Selemon Asfaw is a 2nd year student at Tuck. He’s an organizer of the 2013 Diversity Conference as well as Co-chair of the Tuck African Ancestry Business Association. Prior to Tuck, Selemon was an education entrepreneur doing work in the Midwest with public and private enterprises. Next year he will be joining Goldman, Sachs & Co. in their Healthcare Investment Banking Group. He’s a native of Detroit and also a recovering MBA blogger known as ‘The Senator’.
“Be. Build. Become.” was the theme of the 2013 Diversity Conference; and from the perspective of a DivCo (as we affectionately call the conference) co-chair we certainly went through this evolution in planning and executing this year’s event. Beginning on November 7th Tuck welcomed 72 prospective students and 35 Alumni to campus to enjoy a weekend of events highlighted by “Finding Your Voice” with Professor Ella (Bell) Smith and her former student Ramsey Jay Jr. T’05.
In addition to inspirational presentations like “Finding Your Voice” the entire Tuck community gathered for social events like our annual Around the World Celebration featuring cuisine and culture customs from the international community and the infamous black-light party. As a DivCo co-chair witnessing the weekend unfold was one of the most gratifying experiences of my time at Tuck—it also stoked some nostalgia.
In 2011, I was a prospective student with many top MBA programs under my microscope including Tuck. After learning about Tuck in the early fall of that year, Kristin Roth from admissions and Desmond Nation T’09 encouraged me to attend DivCo to get the full breadth of what Tuck had to offer. When I arrived after a harrowing Cape Air flight my first thought was, “Wow, I really am in the middle of the woods.” My second thought when I pulled up to Tuck Hall was, “Much better than I anticipated.” As the weekend continued, I knew that Tuck was the place for me and I set my heart on joining the Class of 2014—luckily I got good news a few months later that I would be a T’14.
When I lean forward, two years after my first DivCo, a few things stand out to me about the conference and diversity at Tuck in general. First of all, behind the scenes A LOT goes into planning and executing the conference. It’s pretty much entirely student led and with a small student body we need almost everyone here to lend a helping hand. Second, this conference means a lot to our professors, administration and staff. Professor Paul Argenti, an expert in corporate communication and Professor Giovanni Gavetti, a guru of competitive strategy both volunteered their time to teach mock classes for prospectives—Professor(s) Argenti and Gavetti literally traveled from out of town JUST to attend the conference—talk about commitment.
Additionally, the alumni at Tuck are so enthusiastic and engaged with the Diversity Conference as well as the greater diversity efforts here. They participate in several of the weekend events and never say no towards lending a helping hand to future and current Tuckies—they are truly the fabric that lifts this MBA program above all others. Finally, and most importantly, the entire Tuck community places an ‘all hands-on deck’ effort to not only make DivCo happen but also advance diversity and inclusion here at Tuck.
Even though we may be nestled in a somewhat obscure part of the Northeast, I’m constantly amazed by the tapestry of different backgrounds on this campus and the progressive efforts of Tuck to enhance diversity. We all recognize there’s a ways to go before we reach ‘Utopia’ but as a person from a racially diverse background I’m so encouraged and couldn’t think of a better program to support my own personal efforts to help enliven the conversation around diversity and inclusion.
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