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2017 Best MBAs: Kevin Boldt, Georgia Tech (Scheller)

Kevin Boldt

Georgia Tech, Scheller College of Business

“Experienced problem solver with global outlook who relishes leadership challenges and connecting with people.”

Age: 32

Hometown: Carrollton, GA

Fun fact about yourself: I visited all 50 US states by age 30!

Undergraduate School and Degree: Stanford University; BA in International Relations

Where did you work before enrolling in business school? Prior to attending Scheller, I served as an Infantry Company Commander in the U.S. Army responsible for organizations with 130-200 soldiers

Where did you intern during the summer of 2016? As an active duty Army officer, I did not intern over the summer. However, I stayed busy and had one of the best summers of my life! I spent some time at Scheller and worked on three initiatives over the summer. First, I worked with several of my classmates, as well as the MBA Program Office, to lay the groundwork for expanding alumni outreach over the upcoming academic year. Second, I spearheaded a program for Scheller College of Business by creating a system to capture recycling metrics and developed an awareness campaign to increase recycling on campus. Finally, I worked with Professor John McIntyre, Director of the Georgia Tech Center for International Business Education and Research (and numerous experts internationally) to write a proposal for a textbook focused on contemporary sustainability issues. Additionally, I traveled to West Africa to visit friends. While traveling in West Africa, I was impressed by the passionate, entrepreneurial spirit that I witnessed, including that of a GT alumna who I serendipitously met!

Where will you be working after graduation? After graduating from Scheller in May, I will return to the Regular Army. I initially will attend the 10-month Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, and then I look forward to working as the Executive Officer or Operations Officer in an Infantry Battalion with 600-800 Soldiers.

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School: The engaging and collaborative environment of Scheller has provided me with numerous opportunities to lead others and to connect with communities in Atlanta. I have served on the MBA Alumni Committee. This position has taken my event planning skills to the next level. Not only have I hosted some big events like the Annual MBA Crawfish Boil and MBA Homecoming Kickoff in Atlanta, but we have also spearheaded alumni events in the Southeast as well as internationally (including India). For the past two years, I have also been active in the Scheller and Georgia Tech veterans’ communities and led multiple care package drives, in which we sent many boxes to Soldiers serving overseas. Through the Scheller MBA non-profit consulting practicum, I worked on a project with Slow Food Atlanta that focused on food access and justice in the Atlanta metropolitan area. Having grown up an hour west of Atlanta, I have also had opportunities to reconnect with my hometown. I enjoyed the opportunity to speak to the Carrollton Optimist Club there this past year. I shared my experiences as an Infantry officer leading Soldiers over the last nine years. As many of us get much of our information through screens in the information age, I believe it is even more important that we meet with people face-to-face to share our experiences and perspectives.

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? My classmates honored me last year by selecting me as the Scheller MBA Student of the Year. I have really enjoyed getting to know my classmates over the last two years. They are a great group of people from varying backgrounds and offer a wide range of experiences. This recognition provided me feedback that my efforts to keep classes interesting with relevant pop culture references and animated discussion had paid off.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? I am most proud of earning the trust and confidence of my Army superiors and being selected to command a combat outpost with hundreds of military and civilian personnel in eastern Afghanistan near the Afghanistan-Pakistan border. On a personal level, it was reassuring to see how my previous jobs and experiences both in the Army and as a student had helped prepare me for this responsibility. I was also extremely blessed to have a superb leader and consummate professional as my Company First Sergeant. Collectively, I was impressed how our Soldiers, throughout the deployment, remained disciplined, continuously and effectively adapted to the fluid operating environment, and developed pride and confidence in the execution of their mission.

What was your favorite MBA Course and what was the biggest insight you gained about business from it? The Strategic Management core class taught by Professor Frank Rothaermel stands out to me, because the class does an excellent job of providing academic frameworks and understanding with hands-on application by working on a real-world project for a top company. My teammates and I worked for Emerson Electric on the value proposition of the Industrial Internet of Things. In terms of insights from the class, the key takeaway is to focus on developing intangible resources and competencies in order to sustain a competitive advantage over more time!

Why did you choose this business school? Georgia Tech’s sterling reputation as a world-class research university initially drew me to Scheller College of Business. The dynamic business environment of Atlanta, including the innovation and entrepreneurship microcosm in Tech Square, attracted me even more. Moreover, the faculty, staff, and students of Scheller and the collaborative nature in which they interacted really sold me on the MBA program.

What was the most surprising thing about business school for you? How quickly it sneaks by!

What is your best piece advice to an applicant hoping to get into your school’s MBA program? Come visit! Visiting Scheller allows applicants not only to get exposed to what makes Scheller great (e.g. the people, the location, the applied learning, etc.,), but it also allows applicants to better envision how they would fit in and prosper in this ecosystem.

