Meet our November’s pick for Stern Singles, Khalil Romain. Khalil is a MBA 2, the co-president of AHBBS, VP of Corporate Relations for SGov, VP of Corporate Relations for GMA, and VP of Club Partnerships for Canna Business. Not only is he an extremely active member of our community, he is one of the most genuine, optimistic people you can meet, as a group of MBA 2s puts it, “Khalil is the heart and soul of Stern, you would be lucky to have him.”
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
So as I told you earlier, I consulted with my group of girlfriends, you came very highly recommended. Let’s start with the basics!
Yeah, definitely. So I am originally from Houston, Texas. But I really grew up in Randolph, New Jersey, which is just a little ways outside the city into northern New Jersey. I came to Stern from Denver, where I’ve been working in digital marketing for quite some time. I basically started to feel kind of pigeon holed like my expertise was going deep, but not very wide. When I came in, I was pretty industry agnostic. I knew I wanted to work at a larger organization, ideally, at a company that would let me like, learn new skills, try new things. So I mostly was looking at general management type roles. But as time went on, I did find that I am not as industry agnostic as I thought, I developed a pretty intense interest in healthcare over the last few years. And so for recruiting, I was really fortunate. Even though I was really late to the consulting game, I managed to snag an offer with The Chartis Group. And I believe that that’s where I’m gonna go.
Congrats! That’s exciting. So why did you develop an interest in healthcare recently?
Basically, what happened is, you know, I came to Stern in large part to be close to my family, full stop. But unfortunately, as I was weighing my offers, my mom’s breast cancer just got really, really bad. And so I spent most of the year leading up to business school, moving back home being a caretaker kind of helping with end of life care through the summer. And that experience just totally transformed me, my family and kind of the goals I had for myself, including my professional interests. I think it took a long time to process. I’m definitely still processing.
You know, we have this amazing opportunity to transform our lives and just figure out what we want to do with the time that we’re given here. I just couldn’t think of a better industry to kind of invest myself and my efforts in than the health industry. And so that experience with my family totally redirected the direction I was headed. But I think it’s for the best and I’ve been really excited about everything I’ve learned so far.
I’m so sorry for your loss. Thank you for being so open with us. Well let’s pivot a little bit. I feel like you have such a presence on campus, you’re always so happy to be involved and be very social. Is that an accurate reflection of who you are and your role in the community?
I hope so. I mean, I think that’s a reflection of who I aspire to be. I think I’m super fortunate that I’ve had so many really wonderful experiences in my life. And with a few pretty stark exceptions, generally 99% of my existence has felt like one awesome adventure, just bouncing from one good moment and one good memory to the next. I felt like you’ve got to pay that back just by investing and being fully present. Right?
What do you think makes you who you are?
Connections. I think that’s what I’m always striving for, what I enjoyed the most was just like a genuine continuing connection with another person.I can enjoy my alone time. I don’t even always identify as an extrovert. But when it’s all said and done, I think that’s where I find the most value and getting to know new people, getting to learn new things and just seeing the world through someone else’s eye.
That kind of ties into my next question. What do you like to do in your free time?
I think my values are reflected in my hobbies. So things like travel, obviously. I really enjoy anything that can introduce me to new folks. So whether it’s volunteering or joining some sort of political organization, but things that tend to support and engender a community, that tends to really be what I’m really active in. Like, when I was in Denver, I was really active with the mayor’s office. Here at school, I’m really active with a bunch of different committees and clubs. So I think yeah, I’m somebody who just likes to find out what is important to the people who are around me and see who’s organizing effort to make things better, and then jump in there.
And since you’re so active all the time, how does that affect your dating life? Do you have time to date?
That’s a great question. It does make it tough. I think business school life in general, like is a crazy getting time, full time job. I think all the extra things I volunteer to do on top of the standard recruiting homework and social life things, makes it tougher. But that being said, I think you make time for the things that are important to you. But I think what’s happening is I’m just waiting for the right person to make it worth my time to reconfigure my schedule.
And who is the right person? What characteristics do you look for in a partner?
The one thing I know I’m looking for is I’m looking for someone who knows her own mind. I think it’s really, really attractive when people just know what they want and aren’t afraid to say it. I definitely need somebody who’s super funny. I think that humor is the immediate make or break. When people talk about love at first sight or like sparks or fireworks or butterflies, those emotions have always been tied up with someone who can make me laugh.
I’m also someone who really loves family. I spend a lot of time with my family, especially now as we find our new normal. My time at Stern has taught me a lot about myself. One of [the] lessons [I’ve learned] counterintuitively is how important my family is to me because I’ve managed to carve out a consistent amount of time [for them], even with everything that we do as business students. And so I’ve come to realize I really want somebody who understands that and understands the love and importance I place on my family relationships as well and you know, hopefully has a similar relationship with her own family.
Do you have any deal breakers when you look for a partner?
I mean, yeah, you have to be anti-racist. I don’t have any kind of bandwidth or desire to educate somebody in terms of what my personal values are and things like that. That’s probably the big, obvious one. I think outside of that I try not to be judgmental so I’m pretty open minded.
That’s a great answer. I would have to agree. Okay here are some rapid fire questions:
Bandeja paisa. It’s this big Colombian dish. It’s got a bunch of different foods in it, which is why it’s my favorite. But it just reminds me of weekend brunches with my family growing up. It is so delicious.
I’ve been listening to a lot of Shenseea or Sech. I like to listen to Caribbean music or music with Latin vibes. Something that’s a little upbeat. I’m always trying to keep my energy up.
Favorite TV shows?
My favorite TV show has definitely been Ted Lasso but Fleabag and The Expanse are also up there.
Anything else you like to add?
I don’t know. Don’t be an axe murderer, please. That’s about it.
If you’re not an axe murderer and liked what you read, you can reach out to Khalil via Instagram @kuh_leel.