H@H: Ep 32 – Binundu Isaiah Samuel joins host, Paulina Lee on this week’s episode of Here@Haas. Binundu Isaiah is president of the Executive MBA Class of 2020 and a leader was with a passion for building communities. Originally from Nigeria, Isaiah shares his journey across the US and the world on his way to Haas.
On the Importance of Community: “So allyship, friendship, the community is something that’s incredibly important to me; and it’s something that I carry. So not just being able to build it for me, but being able to create that space for others, to be able to feel that community, to be able to belong, to be able to thrive, to be able to pour into other people the way that you’ve been poured into in the past.”
On the Opportunity to Improve Diversity in the Student Body: “It’s something that I’m hoping can be improved in the future. Because I do believe that when we talk about equity and inclusion and access, we have to be able to create spaces for folks to have a seat at the table and being at institutions like Haas, is definitely a way that people can participate more in and have seats at the table.”
On the Importance of the Equity Matters community: “The hope of this community is then for everybody that joins to be able to go back into their sphere influence and no matter how small the ripple effect is, just make that change that they want to see in the world. We believe that through community and conversation, anything is possible.”
And finally, advice for prospective students: “The work that you’re putting into getting your MBA, even if you’ve not been accepted yet, it matters. So just trust in what you’re doing your preparation. And when you do get in, you deserve to be here. Come in ready to just enjoy the journey you’re going to grow. So, so, so much. And just come in with confidence and come in with a heart for others and you’ll be fine.”
- Join the community today – Equity Matters: Real Conversations. Real Leaders.
- Binundu Isaiah’s Letter to Fellow Haasies
[00:00:00] Paulina: I’m Paulina Lee, and this is here@haas, a student-run podcast, connecting you to Hassies and the faculty that change our lives. This week on here@haas, we are joined by Binundu Isaiah Samuel, president of the EMBA class of 2020. Thanks for coming on the show today, Isaiah.
[00:00:21] Isaiah: Nice to be with you, Paulina. Thanks for having me.
[00:00:24] Paulina: How’s your weekend going?
[00:00:26] Isaiah: It’s been pretty good. I’m staying in sheltering in place, making the most out of it, eating some good food, trying to stay positive, you know? So.
[00:00:35] Paulina: Very nice. Well, to kick off, I would just love for you to share a little bit about your background and what you’ve done from undergrad until your time here at Haas.
[00:00:45] Isaiah: So, Binundu is a traditional Nigerian name. It means life is worth living. I hail from Port Harcourt, Nigeria. I was born in Nigeria, lived there till I was about 11 or 12, and then my family immigrated to the States. I’ve been fortunate, so I’ve gotten a chance to live in different places in the US. Grew up around the East coast, Manchester, New Hampshire. Shout out to Manchester, Mantua Vegas, even though most people probably you don’t know, but it’s okay.
[00:01:14] About 40 minutes outside of Boston. It was a really interesting experience. So, I think for me, the unique thing about moving to the US was that you got to experience so many different sides of it. So, from coming initially to California, being in San Diego to Brooklyn, New York in the nineties. So, for all my folks that know inner-city Brooklyn in the nineties, having that experience as well and then moving to Manchester, New Hampshire.
[00:01:37] After that, I attended undergrad at Ohio State University. You know, gotta put the D in there but for my buckeyes out there.
[00:01:48] But for my Buckeyes, you know, shout out to all my Buckeyes all over the world. Had such an incredible experience. Columbus, Ohio is actually where I call my American home. So, we moved out to Columbus, Ohio. I attended Ohio State University where I studied economics and got dual degrees in that, in human ecology, family, financial management, resource management.
[00:02:08] And following that experience, I worked for a bit in Columbus and then decided that it was time to kind of develop my international chops. So, I moved to Rotterdam, lived in Rotterdam the Netherlands for some time. And then I got a master’s in information systems and technology from the city, university, London. After that, I went, yeah, back to Nigeria. Actually, I had the opportunity to work for a bit. And so, I worked for the Clinton Health Access initiative, reducing maternal mortality rates in Southern Nigeria. And then, I worked for a startup and then I came back to the US, and yeah, lived in a couple of interesting cities and made my way to California for a good job with GE and then I became a bear.
