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Q&A: Michigan Ross Full-Time MBAs in the Black Business Student Association Share Their Thoughts in Commemoration of Black History Month


Black History Month is a special time to reflect, honor, and celebrate the valuable contributions that African Americans have made and continue to make.

The Black Business Students Association at the Ross School of Business was born out of a nationwide rise in consciousness among black students on college campuses across the United States in the late 1960s and 70s.

An innovative club, BBSA was one of the first organizations formed by Black students, for Black business students, with goals to increase minority enrollment, improve member academic performance, and retain Black business students at both the BBA and MBA levels. 

We asked BBSA members to share their personal experiences celebrating Black History Month, how being a member of BBSA contributes to their MBA experience, advice for supporting the Black community, and more.


Nassar Omar, MBA ’24

Hometown:  Chapel Hill, North Carolina

Post-Graduation Career Interest: Sports Management and Venture Capital


How are you celebrating Black History Month this year? 

I always like to celebrate Black History Month by learning more about the achievements of titans in the black community that dedicated their lives to creating equality. Michigan hosted an MLK symposium to celebrate Dr. King’s birthday, and Dr. Aletha Maybank reminded me how much time Dr. King spent focusing on healthcare equity. It was refreshing to learn about the breadth of his impact in an area of focus that often gets overlooked.

How has being a member of BBSA contributed to your Michigan Ross MBA experience?

My favorite part about the BBSA community is that we all are trying to win together, and everybody helps each other accomplish our goals. It’s rare that you genuinely find a community of people in business school that aren’t competing with each other for roles and don’t quantify success by the number of positions they hold. BBSA does a great job of fostering a community of friends that all want to see each other succeed and are real with each other about our ambitions.


Kiana Washington, MBA ’23

Hometown: Atlanta, GA

Post-Graduation Career Interest: Venture Capital

How are you celebrating Black History Month this year? 

I celebrate Black History Month by honoring and remembering my family's historical figures. Too often, we only think of the big names and over-index on sharing their triumphs. Still, if it weren't for the individuals that came before us, all of the opportunities that are now commonplace would be next to impossible to achieve.

How have you been able to celebrate and/or share about your Black identity or history as a Ross MBA student?

By being myself - unapologetically. It took a while to understand that I do not have to conform to anything or anyone to be accepted. I can be and take up space as a Black woman from the south and still thrive in any room I am placed in.


Jonathan Clement, MBA ’23

Hometown: Austin, Texas

Post-Graduation Career Interest: Consulting

How has being a member of BBSA contributed to your Michigan Ross MBA experience?

BBSA instantly gave me a community of friends with shared experiences. This group has supported me both personally, professionally, and academically. Like any other era of life, business school has ups and downs, and I am grateful for the individuals I can share this experience with. 

How can the Michigan Ross community support the Black community?

Ross can support the Black community through allyship, attending events, and donating to our scholarship fund. All Ross students can attend BBSA programming and these events are a great opportunity for the entire student body to learn about the black experience.  Lastly, donate to fund our endowed BBSA Fellowship that helps recognize a current second-year MBA with a monetary fellowship for their impressive contributions to the Ross community


Lou Adesida, MBA ’23

Hometown: Philadelphia, PA

Post-Graduation Career Interest: Technology 

How are you celebrating Black History Month this year?

As Co-chair of Social events, I look forward to planning a group volunteering event in Detroit with BBSA members to serve black communities in Detroit. I aim to get as many BBSA members involved as possible and help empower a community with the experience and expertise from the BBSA and Michigan Ross network.· 

How can the Michigan Ross community support the Black community? 

Two ways come to mind regarding the Michigan Ross community supporting the Black community. First is by getting to know more black students and taking the time to go beyond surface-level conversations. I think many students will find similarities and mutual ways to connect. The other way the Michigan Ross community can support the black community is by showing up to events for the broader community, whether as a guest or an ally.


Cameron Pettigrew, MBA ’24

Hometown: Chicago, IL

Post-Graduation Career Interest: Brand Management / Marketing 

How has being a member of BBSA contributed to your Michigan Ross MBA experience?

To me being a member of BBSA has made Ann Arbor feel more like home. I'm from Chicago--and I love the Chi--but to me "home" has always meant being surrounded by people who care for you, support you, and encourage you to live as your authentic self. BBSA has given me a space for empowerment, vulnerability, tough love, and most importantly, a sense of family here at Ross. 

What BBSA events/programming have you enjoyed the most? 

Our BBSA Retreat and the ALE Conference are hands down my favorite events that BBSA has put on this year. The retreat was a great opportunity for all of us to come together, get to know one another better, and get a little R&R. But it was also wonderful to take up space for meditation, reflection, and setting intentions for how we wanted to shape our experiences together at Ross. Our ALE Conference was an incredible weekend that exposed our greater community to leading black businesspeople who were able to share their stories, advice, and insights on thriving in professional spaces. It was wonderful to see undergraduate and MBA students, alumni, and prospective students come together to have meaningful discussions around topics including personal branding, financial literacy, and catalyzing career growth. 


Keisha Murray, MBA ’23

Hometown: Luling, LA

Post-Graduation Career Interest: Management Consulting

How are you celebrating Black History Month this year? 

I'm celebrating by choosing rest and joy, so activities like small group dinners, movie nights, and naps are my go-to's for this month.

What BBSA events/programming have you enjoyed the most? 

I've thoroughly enjoyed the 47th annual ALE conference and the partnership with BBUS. Both have epitomized what it looks like for like-minded individuals to come together and celebrate, uplift, and develop one another.