Texas A&M University, Mays Business School
Hometown: New Plymouth, New Zealand
Undergraduate School and Degree: University of Indianapolis, BSc Finance
Where did you work before enrolling in business school? In Indonesia as the Senior Commercial Analyst for AWE Limited (ASX200 listed upstream oil and gas company)
Where did you intern during the summer of 2015? Strategy & Operations Consulting – Deloitte Consulting LLP, Dallas, Texas
Where will you be working after graduation? EY Transaction Advisory Services, Chicago
Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School: VP Finance – Texas A&M Mays Graduate Consulting Club; VP Finance – Texas A&M MBA Students Helping our Community; Business Adviser – Texas Prison Entrepreneurship Program
Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? Receiving the Jerry Strawser Outstanding MBA Award at graduation. During the admissions process to Mays Business School, I was asked what made me most nervous about getting an MBA. My answer was simple: getting accepted into the program. I had done a lot of research on the caliber of the students that Mays was admitting and I wasn’t sure if my profile was impressive enough to secure a spot. Having had the opportunity to complete my MBA at Mays and see firsthand just how strong the talent pool there is, I was honored that the staff and faculty recognized me with that award.
It was also very special as my parents were able to travel from New Zealand to see me receive the award at graduation.
What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? Managing the procurement activities for a more than $20 million drilling operation for AWE Limited in Indonesia. This was very satisfying as the team was under a tight deadline from both a corporate and regulatory perspective. We managed to meet the deadlines and I gained some excellent professional and personal experience in a country and environment very different from New Zealand.
Who is your favorite professor? I had several outstanding professors and each gave me different things throughout the program. I can’t speak highly enough about the faculty at Texas A&M. However, if I had to single out one professor it would be Dr. Janet Marcantonio. Her guidance and constant challenge of the way I viewed myself and my performance really helped me grow as a leader. Her dedication and resilience, despite having to provide constant constructive feedback to a usually very defensive MBA student, was outstanding.
Favorite MBA Courses? Consumer Behavior. This was a very interesting elective that allowed me to study an area that I didn’t intend to specialize in after business school. I would recommend that any incoming MBA student consider their electives carefully and don’t just take a completely focused yet one-dimensional course load. A broad curriculum will help you understand the key drivers for different business functions. This will ultimately make you better equipped to communicate and manage across various departments, service lines, and industries. This is something I am already seeing as valuable in my role at EY.
Why did you choose this business school? Initially I wanted to stay in oil and gas. Overwhelmingly, the oil and gas professionals I spoke to in the U.S. and internationally steered me toward Texas A&M. Once I started the MBA, I really made an effort to speak to as many people as possible about their careers. I found it fascinating to hear about the different roads people had taken throughout their careers and the advice they had. This led me into consulting. Although it is too early to decide if this is a career I will pursue long-term, I am really pleased with my decision.
What did you enjoy most about business school? On the last day of class, everyone had to do a speech on the most important thing they learned during their MBA experience. It was amazing to hear what everyone felt they had gotten out of the experience. For me it was the ability to better judge my own skills and shortcomings.
What is the biggest lesson you gained from business school? As I mentioned above, being able to better judge my own skills and shortcomings. In New Zealand we have a very strong culture of doing things ourselves. I think it comes from being quite isolated geographically, which led to people having to know how to build and fix things themselves. A manager today, however, needs to be able to leverage the skills and resources around them to achieve the best possible results. Old habits die hard and I am sure some of my classmates would still say that I enjoy getting into the details on everything.
What was the most surprising thing about business school? How early the MBA recruitment process starts and the amount of time needed to thoroughly evaluate the different career options. In particular, this applies to people who are not committed to a specific field, or who, like me, decide to consider a broad range of opportunities once they arrive.
What was the hardest part of business school? Getting used to receiving considerably more feedback on all areas of your performance from so many different people. It can be tough but to get full value from this opportunity you need to remain open to it.
What’s your best advice to an applicant to your school? Make sure you are a good team member; it will help you build a great network and you will be surprised how far this will go to help with things like your career search. At Texas A&M, they have an extremely strong alumni network. It never ceased to amaze me how often people would get put forward for roles, and ultimately end up getting them based on the recommendation of a classmate.
“I knew I wanted to go to business school when… right before business school, I received an offer to work for a global consulting firm. I had all but decided to take the offer, but after a conversation with one of the professors at Texas A&M about the impact he has seen on graduates from Mays, there was no doubt in my mind. I am really glad I made the decision to complete my MBA.”
“If I hadn’t gone to business school, I would be… in Singapore working as a consultant and thinking about where I want to do my MBA in the next year or two.”
Which executive or entrepreneur do you most admire? There are several but on top of my mind is Tim Cook. I think it takes considerable courage to stand up for something you think is fundamental to the future of an industry (in his case cybersecurity), especially when it goes against popular public opinion and you are selling consumer goods.
What are your long-term professional goals? I want to have a positive impact on people’s lives. I am still not sure where my skills are best deployed to do this, but it is something I evaluate constantly. One of the options I may consider in the long term is going into education in some form, either as a teacher, professor, adviser, or administrator.
Who would you most want to thank for your success? I owe thanks to many people for the fortunate position I am in today and the opportunities I have available to me. My parents have been excellent role models and have always given me great advice. However, during my MBA I have to say the support I received from my wife Erica was what really helped get me through.
Fun fact about yourself: I ran, biked, and kayaked from one side of New Zealand to another in 17 hours. Although I still really enjoy running, I am not too keen on cycling anymore.
Favorite book: Harry Potter. There are some fantastic business books I could have used, but I really like how this series captured my imagination.
Favorite movie: I recently spent some time in Park City, UT skiing during Sundance and I was able to see several films. One film in particular that was very powerful was a documentary called Holy Hell. It was incredible and to see just how much influence one individual can have over a group of people for such a long period of time.
Favorite musical performer: Elton John. I have seen him in concert twice and he knows how to put on a great show.
Favorite television show: “The Big Bang Theory”
Favorite vacation spot: Pauanui on the Coromandel Peninsula in New Zealand. I have great family memories there and I hope to get back at Christmas this year
Hobbies? Skiing, fishing, golf, and cooking
What made Mitchell Snowden such an invaluable addition to the class of 2016?
“Mitchell Snowden was the ‘one who almost got away,’ but I am so glad he didn’t. Right after arriving to orientation for our program, he received a job offer to go work in Singapore. He spoke to several of our faculty and staff members about the difficult decision ahead of him. I genuinely believed that he would make a choice to go work abroad, but was pleasantly surprised when he chose to stay. Our MBA Class of 2016 was enriched greatly by having Mitchell as a part of it. He brought a unique perspective — and a great accent — being from New Zealand. He was a hard worker in the classroom, and an even harder worker outside of it as a valuable team member.
“It should have been no surprise to me when the end of the program came and we asked our faculty to select the Jerry R. Strawser Outstanding MBA Student Award. Mitchell won by a landslide and his faculty members had this to say about him:
“’Mitchell has a very high level of engagement with the program and has excelled in his serious commitment to learning and to serving his cohort.’ They describe him as having a ‘first-rate mind, dedicated, and thoughtful.’”
MBA Program Associate Director
Mays Business School
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