[00:02:50] So that’s my little journey in a nutshell.
[00:02:52] Paulina: You’ve been more places in your journey than I think most people go in a lifetime. That’s impressive. What brought your family originally over to the US from Nigeria?
[00:03:02] Isaiah: My mom, you know, wanted a better opportunity for us. You know, Nigeria is a fantastic place. It was incredible growing up. A lot of my values, you know, traditional values, cultural values stem from there. But in terms of just general opportunity, there’s only so much that can be obtained, especially from an academic perspective.
[00:03:20] You know, Nigerians are incredibly brilliant and some folks stem from Nigeria, Chimamanda. Countless folks have done so many incredible things. So, it’s not like there’s no opportunity but I think my mom just saw, you know, how to vision for me and my siblings of just being able to achieve more and just being able to do more and just having more than they had.
[00:03:40] She made the decision to uproot us and, you know, bring us out here just to provide more of an opportunity for us. And it was hard being away from family and you know, we still talk about it until today but she made a sacrifice and we all made a sacrifice just to have a better life.
[00:03:56] And, we made the journey out here.
[00:03:58] Paulina: And then growing up since you bounced around to a couple of different areas in the US, why is it that Columbus you call home?
[00:04:06] Isaiah: So, Columbus is the place that we resided for the longest, right? We still maintain a home there. No matter where everybody else goes, it was kinda like where everybody kind of came of age. The first few years in the US as an immigrant was no game.
[00:04:21] I mean, kids can be brutal. I mean, especially in New York City, kids, man, it’s no game. So, I think the first few years were really about just acclimating, you know, to the food, to the culture, to the people. And by the time I think we had Columbus, we were like coming into our own as you know, not just the Nigerian identity but the American identity as well.
[00:04:45] The friends that we had, the way the community embraced us, the way, the university provided opportunities that people were coming in contact with. It seemed like the perfect storm Columbus was changing and we were changing with it. And so, we just became our own people like across the board, my mom, my siblings, myself, you know, just kind of coming into our own.
[00:05:04] And, we just made Columbus home after that.
[00:05:06] Paulina: And you did a master’s in London. So, tell me a little bit about the decision process to working for a few years and then deciding you wanted to go out there.
[00:05:16] Isaiah: So, unfortunately, I graduated in like the worst time, right, of undergrad. So, it was during the financial crisis. And while there were opportunities, there weren’t great opportunities, I’d say, so it was kind of like coming into whatever you could come into and, you know, having to like switch jobs, at least for me or speaking from my experience, I should say.
[00:05:35] But at the same time, I saw it as the perfect time to really distinguish myself from my peers, for one, and then really tap back into that global community that I’d been longing for.
[00:05:47] And so I looked at a bunch of different opportunities, and it made sense to take the leap.
[00:05:52] And then I saw that as the perfect way if I want it to ever work overseas and really have that experience overseas to bring back to the US given the fact that the world is so global, that would be the best way to do it, right? And not just talk about, you know, working globally, but actually getting out there and understanding what it means to be a global citizen and work globally and develop global connections.
[00:06:12] I always think about the fact that I’ve been fortunate to live in so many different spheres, interact with so many different people.
[00:06:19] So, you know, when I bring that to the work perspective, what a school perspective or leadership perspective, it’s really from the standpoint of really understanding how things work across different lines, right? And I think it’s a value add.
[00:06:34] Paulina: No, that’s a great Perspective.
[00:06:36] Paulina: I feel like in your life, I’m seeing these pockets of where you’ve had to move and enter new cities and find a way to build that community. Probably very quickly, right? Because as humans, we thrive off the community and the people around us in addition to our family but especially when you’re going farther from family, building that up quickly, and then maintaining those strong connections and so important.
