Two Indian-Origin Students Among Harvard Business School’s 2021 Goldsmith Fellows

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Nikita Ramanujam

BOSTON—Harvard Business School (HBS) has announced the 2021 recipients of its Horace W. Goldsmith Fellowships. Established in 1988 by the Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation and Richard L. Menschel (MBA 1959), a former director of the Foundation and a limited partner at Goldman Sachs, to encourage students from the nonprofit and public sector to attend HBS, these fellowships enable the School to award $10,000 to a select number of incoming MBA students.

Beginning with the Class of 1990, 236 incoming students have received the fellowship. Recipients of the award have served in leadership roles in nonprofit and public sector organizations and demonstrate a strong commitment to continued career paths in these areas. New recipients are invited to participate in events with current and former recipients as well as local social enterprise leaders in an effort to create a network of individuals committed to working in social enterprise.

The 2021 Goldsmith Fellows are:

Monami Chakraborty. Monami has spent the last four years at Dasra, India’s leading strategic philanthropy foundation that has improved development outcomes for over 30 million Indians. She focused on diligence and capacity building to help leaders scale their operations, working in the founder’s office to develop Dasra’s strategy, and to scale safe and inclusive sanitation solutions in urban India. Monami said “By choosing to continue in a career in development post HBS, I hope to steer strategic, gender-focused investments that yield real social impact.

 


Joe English. Joe is founder of Hope in a Box, a national program that helps educators build diverse and LGBTQ-inclusive classrooms through literature. Since 2019, Hope in a Box has grown to support 500 schools across all 50 states, reaching 70,000 students. Joe said, “I have found incredible meaning and joy in social entrepreneurship, and remain committed to building a more empathetic, inclusive public education system, especially for rural and lower-income communities like my own.”

 

Kendall Ernst. Returning to his birth country of Lesotho and growing up in the Smoky Mountains drove Kendall to a career in the environment. He spent five years at Rocky Mountain Institute, leading projects that provide clean energy access for underserved people worldwide, and two years at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory developing resilience and renewable energy projects for the US Army. Kendall said “At HBS I will collaborate with like-minded individuals to flesh out my entrepreneurial ideas on energy and environment, and I am confident that the tests I face and lessons I learn will elevate them.”

 

Furman Haynes. Furman cares deeply about finding innovative ways to disrupt generational poverty, especially in and between the education and workforce systems. Furman’s early career has included roles at the National Economic Council at the White House, CityBridge Education, and most recently as cofounder of CityWorks DC, a nonprofit which helps connect young people of color to good jobs in the Washington, DC region. He says that the Goldsmith Fellowship will give him the “knowledge and relationships needed to continue to make an impact in the field of education-to-employment.”

 

 

Quintin Haynes. Quintin’s public sector career has spanned federal and city government, serving as head of financial operations at The White House, Special Assistant and Advisor to two U.S. Department of Commerce Secretaries, and most recently, Acting Commissioner and Executive Deputy Commissioner at the City of New York Department of Citywide Administrative Services, responsible for citywide asset management and developing the City’s COVID-19 workplace strategy. Quintin said, “As a Goldsmith Fellow, I will focus on investing in the future of cities, modernizing public service delivery, and advancing cross-sector partnerships.”

Vi Mai. As Deputy Director of Data Strategy and Innovation at the Initiative for a Competitive Inner City, Vi oversaw the development of new initiatives, including a digital learning experience for small business owners and a capacity-building program for BIPOC and women subcontractors. As a first-generation American that grew up in a low-income family, Vi is committed to help close the racial capital gap. She said “I hope to take the experience and skills I have as well as the foundation I will build at HBS to make capital and, ultimately, entrepreneurship more accessible to BIPOCs.”

 


Colin McWatters. Colin has worked to identify and implement private-public partnerships in Rwanda to improve access to essential medical services and tests at hospitals, health centers, and the community level, serving for one year at the Rwanda Ministry of Health as a Global Health Corps fellow and the past two years with the Clinton Health Access Initiative. Colin said, “The Goldsmith community will help me draw from my background working with governments, health systems, and corporations to ensure no one dies of a preventable disease.”

 

Nikita Ramanujam. Nikita spent four years as a fourth-grade teacher in the Oakland Unified School District. With a commitment to use public education as a vehicle for economic mobility, she built her school’s first data driven framework for allocating academic and mental health services. During Covid, she led plans across the district for digital learning for 15,000 students and safety plans for students to receive learning materials and food. She said, “My career aspirations leverage a multi-faceted approach across social systems, and HBS will allow me to benefit from the prowess, feedback, and support of current students and alumni.”

 

Andrew Seo. As Deputy Director of Operations and Strategy at NYC Kids RISE, Andrew was a member of the founding team that launched the Save for College Program, a public-private partnership with the City of New York and NYC Department of Education, to provide college scholarships to NYC public school students; after concluding a successful pilot in western Queens, the program recently expanded citywide. He also oversaw emergency cash relief efforts for program families during the pandemic. He said, after HBS, “We have a shot to build the institutions that will lead to a more inclusive economy.”

 

Amara Warren. Amara joins HBS after six years at KIPP Public Schools where she worked on the National Policy and Public Affairs team. During her time at the organization, she built a robust alumni network, creating a place for KIPP’s 30,000 graduates to support each other, find mentors, and access job opportunities. She said, “I am coming to HBS because I am seeking greater training, skills, and experience to have a more scalable impact on the education sector as a whole.”

 

Ava Zhang. Ava’s focus on social enterprise in emerging markets began as an Entrepreneur Selection & Growth Fellow at Endeavor Chile. She then worked in the Social Sector and Healthcare practices at McKinsey, before joining SunCulture in Kenya as Chief of Staff, where she led strategic initiatives to expand access to solar-powered irrigation for smallholder farmers across East and West Africa. As a joint degree candidate at HBS and HKS, Ava said, “As a Goldsmith Fellow, I’m excited to learn from a community of people who are dedicated to channeling their HBS education towards social change.”

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