2016 MBAs To Watch: Danijel Lolic, Pittsburgh (Katz)

Danijel Lolic Pittsburgh

Danijel Lolic


University of Pittsburgh, Joseph M. Katz Graduate School of Business

Age: 27

Hometown: Gettysburg, Pennsylvania


  • University of Pittsburgh – Swanson School of Engineering – Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Mechanical Engineering
  • University of Pittsburgh – Swanson School of Engineering – Master of Science (M.S.) in Mechanical Engineering

Where did you work before enrolling in business school? Rice Fruit Company, Gardners, Pennsylvania – Plant Engineer & Interim Maintenance Supervisor

Where did you intern during the summer of 2015? Rice Fruit Company, Gardners, Pennsylvania – Special Engineering Projects Intern

Where will you be working after graduation? Rice Fruit Company, Gardners, Pennsylvania – Engineering Manager

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School

Young Professionals in Energy (YPE) – Katz Business School Chapter – President

Katz Invitational Case Competition Organizing Committee – 2015 & 2016

Katz Invitational Case Competition Case Writer – 2016

Student Ambassador to Prospective and Admitted Students

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? The academic/extracurricular endeavor I am most proud of during business school was having the opportunity to write the case for the 2016 Katz Invitational Case Competition while working alongside the Katz team (as well as a fantastic delegation of experts from Direct Energy Business). It was a wonderful experience and, beyond the fact that it provided me with the opportunity to learn more about the energy industry and the major challenges facing stakeholders today, it was very rewarding to be able to put on an event that showcased the high level of student interest in the industry as well as their abilities.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? I cannot say that there is a single, defining achievement I am most proud of in my professional career, but I can say that I am extremely proud of the fact that the work Rice Fruit Company does is of great benefit to our customers, the local community, and the environment. It is an honor to work alongside farmers, as well as my co-workers, whose aims are to provide a healthy, delicious product (apples), while preserving and maintaining farm land and the environment in a safe and responsible manner.

Who is your favorite professor? My favorite professor is Dr. Prakash Mirchandani, whose passion for education and inspiring his students is rivaled only by his seemingly infinite knowledge and willingness to advise and help those of us who are eager to learn from him. He is simply the best professor I have ever had and it has been an honor to have the opportunity to learn from him.

Favorite MBA Courses? Global Supply Chain Management – Dr. Prakash Mirchandani

Advanced Decision Technologies in Manufacturing and Operations Management – Dr. Prakash Mirchandani

Negotiations, Teamwork, and Change – Dr. Frits Pil

Why did you choose this business school? I chose the Joseph M. Katz Graduate School of Business because of its strong reputation for experience-based learning and its high return on investment. It also gave me the opportunity to simultaneously complete my Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering as part of an innovative joint-degree program between the Katz Graduate School of Business and the Swanson School of Engineering.

What did you enjoy most about business school? What I enjoyed most about business school was the opportunity to learn from friends and peers with fascinating backgrounds. The variety in their levels of experience, types of industries and organizations, and roles within those organizations were all eye-opening and allowed me to gain fresh perspectives in a way I never imagined.

What is the biggest lesson you gained from business school? The biggest lesson I gained from business school was to recognize that there is often simply an unbelievable depth of complexity to any industry. I learned to recognize that processes and businesses I would have never given much thought to at all may be (and likely are) made up of many, many cogs of varying sizes that all come together.

What was the most surprising thing about business school? The most surprising part of business school was how much I learned from the vast experience and knowledge of my peers and friends. It was an eye-opening experience to discover many of the incredible things my colleagues had seen and done.

What was the hardest part of business school? The hardest part of business school was coming to understand that there simply wasn’t enough time to pursue all of the opportunities made available to us at the Katz Graduate School of Business. It was very difficult to come to the realization that the rigors of the coursework and extracurricular activities necessitated devoting my resources to just a few endeavors, as opposed to pursuing all of those that interested me.

What’s your best advice to an applicant to your school? My advice to an applicant to Katz is to be prepared to arrive on campus open-minded and be ready to absorb and be humbled by the experience, knowledge, and expertise of the faculty, staff, and student body. It is imperative to take advantage of the extracurricular opportunities available to students, especially case competitions, clubs and organizations. Partaking in such endeavors will, in my opinion, be invaluable to one’s personal and professional development.

I knew I wanted to go to business school when…my company’s accountant confounded me with a string of accounting terms that seemed to be a foreign language. On a more serious note, when I came to understand that I needed a more thorough understanding of business challenges that were not purely technical challenges.”

If I hadn’t gone to business school, I would be…continuing my work as an engineer while maintaining the same long-term goals, without having many of the skills that will prove invaluable to me in my pursuit of these goals as a result of what I’ve learned during my time in business school.”

Which executive or entrepreneur do you most admire? It is Elon Musk due to his firm commitment to using his professional pursuits to drive positive change in response to the enormous challenges faced by our planet and its people today (specifically in the fields of sustainability and renewable energy).

What are your long-term professional goals? I want to pursue innovative tech solutions to pressing problems in the fields of agriculture and energy. More simply: to make a positive impact in helping solve socio-economic challenges, such as food and energy security.

Who would you most want to thank for your success? My parents. As refugees to the United States from Bosnia (former Yugoslavia), they sacrificed all that they knew and had in order to provide my sister and me with a better life. Their love, support, sacrifices, and drive have served as a source of inspiration for me throughout my life. I’m also immensely grateful to the United States, where my family was welcomed with open arms and where I have been fortunate to have the opportunity to pursue both my personal and professional goals and aspirations.

Fun fact about yourself: I adopted a dog named Chub from a great rescue organization (Operation Paws for Homes). He is a 100 lb. endless source of joy and energy!

Favorite book: The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas

Favorite movie: Wedding Crashers

Favorite musical performer: Of Monsters and Men

Favorite television show: “Firefly”

Favorite vacation spot: Mountains

Hobbies? Soccer, Tennis, Chess, Biking, and Reading

What made Danijel such an invaluable addition to the class of 2016?

“Danijel Lolic is an exceptional MBA student in the Katz Class of 2016. Not only is he a top performer in the classroom, he is a driving force in ensuring the flawless execution of student-driven events.

Danijel came in with an open mind and has charisma and confidence (as well as the ability to speak five languages) that allows him to effectively engage with his peers and Katz’s corporate partners. These talents were on full display this past spring term when he successfully wrote the case for the school’s signature MBA case competition, the Katz Invitational Case Competition. They were also evident in his leadership of the Katz Young Professionals in Energy group, which is the only collegiate chapter in the country.

Danijel succeeds because he has a genuine interest in his peers’ success, which exemplifies the collaborative nature of the Katz culture. Whether it is participating in intramural soccer or a 7:00 a.m. speaker breakfast for the school’s Center for Supply Chain Management, Danijel embraces the diversity of his colleagues, recognizing each for their individual strengths and goals and motivating them to participate.”

Danijel entered the Katz program because he recognized he could add even more value to his employer, the Rice Fruit Company, if he was able to obtain a strong business foundation and advanced knowledge in sustainable and green initiatives.  Rice Fruit Company is the East Coast’s largest fresh fruit packing facility. Danijel was able to return to the company and will bring innovative ideas to this business as an Engineering Manager upon graduation.

Danijel’s collegial nature, his commitment to the success of himself and his peers, and his passion for the Katz program has made him an invaluable member of the class of 2016.”

Melissa Shapiro, Director

Career Management Center

Joseph M. Katz Graduate School of Business, University of Pittsburgh




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