[00:06:58] Isaiah: Yeah, absolutely. I think it’s incredibly important. It’s one of the most important things to me, I’d say. And I had to learn that at a very young age, right, moving to the US initially and kind of being away from the core family in Nigeria, you learn how to connect with folks that, you know, you resonate with, that you have commonalities with, that you feel that you can work with.
[00:07:18] So allyship, friendship, the community is something that’s incredibly important to me. And it’s something that I carry. So not just being able to build it for myself but being able to create that space for others, to be able to feel that community, to be able to belong, to be able to thrive, to be able to pour into other people the way that, you know, you’ve been poured into in the past is incredibly important. And so, it’s something that I carry with me and it’s a big part of my personality and my character and who I am as a person.
[00:07:48] Paulina: And as you think about community, so you were in London, right, and then you returned back to Nigeria. How did you make that jump? How was it like going from all these other places back home?
[00:08:00] Isaiah: Yeah, that’s a good question. One thing that’s always stuck with me is, I would love the opportunity to be able to give back to Nigeria and take all these things that I’ve learned to be able to help the country. Move forward and help build and progress Nigeria forward.
[00:08:16] It’s always been home. And so, there’s something called the NYSC, which is the youth service and it’s essentially a year-long engagement that you participate in if you’re Nigeria. So, if you ever have the intent of maybe working in Nigeria or being in politics and whatnot, it’s a commitment that you have to do.
[00:08:37] So, when I wrapped up in London, I made the decision to go back and participate in my service here.
[00:08:45] And so you, you can do it at any point in your life but for me, it just kind of made sense. I’m in London, Nigeria is about six hours away by plane and it’s a great opportunity to go back and reconnect with family. And again, I was also thinking about future networks, you know. I can rely on uncles and aunties and people that I know or I can actually get in there and really meet people and build my own network at this point in my life where I’m really trying to develop and figure out exactly who I’m going to be, what I’m going to do next, and what the future is going to look like.
[00:09:16] So I thought it was the perfect opportunity to kill two birds with one stone, to participate in my NYSC, and also to explore opportunities, right. The continent was changing, the country was changing. So even after my NYSC, I decided to stick around until, you know, I was like, okay, I think it’s time to go back to the US and really put all these things that I’m learning into play.
[00:09:36] Paulina: And how did you know that you wanted to come back to the US or at what point when you’re in Nigeria were like, okay, I’m going to go back to the US and do something different.
[00:09:45] Isaiah: So, I worked for a startup out there. It’s one of the largest travel startups on the continent actually. And, it was really good engagement. We had this crazy project that took me out to Brazil and then I came back to Nigeria and just kind of assessing the way that things were going, the economic trends, the opportunities that were presenting themselves, it seemed like the right time to head to the US.
[00:10:10] I have my master’s degree in information systems from the city at this point. I really want to start burring into technology, yeah, so it just seemed like the right time, just kinda made the move.
[00:10:20] Paulina: And how long did you work at GE before you decided you wanted to go back to school again?
[00:10:25] Isaiah: I was in Atlanta before I actually moved to Cali and I was actually exploring an MBA program out East. I’m in Atlanta.
[00:10:32] So, I’d gotten into Emory University and it was a great opportunity and I was seriously considering it. But Haas is a school that I’ve always admired from afar. And I started at GE three years ago and the opportunity involved me leaving Atlanta and moving out to the Bay. And so, I had a tough decision on my hand, you know, do I stick with this great MBA program I’ve gotten into?
[00:10:57] Or do I take a chance? And so, coming out here, I honestly thought like it was, it was hostile bus to be 100% honest, right? I’d done my research, you know, obviously, I had an affinity for the school. I talked to folks and learned about the community and again, the community is something that continues to come up and, you know, moving out here, that was my intention. Take this challenge, role, this growth opportunity with GE, and in the back of my mind, I’m coming out to the Bay and I’m going to get into Haas.
[00:11:29] Like, I don’t know what it’s going to take. I know I need to put it in the work but this is where I wanted to be. So, I rescinded the offer at Emory and I made the move here. So, that was about three years ago. And then I decided to apply shortly after.
