Today on the blog, we continue our spotlight on our current Executive MBA students with a Q&A with one of the co-Presidents of the Black Executive MBA (BEMBA) student organization, Jemuir Rivers (Class of 2022).
As Jemuir notes, BEMBA is one of the Executive MBA program’s most established student organizations, and we have regularly featured the club’s leadership on the blog as well as our podcast, The ExecMBA Podcast.
Q: What is your background? What is your current role?
A: I am currently active-duty as an Operational Test Helicopter Pilot in the Navy. I evaluate new aircraft, software, and weapon systems to ensure continuity for the average Fleet Naval Aviator.
I’m a 2013 graduate of the US Naval Academy and started my career stationed in Naval Air Station North Island in San Diego, California from 2015 through 2019. I completed two Western Pacific deployments in 2017 and 2018, both within the Persian Gulf operational theater.
In addition to managing a test program, I also am the lead standardization instructor pilot for my organization, where I train and evaluate aviators to improve aviation safety and readiness.
Q: How did you decide to pursue an MBA?
A: Throughout my time in the Navy, I noticed the best leaders of my organization were those who pursued higher education in leadership from a diversified institution. These leaders were well-equipped to lead our squadron through a different perspective than other leaders that camped in a traditional school of thought.
Additionally, I was recruited to Darden’s Executive MBA program by a good friend and fellow United States Naval Academy graduate who raved about the program. He described Darden as an institution that fostered a culture of leadership, and more importantly, an inclusive atmosphere. I was drawn to the quality of education and the sense of community at the School.
Q: What is the Black Executive MBA Student Organization?
A: The Black Executive MBA (BEMBA) Organization is a network of Black business students who are dedicated to the recruitment and professional development of current and future MBA candidates.
BEMBA was one of the original affinity groups at Darden’s Executive MBA program, organized in 2017. Our goals are to develop Black leaders academically and professionally, as well as a persistent endeavor to recruit and reach out to the community.
BEMBA is also dedicated to collaborating with with Darden’s other affinity groups (Network of Executive Women (NEW), PRIDE, Veteran Executive Students at Darden (VESD), etc.) for continued initiatives for diversity, equity, and inclusion at Darden.
Q: What has this organization meant to you during your time as a Darden student?
A: So many things. BEMBA has been a source of reprieve and support throughout my time as a Darden student, particularly over the past year. For me, BEMBA has provided a sense of strong community as a Black MBA throughout an unprecedented year global pandemic.
As a club, BEMBA is committed to recruitment and community outreach at Darden. BEMBA wants the School, and the Executive MBA program, to represent an institution of diversity and inclusion for Black executives (both current and future) looking to pursue higher education and transformational leadership.
Q: What attracted you to serving as BEMBA President?
A: Like my brother and fellow co-President Rex Minnis, I am also a leader of servitude. Throughout my career, I have always aspired to serve those I work for in any position I have pursued.
Leadership to me is building those who surround you and maximizing their potential. I wanted to serve BEMBA in a manner that helped our members grow professionally and amplify their experience within the program. We all work together to ensure the incoming BEMBA classes continue to have a rewarding and enriched experience while at Darden.