Career + Identity: MBA Small Group Discussions for Black, Indigenous and People of Color


Thursday, February 25, 2021
12:30pm – 1:30pm
Register here

This gathering is an opportunity for you to shape the direction of future sessions and meet our facilitators Cynthia PongDela GbordzoeSteve Branch, and Kristen Niarchos. There is a wide array of topics we can cover and we want to hear from you directly about the unique issues that are impacting you. We will gather specific topics and testimonies that we can explore more deeply in future sessions to empower and support you as you navigate the current recruiting landscape as BIPOC students. We believe creating a sense of community around these challenges will enable us to develop specific solutions you can use to navigate these issues.

Subsequent sessions will be held in a small group format (approx. 10 participants) to provide a safe and brave space for students to have these conversations and receive support. You may sign up for a session – or multiple sessions – whenever you feel it’s most relevant for you. Spots will be allocated on a first come first serve basis, and if we notice there is significantly more interest than seats in the sessions, we will consider adjusting the structure to allow for more participation.

Here are a couple of questions/topics we may cover. We also want to hear from you to learn what additional topics are on your mind and impacting your career experience at Sloan. As part of the registration process, you can select the topics you are most interested in and let us know what else you would like us to be prepared to cover.

  • Decryption – Decoding The DE&I Landscape in interviews and recruiting process
  • To what degree am I willing or not willing to conform to the dominant culture of a firm in order to be accepted?
  • How can I assess if a company’s commitment to DEI is surface level or deep?
  • How can I evaluate a start up’s commitment to DEI if they appear to be 100% focused on surviving in the market?
  • How to spot the signs of racial gaslighting
  • How can I prepare to be “the only” in a department or organization
  • How can I identify allies when I’m exploring a company or participating in the recruiting process?
  • What are the signs and cues that an advocate might send me to let me know that I will be supported in an organization?
  • Is this friction I’m experiencing typical recruiting process friction or identity-related friction?

For questions about the event or registration, feel free to contact Rose, Steve, or Kristen.

Cynthia Pong, JD, is an award-winning, MWBE-certified career strategist, speaker, and author of Don’t Stay in Your Lane: The Career Change Guide for Women of Color. An NYU-trained public defender turned career coach, she is frequently sought out to provide relevant and timely career advice for women and people of color. She is a LinkedIn Top Voice for Job Search and Career with over a decade of experience in advocacy and negotiation, as well as experience in restorative justice facilitation. Cynthia is a proud introvert, a classic middle child, and an unapologetic Rottweiler enthusiast. We have invited Cynthia to lend her expertise in creating and holding a safe space for students to explore difficult issues.

Dela Gbordzoe, also known as the “GOAT” to many current Sloanies, completed his MBA in 2019 and had an immense impact on Sloan through his leadership roles in the Senate working on diversity and inclusion initiatives. A CPA turned tech strategist, after graduating from Sloan, Dela worked most recently as the Collegiate General Manager of esports startup PlayVS and as Chief of Staff to Director of People Ops/COO & Head of DV North America for BCG Digital Ventures, where he led diversity recruiting and hiring. He enjoys Texas A&M sports, collecting sports memorabilia and being an early adopter of all things related to tech, fashion, media and entertainment. Dela currently resides in Los Angeles and will be joining these small group discussions to connect and provide his perspective both as an alum and employer.

Steve Branch will be joining from the CDO where he develops relationships with companies and lends his expertise in recruiting as Associate Director of Employer Relations & Recruiting. Steve’s foundational years were spent developing skills in Big 4 Public Accounting before transitioning into an Accounting & Finance Recruiting and Business Development professional. Those experiences granted him with invaluable experience auditing, advising, and partnering on business strategy with (domestic and foreign) organizations of diverse industries. Steve was born & raised in Montclair, NJ and attended Bryant University as a Division-1 Football student athlete for his undergraduate and graduate studies. His previous organizations include: KPMG, PwC, Hollister Staffing, and Atrium Staffing.

Kristen Niarchos will also be joining in from the CDO. With over a decade of experience in the higher education industry, Kristen brings her expertise in the MBA recruiting process as a Sr. Associate of Career Education Strategy and Instructional Design in the CDO. Kristen has a keen understanding of the types of friction that Sloanies experience in the recruiting process and helps students unpack the complexities of aligning their goals with opportunities in the market. Kristen was born & raised in Miami, FL and attended Wake Forest University for her undergrad and UMass Boston for graduate studies.

By MIT Sloan CDO
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