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A Cosmic Connection: The Intersection of Jamaal Broome and Duane Carthy’s Paths

Jamaal Broome and Duane Carthy both grew up in the same neighborhood, attended the same high school, moved to Atlanta, and graduated from Scheller's MBA programs. But, they never knew each other until they became co-chairs of the Scheller Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Ambassadors program. Their friendship, born from shared experiences and a commitment to community, is a testament to the power of connection and the unexpected ways our paths intersect.
Duane Carthy and Jamaal Broome

Duane Carthy, Executive MBA ‘21, and Jamaal Broome, Evening MBA ‘11

At the Georgia Tech Scheller College of Business, a remarkable story of connection between two alumni who should have met decades earlier has emerged. And it all started with the launch of the Scheller Diversity Equity and Inclusion Ambassadors program.

Jamaal Broome, Evening MBA '11, volunteered to lead the program if he could find someone to co-chair with him. Duane Carthy, Executive MBA '21, raised his hand to help. The two agreed to meet later to discuss advancing the program's objectives.

"We were going through the process of figuring out how we could launch everything. As we did that, we started talking about ourselves to get to know each other. I mentioned I grew up in New York, and Jamaal said, 'I grew up in New York, too,'" said Carthy.

In short order, their stories began to intertwine in uncanny ways.

Broome lived in Cambria Heights, Queens. Carthy lived in Laurelton, Queens. The neighborhoods are two miles apart. They both attended the same high school, Brooklyn Technical High School, a prestigious STEM school with over 5,000 students, and studied engineering there. Broome majored in aerospace engineering, and Carthy majored in civil engineering. Had Broome not finished a year earlier, both would have graduated the same year.

They share a similar Caribbean heritage. Carthy's parents immigrated from Trinidad. While Broome's parents were born in the U.S., his roots reach Jamaica and Barbados. Growing up, they both listened to the sounds of their parents' music; soca, calypso, and reggae and as teenagers, they experienced the early years of hip-hop. 

"We grew up in the same neighborhood as some of the artists of the day like A Tribe Called Quest, Run DMC, and LL Cool Jay," said Broome. On Labor Day, each family would attend the West Indian Day Parade, too, and Broome said, "I probably ran into Duane there but just didn't know it."

Jamaal BroomeAs their friendship progressed, they connected on Facebook and discovered they shared at least 60 mutual friends, but still, they'd gone their entire lives without meeting each other.

Both men attended HBCUs for their undergraduate degrees, with Broome attending Hampton University and Carthy attending Morehouse College. After graduating, they each made Atlanta their home.

They knew about Georgia Tech before applying for their MBAs, and they chose Scheller because of its unique blend of business with a technology focus and the diverse and vibrant community it offers, among other things.

"I started in 2009. It was still the School of Management back then. Growing up in New York, Georgia Tech had a reputation of being Point Guard U because they had some of the best point guards like Stephon Marbury from Brooklyn and Kenny Anderson from Queens," said Broome, a former point guard himself. "I saw people that looked like me, and I had the opportunity to learn from them all, and that was something I valued in addition to the faculty."

Broome chose the Evening MBA program, and Carthy chose the Executive MBA program

For Broome, managing director for AKARA Consulting, a boutique firm designed for the sports, media, and entertainment sectors, pursuing an MBA in the evenings was challenging.

"I was working full-time, and Turner (now Warner Brothers Discovery) had just signed a deal with NCAA March Madness, and we were launching the very first March Madness platform for the company, which meant 70-hour work weeks. I was also planning a wedding across the country, and that was stressful," he said.

Duane CarthyBefore committing to Scheller, Carthy, vice president of Relationship Management at Morgan Stanley, had looked at other schools like Wharton and Emory but ultimately chose Scheller. He knew the Executive MBA program would be stressful, particularly since his was the first class to hold in-person classes after Covid-19.

"What stood out to me was the vibrancy of the cohort and the diversity across multiple business disciplines, ethnicities, and religions; it was just the right group of people where I felt comfortable within the environment. And then, my wife pushed me towards Tech, too," Carthy laughs.

Carthy's mother-in-law is from Singapore, and his father-in-law is from Louisiana. Broome's mother-in-law is from Ethiopia, and his father-in-law is from Eritrea, so their wives also both come from multicultural backgrounds. Plus, the two couples married only one year apart. 

Despite the challenges of balancing work, family, and studies, both men found their MBA experience transformative, valuing the sense of community they found at Scheller.

When asked where they want to be five years from now, they both said they're committed to giving back to their communities and leveraging their skills to make a meaningful impact.

"In five years, I would love to be able to continue to be a thought leader in the sports, media, and entertainment technology space. But even more so, I would love to be able to serve my community in a meaningful way. I hope to use the skills and gifts I have to make an impact on people who may have grown up in similar circumstances but who may not realize there are opportunities in STEM," Broome explained.

For Carthy, he says he likes to take life in bite-sized pieces, but he has ideas of where he'd like to be.

 "In three to five years, I would like to be in a position where I can maximize how much I can help others within the Atlanta community and within my community of Black Americans, professionals, and so forth. I'd like to be in a more powerful position to do the best I can within the community. If you're focused on doing what you can at a very high level, other opportunities will open up to you," he reflected.

When discussing implementing diversity, equity, and inclusion principles within a community or the workplace, Broome and Carthy believe it's important to keep channels of communication open and find common ground with others.

"There's more commonality among us than you might hear if you're stuck in that echo chamber of social media," Carthy observed.

Commonality is perhaps the essential story of Broome and Carthy’s friendship. Their serendipitous meeting underscores the transformative power of education and the lasting impact of the Scheller community. Their journey from strangers with parallel lives to close friends and collaborators exemplifies the unexpected rewards of pursuing an MBA at Scheller and becoming good stewards of education.

Their friendship, born from shared experiences and a commitment to community, is a testament to the power of connection and the unexpected ways our paths intersect.

As for Broome and Carthy, they're still finding commonalities. Recently, the two were asked what type of car they drive. "German," said Carthy. "You drive a German car? I drive a German car," Broome exclaimed. It turns out they both not only drive German cars, but German SUVs.

As they attend sporting events together and hang out at each other's houses, there's no doubt their commonalities and cosmic connection will continue to unfold – just as the universe planned all along

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