Meet Yale SOM’s MBA Class Of 2019

Will Ryan 

Yale School of Management

Describe yourself in 15 words or less: Army Infantry Officer with a passion for building and working within teams to solve problems

Hometown: Bloomfield Village, MI

Fun Fact About Yourself:  I have lived in and/or worked in over 8 states and 10 countries throughout my life.

Undergraduate School and Major: United States Military Academy (2009), B.S. Engineering Management

Employers and Job Titles Since Graduation:

Since 2009, I have served in the United States Army as an Infantry Officer in both conventional and special operations units. My job titles included Platoon Leader, Operations Officer, and Company Commander.

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: In my most recent assignment, I served as an Airborne Infantry Company Commander in the 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team based out of Vicenza, Italy, where I was responsible for the development and employment of about 150 Paratroopers. This incredible opportunity and privilege afforded me a once-in-a-lifetime experience to learn from an incredibly diverse group of individuals, organizations, and cultures as we worked alongside other NATO Allies throughout Europe and the Middle East. However, over the course of 18 months and 6 major exercises or operations in 5 different countries, my greatest fulfillment and sense of accomplishment occurred whenever an individual Paratrooper achieved a goal of his or hers that before seemed unattainable (i.e. promotion to the next rank or acceptance into a special operations unit), and did so in part because of the environment and culture our team built and fostered within the company.

Looking back on your experience, what one piece of advice would you give to future business school applicants? In many ways, the interview can be the most intimidating portion of the application process. To help reduce some stress, I recommend approaching the experience less as an interview and more as a conversation. That being said, you absolutely need to do your homework and be comfortable explaining (with detail) what interests you about the school, why the school is the right fit for you, and how your unique set of experiences or skills will enrich the community and learning experience of those around you. However, if you can do all of this while still being genuine and engaging, you will knock the interview out of the park…and if it seems appropriate, don’t be afraid to crack a joke or two.

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? Throughout my career, the Army afforded me multiple experiences and opportunities that forced me to view a variety of complex situations from a completely foreign (quite literally) point of view. I quickly realized that the more perspectives and nonconforming opinions that we incorporated into our teams, the more effective our solutions became. Without these “outside” perspectives, we were limiting our success to the calculations from our own personal and professional background (much of which was very similar). With this in mind, I wanted to pursue a program that not only provided a world-class education in leadership and organizational management, but also one that afforded students the opportunity to take courses of interest from other colleges at the university. By allowing and encouraging its students to broaden their perspectives and experiences through the abundance of courses offered across Yale University and through its Global Studies Requirement, Yale SOM ensures its graduates will make immediate, positive impacts as leaders in an ever-more complex world.

What would success look like to you after your first year of business school? With the incredibly diverse and qualified group of individuals I will get to call classmates and professors over the next year, I am fully confident that my style of leadership, method of problem solving, and understanding and appreciation of others’ perspectives will greatly change, for the better. During that time, if I am able to equally challenge my classmates’ assumptions or preconceptions, enrich their academic experiences, and assist in their development as leaders to better prepare them for their summer internships and beyond, I would consider that the greatest success of all.

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