Meet the MBA Class of 2023: Malcolm Davis, Yale SOM

“Travel enthusiast committed to making the world more empathetic, one trip at a time.”

Hometown: Blue Bell, Pennsylvania

Fun fact about yourself: I started a loan company in elementary school; my father (my only client) still owes me money (I still have the signed contract).

Undergraduate School and Major: University of Maryland, College Park – Finance

Most recent employer and job title: The Walt Disney Company – Senior Financial Analyst

The Yale School of Management is considered a goal-oriented program. What is your mission? How will your MBA at Yale SOM help you fulfill this mission? I want to make travel more accessible to people of all socio-economic statuses. I hope this will lead to a world in which we have a greater sense of community. During my teenage years, my study abroad experience, and my time at Disney, I witnessed and experienced how, by traveling, people can expand their mindset and form a new appreciation for different cultures. I think many divisions in the United States are rooted in a lack of empathy and understanding.

At Yale SOM, I have the privilege of being surrounded by determined classmates. I intend to deepen my own empathy and expose my blind spots by learning from the experiences of my peers. Additionally, as a member of the Future of Mobility Club, I will learn about trends, practices and insights that can help facilitate the design of my dream.

Which word best describes the Yale SOM MBA students and alumni you have met so far and why? There are so many words that come to mind, but “conscientious” best sums up the character of Yale SOM MBA students and alumni. The school’s mission attracts people who are committed to improving the world. This attraction to a higher purpose manifests itself in the careers of many alumni. Yale SOM alumni work at MBB, investment banks, FAANG and CPG. They also work at the Aspen Institute and have lobbied for more diversity in business, and one of them, Ned Lamont, is Governor of Connecticut.

In my MBA experience so far, people are seen, opinions are heard, and perspectives are recognized. There is a desire not just to discover our uncommon commonalities, but to explore our differences. I’ve had conversations before about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, how to increase black representation at Yale SOM, and improving workplace culture and safety for actors and crew in theater productions . For Yale SOM MBA alumni and students, improving the world is not an afterthought, but a North Star.

Apart from your classmates, What was the key element of the Yale SOM MBA program that led you to choose this business school and why was it so important to you? Yale SOM focuses on the intersectionality of business and society. In the core, several courses focus on perspectives, such as investor or innovator, rather than functions such as marketing or supply chain. It appeals to me because I want to learn in an environment that, for the most part, does not silo different fields of activity, but rather shows how they converge.

What class, club or activity are you most excited about at Yale SOM? There are so many opportunities at Yale SOM, like the co-taught course Modeling Managerial Decisions or the Design & Innovation Club, but what excites me the most are discovery projects. They are an opportunity to work on a project with a large company for an entire semester. I look forward to developing my market research skills by translating insights into strategic recommendations. Additionally, it serves as practice for future internships and full-time roles.

Describe your biggest achievement in your career so far: In my free time, I volunteered as a tutor for underprivileged elementary students in Orlando. I worked with a very energetic first grader who had trouble reading. Despite my best attempts, initially my tutee rebuffed any effort to speak words or read independently. Recognizing the futility of my approach, I pivoted. Starting with the alphabet, I worked with my student to improve his reading fundamentals. Slowly but surely, two Saturdays a month, we worked together. I made sure to give him positive reinforcement as his skills improved; I wanted my student to focus on the journey rather than the destination. Four months after we started, he was enthusiastic about reading and was reading at the first grade level.

How has COVID-19 changed your outlook on your career and life in general? The pandemic has reinforced how fleeting life is. In the past, I found excuses not to start different activities or initiatives. I tried to tackle the challenges all at once, rather than acknowledging that, as my mother would say, “I can’t eat an elephant in one bite.” Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, I have stepped out of my comfort zone by taking five road trips, starting to practice yoga, and becoming a regular runner. I was able to accomplish this by starting small and gradually building up my comfort, flexibility, and aerobic capacity.

What led you to pursue an MBA at this point and what do you hope to do after graduation? At Disney, I loved working in an interdisciplinary way and wanted to pursue more work in that vein. I established a solid foundation in finance through undergraduate studies, internships and four years at Disney. So, it made sense to look for ways to expand my expertise.

I plan to explore courses at Yale SOM to focus on market research, design thinking, and strategic decision making to complement my abilities. In the short term, I will pursue roles in consulting and later I will return to hospitality in a strategic capacity.

What other MBA programs have you applied to? Massachusetts Institute of Technology Sloan School of Management, University of Virginia Darden School of Business, New York University Stern School of Business

What advice would you give to help potential candidates gain admission to the Yale SOM MBA program? The two questions you should ask yourself are:

  1. Can I use this school’s curriculum, opportunities, and resources to get me where I want to go?
  2. The school’s mission, current students, alum, community, etc. are they the person I want to be after business school?

If the answer to both of these questions is yes, focus on specificity. Once you’ve identified the most important factors (brand, geography, industry focus, etc.), start gathering information about each factor. Then, reach out and engage with admissions officers, current students, and alumni. Ask intentional questions that will inform your decision-making process and help you see yourself at SOM. The more focused your essays and answers are, the more likely you are to be admitted.

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