A professional image of Jamari Brooks (MBA '20)

Jamari Brooks (MBA ’20)

At the end of each academic year, first- and second-year Broad Full-Time MBA students, faculty and staff typically gather for a Community Honors ceremony to mark the culmination of success (and celebrate the end of finals). Dressed to the nines, they honor one another, de-stress and continue to build lasting relationships.

“After making it through classes and career fairs, and finding internships and jobs, we all come together for one night to celebrate the year in totality,” explained Jamari Brooks (MBA ’20), outgoing vice president of community events for the Broad MBA Association.

This year, however, social-distancing guidelines stood in the way of hosting a live Community Honors event. Knowing that second-year students would also graduate without a live commencement ceremony, the MBAA decided the end of the year was still worth celebrating — so they re-created the Community Honors experience online to bring everyone together one last time.

“Moving this event online was a wake-up call,” Chelsi Riordan (MBA ’21) said. “It was a reminder that you have to live in the moment and appreciate your network. This pandemic brought to life how important that is. Sure, we have a rigorous curriculum and learn a lot in the classroom, but this program is also about building relationships outside those walls.”

Headshot of Broad MBA student Chelsi Riordan

Chelsi Riordan (MBA ’21)

After lots of planning and preparation by the MBAA, including help from Brooks and Riordan, more than 100 people joined a video conference on April 16 to catch up, enjoy one another’s company and honor their milestones and achievements over the last year.

“It was a great celebration of the second-year students finishing this huge accomplishment and moving on to post-MBA journeys,” Riordan explained. “At the same time, it was a moment for us first-year students to take a deep breath and celebrate the fact that we’re halfway through.”

Prior to the ceremony, the students, faculty and staff had a chance to select winners for six awards, which were unveiled that evening by emcees Brooks and Riordan:

Spirit Award

  • First-Year: Chelsi Riordan
  • Second-Year: Jamari Brooks

Unity Award

  • First-Year: Ishwardeep Kohli
  • Second-Year: Jamari Brooks

Most Outstanding MBA Student Award

  • First-Year: Charlie Kelly, Danielle Chatman-Moore and Chelsi Riordan
  • Second-Year: Ayla Olvera

Professionalism Award

  • First-Year: Danielle Chatman-Moore
  • Second-Year: Jarrid Leute, Ayla Olvera

Most Outstanding Professor Award

  • First-Year: Charles Hadlock
  • Second-Year: Jennifer Dunn

Broad Warrior Award

  • Deepal Chhabra
  • Aaron Engwis
  • Noah Radtke
  • Karthik Rai
  • Michael Sahara

“It was so great see people we hadn’t seen in a month or longer,” Brooks said. “The mood was fun and filled with excitement. People were even reflecting their moods by choosing specific backgrounds.”

To boost interaction and participation, they also hosted live superlative awards, which were voted on and announced in real time:

Sparty Tardy Award (for the person who’s always running behind)

  • First-Year: Matthew Seafield
  • Second-Year: Aditya Singla

Broad Bro Award (for the friendliest person in each class)

  • First-Year: Deepal Chhabra, Joshua Gira, Ali Abboud
  • Second-Year: Mike Minkus, Oshada Silva, Elliot Lourie

Zoomed Award (for the student who hasn’t let the virtual class format hinder their participation)

  • First-Year: Charlie Kelly
  • Second-Year: Jamari Brooks

As Brooks wraps up his time at Michigan State University and prepares to join BASF’s Leadership Development Program, he welcomed the opportunity to connect with everyone once more. “We were missing the social aspects of the program, especially since our classes are being conducted online right now as well,” he said. “We wanted to keep that spirit up and send everyone out on a positive note — and this ceremony allowed us to do that.”

As she prepares for her second year, Riordan said she appreciated the chance to see everyone virtually as a way to conclude her first-year experience. “The fact that we had over 100 people join this virtual ceremony speaks to the culture we have within the Broad Full-Time MBA program and how closely knit we are,” she said. “We take every opportunity to keep building those relationships, even if it’s over Zoom for now. We find ways to stay connected.”