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Bianca Joi Payton Honored as One of Poets&Quants’ Best and Brightest MBAs

Bianca Joi Payton (MBA ’21) was recently named one of the Top 100 Best and Brightest MBAs across the globe by Poets&Quants.

The Top 100 list celebrates MBAs from the Class of 2021 who embody the excellence and voices of their schools. Students named as the “Best and Brightest” are considered to be the leaders in their class who rally, the mentors who champion, and the volunteers who carry the heaviest burdens.

“Whether Bianca Payton is leading a Katz Student Executive Board meeting, planning a trivia night event in honor of Black History Month, or serving in one of her other numerous volunteer leadership roles on campus, her contagious enthusiasm, boundless energy and outgoing personality make her simply unforgettable,” said Dana Romano, Senior Associate Director of Katz Career Management. “Bianca is a born leader that exemplifies the qualities of a strong female, proud black and queer MBA business leader. She lights up a room and is dedicated to helping others grow to their fullest potential by annihilating barriers and overcoming obstacles. She is powerful, relentless, and unstoppable.”

Originally from Detroit, Michigan, Payton began her academic career at the University of Michigan Ann Arbor, earning a bachelor’s degree in sociology. After graduation, she joined the corporate sector, where she held positions in procurement, operations, and logistics in the Boston area.

During her time at Katz, Payton has been an integral member of the Pitt Business community. To name a few, her leadership roles have included President of the Student Executive Board (SEB), Vice President of the Business Technology Club, Vice President of the Adam Smith Society, BNY Mellon Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Fellow, the Chancellor’s Public Safety Advisory Council (PSAC) member, and an MBA Student Ambassador.

“One of my foremost goals coming into business school was to become president of my class,” said Payton. “I knew, should I get the position, that I would bring an innovative perspective spawned from the unique circumstance of being both Black and queer to bring about positive change – not only for my current classmates, but also for future Katz students.”

During her time as SEB President, Payton established the first ever Walk-A-Thon event, which was a huge success across the school.

“Through discussions with both first- and second-year students, we found that many noticed a distinct lack of physical activity throughout the semester, especially around finals,” said Payton. “Particularly since Covid-19 had increased our screen time and perpetuated increasingly sedentary lifestyles, I knew that this event would be readily embraced by the student body. We had over ten teams join, which surprisingly included several members of the faculty. As a group, we walked a total of 9,329,610 steps.”

Professionally, her most recent role was as an intern for Bristol Myers Squibb in Nassau Park, NJ, during the summer of 2020. Post-graduation, she will be joining Bristol Myers Squibb as an Information Technology Rotational Development Program Associate.

When reflecting on choosing Katz, Payton notes a few key factors in her decision.

“At the end of the day, I decided to attend this wonderful program is that both Dana Romano and Katz faculty and students made me feel wanted,” said Payton. “Katz was the only school out of all my offers to make me truly feel this way and has continued to do so throughout my time here. There is no more incredible feeling when you are pursuing higher education and life goals, to meet a group of people who want nothing but the best for you and will actively work to facilitate the achievement of your goals.”

Her vision does not stop here. One day, Payton hopes to become the CEO of a company, be on the board of a Fortune 100 company, and would like to give back to Midnight Golf Program, a Detroit organization created by her mentor, Renee Fluker.

To read Poets&Quants’ full interview with Bianca Payton, please click here.

The Top 100 list for 2021 also includes Malena Hirsch (MBA ’21). Click here for her Katz feature story and the publication’s interview can be found here.