Georgetown University, McDonough School of Business
“Recipe for 1 Aaryn: ½ cup eucalyptus, 2 weighted blankets, 1 ¾ cups pasta, 6 islands, 5 hours music, 2 hours podcast, family & friends (season to taste). Cook for length of the Phantom of the Opera.”
Fun fact about yourself: I’ve seen Phantom of the Opera on Broadway over six times and I’ll probably see it six more.
Hometown: Long Island, NY
High School: St. Mary’s High School
Major: Management, Marketing
Minor: African American Studies
Favorite Business Course: Imagination & Creativity
Extracurricular Activities, Community Work and Leadership Roles During College:
- Competitor on the McDonough Global Case Team, where I was trained to develop and enhance analytical and critical thinking skills as well improve my presentation and persuasion abilities. These competitions took place both nationally and internationally.
- The VP of Judging for the McDonough Business Strategy Challenge, a case competition held at Georgetown University for competing teams nationally and internationally. Within this role, I was responsible for securing business professionals from various business functions.
- Director of Operations for Georgetown Aspiring Minority Business Leaders & Entrepreneurs (GAMBLE), where I managed the multi-thousand dollar budget for the academic year while tracking payments from corporate sponsors. I was also responsible for updating and maintaining a calendar of events for the board and general body, and served as a liaison between GAMBLE presidents and corporate sponsors relaying important updates.
- President of Georgetown Aspiring Minority Business Leaders & Entrepreneurs (GAMBLE), where I provide leadership and support to develop a strategy for expansion of the club’s general body membership.
Where have you interned during your college career? My sophomore summer, I interned at JP Morgan Chase out of the New York office, virtually. I served as an Advancing Black Pathways Consumer Banking Apprentice and performed various duties. I participated and attained the highest score in a business sprint case competition for Harbor Bank of Maryland, completed trainings that focus on enhancing interpersonal and technical skills, and overall, excelled in the firm’s first-ever virtual internship experience.
My junior year, I spent another summer interning at JP Morgan Chase out of the New York office, in a hybrid modality. I served as a Chase Leadership Development Program Intern. Within this role, I developed strategies for acquiring and retaining Millennial/Gen Z Black consumers while increasing Chase’s revenue; built an operating model while being mindful of the key objectives within the Business Development sector at Chase; and effectively communicated with managers to lay a comprehensive implementation timeline for marketing strategies.
Where will you be working after graduation? I will be working at JPMorgan Chase as a Chase Leadership Development Analyst out of the New York office.
Who is your favorite professor? My favorite professor is Zandria Robinson. Professor Z opened my eyes to a refreshing field after taking many classes solely within the business school. The course was called The Black in Black Pop Culture and provided an interesting analysis on the TV shows and music my parents watched and listened to growing up, and the ones I watched and listened to thereafter. It brought depth and dimension to things in my life I hadn’t previously viewed through an analytical cultural lens.
What advice would you give to a student looking to major in a business-related field? Growing up, my mom always told me that if there was no way, I should make a way. That adage stayed true and remains true today. So, my advice to any undergraduate is to force themselves to get uncomfortable, think outside of the box, and keep a circle of friends that provides diversity of thought, which also helps with problem solving in business.
What has surprised you most about majoring in business? I was surprised at how quickly I was immersed into business culture at Georgetown. Starting freshman year, I was already placed on a case competition team and was involved in problem solving activities.
I am also surprised at how applicable my course content is to my everyday life; commercials became more interesting and my grocery store runs always made me question marketing strategies.
Looking back over your experience, what is the one thing you’d do differently in business school and why? I would take more classes in supply chain management and operations. COVID-19 has opened my eyes to the various ways in which businesses are affected by their supply chain model.
What business executive do you admire most? Thashunda Duckett. Once I identified my interest in business, my only goal was to become the CEO of a Fortune 500 firm. To intern at a Fortune 500 firm that had a black woman CEO was really inspiring and incredibly motivational.
During my internship, she took the time to speak to my intern class and focused heavily on financial literacy. This is so important for us as young people to understand and it’s something minority people aren’t often taught. She was not just taking her rightfully earned space within a predominately white industry, but also giving opportunities to young people to be successful as well.
