2022 Best & Brightest Business Major: Javion Joyner, Wharton School

Javion Joyner

Wharton School (University of Pennsylvania

“Big appetite for mac and cheese, public policy, self-improvement, and checking his Google Calendar.”

Fun fact about yourself: I’ve road-tripped across the U.S. four times since starting college.

Hometown: Spokane Valley, Washington

High School: Central Valley High School

Major: B.S. in Economics with concentrations in Business Economics & Public Policy and Legal Studies & Business Ethics

Minor: Urban Real Estate & Development

Favorite Business Course: REAL 230: Urban Fiscal Policy

Extracurricular Activities, Community Work and Leadership Roles During College:

  • Wharton Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Group (WEDIG) – Inaugural Co-Chair and Board Member
  • Wharton Undergraduate Steering Group Meetings – Participant and initiative point for Wharton Undergraduate Student Values project
  • Black Wharton Consulting – Director and Team Leader
  • Successful Transition and Empowerment Program (STEP) – Study Groups Program Co-lead and First-Year Mentor
  • REAL 230: Urban Fiscal Policy – Teaching Assistant
  • Penn Institute for Urban Research – Fellow in Urban Leadership
  • Honors: Joseph Wharton Scholar, Benjamin Franklin Scholar, Zell/Lurie Real Estate Center Richard Frost Award, Ballard Fund for Real Estate Excellence Award

Where have you interned during your college career?

  • McKinsey & Company, Philadelphia, First-Year and Sophomore Summer Business Analyst
  • Philadelphia Department of Commerce, Philadelphia, Research and Policy Intern
  • National Urban League, Washington D.C., Economic Policy Intern

Where will you be working after graduation? McKinsey & Company, Business Analyst

What is the biggest lesson you gained from studying business? Business interacts with and impacts so many other parts of society. Some can get so fixated on the bottom line that they can forget the importance of understanding how people’s lives are impacted and how other disciplines should shape decision-making. For example, at the beginning of college, I developed a strong interest in inequality and public policy in cities and was able to explore this through classes in the Urban Studies Department. This gave me an extra lens to consider the content of business classes and sparked my deep interest in diversity and inclusion within organizations at the micro-level. Everything is connected, and I’m a huge believer that interdisciplinary study challenges our brains in ways that makes us more creative problem solvers, more compassionate individuals, and more successful business people.

What advice would you give to a student looking to major in a business-related field? In addition to echoing the importance of the interdisciplinary study of business, it’s also helpful to think of business as an incredibly applied field. As much as I loved many of my business classes, most of my learning about business happened outside the classroom, through clubs, internships, case competitions, and team projects. See if you can find ways to explore your interests or put your knowledge to the test outside the classroom and see the impact of your education in real-time!

Looking back over your experience, what is the one thing you’d do differently in business school and why? Though I hadn’t expected the pandemic to make traveling a huge barrier, I would push to get more exposure to business outside the U.S. earlier in my undergraduate journey. I’ve seen how much my friends from abroad have enhanced my perspective through their knowledge of norms/customs of other places, and I would love to explore more to expand my own worldview. I hope to do so in my post-grad career.

What business executive do you admire most? Stacey Stewart, CEO of March of Dimes – Not only does she run an organization that I admire, but she is also an awesome leader, mentor, and advocate for diversity, equity, and inclusion. I got to meet Stacey at a Black Wharton conference and was inspired by her legacy of applying strong business acumen to supporting important social causes in non-profits and government. I find her impressive career spanning both private and social sectors incredibly admirable as a model for how to build a solid career foundation while also prioritizing creating a positive impact on others.

Which academic, extracurricular or personal achievement are you most proud of? Serving as the inaugural co-chair and founding board member of WEDIG was an incredible experience. Not only did we need to set up the infrastructure for a new board completely virtually, but we also supported students and the school in response to police brutality and protests during summer 2020, before even having a full board. Co-leading efforts to build the foundation for an organization that will be a permanent fixture in Wharton–which has already begun to make an impact on representation and inclusion–has been one of the honors of my lifetime. On a personal level, I experienced extreme mental dissonance trying to build an environment for people to be comfortable in their own skin when I was not comfortable in mine. Leading WEDIG motivated me to embrace my own identity as gay, so I could be a bold leader that can support others in their journeys to find belonging in every space.

Which classmate do you most admire? Charlie Ross is one of the most incredible people I’ve met at Penn, and I’ve gotten to know him well through Wharton Undergraduate Steering Group Meetings and the Wharton values project. I’ve learned so much from him about how to be an empathetic leader that has fun along the way. Beyond leading Wharton Council and making countless lasting contributions to our school, Charlie is such a profoundly phenomenal team player that I’d want on any team. He never fails to inspire enthusiasm among teammates, to genuinely inquire about people’s lives, or to build others’ ideas up. It was no surprise to me when I found out he was voted “Best Relationship Builder” in his negotiations class. Who wouldn’t want to be friends with Charlie?

Who would you most want to thank for your success? I would not be anywhere without the continuous and unyielding support of my parents. They’ve bent over backward to support and invest in my happiness in nearly every way imaginable from the beginning. From helping me think through important decisions or my first car accident, to sending care packages every holiday without fail, to being unequivocally accepting of my career decisions, they’ve always been there as my biggest cheerleaders. They have been my biggest role models and have instilled in me a thoughtfulness, a deep sense of care for others, a desire to serve the communities around me, and a strong determination that have made me who I am.

What are the top two items on your professional bucket list? First, I want to work on public policy at the local level, specifically with a focus on reducing urban inequality. Second, I’ve always dreamed of running my own brick-and-mortar business—probably a restaurant because I love food!

What are your hobbies? I love exploring cities with friends, writing poetry, watching political dramas on Netflix, road trips with friends, and reading.

What made Javion such an invaluable addition to the Class of 2022?

“Javion Joyner has made a profound impact on the Wharton student community during his time at Penn. He was integral to the creation of the Wharton Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Group (WEDIG) and was its inaugural co-chair during a pivotal point. Through WEDIG, Javion was able to bring equity- and diversity-related initiatives to the undergraduate student body. I have also been so impressed with Javion’s efforts in spearheading the Wharton Undergraduate Student Values initiative, which established a set of common values shared by the undergraduate student body. His work with these initiatives will be felt for years to come.”

Lee Kramer
Director of Student Life, Wharton Undergraduate Division

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