Simon Students Work with Consortium Counterparts on ‘MBA Students Care’ Campaign

Three Simon MBAs recently joined together with peers in other MBA programs to take action following recent horrific and tragic racial injustices. Brittany Floyd ’22 (MBA), Ahmyah Smith ’22 (MBA), and Cagney Spears ’21 (MBA), members of The Consortium for Graduate Study in Management, are working with students at other Consortium member schools on MBA Students Care: A June Fundraiser for Color of Change.

Cagney Spears '21 (MBA)

Cagney Spears ’21 (MBA)

Cagney is a Consortium liaison for Simon, and she recalled around a month ago, a peer liaison at Michigan Ross asked if any other students were interested in starting an initiative to take action. Cagney was one of the first students on the planning committee, which eventually chose Color of Change as the organization that would receive proceeds from the fundraiser.

Cagney explained the team picked Color of Change because it organizes efforts that are moving the needle for Black and Brown communities. She also noted that the planning committee liked the organization’s dedication to education—once you donate to Color of Change, you’re automatically added to its mailing list to build knowledge on a range of social justice causes.

Cagney was impressed by the incoming MBA students, who were extremely enthusiastic to help at the very start of their Simon experience. Brittany commented that “because of the time and the climate, it’s hard not to be involved if you’re aware.”

In 1968, Simon was the fourth school to join The Consortium, an organization committed to enhancing the diversity and inclusion of global business education and leadership by addressing the significant underrepresentation of Black, Native, and Latin Americans. Simon’s incoming MBA Class of 2022 has 33 students who are Consortium members—the largest cohort in school history.

Ahmyah Smith '22 (MBA)

Ahmyah Smith ’22 (MBA)

Having worked for nonprofits from a DEI lens, diversity was central for Ahmyah when considering MBA programs. She was looking for a place that not only encouraged students to be their authentic selves but that embraced each student’s uniqueness. “I appreciate Simon living it and not doing lip service,” she said.

Brittany felt that being involved in the fundraiser for Color of Change helped her really get acquainted with the culture at Simon. “I am so grateful to be in the Simon community. A friend told me that it’s collaborative and people watch out for you, and it’s true. Everyone is so open and willing to help. Although I was told about the culture here, having this crash course helped me realize it’s true, and it’s not something they just say to get you here,” she said with a laugh.

Similarly, the Simon students had nothing but positive things to say about working with their Consortium counterparts from other schools. The Consortium network is known for being tight knit, especially with members sharing the transformative OP conference before beginning their MBA programs. Even though this year’s OP was conducted virtually, the Class of 2022 is still closely connected. “We’ve all built bonds that will last past this moment,” Brittany said.

After the campaign launched June 3, many of the organizers stayed busy promoting it on social media and reaching out to contacts to spread the word, while several team members kept the group in the loop as the numbers rose. “We saw $1,500 and thought, ‘Oh that’s great—we’ll definitely get to $20,000 by the end of the month,’” Cagney said with a smile.

Little did they know it would only take roughly 18 hours for the campaign to reach its initial goal. The team reevaluated the next day and made the decision to set a new goal of $100,000.

Brittany Floyd '22 (MBA)

Brittany Floyd ’22 (MBA)

“It was an incredible, thrilling experience to watch us surpass the goal and also the commitment to do more and go higher,” Brittany said. “We have a dedication to the cause and it’s completely in line with why we are all in The Consortium.”

All three students noted that while the financial contributions are important, awareness and education is an equally significant goal of the campaign. Cagney emphasized that being an ally isn’t always about donating but can also include signing petitions and calling elected officials to demand justice. The team hopes the effort not only educates their networks but mobilizes them to create change.

The campaign currently sits north of $65,000—more than three times what the group initially hoped to donate to Color of Change (support the cause here). There are plans to leave the fundraiser open for a full month, and after they close it out on July 3, the team will take some time to rest and reevaluate what comes next. “We want to strategize how we keep the momentum going,” Ahmyah said.

With many Class of 2021 students embarking on their summer internships soon and classes resuming for everyone not long after that, Cagney noted there will be a great deal of brainstorming to come up with ideas that build on this effort that won’t be too taxing. “The past month has been exhausting—not only being a Black person in America, but on top of that, doing crowd-sourced non-profit work, which is something I’ve never experienced,” Cagney said.

The team plans to focus on this important diversity, equity, and inclusion work “back home” at Simon as well, with the full support and partnership of school leadership, including Dean Sevin Yeltekin. Cagney noted it was particularly meaningful to hear Dean Yeltekin say that the burden to solve systemic problems doesn’t fall on Black people. “It’s our job to provide feedback, but it’s not our job to fix it,” Cagney said.

“We are all thinking about it in the long term,” Brittany said. “We are committed to the long-term goal of making our world more equitable for people of color.”

Comments are closed.