Meet The Texas McCombs MBA Class of 2019

Nathan Dyer 

The University of Texas at Austin, McCombs School of Business 

Describe yourself in 15 words or less: A family man who loves to tackle challenging problems alongside good people.

Hometown: Bristol, ME

Fun Fact About Yourself: My twin brother and I attended school, rowed on the crew team in the same shell, majored in the same subject, and after graduation served overseas together.

Undergraduate School and Major: United States Military Academy; Geospatial Information Science

Employers and Job Titles Since Graduation:

  • United States Army Special Forces
  • Special Forces Company Commander
  • Special Forces Aviation Officer
  • United States Army
  • Maintenance and Apache Flight Company Commander
  • Battalion Logistics Officer
  • Maintenance and Apache Flight Platoon Leader

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: A couple of years ago, I was given the opportunity to lead over 100 Soldiers overseas. The Maintenance Company (and later on the Flight Company that was assembled) was the best possible family to work with. We performed countless tasks around the clock to support the aviation unit and our customers. We had a myriad of backgrounds and experiences to draw upon. That was the groundwork that led to what I consider my biggest accomplishment: the system we set in place to mentor the next generation of leadership. I didn’t train my junior Lieutenants to be Platoon Leaders, I trained them to take my job as a future Commander. We worked day and night to train our young soldiers to be future leaders, not content to just sit stagnantly. I sat down with each and every one of my maintainers, crew chiefs, pilots, supply personnel and clerks so I could find out who they really were and where they wanted to go in the future. It was a system with delayed gratification. The results of which we continue to enjoy because those people that we invested time and energy in became more than themselves with dedicated effort over time, even years later.

That overarching accomplishment of true mentorship and leadership covered their combined achievements of repairing an almost destroyed aircraft within just six weeks, supporting over 8,000 flight hours accident free, reducing aviation parts stockpiles by $150 million in six months, securing and enabling the first democratic election of a beleaguered country, and finally bringing my larger, military family back home safely. The investment of time and energy in the development of those you are responsible for is the most satisfying work you could ask for.

Looking back on your experience, what one piece of advice would you give to future business school applicants? The main idea to remember is that the entire process is a method to show the admissions committee who you are and what you represent. Researching where you want to go and figuring out why you want to attend a certain program is the big decision making process all applicants go through. But that initial process is really just opening the door to how you are going present yourself to the committee. The ability to be candid and true to yourself will make a significant difference throughout the entire process. Your ability to honestly answer the questions and respond genuinely to the prompts on the essays will demonstrate the real you.

This is especially important as you progress towards the interviews. What an applicant puts on paper and how that applicant interacts during the interview can either reaffirm the committee’s opinion or put up a red flag. It also demonstrates an applicant’s fit within the program, both for the applicant and for the program. Just be yourself and that will make the process both easier and more fulfilling knowing that you chose the right program and it chose you for the right reasons.

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? The collaborative culture that exists at McCombs was the driving force in my decision to attend the program. The culture brings together diverse people in an accelerated and dynamic learning laboratory. At McCombs, you have just as much of an opportunity to learn from your peers as you do from the faculty. The rich backgrounds of your classmates give you a wealth of experience just a conversation away. And they want to share that experience. It’s that desire to share their stories in order to make a true impact in the future, which sets McCombs apart from other business schools. Students have the chance to work on projects with dozens of companies from the moment you walk in the door.

The MBA+ Leadership Program is a perfect example of exploring the industries relevant to your interests and finding the chance to work with a like-minded team on real problems outside of the lecture hall. Those companies want to work with the MBA candidates at McCombs because they know they are getting more than mere students to work on their problems, they are getting dedicated problem solvers, with a wealth of experience, who work very well together. That collaborative nature is nurtured at McCombs and continues to develop within each Longhorn far after graduation. Part of the draw to McCombs is their continued emphasis on the teamwork and relationships that are built on campus. That makes all the difference in the world.

What would success look like to you after your first year of business school? The drive to work on tough problems will probably never go away for me. After my first year at McCombs, I consider initial success to be a greater understanding of the multi-disciplinarian approach to solving problems across different industries. I look forward to working on emerging challenges with my broadened network of colleagues and peers. It is where I can look in the rear-view mirror and see case challenges completed and recommendations made that will actually affect a business and knowing that I was lucky enough to be a part it. Finally, success would culminate in securing an internship with a leading management consultancy where I could work with a team of experienced professionals tackling the next big challenge.

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