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As a member of Booth’s Admissions team, Lehman is passionate about diversity and inclusion (D&I). He chats with us about his background and why he loves working in higher education.

Tell us about yourself

I've been fortunate to work directly with students across the high-school, college, and graduate school levels. I grew up in Detroit, Michigan, and graduated from the University of Michigan with a degree in psychology. I went on to pursue my master's degree in higher education from Boston University, while I was working in the undergraduate admissions office at the University of Michigan (so I can relate to our Part-Time MBA students in that sense!). I recently moved to Chicago and am thrilled to join the Chicago Booth community.

Why the interest in Higher Education?

I was a first-generation college student. After the initial culture shock and challenges that I experienced as a first-generation college student, I became really proactive about the remainder of my journey throughout undergrad, going through different student affairs offices, student organizations, and staff members who really helped me find my fit on campus. After I graduated, I decided I wanted to help other first-generation, low-income students realize that higher education is possible. I worked as a college advisor at a charter school outside of Detroit, where I helped increase the college-going culture in the school. These students were so excited to realize that going to college was possible and that with the help of scholarships and financial aid, it was possible for them to afford it. 

While I loved working with high school students, I wanted to make a bigger impact. That's what drove me to admissions and pursuit of a master’s in higher education. I worked for a number of years at the University of Michigan and more recently at the Kellogg School of Management. Throughout that experience however, I remained passionate about the D&I space.This opportunity at Booth combined my two areas of interest. 

What are your priorities for the year ahead?

My current priority is to develop and expand internal and external partnerships in the Chicago community, so that we can continue to move the needle forward on diversity recruitment strategy and initiatives. I’m building relationships with our affinity student organizations in the Full-Time and Part-Time programs. I want to learn more about the students’ experiences and work alongside them to create more intentional and effective recruitment and yield programming so that we can continue to attract the best and brightest diverse pool of candidates.

One thing that I really like about this role in particular is that it's strategically placed to support the Evening MBA, Weekend MBA, and Full-Time MBA Programs. I'm excited to create opportunities for students who have been historically excluded from higher education. Many students opt out of pursuing an MBA because they may not know that Part-Time options are available to them. I'm excited to introduce them to these different programs and liaise with the different organizations who help us recruit these diverse candidates.

Lehman Robinson, Chicago Booth's Associate Director of Diversity Admissions and Outreach for the Full-Time and Part-Time MBA Programs.

"I want to learn more about the students’ experiences and work alongside them to create more intentional and effective recruitment and yield programming so that we can continue to attract the best and brightest diverse pool of candidates."

— Lehman Robinson

How do you think about building the pipeline of talent?

How do we get diverse students in a pipeline to even start thinking about an MBA? We have partnerships with organizations like Management Leadership for Tomorrow (MLT), Jumpstart, Questbridge, Riordan, and ROMBA, to support increasing diversity in graduate management education. Strengthening these relationships, working with them to create different opportunities, and finding new partnerships is important. There is a lot of talent here in Chicago and so much potential that's currently untapped. 

We offer different opportunities for a variety  of candidates, such as Chicago Business Fellows for early-career applicants, Chicago Booth Scholars for undergrads, and the Civic Scholars programs for those pursuing nonprofit careers. It is my responsibility to let the community know there are many options to choose from. Booth isn't looking for one particular type of candidate. We want the most diverse class possible. That includes diversity of thought, ethnic or racial diversity, and diversity in industry, among others. What everyone has in common is that the MBA helps them move forward with their career. There’s an option for you here at Booth.

As a first generation college student, what do you attribute to your success?

The process of going to college can be very daunting, but I was able to find and hold on to my faith, family, friends, and mentors, and it all has gotten me through to this point. Although my family does not fully understand the work that I do as a higher education professional, they are still very supportive. 

Can you share a fun fact about yourself?

I enjoy cooking, running, and exploring the city. I’ve especially fallen in love with running along the lakeside path. I come from a large family and have ten siblings, seven of whom are sisters! I was fortunate to be raised around so many women. It has afforded me the opportunity to develop patience and compassion while being a more active listener. Having served as a mediator for many arguments and debates, I did not have the opportunity to take sides, rather I needed to provide a more unbiased opinion, which, admittedly, was challenging at times.  Having two older sisters on my mother's side of the family also allowed me to learn lessons from my older siblings while having the opportunity to be a role model and big brother to my younger siblings.