or z!