Stanford Graduate School of Business
Describe yourself in 15 words or less: Servant leader humbled daily by incredible teammates. Loving husband. Proud father. Kittens are my kryptonite.
Hometown: Marlborough, Connecticut
Fun Fact About Yourself: While at a work function at my new Commanding Officer’s house, my wife choked on dinner and I had to perform the Heimlich maneuver to save her life.
Undergraduate School and Major: United States Naval Academy, Aeronautical Engineering
Employers and Job Titles Since Graduation: US Navy / Naval Special Warfare: Squad Commander, Platoon Commander, Troop Commander, Operations Officer, Executive Officer
Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: Mentoring my four Platoon Commanders for 18 months and then getting to watch them succeed as combat leaders under extremely stressful circumstances in Afghanistan.
Looking back on your experience, what advice would you give to future business school applicants? Make sure that your essay is a true reflection of who you are. Don’t write what you think the admissions office “wants” to hear. Each school has a unique culture and specific values that they are looking for, and the admissions officers are extremely talented at filtering applicants for the best fit in their programs. On the off chance that you “fool” them, you end up at a school that is not the right one for you. In an even worse situation — if you opt to misrepresent yourself — a school that would have loved the real you ends up passing because they only saw the façade. Just trust the process and be vulnerable enough in your writing to share the story that paints a crystal-clear picture of who you really are.
What led you to choose this program for your full-time MBA? After hearing back from my top schools, I wanted to give myself three days to process the situation before making any decisions. By the end of the first day, I found that I was exclusively imagining myself at the GSB, and almost had to force the idea of attending other schools into my mind. In hindsight, I am confident that Stanford was the perfect match of my values to those of the school. More specifically, I got the sense that the GSB was more of a Leadership School that happened to teach business classes, as opposed to a Business School that taught leadership classes. That distinction was very important to me.
Tell us about your dream job or dream employer at this point in your life? I am fortunate enough to be able to say that I am currently working my dream job in the military. It is an absolute privilege to lead and serve alongside the most hard-working and mission focused people that our country has to offer. Beyond that, it is incredibly rewarding to know that your team’s efforts have tangible impacts on the security of our nation.
What would you like your business school peers to say about you after you graduate from this program? No matter what the project or task, if it seems like it will be difficult, scary or impossible, I want Sparks on my team.