[00:11:44] Paulina: What made you feel so drawn to Haas or how did you look at it from afar?
[00:11:51] Isaiah: So, I mean, obviously Berkeley, I mean, you hear the name, everybody knows the name, even my folks in Nigeria are super proud of me. The fact that I’m at such a top school and it’s something that’s recognized but I would say more so, more so what made the difference for me was just the connections that I was able to just cultivate in such a short time.
[00:12:13] So luckily for me, I got into GE and a colleague was in the evening weekend program and I started talking to her and she mentioned, Hey, I know this other person, you should talk to them. And so, I would reach out and they would respond right away, right? And they would say, Hey, no problem at all.
[00:12:36] What is it that you want to know? I can meet you for coffee, right? So, it was Melanie actually, Melanie Overlay. So, she connected me with a gentleman named CIGI. Okay. And I sat with CIGI Okay. I met him and he broke the program down for me.
[00:12:51] He connected me to Eli Andrews and Eli was receptive as well. He was like, yeah, whatever you need, let’s talk, let’s do this. And it was just a series of connections. And each time I’m getting to learn about the program, more learn about the personalities of the folks that are in the program and just seeing firsthand what a community can be like and what a community can do.
[00:13:10] So the first impressions just from the people were great. And then coming on campus and sitting in classes and learning a little bit more, you already have that expectation from a world-leading institution, but I would say the biggest impression that was made were from the folks that were either in the program or the folks that had just wrapped up the program and how welcoming, how warm, how receptive, how much pride they had in the university.
[00:13:35] Even now when folks reach out to me, I feel like I have a sense of responsibility to be able to give back as well. And that’s something that’s incredible to me and that community feels again, is something that I cherish and it’s something that spoke to me and part of the reason why I wanted to be a bear.
[00:13:53] Paulina: I think that’s great. And I think that’s one thing that stands out when you ask people why Haas is, they just were attracted to the leaders currently and alumni. And just the community and the diversity of the community, diversity of thought, but still at our core, all the bears and Haasies are just all-around amazing people.
[00:14:14] So, definitely agree with you feeling fortunate to be a part of the community. Was there anything that when you started at Haas that surprised you about the program?
[00:14:25] Isaiah: Yeah. I mean, for me it was just like the diversity, right. I think it’s something that’s been discussed and it’s something that the administration has talked about improving, but you know, in my executive MBA class, I was quite shocked at the lack of diversity. And when I say diversity, I mean more so African-American diversity.
[00:14:46] And it’s something that I didn’t expect but it’s obviously, you know, living in so many different places, it’s something that I can overcome. But it’s definitely something that kind of stood out to me in a class of, I believe 68. There were about three folks that I identify as African-American.
[00:15:04] So that was definitely something that stuck out to me. And it’s something that I’m hoping that can be improved in the future because I do believe that, you know, when we talk about equity and inclusion and access, you know, we have to be able to create spaces for folks to have a seat at the table and being at institutions like hops, is definitely a way that people can participate more in and have seats at the table.
[00:15:26] So, whatever needs to be done, definitely willing to help. But it’s definitely something that stood out to me first day of class, just kind of looking around and saying, Oh, okay, I guess this is it.
[00:15:38] Paulina: Yeah, very true. And one thing I did want to kind of shift over to that you’re a part of is you obviously have a passion for communities and networks and I would love for you to share a little bit about your work with the Equity Matters community, just how it came about what the mission of the org is and how you’re involved.
[00:15:57] Isaiah: Yeah, absolutely. So, Equity Matters is essentially a virtual community at this point since we can’t meet in person but a virtual community where we come together and we’re incubating real leaders to be able to have real conversations and amplify the ripple effects that they can have in order to see the change that they want to see in the world.
[00:16:17] With the incidents that happened around George Floyd and his murder, I felt the need to at least speak up and say something. And it really started with a letter that I penned to my class. Just essentially urging everyone to know that, you know, we all have a role to play in whatever capacity, in order to see the future that we want to see.
