“It’s personal...and the fact that I happen to be black and the most qualified candidate for this is a boost.”
Earlier this week, the Washington Football Team introduced Jason Wright as its newest CEO. It was an exciting moment for so many people across the country. Jason is a former NFL player, MBA, and partner at a prestigious management consulting firm. Now he’s the first black team president in the NFL. While some may question his statement about being the most qualified candidate, let’s break down why these are more than just words. Being a pro athlete is tough, but Jason’s other accomplishments are perhaps even more impressive and demonstrate why he is uniquely qualified.
Jason Wright’s MBA isn’t just any MBA. He’s a graduate of Chicago Booth, a top ten program in the world with alumni that include a former CEO of Goldman Sachs, the CEO of Hyatt Hotels, and CEO of Microsoft. The level of determination and intelligence it takes to get into Chicago Booth reflects a special set of skills, talents and leadership abilities. (He certainly did not get in because he was a pro football player.) And he made the most of the opportunity, graduating with high honors and leaving a lasting impact through his leadership in organizations like Christians in Business and the African American MBA Association.
Jason went on to become a partner at McKinsey & Company, the world’s premier management consulting firm. I spent a summer internship during Columbia Business School in management consulting and it was a rewarding and challenging experience. A management consultant helps a company create strategies to achieve its biggest goals or overcome its greatest challenges. A company that wants to launch business in China or create a new product, for example, will engage with McKinsey. The firm attracts some of the best and brightest in the world to spend long hours tackling the biggest business challenges on a daily basis. The odds of getting a job at McKinsey are less than 1% and the odds of making partner is about the same. In a few short years, Jason rose to become partner in McKinsey’s operations practice and headed the firm’s Black Economic Institute, guiding anti-racism and inclusion strategy. Jason joins high-profile McKinsey alumni like Sheryl Sandberg (COO at Facebook) and Wolfgang Bernhard, former CEO of Mercedes.
Jason Wright is more than an athlete. He has excelled at every level. It’s imperative that we understand the value and depth of experience he brings to the front office.