Which academic, extracurricular or personal achievement are you most proud of? As the president of Georgetown Aspiring Minority Business Leaders and Entrepreneurs (GAMBLE), I organized and hosted the annual Diversity Dialogue Conference (DDC). In Spring 2021, in collaboration with my co-president Bryce Badger and fellow board members, we held our 8th annual DDC. This conference connects minority undergraduate students with professionals around the nation to foster dialogue on various professional and diversity topics. This particular conference was very special as it took place during the uncertain times of the COVID-19 pandemic, and thereby was our first ever virtual conference.
Our 8th annual conference was themed Redefining Normal, and we did just that in more ways than one. Despite just changing the modality of the conference — which was extremely new to me — we leveraged the opportunity to make this a global event. We brought together over 350 attendees from 25 schools and nine different countries, making it our largest and most vast conference to date.
Which classmate do you most admire? I most admire my previous co-president for Georgetown Aspiring Minority Business leaders and Entrepreneurs (GAMBLE), M. Bryce Badger. At the start of my Georgetown journey, I didn’t always feel like I belonged in the space. As an African American woman attending a predominantly white institution (PWI), imposter syndrome is very real. I remember taking part in a pre-orientation program the summer before my freshman year. Bryce was a mentor for the program and we clicked instantly. Throughout my first year, Bryce served as a wonderful shoulder to lean on. Within my sophomore year, Bryce and I served on the board of GAMBLE together, When my sophomore summer internship search began, he was right there to help me through it all. Between the late night interview prep and resume reviews, I truly would not have been able to achieve the success I have without him. During his senior year, we served as GAMBLE co-presidents together! And this year, we plan to launch Auro Consulting, our first company, together. Everything comes full circle.
Who would you most want to thank for your success? I would like to thank Dean Patricia Grant because at the start of my undergraduate career, it was nice to see someone who looks like me within the business school. It was rare to find POC students, let alone professors and more senior faculty.
She is the faculty advisor for GAMBLE, which proves she cares about students in an environment that wasn’t necessarily constructed with their success in mind. She has always rooted for me. In a PWI, walking into the dean’s office every day and seeing someone that was rooting for me personally, kept me going.
What are the top two items on your professional bucket list?
- I’d like to open a chain of boutique hotels around the world. First, one of my hobbies is traveling. I like that boutique hotels are able to infuse the culture of the community they’re located in within the building. I want to curate the ideal hotel, where every single feature is five stars. One of the main problems in society is that things aren’t genuine. We stay in a hotel and everything is very commercial and there are no concrete identifiers of the culture you’re in. However, understanding people’s cultures is one of the main problems we have in today’s society. If we have the destination’s culture within the hotel itself, we can have a more well-rounded and culturally-aware society.
- Launch Auro Consulting, a firm founded by myself and three close friends, where we aim to provide career consulting to minorities.
What are your hobbies? Cooking, traveling, singing, and curating music playlists.
What made Aaryn such an invaluable addition to the Class of 2022?
“Aaryn Taft is an invaluable addition to the Class of 2022 because of her exceptional leadership and service to others. As an example of her leadership, Aaryn is co-president of Georgetown Aspiring Minority Business Leaders & Entrepreneurs (GAMBLE), which provides minority undergraduates with a “holistic approach to career planning and access to employment opportunities”—while also facilitating a conversation about diversity, equity, and inclusion on campus and in the workplace. GAMBLE is making a positive impact on so many undergraduate students—and making Georgetown University a more inclusive environment. And Aaryn is at the forefront of this effort.
Aaryn’s leadership and impact was also noticed by GrayBridge. GrayBridge is a national organization that has created a breakthrough platform for people of all ages and races to engage in racial justice and equity. GrayBridge was so impressed with Aaryn and her leadership at Georgetown that they invited her to become a part of their National Youth Board, which governs GrayBridge.
It is not just her leadership that makes Aaryn such an invaluable addition to the Class of 2022, it is also her service to others. Whether it is in the classroom or in the hallways of the McDonough School of Business, Aaryn is always listening to people’s concerns and worries and then providing advice on how to move forward. Students who have been mentored by Aaryn are so grateful for her support and care and she was always willing to help them through the difficult challenges they were facing. Taking on the mentor role is time consuming, but Aaryn’s motivation to help others is one of her distinctive qualities as student leader—and as a person.
Aaryn Taft embodies the very best of Georgetown University!”
Robert J. Bies
Professor of Management at Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business
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