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National Black MBA Association recognizes BYU student

Jamila Cutliff named Coca Cola Scholar

The National Black MBA Association has selected second-year Brigham Young University MBA student Jamila Cutliff as one of the top 25 MBA students in the country, naming her a 2004 Coca-Cola Scholar.

"I didn't really expect it," Cutliff says. "I'm grateful that it happened, but if it hadn't happened, I'd be fine with that too. I'm more excited because it gives recognition to BYU and the MBA program."

Cutliff is one of only 25 students nationwide who received a scholarship through the NBMBAA. One hundred seventy-five minority students applied for the scholarships last April; the winners were chosen according to criteria such as outstanding leadership and community commitment. Scholarship recipients were required to submit an essay, have several recommendations, and go through a series of interviews.

"I'm sure I went up against Harvard grads, Stanford grads and Yale grads at the top of the MBA program," Cutliff says.

Cutliff will receive a monetary reward and was recognized at the NBMBAA's 26th Annual Conference and Exposition last week in Houston. The conference is the largest minority recruiting and networking event, attended by approximately 11,000 business professionals, recruiters, executives, industry leaders, entrepreneurs and students.

"We whole-heartedly congratulate Jamila, but we're not surprised she was chosen for this award," says Ned C. Hill, dean of the Marriott School of Management. "She has been a great contributor to the MBA program. Her vitality and intelligence are indicative of the high-caliber students we have at the Marriott School."

Prior to attending the Marriott School, Cutliff worked as an engineer for Proctor and Gamble. She also started a nonprofit organization while pursuing an engineering degree at Cornell University. This past summer, she completed a supply chain strategy internship with PepsiCo.

"Jamila is an example for many of our students who see what she's accomplished," says Louise Illes, director of the BYU Office of Service Learning and Diversity. "She's already had several offers for employment and will be one of our well-placed MBA students because of her tenacity, skills and background. She's just absolutely amazing. She's got so much dynamism and charisma."

Cutliff is one of six black MBA students at the Marriott School. The school strives to increase its minority representation each year, Illes says, so its individual programs reflect the larger population of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints community, which is becoming increasingly more diverse and international.

"We have been making significant progress," Illes reports. "The more we become a place where people are exposed to and respect differences, the more we will become an ensign for the Church. Our students will go out into top companies and will make a difference in the workplace."

After completing her degree, Cutliff plans to work in packaged goods at the supply chain level. One of her career goals is to increase the number of black professionals in corporate America.

Writer: Sarah Chamberlin


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