[00:16:40] And then, outside of that, I compiled a lot of resources when all that stuff was happening. I felt that the best thing to do would be to tap into my community and figure out ways in which I can get involved but also figure out resources because I know for a fact that a lot of people wanted to do things but nobody really knew where to start, even myself.
[00:17:00] And so in compiling those resources, I shared it with a community of folks. And I actually presented the resource to one of my friends, Rashanda Udekwu, who actually co-founded the community with me. And one of the presentations was from Jenae Butler, who was a TPM at Google.
[00:17:16] And it’s the standing united presentation on allyship. We come through the presentation, we realized that it was fantastic. And then the next thing came up, like, how do we get this in front of people and how do we share it? So, we spent hours and countless hours kind of building out this program in order to host our first session.
[00:17:35] And the first session we were actually joined by Janae and we were able to present the information to about 30 leaders from across industry and then have a breakout session to really ask questions and talk. And we really thought it was just going to be one session but what that’s kind of grown into is this online community called Equity Matters.
[00:17:56] You can join on LinkedIn and we’re looking to expand but essentially, we had the first session on July 1st. We had the wrap-up session on the 31st but what we’re going to be doing is every month we’re going to start promoting conversations like this. So future topics include data and diversity, quiet leadership.
[00:18:14] Different topics where we can have a speaker come in and really educate the community and then open it up to dialogue and creating spaces for conversations that people otherwise may not be able to have but can have within this community and can have with a diverse set of folks who are really looking for tools, resources, and just the community in which they can learn and grow from.
[00:18:37] The hope of this community is then for everybody that joins to be able to go back into their sphere influence and no matter how small the ripple effect is, you know, just make that change that they want to see in the world. And, that’s essentially what we’re doing with Equity Matters.
[00:18:52] Paulina: I love what you said at the end there just how the impact can come through, right, cause I think everyone at their heart wants to do something but it’s hard, yeah, to know where to start and to your point, yes, having the dialogue, having the safe space, to think through how this affects you and those around you but then also challenging people to bring it back into their two years of influence, right, and influence their organizations, influence their own communities. And to get involved with people, just go onto LinkedIn or how do they get involved with the community?
[00:19:26] Isaiah: Yeah, absolutely. So, to join the community, just go on LinkedIn, type in Equity Matters, real leaders, real conversations. And we’ll get you on the next events coming up. We’re always posting stuff, including the ripple notes from the sessions and we’re working, we’re building, we’re going to formalize this and make it tidy.
[00:19:44] And we’re always looking for folks that want to participate. So, if you have something, you know, in your heart or conviction that you want to share with a group, we’re looking for folks that want to share with the community, educate some folks, lead conversations we’re looking to partner. One of the things that Rashonda and I always talk about is the fact that we have to approach this from a heart posture of service.
[00:20:04] And so we’re looking to set the table we’re looking to serve, and we believe that through community and conversation, anything is possible. So, if you want to join us, feel free to just check us out on LinkedIn equity matters and we look forward to having you join us.
[00:20:19] Paulina: That’s great. We’ll also link to it in our show notes for our listeners too, so it’s easy to find.
[00:20:24] But you also shared about being a leader in the community and you’re president of the EMBA student body would love for you to share why you decided to go involved in student leadership and what you’ve learned along the way.
[00:20:36] Isaiah: I’d say I have a heart for service, you know. Initially, when I started the program, I just wanted to ride the wave for lack of a better term and just do my thing, lay low, get my degree, and go but as I got to know my cohort, they’re an incredibly talented, lovely group of folks.
[00:20:58] And, I saw an opportunity to be able to serve. I essentially just kind of looked at everything and saw that it would have just been an opportunity for me to try to make the experience better for the group and really help to enhance in whatever capacity that can and bring us all together.
