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Two Michigan Ross Executive MBAs Recognized For Being the ‘Best & Brightest’ of 2021

By Monica Jianette

Recent Ross School of Business graduates Chiquita Berg, EMBA ’21, and Shakira Kelly, EMBA ’21, were named among the Best & Brightest Executive MBAs of 2021 by Poets&Quants.

To make the list, P&Q looked to honor 2021 EMBA graduates who “personify excellence” through “their contributions to the class, academic performance, extracurricular involvement, professional achievement, and personal intangibles.” The publication asked 49 top-ranked executive MBA programs, including Michigan Ross, for recommendations of outstanding individuals for their eighth annual Best & Brightest list.

The featured EMBA graduates are leaders from a large variety of executives, from physicians to cybersecurity experts. Read on to learn more about the two Michigan Ross alumni named to the list.

Shakira Kelly, MBA ’21

With a background in computer science, Kelly had long considered pursuing an MBA to advance her career. After attending a professional leadership program at Michigan Ross in 2018, she was inspired by the focus on leadership and positive culture and knew that Ross was the perfect fit for her.

“So for me, the programs at Michigan Ross were the only ones I considered and I am thrilled with the outcome,” she told P&Q.

From the classes that went even deeper into the Michigan Model of Leadership, to the extracurricular opportunities with industry leaders, to the executive coaching I received, each element provided me with an even deeper education that I don’t think I could have received elsewhere.

Shakira Kelly, MBA ’21

During the Michigan Ross Executive MBA Program, Kelly is proud of her achievements with the Executive Multidisciplinary Action Project, or ExecMAP, she worked on. Kelly’s group supported LIFT Ireland, a leadership development program focused on increasing positive leadership in the Irish population. 

“My team built and maintained the systems that supported the manufacture of the first biologic drug to market (Enbrel) that treated rheumatoid arthritis. Seeing the impact that the drug had on patients’ lives gave me incredible satisfaction. I learned to strive for continual flawless execution and build, as well as process improvement,” she explained. 

Kelly’s long-term professional goal is to start a nonprofit that in some way helps society by using both her technical background and her newly developed business skills. “I strongly believe we each have a purpose and for me I know I am my best self when I can use my skills to positively impact others,” she said.

Read more about Kelly

Dr. Chiquita Berg, MBA ’21

Berg is an IHA obstetrics and gynecology physician at St. Mary Mercy Hospital in Livonia, Michigan. She told P&Q she chose to pursue an executive MBA in order to advance her leadership and teamwork skills, a main focus of the Michigan Ross program. As a mom of two and a full-time physician, Berg balanced the rigor of the program through diligent time management and having a strong social support network.   

At Michigan Ross, one of the accomplishments Berg is most proud of is her increased confidence and comfort in public speaking. 

“I had nightmares that some reporter and cameraman would jump out of the bushes and surprise me with an impromptu interview,” she explained. “Despite my discomfort, I forced myself to take advantage of every opportunity to practice.”

One of Berg’s favorite parts about the program at Ross was a negotiations course taught by Sue Ashford, which emphasized using different negotiation techniques depending on the situation for an optimal outcome. “This course really helped me to appreciate the true value of my own strengths and become a more confident negotiator,” she said.

Read more about Berg

Featured Faculty

Sue Ashford
  • Michael & Susan Jandernoa Professor of Management and Organizations
  • Chair of Management & Organizations