2019 Best EMBAs: Brad Wayman, Yale SOM

Brad Wayman

Yale School of Management

Age: 39

Hometown: Born in Newport Beach CA, currently live in Old Greenwich CT

Family Members: Wife (Robin), Kids (Kai – 10, Makenna – 9, Lake – 8) Yes, 3 kids in 3 years and our English Bulldog (Roma – 2)

Fun fact about yourself: I worked at the Department of Justice – Office of Public Affairs, White House Office of Political Affairs. One of my favorite memories during that time was dressing up in a bunny costume for the White House Easter Egg Roll for military family members.

Undergraduate School and Degree: Bachelor’s degree from University of California Santa Barbara (UCSB) in Business Economics

Where are you currently working? Citibank – Head of U.S. Mortgage Sales

Extracurricular Activities, Community Work and Leadership Roles:

Fair Lending Champion – Citibank

Currently working with Professor Roger Ibbotson and the Yale administration to take Ibbotson’s stock market simulation game public to be utilized outside of Yale for academic purposes at leading business schools, as well as for financial education across public schools to drive financial literacy and education.

Prior to being relocated from Southern California to New York with Citi, I served on the board at my church in Orange County, CA.

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? During my first year in the program, I co-founded POP (Panel of Peers), which is a student-led initiative that consists of 3 panelists and a moderator each class weekend with topics ranging from Fintech, Healthcare, Veterans in Business, Unconscious Bias, Operations/Logistics, Financial Inclusion, Diversity, and many more topics that executives face in business and society. The slogan for POP is to “Listen. Engage. Lead” with your peers who are the differentiator in the MBA for Executives program. The first POP session was on January 1, 2018, where I moderated a panel of my classmates consisting of a VP of Social Responsibility for NBC Studios; an ex-Wall Street executive who left financial services to start a non-profit to provide pre-natal vitamins and education for disadvantaged women around the world; and the CEO of Mt. Sinai Jewish Health Respiratory Institute. Since then we have conducted over 30 POP sessions at Yale, as well as POP sessions during the 2018 Global Network Week with 8 universities around the globe and 14 international POP sessions scheduled for 2019 Global Network Week. My classmate and co-founder Jasper Daniel and I are working with Yale faculty to host an all-day POP summit with alumni and thought leaders from around the world at Yale School of Management in the coming year. The POP sessions are now a staple of the EMBA program, as the class of 2020 have continued the sessions with their cohort.

I was also fortunate to help write a case for the Asset Management program on Impact Investing that is now being taught in the Yale School of Management programs.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? I am grateful for the investment that people have made in me throughout my career. Having witnessed some of the most influential people in the politics, banking, and academics on the global stage, I have learned that titles and position do not define a person but rather character, integrity and the impact you make on others is what defines success. I am most proud of the opportunities that I have been able to invest in supporting and developing people the same way in which those who have championed me and invested in me professionally and personally.

Who was your favorite MBA professor? I would like to thank the Yale EMBA administration and admissions team first, as they have made the entire program a life-changing experience. The professors were all world-class and were beyond accessible and available to work on independent studies and projects. Professor Jeff Sonnenfeld taught a course on “Corporate Governance,” where each class he brought in and moderated panels of industry-leading CEOs and executives. His topics and discourse were direct and candid, challenging some of the most iconic leaders in business.

What was your favorite MBA course and what was the biggest insight you gained about business from it? This question is like asking which of my kids is my favorite. Achieving my MBA was a culmination of numerous courses and experiences, each unique. One of the MBA courses that brought the MBA experience to life was “State and Society,” which took all the academic disciplines and challenged me to think and wrestle with current issues. The class overlapped significantly with actual business issues I was working through at Citi. It embodied the Yale School of Management’s mission of preparing leaders for business and society.

Why did you choose this executive MBA program? I invested a significant amount of time researching and meeting with numerous top Executive MBA programs around the world. I focused on what program was the best long-term investment in my future both professionally and personally. I met with administrations, faculty, and especially alumni of numerous programs, with the lens of which institution do I want to be associated with for the rest of my life. The intentionality, humility, caliber and character of the Yale administration, faculty, and alumni were overwhelming. On top of that, I was impressed by the program’s integrated rigor (full MBA workload) and focus on developing leaders in business and society. I also wanted a global MBA perspective and Yale’s leadership in the Global Network for Advanced Management was a differentiator. One of my mentors from my time in working at the White House was a Yale Law alum who embodies the level of professional, academic and personal accomplishment and character whom I admire and that is reflected in the Yale EMBA program.

What did you enjoy most about business school in general? I enjoyed the challenge of sharpening my skillset professionally. I worked with some of the leading academic thought leaders as well as professional leaders among my cohort, where real challenges were debated, and ideas and real solutions were developed. My most rewarding experiences and projects were those with my learning team (group of 7).

What is the biggest lesson you gained during your MBA and how did you apply it at work? The lessons learned throughout my MBA experience illuminated the challenges that leaders in business face today that have social and economic effects. I learned that diversity of thought and perspectives is critical. The ability to develop healthy dissent is necessary to challenge the way we approach business and social challenges. I have taken the leadership development lessons and frameworks to help cultivate a dynamic and diverse discourse at work with my leadership teams and organization.