[00:21:17] And so that was the reason I decided to kind of step up in the capacity of president to really just serve the class and do whatever I can to make our experiences as best as it can be. What have I learned from being a leader? I would say that there is in this time that we have, the challenges of COVID, there’s no better time to try. And if you want to get your feet wet and practice leadership and crisis management and whatnot, there’s no better time for that. So, I’ve learned so much, I think, even leading in the capacity of president during this time can be an MBA class on its own. The biggest things that I’ve learned is, first things first, there’s always room for improvement in the sense that the needs of the class before we started sheltering in place or the end of term three are completely different then what the needs of the class are now. So, being able to shift your focus and perspective to be able to meet your constituents and the folks that you’re trying to serve is incredibly key.
[00:22:20] The second thing I’ve learned is you gotta have tough skin, you gotta be able to move past the comments or the sentiments and really be focused and really think of what it is that you’re doing, why you’re doing it, and how best you can do it outside of criticism, outside of sentiments.
[00:22:38] And really just understand that you’re in a situation and the position to be able to serve as best as you can. The third thing I’ve learned is, nobody’s superman. Like no matter how much you think, no matter how much you think you’re Superman, you’re not. And being a leader is also being able to rely on other incredible people, to help pull the weight, and being a leader is stepping up but also being able to fall back where necessary so that you’re also creating the table and creating the space for other folks that shine because at the end of the day, being a leader is really not about you. It’s about service to the class.
[00:23:15] And so, you know, I’d be remiss if I didn’t shout out some folks that have stepped up, right. Once everything hit, we had folks that stepped up to be part of a crisis management team, the first go, and we’re able to do some incredible things together. And we have a second crisis management team, Rossi, Hannah, Jess Nargis.
[00:23:34] My PICs, my partners in crime. We meet with the program office consistently, hashing out things that the class needs trying to make sure that we can capture the voice of the class and bring it to the program office, and just really serving as that bridge. It’s not been an easy go, right.
[00:23:50] Especially with everything going but I just gotta shut up the team, right. That’s really what it’s about. A leader is nothing without an incredible team and everybody that’s been really focused on making the experience great for the class has stepped up.
[00:24:02] And then the other thing I would say finally, rounding it out, is just learning to be dynamic, right? Like you have to be fluid. You have to be able to wear multiple hats and you just have to be resilient and keep pushing. So those are some of the mini-lessons that I’ve learned but shout out to the end bit twenties.
[00:24:18] I know it’s not easy but we’re doing this and we’re going to be okay.
[00:24:21] But shout out to the entire program office for the EMBA program office, you guys are killing it because it’s not an easy job. Nobody expected any of this. You guys are trying to do the best that you can. And, we appreciate it as a class.
[00:24:34] Paulina: That’s so well said, and I’ve gotten comments from either incoming students or friends and family that are just like, man, it’s gotta be so hard getting your MBA during these times. But to your point, it’s been such an interesting learning experience. Being involved in leadership, being in an environment that I think is more willing to adapt perhaps than other environments.
[00:24:59] Because I think all the program offices are so receptive to student input and perspective because, at the end of the day, we all want the same end goal, to learn, grow as leaders and they want that as well. So, it’s been cool to see how agile the program office is, how passionate the students are.
[00:25:20] So, those are some really great learnings that you’ll definitely carry on and later in life and in positions of leadership.
[00:25:26] Isaiah: Definitely.
[00:25:27] Paulina: Yeah. And I think too, like the MBA program I’ve found is a lot about self-reflection in terms of what matters to you, where do you want to go, where have you been.
[00:25:39] So I’m curious if there is anything in your MBA experience so far that surprised you, that you learned about yourself.
[00:25:49] Isaiah: Yeah, well, a lot, a lot surprised me but I would say, a lot of the things that you think you might want or that you may want to develop, you already have a lot of those gifts that are dormant inside of you. So, it’s really about confidence and really believing in yourself.
[00:26:06] And so, a grade is a grade but there’s so much that you can learn even outside of the classroom. So, for folks that are thinking about an MBA, it’s a comprehensive experience of, you know, learnings inside the classroom and learnings from the people that are around you. And you’re surrounded by so many dynamic folks.
