2015 Best MBAs: Jacob Call

JacobCall - UCLA-PoetsAndQuants

Jacob Call


UCLA, Anderson School of Management

If you asked UCLA MBA students to describe Jacob Call, you’d probably hear words like “passionate,” “humble,” and “a real leader.” And that should come as no surprise for someone who spent a decade as a Navy SEAL on extremely dangerous mission in Iraq and Afghanistan. His decision to go to business school was heavily influenced by the death of his closest friend in combat. Admitting that he spent more time on athletics than academics as a younger man, Call has channeled that same drive that made him part of the military’s most elite units into becoming a top-of-the-class Anderson MBA. At the same time, he has selflessly given of himself by mentoring veteran applicants, as well as leading the school’s social committee. Classmates describe him as an inspiration who always found a way to bring out the best in those around him.

Age: 34

Hometown: Fowlerville, Michigan

Undergraduate School: University of California, San Diego (2011)

Undergraduate Degree: Political Science / International Relations

Where did you work before enrolling in business school?

CrossFit East Village – Founder (2009 – Present)

Trident Group – Maritime Security Specialist Team Leader (2011 – 2013)

United States Navy – Navy SEAL (2000 – 2010)

Where did you intern during the summer of 2014? McCafferty & Company in Los Angeles, CA – Investment Banking Summer Associate

Where will you be working after graduation? Citigroup Global Markets Inc. – Investment Banking Associate

“I knew I wanted to go to business school when…I was reflecting on my life shortly after my closest friend was killed in combat. From serving on the front lines of Iraq and Afghanistan to losing some of my closest friends in combat, I have gained a profound appreciation for the fragility of life and the preciousness of time. After my best friend was killed in combat, the true meaning of time presented itself in terms not ignorable to me. I no longer had time to tell the most influential person in my life how much he meant to me, nor the time to laugh with him, learn from him and experience life with him. I faced mortality, I suppose, and turned myself to face the imperative of living a life of intention…”

“If I hadn’t gone to business school, I would be…down range (deployed overseas) defending freedom and kicking in doors…I hope.”

What are your long-term professional goals? Coming from relatively humble beginnings, I want to help inspire people to reach their fullest potential. Up to this point, I have been able to help impact quite a few lives; however, I hope I have only begun to scratch the surface. In my pursuit, I intend to lead by example as I continue to push beyond my boundaries, develop my skills and exploit my weaknesses.

Favorite Courses: Business Strategy, Corporate Valuation, Behavioral Finance, Real Estate Financing and Investing

Which academic or professional achievements are you most proud of? Beyond joining the ranks of the SEAL Teams, I am proud I have remained on the path to obtaining an MBA from a top-tiered program. Since 2007, I have obtained an undergraduate degree from the University of California, San Diego, started and operated a successful business, completed a successful 10-year military career, attended UCLA Anderson and accepted a position from Citigroup.

Who would you most want to thank for your success (and why)? My Parents (Don and Maureen Call), Michael Murphy, John Waggoner, Tarey Gettys, and my brothers (fallen, past, present and future) from the SEAL Teams. As a perpetual student, entrepreneur and combat veteran, I am committed to living a life of giving back to others what I so graciously received from my parents, mentors and brothers in the SEAL teams.

Why did you choose this business school? I choose Anderson’s MBA program to obtain a first rate education from one of the best business schools in the world and to set the stage for me to become a game changer in today’s society. With the school’s strong entrepreneurial focus, prominent faculty, vast alumni network, diverse student body and unparalleled curriculum, I was fully confident the program would propel me into the future with the skills I need to truly make an impact in this world.

Additionally, I was fortunate enough to meet Christopher Zyda, a prominent Anderson alumnus, around the time I was choosing which MBA program to attend. Beyond Christopher’s overly impressive resume and accomplishments since he obtained his MBA, it was his insight and guidance that ultimately led me to follow in his footsteps and attend Anderson. His friendship and mentorship cannot be overstated as he helped lead me into making one of the best decisions of my life.

