Meet Vanderbilt Owen’s MBA Class of 2019

Reed Hayes 

Vanderbilt University, Owen Graduate School of Management 

Describe yourself in 15 words or less: West Point Graduate and Green Beret integrating Special Forces techniques into the business world.

Hometown: Hingham, MA

Fun Fact About Yourself:  I am an awful singer. I sing to my children (ages 4, 2 1/2 and 8 months) in what could only be generously described as ‘Off-Key.’ I live in a neighborhood full of musicians, in Music City, and I couldn’t carry a tune in a bucket.

Undergraduate School and Major:  United States Military Academy at West Point, Bachelor of Science Degree with a major in Arabic

Employers and Job Titles Since Graduation:  

United States Army:

Special Forces Detachment Commander

Special Forces Qualification Course Student

Headquarters Company Executive Officer

Infantry Rifle Platoon Leader

Ranger School Student

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: While serving as a Special Forces Officer, I deployed to the Middle East with my team of 12 Green Berets in support of a strategic program directly supporting American policy initiatives against ISIS. My team and I overhauled the existing training program leading to a 175% increase in production, developed standard operating procedures to improve efficiency and directly influenced the geo-political landscape of the Middle East by producing a counter-ISIS force. Our efforts ensured that ISIS could not spread into new territory and provided a competent, trained force that could provide security and rule of law.

Looking back on your experience, what one piece of advice would you give to future business school applicants?  Understand all angles and facets of pursuing a business degree. Applicants need to carefully and thoughtfully determine if business school will benefit their professional career and if they are at a point in their lives where they need the additional skills inherent with a MBA. Also, applicants need to conduct a strong cost/benefit analysis to determine if it makes sense financially to pursue a MBA. Finally, applicants should speak to MBA students and MBA graduates to fully understand the commitment of graduate school and the potential impact on their lives.

What was the key factor that led you to choose this program for your full-time MBA and why was it so important to you? I chose Vanderbilt because of the amazing community at Owen. When I emailed Christie St. John on the admissions team to ask about the program, I heard back from her within a few hours. In her reply, she included numerous other points of contact with the same professional background as me and provided in-depth and personalized feedback. Everyone Christie introduced me to emailed back directly and provided an amazing level of feedback about the program and my own individual questions. As a former Army Officer and Green Beret, teams have been a central part of my entire life. I felt that I was a part of a team at Owen the moment I started my application and still feel so today. Also, the strength of Owen’s program coupled with its location in Nashville made it an easy decision.

What would success look like to you after your first year of business school?  I would consider myself successful after my first year of business school if I am in a competitive internship in the Nashville area, I am learning from my peers every day and I am ready to take on leadership positions in the Owen and Nashville community.

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