Give us a story during your time as an executive MBA on how you were able to juggle work, family, and education? There were many times where I had business trips where my flight would land late in the evening at the end of the week, I would get dropped off at home unpack and repack within 20-30 minutes, kiss my wife and 3 kids who were already asleep and then head to campus for classes early the next morning for the weekend. One of the biggest reasons I did my EMBA was to force myself as a professional and a leader to prioritize, delegate, and discern where to allocate my time and energy toward the highest and best priorities. I am ready to spend more time with my family who have sacrificed so I could pursue my MBA.

What advice would you give to a student looking to enter an executive MBA program? The nice thing about doing an Executive MBA in the middle of your career is that you are able to bring real business and ethics challenges into a cohort of high-level professionals in your class, along with leveraging world-class academic thought leaders. The approach I took—and would encourage for anyone considering pursuing an Executive MBA—is to diligently research the programs, administrations and alumni to see what institution and people you want to be associated with for the rest of your life, as the EMBA experience will influence your personal and professional perspective for a lifetime. Get buy-in from your personal and professional network; you will want and need an extensive support system that is vested in your MBA process. When you are in a program, invest time with your cohort and professors as your top priority, learning together versus as an individual; check your ego at the door and be willing to be uncomfortable and stretch yourself outside your comfort zone.

What is the biggest myth about going back to school? That the MBA degree is on the decline, and that it is not relevant to being an executive. On the contrary, the classroom intersected the boardroom, with direct application of both the technical skills and the leadership skills needed to navigate challenges that face senior leaders today.

What was your biggest regret in business school? It was balancing my professional career, family and executive MBA at Yale, I will look back and wish I had more capacity to leverage the world-class resources, faculty and endless thought leaders at Yale who have been unbelievably accessible to the cohort and invested in partnering on projects. I plan on remaining involved with the Yale community, alumni, and faculty, and investing in the EMBA program in perpetuity. I look forward to auditing classes I was not able to take, like those at Yale Law School, and leveraging the Yale resources and faculty post-graduation.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? There is a wide range of individuals whom I admire deeply for their academic achievements, professional expertise, and personal character and convictions. However, one who embodies many of the above would be Daniel Coutinho, born in the Comoro Islands, whose family sought political asylum in the U.S. due to their Christian faith; he is now seeking to reconnect with his Comorian community. We both share a passion for the Haitian people and have both served in different capacities in Haiti serving communities, schools, and churches in Haiti and providing ongoing support. After undergrad, he went on to Harvard for his Master’s in public policy, works at the World Bank as a Senior Financial Sector Specialist, and lives his convictions both professionally and personally.

“I knew I wanted to go to business school when…I left working at the White House in DC back in the early 2000’s in order to pursue an MBA/JD. However, after taking my LSAT and beginning the process of applying to law schools, I got an opportunity back in finance. I haven’t left the banking industry after getting opportunities to lead businesses across the US as well getting married and raising a family. Getting my MBA was a goal that I held onto for over 18 years, and I am grateful to have done so in the Executive program given that the cases, research, and courses have been so tangible and applicable to me as a senior leader.”

What is your ultimate long-term professional goal? I would like to continue to advance within executive leadership in the banking and financial sector globally, becoming the CEO of a business/region. Ultimately, I would like to serve on boards of companies focused on solving financial inclusion, financing development in underserved markets around the world, and within government and policy-making in the public sector.

In one sentence, how would you like your peers to remember you? That professionally I am relentless, reliable, passionate about putting people ahead of profits, and have the discernment to handle challenging issues; and personally, that I am guided by my faith and passion to serve people.

What are the top two items on your bucket list? To sail around the world with my wife, and to watch my three kids get married and dance with my daughter at her wedding (but not for a while)

What made Brad such an invaluable addition to the class of 2019?

“Brad has been a great ambassador of the program and is well liked and respected by his peers, faculty and the administration.

During the fall semester of his first year, Brad was impressed by the Yale Stock Market Game, a simulation that mimics the workings of capital markets. In this interactive game, led by Professor Roger Ibbotson, students can practice taking on the role of a portfolio manager in a real-time market simulation. Brad saw an opportunity to develop an interactive game to be used outside of the curriculum as a financial education tool to non-Yale members. He worked closely with Professor Ibbotson and the Yale Case Team to launch this initiative and arranged for sponsorship to help cover part of the development costs. The platform is slated to go live this year. Brad did all of this while continuing to excel academically, and balancing work and family life.

Alongside his classmate Jasper Daniel, they launched Panel of Peers (POP). The objective of these sessions was to provide a platform for their peers to share on their education and experiences, create an opportunity for their class to present on a panel as well as moderate, and create a safe environment to give and receive feedback. Since their first POP session more than a year ago, they have organized more than 25 sessions around various topics, and also expanded beyond the EMBA program to implement it globally at each of the EMBA Global Network Weeks held in June at member schools of the Global Network for Advanced Management.

Their leadership and commitment have helped built a truly unique EMBA community where students have developed strong bonds across the two classes, and have also expanded those EMBA connections beyond Yale SOM to the broader Global Network community.”

Camino de Paz
Managing Director of Global Initiatives, Yale School of Management

DON’T MISS: THE ENTIRE LIST OF THE BEST & BRIGHTEST EXECUTIVE MBAs OF 2019 or RANKING THE BEST EMBA PROGRAMS IN THE U.S.