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Richard “Ricky” Burgess is a doctoral student at Kenan-Flagler Business School, with a concentration in organizational behavior. His research centers on leadership, diversity and team dynamics. Prior to UNC-Chapel Hill, he received his bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and both an MBA and master of science degree in public policy and management from Carnegie Mellon University. A native of Pittsburgh (“Go Steelers!”), he has previously worked with a variety of firms focused on sustainability.

What made you choose UNC-Chapel Hill when deciding on a program/place to study?  I chose UNC for the people! Within organizational behavior, our faculty are top-notch and my fellow students are brilliant, but what really drew me to the program was how deeply our department cared for each other

Tell us about your research. In organizational behavior, we study how individuals and groups function within the work environment. I have a few interests within the field, but one of my primary projects is exploring factors that lead to ethical decision-making for groups placed in morally ambiguous scenarios.

How have you built community as a graduate student at Carolina? At Carolina, building community has come pretty
easily. I have bonded with many students within my department, and also used programs and organizations such as the Initiative for Minority Excellence and the Black Graduate and Professional Student Association to connect with like-minded students. More recently, I have started to be more proactive in community building by hosting a monthly game night where UNC graduate students get a chance to get away from the research and let their hair down.

What are you hoping to accomplish with your Carolina degree? It is my hope that upon completion of the Ph.D., I will be an assistant professor at a research-intensive university. I am excited about both continuing my program of research, as well as instructing and developing leaders in the classroom.


Describe IME in five words. Critical support for graduate students.


What does Black History Month mean to you? For me, Black History Month is a time to celebrate the rich legacy of the African Diaspora and to reflect not only on the accomplishments of the past, but the next steps we must take in the future.

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