What did you enjoy most about business school? Anderson’s tight knit group of people who strive for perfection and desire to make a meaningful impact in all that they do. Banding together with an academic community of people who refuse to accept mediocrity is not entirely dissimilar to the mindset I embraced in the SEAL Teams and has made a big difference in my transition from the military. The ability to grow and learn with people who come from very diverse backgrounds has not only given me a chance to enhance my skills as a leader, team player and businessman, but has also allowed me to lend a hand in forging the business leaders of tomorrow.

What is your most memorable moment from business school? Rather than most memorable “moment,” I would say my most memorable experience has been witnessing my classmates push their boundaries, excel in the classroom and achieve the next step toward their goals. Having experienced SEAL training both as a student and an instructor, I have had a unique opportunity to witness many people let their goals escape them alongside a select few who realized theirs. The difference between success and failure can almost always be found buried in the details of preparation and commitment. In a different capacity from my previous profession, yet in a similar light, it has been truly rewarding and inspiring to watch my classmates achieve something I know they have put so much time and effort into.

Fun fact about yourself: For as long as I can remember, my father has been an exceptional and dedicated runner. My brothers and I practically grew up along the streets of Boston, Detroit, Cleveland, New York, and anywhere else our dad was running his next marathon. He provided my brothers and me with a living example of hard work, determination, and self-sacrifice… His extraordinary achievements provided many life lessons and truly showed my brothers and me how to live.

Since I could walk, I had always wanted to run a marathon with my dad. In 2007, my brother, Dan, and I decided to finally recognize our father’s efforts by giving him the surprise of a lifetime. Without either of us ever having run a marathon, we devised a plan to qualify for the Boston Marathon and decided to keep it a secret until Christmas. Our training began on January 1, 2007 and after eight months of training daily (with three of the months being deployed to Afghanistan), my brother and I both pulled off a qualifying time. One of the happiest and proudest moments of my life was getting to tell my Dad that my brother and I were going to be running in Boston with him in 2008 and 2009 (his 19th and 20th consecutive).

Favorite book: Gates of Fire by Steven Pressfield

Favorite movie: Limitless, Finding Forrester, Peaceful Warrior, and 300

Favorite musical performer: Pete Scobell Band. If you don’t know who Pete Scobell is, you will soon.

 Favorite television show: I haven’t owned a television in the last 10 years or so, but the internet has since foiled my strategy to increase my productivity. My favorite television show was Spartacus before it was canceled with Suits being a distant second. Harvey Specter is the Spartacus of Lawyers.

Favorite vacation spot: Sierra Mountains

What are your hobbies? As of late, Excel and PowerPoint are starting to feel like hobbies, but I generally stick to fitness, camping, hiking, shooting, and reading.

Twitter Handle: @call236

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

“Jake Call is one of those people you just want to be around. He possesses a quiet confidence that draws one in, but also leaves you with a sense that there is so much more to know…

As for many, the beginning of business school was an adjustment for Jake. Instead of hiding and struggling on his own, he embraced every resource we had to offer and enlisted the help of his learning team partners…Instead of lamenting the fact that he would have to dedicate himself fully to his academics, he saw this as an opportunity to make suggestions about ways to make the transition to business school more comfortable, not just for future military students, but for anyone whose academic background or time since graduation might make the transition more difficult. As is often the case with Jake, he used his own bumpy road to pave the path so that others may have a smoother ride…Jake and his “bring it on” attitude very quickly adapted to school and he has become what we refer to as a “finance guy”. It is exactly that kind of transformation that is what business school is all about.

Jake serves in several formal leadership roles on campus, the most prominent being president of the Anderson Veterans Association. He has been leader of an organization that has doubled in membership over the past couple of years—much of that due to Jake and his leadership board. The outreach that he has done to military candidates has been tremendously impactful…. When he offers military applicants his time and mentorship, people are amazed. They know that Jake was a highly regarded Navy Seal, but they don’t necessarily know how humble and genuine he is until they talk to him. Jake has been an important catalyst for the tremendous growth we have seen in both military applicants and attendees…

Jake has helped UCLA Anderson be better at what we do as well…Because of him, we have a better understanding of how to reach military applicants, how to talk to them about what business school has to offer, and what kinds of services they need in order to make the career and life transformations they are looking to make.”

– Robert Weiler, associate dean, Full Time MBA Program and Susan Judkins, Assistant Dean & Director, MBA Student Affairs

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