Student Profile: Building Community
Meredith King '11
Co-leader, Black Business Alliance
Internship: Education Pioneers
Before SOM, I worked for a professional theater company in the Washington, D.C., area, running their school and community programs. For a long time, my goal was to open my own theater company, but as I spent time in the industry, that vision started to change and I began to feel that opening a standard regional theater company wasn’t quite what I wanted to do for the community.
I'm really interested in the intersection of the arts, education, community building, and social justice, and a nonprofit isn't necessarily the right format to accomplish a sustainable intersection of those things. SOM has helped me think about the different models that are possible — a combination of nonprofit and for-profit, a social enterprise model — for what I want to do in the future.
This summer I'll be working with Education Pioneers in the San Francisco Bay Area. They place MBAs in different organizations all over the nation. You are working within a local organization and at the same time you're working with other Education Pioneer fellows to learn about the process you’re going through and thinking about it critically.
The process that led to my internship began before I set foot at SOM. I'm a member of the Consortium for Graduate Study in Management, which is a national diversity organization, and I had a conversation with Education Pioneers at the Consortium orientation program in the spring before arriving at SOM. That relationship continued at the National Black MBA Conference and the Net Impact Conference, so when they came to campus, I was already on their radar.
Next year I will be on the executive committee of Net Impact and co-leading the Black Business Alliance. One of the things that’s exciting about the BBA is that because SOM is now part of the Consortium, our numbers have tripled. So we're trying to build the organization to be sustainable. We’re thinking about what we need to do for our membership in terms of networking and career preparation; what we need to do to be a presence in the SOM community and the broader Yale community; what the things are that differentiate us from organizations at other schools.
Being active in clubs has given me a chance to experiment with my leadership style and see what works, what doesn’t work. It really is like a lab to test things out as I move into a place where I’m going to have to make hard decisions about who I am and how I lead.
SOM is a young community. One of the things I like about it is that even over the course of the year it's been growing and changing, because we all got to have input. It's a small enough community that we get to say, this is what we'd like to see more of, and we can do it. This is a great school for someone who wants to approach learning beyond just the academic curriculum — someone who is open to learning from classmates in informal ways through clubs and activities in the community.