McCord Hall.

Full-time MBA event series wins inclusion award

Student-led Multicultural Lunch and Learns were honored with an Outstanding Inclusive Excellence Pitchfork Award.

Molly Loonam

During the 2023-2024 academic year, W. P. Carey Full-time MBA students hosted 13 Multicultural Lunch and Learn events celebrating the intellectual, ethnic, and cultural diversity of the ASU community. The series earned the program an Outstanding Inclusive Excellence Pitchfork Award.

"This event series had a personal impact on my MBA journey," says Shale Brenner (BA Business/BS Supply Chain Management '19, MBA '24), who nominated the series for the Pitchfork Awards. "As a Jewish student, I am often part of an unheard minority group. Leading the Jewish Holidays Lunch and Learn allowed me to share my cultural background with my peers and made me feel heard."

Now in its 13th year, the Pitchfork Awards recognize ASU students, advisors, and organizations that demonstrate personal and organizational leadership, collaboration, and commitment to making a difference on campus. This year, judges distributed 38 Pitchfork Awards to various ASU changemakers.

2024 Pitchfork Award

Facilitated by MBA Association (MBAA) Vice President of Multicultural Learning Francisco Morales (MBA '24) and in partnership with Graduate Programs Operations (GPO), the Multicultural Lunch and Learns invited students to share a meal while celebrating and learning about different cultures and traditions. Full-time MBA cohorts of 2024 and 2025 represented over two dozen countries, and all of the Lunch and Learn presentations were given by current Full-time MBA students, faculty, or executive mentors. Many presentations included culturally relevant food, games, and candy.

Throughout the year, students learned about Hispanic Heritage Month, Jewish Holidays, Black History Month, Native American Heritage Month, the Hindu festival Holi, Women's HERstory Month, and the cultures and traditions of India, Latin America, the Middle East, and Africa. The cohorts also partnered with GPO for the annual Lunar New Year celebration and the Around the World event, where students set up booths educating peers on their cultures.

"The Lunch and Learns provide an incredible opportunity for students to learn from their peers and celebrate the beautiful diversity of cultures represented within the Full-time MBA program. The result is increased understanding, appreciation, and deepened communication and relationships," says Full-time MBA Associate Director Erica Day. "Good food and lots of fun are great bonuses!"

Lohit Budugutta (MBA '25), the newly-elected MBAA vice president of event planning, will spearhead the Multicultural Lunch and Learn events during the upcoming academic year.

"This event series was impactful because it lets us learn about our peers' cultural triumphs and struggles," says Brenner. "These events are enlightening and provide unique opportunities to create safe spaces for students to learn about cultures that are new to them."

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