Our Top Ten Favorite MBAs of 2014

“The first responsibility of a leader is to define reality. The last is to say thank you. In between, the leader is a servant.” – Max De Pree

MBAs are leaders. They are innovators. They are game-changers. In 2014, Poets&Quants got to know a few of them better. Here are our favorites.

pete kabul airport

Pete Gauthier


10. Pete Gauthier, Tuck School of Business Graduate, USAID Investment Officer

In less than a year, Pete Gauthier graduated from Tuck and found himself in a second-story conference room in the Afghanistan Banks Association meeting with the CEO of a local bank. And then an explosion happened. And it was his first day. It ended up being a controlled explosion from the department of defense. Nevertheless, it was a nerve-racking experience for his first day.

Boredom led Gauthier from Morgan Stanley to Tuck and then around the world working for USAID. Gauthier doesn’t get bored anymore. Read more about Gauthier’s work.



Mira Mehta and Shane Kiernan of Tomato Jos listen to farmers in Nigeria

Mira Mehta and Shane Kiernan of Tomato Jos listen to farmers in Nigeria

9. Mira Mehta and Shane Kiernan, Harvard, Founders of Tomato Jos

Most American’s probably don’t give the expansive tomato fields in Nigeria much thought. For recent Harvard graduates, Mira Mehta (MBA) and Shane Kiernan (MPH), it is currently their life. Mehta entered HBS with the goal of innovating tomato farming in Nigeria and came out with $25,000 in seed money from the HBS New Venture Competition to do just that.

After a summer of planning and fundraising, they launched a successful Kickstarter campaign. Now these do-gooders are on the ground using a Harvard education to help local farmers and potentially change an industry.

Read more about Tomato Jos.


Harvard Business School MBA student Jessica Assaf with beauty products

Harvard Business School MBA student Jessica Assaf with beauty products

8. Jessica Assaf, current first-year MBA student, Harvard

“I came here to cause a stir.” – Jessica Assaf

Most people don’t go to HBS to “improve public health and cause a stir.” Most people also don’t go out of their way to let prospective employers know why they won’t apply for a job. And that is because most people also aren’t Jessica Assaf, a 24-year-old MBA candidate from Marin County, California.

Assaf opens our list because of her letter exchange with L’Oreal’s talent director, Shaden Deleveaux. The cosmetic giant probably sent recruiting emails to hundreds of MBA students from elite schools. They probably weren’t aware Assaf has been on a life mission to spread awareness of harmful chemicals used in beauty products. At age 15, Assaf started a sustainability-focused youth group (now a nonprofit) called Teens Turning Green.

Poets&Quants can’t wait for the next unsuspecting talent director to invite Assaf to apply for an internship.

Read more about Jessica’s spat with L’Oreal.


Benjamin Golata is a pilot in the Air Force and a Kelley Direct MBA student

Benjamin Golata is a pilot in the Air Force and a Kelley Direct MBA student

7. Benjamin Golata, Indiana University Kelley School of Business, Air Force Pilot

Golata, 27, is the only online student to make our list. He spends his days as Captain Golata at Travis Air Force Base in Fairfield, California and his evenings at home in Vacaville, California (two hours from the base) on Google Hangout as student of Kelley’s Direct program.

Golata flies the KC-10 Extender which serves as a gas station for fighter jets. Fighter jets zip up to the KC-10 at hundreds of miles an hour thousands of feet above the earth and fuel up. Golata plans on pursuing his life-long dream to be a pilot while beginning a career as an aviation consultant. Having an MBA from Kelly will allow him to do just that.

Read more about Golata’s mission.


Paul Fresh Eggs (1)

Paul Tuberville

6. Paul Tuberville, MBA Class of 2014, Tuck School of Business

If there was a stereotypical job track for MBAs, Poets&Quants is certain recent Tuck graduate, Paul Tuberville did not take it. Tuberville works on an egg farm in rural New Hampshire. While most of his fellow graduates left Hanover for skyscrapers and concrete jungles, Tuberville landed a dream job of sorts with organic egg producer and distributor, Pete and Gerry’s.

Don’t let the small town vibe fool you. Tuberville handles everything from marketing plans to supply chain management to making sure the company continually hits the rigorous standards to be an official B Corporation. Perhaps the best perk of the job? All the free eggs Tuberville and his family want.

Read more about Tuberville’s farm livin’.

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