Meet Columbia Business School’s MBA Class Of 2019

Joseph Maier 

Columbia Business School 

Describe yourself in 15 words or less: Adrenaline seeking veteran with passion, perseverance, and grit.

Hometown: Lumberton, TX

Fun Fact About Yourself: I once skydived into a scuba dive

Undergraduate School and Major: Lamar University, Business Administration

Employers and Job Titles Since Graduation: US Army – ‘Green Beret’ Special Forces Engineer, McDonalds Corporation – Project Manager, Operations and IT

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: The motto of the Green Berets’ is ‘De Oppresso Liber,’ meaning “to free from oppression.” I like to believe I lived up to that motto while deployed in Afghanistan. My team and I were inserted into Taliban controlled territory tasked with driving out the Taliban forces and restoring normalcy to the area. Fortunately, our team was successful in partnering with local police forces and drove out the Taliban insurgents freeing the populace from their oppressors. Not only was I able to help in freeing them physically from Taliban control, but I also saw the opportunity to encourage greater financial freedom. The surrounding villages lacked physical infrastructure and know-how to promote business and trade. Knowing that Afghanistan relies heavily on its agriculture as a driver for economic stability and growth, I consulted with the village elders to facilitate the growth of the local agribusiness by rehabilitating irrigation canals. These changes enabled greater quantity and better quality of crops which allowed the Afghan government, under the guidance of USAID, to connect the farmers with access to financing as well as organize international trade.

Looking back on your experience, what one piece of advice would you give to future business school applicants? My advice is to get connected with current students and recent alumni like yourself. This allows you to get insight into the school’s culture to determine if it resonates with you. I had the fortune of meeting an overwhelming number of students during my application process who were eager to help me due to a ‘pay-it-forward’ mentality. Most of these students had been in the same situation, had been helped, and felt it their duty to return the favor. I will undoubtedly be ‘paying-it-forward’ myself.

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? Columbia’s location provides unparalleled access to a multitude of industries, companies, and alumni. The resources Columbia places in the hands of its students will undeniably further my professional education and allow me to successfully transition into the business world.

What would success look like to you after your first year of business school? A successful first year would result in having formed life-long friendships with brilliant people who can say that I contributed greatly to their MBA experience at Columbia.

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