Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management at Cornell University
Describe yourself in 15 words or less: “Today I will behave, as if this is the day I will be remembered.” – Dr. Seuss
Hometown: Grand Junction, Colorado
Fun Fact About Yourself: I was kicked out of Cub Scouts for failing to make a proper kite.
Undergraduate School and Major: University of Colorado at Boulder- BS Mechanical Engineering
Employers and Job Titles Since Graduation: United States Navy SEAL, United States Marine Corps Radio Operator
Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: My biggest career accomplishment is graduating from sniper school which was my goal for a long time. I originally thought it was going to be an individual effort, but I couldn’t have been more wrong. My teammates were instrumental in showing me tricks and techniques that worked for them, which I then incorporated.
Looking back on your experience, what advice would you give to future business school applicants? I would recommend taking the GMAT as early as possible. Getting the GMAT out of the way was one less thing I had to worry about during application season. I spent almost as much time writing and rewriting my essays as I did studying for the GMAT. Get something on paper and then leave it for a few days. I knew an essay was done when I could re-read it after a few weeks without changing anything. As for the interview, the advice that resonated the most was from a Johnson veteran. He explained that the goal of the interview isn’t to have scripted answers; it is simply to have a good conversation. The topic of that conversation is going to be you, so make sure you are an expert.
What led you to choose this program for your full-time MBA?
There were many factors which led to Johnson being the right fit. The medium size class, highly rated academics, and beautiful location were attributes that put Cornell on my radar, but it was the current students that made up my mind. The Association of Veterans has been an unbelievable resource and incredibly helpful. I was also very impressed by how inclusive Johnson is with students’ families. The Joint Ventures Club welcomed my wife and me and has given us a sense of community even before the start of class.
Tell us about your dream job or dream employer at this point in your life? My dream job would be to work in finance in the oil and gas sector. I grew up in western Colorado where natural resource extraction is a primary economic driver. I am also very interested in how foreign affairs affect business. I believe Johnson’s Investment Banking Immersion program will offer the academic tools required to excel in this area
What would you like your business school peers to say about you after you graduate from this program? Like any difficult skill, I believe that leadership is perishable. It must be constantly practiced and refined. While professors and administrators provide necessary guidance, the most valuable feedback comes from your team members with whom you work with on a daily basis. One of the aspects of Johnson’s MBA program that I am excited about is its diversity. Every student has a unique and different story, and a unique and different way to analyze and solve problems. I hope by the end of this program my peers can say that I appreciated my classmates’ distinctive style of leadership.