[00:26:23] So the biggest thing that I would say, I wouldn’t say it’s really a surprise, but it’s almost like it reinforces it for me is the confidence, right? The confidence to be able to go out there and make anything that you want happen. The DOPs, you’ll be surprised when you start actually.
[00:26:39] When you actually start living them, right? Like it’s not just, something that’s out there that’s written on a piece of paper, but you know, you’ll be surprised when you start questioning it’s that status quo, every single thing that you do and, you know, living outside of yourself and I really think that that’s incredible, but the one thing that I’ll say is, you know, you already got everything that you want, that you need inside of you and the program really helps to enhance that and bring out the confidence. And of course, your community as well really helps solidify that. So, it’s been an incredible learning experience and, you know, I’m grateful for it for sure.
[00:27:13] Paulina: And you graduate at the end of this year, right?
[00:27:15] Isaiah: End of December, that’s right. That’s right. Term five. It’s gone by so fast. We had a class cohort call on Saturday. And we were just reminiscing. You know, this time, last year we were wrapping up leadership communications with Mark Rittenberg and you know, nobody would have thought that all of this would have happened, you know, in this amount of time. But, gotta be grateful for everything, the good, the bad, and the in-between, and take it for what it is, you know, in the grand scheme of things. We’re incredibly fortunate.
[00:27:46] You know, we have our health, we are studying at an incredible institution, and hopefully, we can take some of these learnings and the trials and tribulations and become better from it. And that’s the way I kind of look at.
[00:27:57] Paulina: You’ve lived all over and where are you hoping to go? Either location wise or career-wise or what are your goals after you graduate?
[00:28:08] Isaiah: I’ve been in California for three years and it’s kind of hard to leave once you get in here. You know, I joke with my friends. So, like I have friends that went to Ohio State and they were from Cali and oftentimes, folks who graduated don’t hang around for a little bit. All the folks from Cali, they graduated and then the next day they would go, they were gone.
[00:28:31] And I didn’t understand until I actually moved out here and I’m like, okay, I get it. So, it’d be nice to stay out here. And, in terms of what comes next, either grow within my organization and continue to do so. And, you know, I’m coming off in an MBA and there’s really incredible opportunities out here and some interesting things that I’m exploring as well. So, in the next few months really honing in on what those things are and trying to explore, to see if there are opportunities to be able to do that wherever I can.
[00:28:59] Paulina: Do you have any advice for any incoming EMBA students on how to make the most of the program?
[00:29:06] Isaiah: First things first, it’s going to be okay, right, like, it’s going to be okay. Everybody has imposter syndrome but be yourself, right? You know, as you’re applying for the program, one of the things that stood out to me and the advice that I give folks as well is that you know, everybody that’s going to want to apply is going to have the statistics on paper.
[00:29:27] But one of the things I appreciate about Haas and that I got to see through the processes, they’re really trying to understand who you are as a person. And that authentic leadership that continues to be spoken about is really important at this institution. So be your authentic self.
[00:29:43] And even when you come into the program, be authentic self because that’s really what matters. Relationships are crucial, you know, you’re coming to an institution like this you’re definitely gonna get top-notch professors that’s for sure. But you know, you’re also going to be around some really incredible people.
[00:30:01] So take the time to really learn who’s around you and build the relationships and grow, you know, and the interactions and the relationships and leverage the resources around you as well, right. There’s going to be so much so figure out what you want to do as early as you can and leverage the resources and CMG is your friend.
[00:30:20] It goes by so fast. So, start talking to them as soon as you can. And that’s the career management group for the folks that don’t know. And then lastly, the work that you’re putting into getting your MBA, even if you’ve not been accepted yet, it matters, right? So just trust in what you’re doing, your preparation.
[00:30:38] And when you do get in, you deserve to be here. Come in ready to just enjoy the journey you’re going to grow so, so, so much. And just coming with that confidence and coming with a heart for others and you’ll be fine.
