Harvard | Mr. Bomb Squad To Business
GMAT 740, GPA 3.36
Duke Fuqua | Mr. IB Back Office To Front Office/Consulting
GMAT 640, GPA 2.8
Harvard | Mr. Comeback Kid
GMAT 770, GPA 2.8
Yale | Mr. Lawyer Turned Consultant
GMAT 730, GPA 3.7
Wharton | Ms. Strategy & Marketing Roles
GMAT 750, GPA 9.66/10
Harvard | Mr. Tech Risk
GMAT 750, GPA 3.6
Chicago Booth | Mr. Whitecoat Businessman
GMAT 740, GPA Equivalent to 3(Wes) and 3.4(scholaro)
MIT Sloan | Ms. Digital Manufacturing To Tech Innovator
GMAT 720, GPA 3.4
Harvard | Mr. Big 4 To Healthcare Reformer
GRE 338, GPA 4.0 (1st Class Honours - UK - Deans List)
Chicago Booth | Mr. Mexican Central Banker
GMAT 730, GPA 95.8/100 (1st in class)
Harvard | Mr. Billion Dollar Startup
GRE 309, GPA 6.75/10
Cornell Johnson | Mr. Healthcare Corporate Development
GMAT 740, GPA 3.5
Columbia | Mr. Developing Social Enterprises
GMAT 750, GPA 3.75
IU Kelley | Mr. Advertising Guy
GMAT 650, GPA 3.5
Rice Jones | Mr. Tech Firm Product Manager
GRE 320, GPA 2.7
Yale | Mr. Education Management
GMAT 730, GPA 7.797/10
Columbia | Mr. Neptune
GMAT 750, GPA 3.65
Darden | Ms. Education Management
GRE 331, GPA 9.284/10
Columbia | Mr. Confused Consultant
GMAT 710, GPA 3.2
Harvard | Ms. 2+2 Trader
GMAT 770, GPA 3.9
Harvard | Mr Big 4 To IB
GRE 317, GPA 4.04/5.00
Stanford GSB | Ms. Engineer In Finance – Deferred MBA
GRE 332, GPA 3.94
Chicago Booth | Mr. Corporate Development
GMAT 740, GPA 3.2
UCLA Anderson | Mr. Second Chance In The US
GMAT 760, GPA 2.3
Harvard | Ms. Big 4 M&A Manager
GMAT 750, GPA 2:1 (Upper second-class honours, UK)
Harvard | Mr. Harvard 2+2, Chances?
GMAT 740, GPA 3.2
Wharton | Ms. Negotiator
GMAT 720, GPA 7.9/10

From Naval Academy To War To Elite MBA Programs

Long-time friends, veterans (L-R) Brian Smith, Matt Beaudette, and Ben Allen

Long-time friends, veterans (L-R) Brian Smith, Matt Beaudette, and Ben Allen

Applying for MBA programs is often a lonely, miserable affair. But, notes U.S. Navy Special Operations Lieutenant Brian Smith, misery loves company. And fortunately for Smith, the MBA application ordeal was not lonely. He had familiar and collaborative company while studying for the GMAT and applying to elite business schools: best friends from Naval Academy who had gone into different military jobs but shared the types of experience highly prized by B-schools and business – especially the ability to make quick decisions in ambiguous situations with sky-high stakes.

Now, Smith and his friends Ben Allen and Matt Beaudette, also Navy lieutenants no longer in service, have just started their MBA programs, Smith and Beaudette at Harvard Business School, Allen at the University of Pennsylvania Wharton School. Each had followed a separate path from the Academy to B-school, but the friendship that began when they were roommates there continued and strengthened as the following years sent them all over the world, to wars both hot and cold.

“Matt is literally the first person I met in the Navy,” Smith says. On the same day, in July 2003, they would meet Allen.

While the three roommates progressed through the training and sports of their Academy days – Beaudette was a gymnast, Allen a rower, and Smith a boxer – to active duty, they pushed each other all the time.


Harvard Business School MBA student and veteran Brian Smith in Afghanistan

Harvard Business School MBA student and veteran Brian Smith in Afghanistan

“One thing that made us close was that we came from these different backgrounds and as a result we were constantly . . . challenging each other to be better across the board, whether it was physically on the playing field, or in the classroom, or in our military responsibilities,” Smith says.

Allen had grown up in Orlando, Florida. Beaudette was from Boston’s South Shore. Smith hailed from California’s capital, Sacramento. The three Class of 2007 Naval Academy grads are now 30.

As the end of their time at the Academy approached, Beaudette and Smith decided to supplement their education with a master’s degree in security studies from Georgetown University. They started the program concurrently with their final Academy term, and received their master’s degrees eight months after graduating from the Academy.

The three friends’ U.S. Navy careers diverged after their schooling. Beaudette and Allen went into the nuclear Navy. Allen, a surface nuclear warfare officer based in San Diego and Pearl Harbor, had one counter-narcotics deployment to Central and South America, and two deployments to Southeast Asia and the Middle East on an aircraft carrier. Beaudette, an assistant weapons officer on a nuclear-missile submarine, patrolled in the Atlantic. Smith went into special operations and became an explosive ordinance disposal officer, trained to disarm conventional, chemical, and biological weapons, and respond to nuclear accidents. Deployed in 2009 to Afghanistan, then to various Middle East locations for the next two years, he spent nine months between 2012 and 2013 back in Afghanistan, destroying improvised explosive devices amid frequent firefights with insurgents.