2015 Best MBAs: Blair Merlino

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Blair Merlino


Boston University, Questrom School of Business

Blair Merlino came to the Questrom School of Business in Boston with a more nuanced and global perspective than many of his classmates. A psychological operations specialist who saw combat duty in the U.S. Army, Merlino boasted a strategic mindset that always elevated classroom discussions. Merlino thrived academically and socially, serving as co-president of the Cohort Cup Committee and vice president for both the Sports and Social Club Committee and the University Veterans’ Association. He will be joining Deloitte Consulting after graduation.

Age: 30

Hometown: Enfield, CT

Undergraduate School: Messiah College

Undergraduate Degree: BA in Psychology

Where did you work before enrolling in business school? United States Army Special Operations – Psychological Operations Specialist

Where did you intern during the summer of 2014? Liberty Mutual Insurance – Warrenville, IL

Where will you be working after graduation? Deloitte – Federal Practice Strategy and Operations Senior Consultant

“I knew I wanted to go to business school when…I realized that the time I invested in regional stability through combat was making an unsustainable difference, and recognized the opportunity for long-term stability through global economic and business initiatives.”

“If I hadn’t gone to business school, I would be…preparing to lead a tactical psychological operations team on a deployment to a combat zone.”

What are your long-term professional goals? I would like to leverage the education I’ve received and what I will learn as a consultant at Deloitte to create real, tangible, sustainable impact for the better in the lives of people throughout the developing world.

Favorite Courses: Corporate Strategies for Growth, Competitive Strategy, Platforms and Information Markets

Which academic or professional achievements are you most proud of? As a soldier, I was honored as an elite member of my own unit and among the very top in the overarching community. I am most proud of a citation awarded for several specific actions in a combat zone, during 2012.

As a student, I have been recognized for academic performance and community involvement. Unquestionably, I am most proud of the recognition I’ve achieved by my peers and the administration of Questrom. That they consider me a valuable representative of their school is my proudest achievement.

Who would you most want to thank for your success ? My parents have been supportive of my pursuits, including my military career and my transition to business. My military commanders and supervisors expected me to creatively solve complex problems, and challenged me to act confidently, swiftly, and impactfully.  They are the parties that have most shaped my ability to perform, have enabled me, and are largely responsible for much of my success.

Why did you choose this business school? Questrom offered a compelling dual-degree program (MS-MBA) with access to Boston, a major metropolitan market. I was impressed with the caliber of everyone I met prior to accepting admission, and felt that I fit well with those prospective students to whom I was introduced. It was an easy decision to make.

What did you enjoy most about business school? I enjoyed the community of people. Everyone there had their own reasons for attending, but each of us was looking to improve or advance some aspect of our lives. That meant that no one was complacent and content to simply float along. Everyone has at least that much common ground.

What is your most memorable moment from business school? Presenting our solution for a module-long project to the executives of IBM was easily the most memorable academic moment during my time at Questrom. Socially, however, it will be very difficult to forget the inter-cohort competitions for the school’s Cohort Cup.

Fun fact about yourself: As an undergraduate student, I made discretionary money by occasionally competing in lesser-known rodeo events at a Central Pennsylvania rodeo show.

Favorite book: David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants, by Malcolm Gladwell

Favorite movie: Sherlock Holmes

Favorite musical performer: John Legend, Ed Sheeran

Favorite television show: House of Cards, The Office

Favorite vacation spot: Iceland

What are your hobbies? Running, hiking, mountaineering, bicycling, and adventure sports

Twitter Handle: @blairlyliving

What made Blair such an invaluable addition to the class of 2015?

“I can remember meeting Blair for the first-time during the summer before the start of our program. He had made an appointment with our career center to get a jump on his job search and his transition from the military to B-school. We knew from that moment that Blair was going to be a great member of our school’s community. Blair’s maturity, professionalism, and level-headed approach made him a go-to person to get a pulse of the student body and someone I could personally lean on to get feedback on potential program enhancements. In and around the classroom, his global experience and analytical nature helped his success. As we approach graduation and look back to his first encounters with us that summer as an eager admit, we couldn’t have been more spot on with our assessment of his impact on this class.”

– J.P. Matychak, associate dean for Student Experience

Best of 2015

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