Airian WilliamsFull-time Social Impact MBA HRLDP, IBM
“I want to tackle social issues like racial inequity through leadership in the HR and DEI space,” Airian says. “Business has a unique opportunity to wield its influence to transform our society for the better. Now it’s up to me and you to make it a reality!”
Airian Williams is a first-generation graduate student, a Black man, a person of faith—and a Social Impact MBA student making a huge impact at Questrom.
With a bachelor’s in sociology and a concentration in social inequalities and social change from Tufts University, Airian spent a few years gaining work experience in K-12 education consulting, DEI, and analytics. He knew Questrom was the perfect place to continue to grow, learn, and pursue his passion to use business principles to make people’s lives better.
“The leadership opportunities I’ve had at Questrom allowed me to embrace my values of community, wisdom, and growth in service of a richer shared understanding of how we’re all connected by difference,” Airian says. “I believe we become better versions of ourselves as we tap into the wisdom of those around us. So, to make room for folks to engage in this process was meaningful for me, and I hope the same is true for others in the Questrom community.”
As soon as he enrolled, Airian found ways to build on Questrom’s existing inclusion efforts, and help create an even more diverse and inclusive environment at the school. In many leadership roles— graduate assistant in Questrom’s Center for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion; vice president of finance for the Graduate Students of the African Diaspora; chair of Student Diversity Recruitment Committee; and member of the Dean’s Sounding Board—Airian helped the school adopt a clearer and more consistent focus on racial equity.
“My peers are a great group of playmates, as we collectively explore the playground that is Questrom. Before entering the program, I was concerned other folks wouldn't play nice but, I was thrilled to find myself among supportive collaborators in an environment that accelerated my professional and personal development.”
In the classroom and out, Airian is making the most of his time at Questrom. “The Social Impact program takes the traditional MBA a step further,” he says, “equipping leaders of tomorrow with the business acumen needed to thrive in a landscape where there is increasing overlap between the for-profit and social sector. With what I’ve learned in the program, I feel uniquely positioned to accelerate social progress through business.”
Ask his MBA professors and peers, and they’ll tell you that Airian’s honesty, integrity, courage, and spirit of service inspire everyone he meets. He’s sure to bring this spirit and tenacity with him as he makes his next career move—a coveted spot in IBM’s Human Resources Leadership Development Program. It was a summer internship as a senior global human resources partner with IBM that led to the position.
“I want to tackle social issues like racial inequity through leadership in the HR and DEI space,” Airian says. “Business has a unique opportunity to wield its influence to transform our society for the better. Now it's up to me and you to make it a reality!”