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Real Humans of the MIT Sloan MBA Class of 2024

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mit sloan class of 2024Lili Wondwossen, MIT Sloan MBA Class of 2024

Age: 30
Hometown: Boston, MA
Undergraduate Institution and Major: Boston University, B.S. in Health Science
Pre-MBA Work Experience (years, industry): State Street Corporation, Pfizer Inc. (7 years cumulative experience)

Why did you make the decision to attend business school? Why now?
After a couple of years in finance, I found my passion in Global Health and Social Impact at Pfizer. At Pfizer, I worked on programs that extended access to medicine in underserved communities both in the US and internationally.  I loved the way the organization allowed me to make an impact. I really felt like we were harnessing the collaboration of the private sector and philanthropy, and it was incredible. Most importantly, Pfizer was sort of a unique perch to witness what was happening in the global health space and be part of the decision-making process. I was grateful to see we made progress, but we also had shortcomings. While our industry had progressed in the US, there has been a significant gap in providing access to developing countries. Not only did I want to enhance the equitable distribution of medicine to US markets, but I also wanted to promote emerging markets as the forefront of healthcare innovation and a test bed for novel business models and technologies. I want to ensure that developing countries are not sidelined or met with difficulty when it comes to gaining medicine supplies for their constituents

Why did you choose MIT Sloan? What factors figured most prominently into your decision of where to attend?
I was confident an MIT MBA can help me close the supply chain healthcare gap, not only in Ethiopia but also in other emerging and developing countries. I was also excited by the prospect of joining the Legatum Center and exploring how disruptive technology and innovation can be used to expand emerging market access to medicine. I loved that the Sloan community welcomed problem-solving and finding viable solutions to the most pressing issues facing our world. 

What do you think is your most valuable or differentiating contribution to the MIT Sloan Class of 2024?
One thing that is differentiating about our class is the number of entrepreneurs who represent a diverse set of industries and functions. Outside of the work experience, I also think our class is incredibly collaborative, intentional, and supports one another.

Tell us a fun fact about yourself that didn’t get included on your application:
I want people to know that I love to dance. For the past couple of years, I have coached over 100 children in the Enku Dankera dance group. This coveted dance group is the highlight of the Annual Ethiopian New Year celebration. As a coach, I commit to choreographing and teaching 4 dance routines that represent the different ethnic tribes of Ethiopia. Despite the long and challenging practices, I loved teaching young children about our Ethiopian culture through the art of dance. I take pride in knowing that as a dance coach, I instilled a lifetime bond and appreciation for the Ethiopian community and culture in every child that I taught.

Post-MBA career interests:
Post-MBA, I intend to recruit for consulting, where I will have the chance to support and guide clients on things like product development, strategy, and analysis for business decisions. In the long term, I will leverage these experiences to partner with local African governments to create a pharmaceutical supply chain system for emerging markets such as Ethiopia. 

Advice for Current Prospective Applicants:
–What is one thing you would absolutely do again as part of your application process?
Talking to current and alumni Sloanies was such an integral part of my journey to MIT Sloan. “Sloanies helping Sloanies” is absolutely real and incredibly impactful. I am grateful for those that helped me along the way, and I look forward to paying it back tenfold.

–What is one thing you would change or do differently?
I would have started a bit earlier and been diligent about crafting my story. MIT Sloan is very keen on highlighting what you have done in the past vs. what you will do in the future. Take the time to write a compelling story about your journey and what lead you to business school.

–What is one part you would have skipped if you could—and what helped you get through it?
I wish I could have skipped the long waiting period between the decision rounds.  The mental burden of not knowing the decision was truly hard. Thankfully, I relied on my family and friends to get through it.

What is your initial impression of the Sloan students/culture/community?
I was genuinely impressed with the caliber of my classmates. Everyone is incredibly talented, smart and giving and has stepped up in remarkable ways as leaders in their respective fields. 

What is one thing you have learned about Sloan that has surprised you?
I heard it many times but experiencing the spirit of collaboration in person and within the community was something that surprised me about Sloan. Outside of the classroom, your advisors, professors, and staff members all want you to succeed and will support you throughout your Sloan journey. 

What is one thing you are most anxious about in your first year?
The one thing I am most anxious about is going through Core.  Besides the rigorous aspect of the classes, it’s absolutely critical to work as a group and manage the different expectations and priorities of your classmates. However, although challenging, core semester is meant to teach you effective teamwork and the ability to navigate individuals from a diverse set of backgrounds.  

What is one thing you are most excited about in your first year?
I am excited about the plentiful resources Sloan has to offer. From MIT’s Martin Trust Center for Entrepreneurship to Action learning labs to the diverse set of student-led conferences. I feel so privileged to have access to this incredible set of resources. The Health Care certificate is one of the many resources I intend to leverage as a student and would immerse myself in the healthcare ecosystem. 

Christina Griffith
Christina Griffith is a writer and editor based in Philadelphia. She specializes in covering education, science, and history, and has experience in research and interviews, magazine content, and web content writing.