[00:30:51] Paulina: I think that’s great. I think it is true though. I think a lot of people show up with imposter syndrome, myself included. I’m just kind of accepting it, noting it, and then just letting it go is so important. And then obviously the people here are amazing and just leveraging all the resources. Is there anything after you graduate that you’re most looking forward to with some of that free time you may actually have now?
[00:31:16] Isaiah: Yeah, I’m looking forward to a lot. I’m saying that now but I know I’m going to miss the grind. Like, even when I have free time now, I’m like, this seems like a trap, like a trick, like, I know I should be doing something. No, but I’m looking forward to just taking the energy because I feel like it.
[00:31:36] There’s rigor with the program but it puts you on such a level of execution that can be applied to so many other things. Right? So, whether it’s the side projects, whether it’s building out Equity Matters even more, whether it’s getting out into the community, whether it’s traveling, there’s some side hustle stuff that I’ve been thinking about but I don’t really have the time to get into.
[00:31:59] So, exploring that a little bit more. And then the creative side as well, you know, I like to write poetry and make music and cook food and do photography and design stuff. So, having the time to get into that again and kind of exploring that will be really cool. So, it’s more so like personal passion, personal projects, and just taking that energy and putting it into other spaces as well.
[00:32:22] Paulina: I think people underestimate the capacity you have as a human honestly. And I think doing any sort of part-time school really opens you up to like what is possible in a day when you prioritize and you’re efficient and you take a really hard look at what’s important to you and what brings you joy and then what makes an impact on the community and the people that you care about.
[00:32:46] So, it’s great that you say that I hope you get the time and the energy to do all of that or the perfect project that does it all in one.
[00:32:56] Isaiah: Exactly, exactly. But like you say, right, like it’s really all about prioritizing, right? So, something’s going to hit the back burner, some is going to be in front, yeah. I’m just looking forward to it. I know I’m going to miss the program but you take that energy and you put it somewhere else.
[00:33:10] I’m definitely looking forward to being able to like chill.
[00:33:14] Paulina: Right, right. You’re like, it’s been a great program. I’ve learned a ton. I want a break and then I’ll do some other stuff.
[00:33:18] Isaiah: Yeah. Yeah. And as soon as I’m done, I’m going to be like, Oh my God, I miss it so much. How can I get into auditing a class or so or something like that.
[00:33:27] Paulina: Oh, I’m sure you’ll have plenty of projects that fall on your plate. Is there anything that you do now in order to kind of relax or take a break from school and work?
[00:33:41] Isaiah: For sure. I got to work outright. Training is big for me so making sure that I stay in the gym and maintaining my body, as I think in this, you know, with everything going on now, just being stagnant at home all the time, you know, I make sure that I get to the gym, get at least 45 minutes in.
[00:33:58] I’m actually going deeper into the whole training thing so I’m hoping to get my body right and keep my body, right. So that’s important. The other thing that I really like is, you know, trying to create in some sort of way, right. So, whether it’s, you know, just recording some music that I’ve written or you just messing around with poetry or some sort of like design work, building something as important to me, like just making something out of nothing, even cooking as that for me.
[00:34:22] Right. So just getting in the kitchen and shuffling something up and just enjoying a nice meal. And then obviously with wherever I can find the time, me and Rashanda, we were trying to build out the equity matters group and create better programming for folks.
[00:34:35] And I think that’s a project you were talking about. It really encapsulates all those things into one, service, creativity, and, yeah, it’s pretty cool.
Paulina: That’s great! Well, thank you so much for coming on the show.
[00:34:43] I really appreciate it. It’s been fun. I really had a good time talking to you.
[00:34:50] Paulina: Thank you. It was fun. Chatting with you.
[00:34:53] And thanks for listening to this week’s episode of here@haas. If you loved hearing Isaiah’s story, don’t forget to leave us a rating and review and make sure you hit that subscribe button so, you don’t miss out on future stories. Until next time, I’m Paulina Lee.
[00:35:06] And this is here@haas.