What is the biggest myth about your school? The myth is that only engineers pursue MBAs here.  Georgia Tech has a long history of developing business and world leaders from students of all backgrounds, including all areas of liberal arts.

What was your biggest regret in business school? Not learning how to cook better. Entering business school, I had “learning how to cook better” on my to-do list. However, business school has been so engaging with both opportunities inside and outside of the classroom that I did not get around to taking my cooking skills to the next level.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? I admire all of my classmates with families. Their exceptional ability to balance academic and personal responsibilities is both impressive and humbling.

“I knew I wanted to go to business school when…I learned of the abundance of experiential learning opportunities. During my admissions interview for the program, I recall how I initially learned about the opportunities to take practicum courses at Scheller. Fast forward two years later, I have now participated in six consulting projects helping companies and organizations such as Nike, Cryolife, and Porsche Consulting with real business challenges in information technology, operations, and go-to-market strategy.”

If I hadn’t gone to business school, I would be…living in a less exciting place and would not have as good of an understanding of business dynamics.”

What is your ultimate long-term professional goal? To bridge the civil-military divide. Spending the past two years in business school has provided me with the opportunity to reflect on similarities and differences between military organizations and those found in the private sector. From a management perspective, I think there are greater opportunities to share and apply best practices. I will also continue to devote time and energy to assisting veterans with their transition to civilian life. Finally, by sharing my service experience, I hope to help better inform our fellow citizens and potentially encourage a select few to answer the call to public service.

Who would you most want to thank for your success? My family. Whether near or far, my family has been there for me. Not only have they helped guide me on my life journey, but they have also served as a sounding board for my zany ideas and corny jokes and provided much-needed fashion advice.

In one sentence, how would you like your peers to remember you? I would like to be remembered as the guy with the thoughtful, quirky comments who is consistently there as a leader and friend.

Favorite book: Undaunted Courage by Stephen Ambrose

Favorite movie or television show: A Few Good Men

Favorite musical performer: Ke$ha

Favorite vacation spot: The place that I haven’t been to yet!

Hobbies? Visiting coffee shops and traveling around the world!

What made Kevin such an invaluable addition to the class of 2017?

“I have had the pleasure of supporting Kevin Boldt as his MBA Career Advisor at Georgia Tech for the past 2 years.  As an active duty military officer, it would have been easy for him to have minimal engagement in our MBA program outside of the classroom and disregard connecting with Career Services since he will be returning to military service after graduation.  However, Kevin has been the most engaged military officer I have ever worked with. When I met with him prior to orientation week, he let me know from the beginning that he planned to take full advantage of the opportunities that were afforded him during the MBA program, including our career development workshops and career coaching sessions and that he did. He attended and actively participated in every career development workshop we hosted, met with me to update his resume and professional profile on LinkedIn, attended a few company information sessions for the experience and practiced his interviewing skills with me several times. I have admired his sincere interest, commitment to learning, enthusiasm and desire to improve his skills, especially since he was not compelled to get involved given his military obligations.

Kevin has also been an outstanding contributor to his MBA class and the Scheller College of Business MBA program. Clear evidence of his contribution to the class is his selection as MBA Student of the Year in 2016 and recent selection for this same recognition by his classmates for 2017. I can’t think of another student who has been selected for this award for two consecutive years, so that is a clear indication of how much his classmates admire him. He is also actively involved as a MBA Ambassador, member of both the Georgia Tech and Scheller College of Business Veteran’s Clubs, and serves on our MBA Alumni Committee. There are very few student events that I have attended where Kevin is not present to support his classmates and our program. Whether it is meeting with prospective students at our welcome receptions, reaching out to veterans who are considering the program, attending a special celebration hosted by our international students, or organizing our annual student and alumni Crawfish Boil, Kevin consistently makes himself available to support the program.

Summer is usually an extended vacation time for military officers enrolled in MBA programs since they cannot pursue internship opportunities. However, Kevin used that time to work with our Graduate Programs Office to further develop our alumni outreach efforts and volunteered to assist a faculty member to write a project proposal. Even when he did take some time for international travel during the summer, he made time to network with one of our alums during his trip.

When I think of Kevin a few words quickly come to mind – Engaged, Supportive and Funny. He is one of our most actively engaged students, an excellent advocate for our MBA program and can find a way to interject humor into a class presentation to help reduce the stress he and his classmates might be feeling.”

Kevin Stacia, Corporate Relations Manager
Jones MBA Career Center
Scheller College of Business, Georgia Tech

DON’T MISS: THE COMPLETE HONOR ROLL: BEST & BRIGHTEST MBAS OF 2017