Meet Washington Foster’s MBA Class of 2019

Andrew Peppler 

University of Washington, Foster School of Business

Describe yourself in 15 words or less: Tell me I can’t do something—I love being underestimated.

Hometown: Pensacola, FL

Fun Fact About Yourself: Challenge me to a game of ping pong at your own peril.

Undergraduate School and Major: University of Florida, BA Anthropology

Employers and Job Titles Since Graduation:

U.S. Army

-Platoon Leader, Company Executive Officer, Brigade Planner, Company Commander

U.S. Army Reserve

-Adjunct Professor of Military Science

Amazon Global Corporate Security & Business Continuity

-Program Manager (Strategic Plans & Finance)

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: Commanding a company in Afghanistan for nine months of combat operations that reduced significant Taliban activity by over 50%, and bringing all my men home alive set a pretty high watermark. But transition from the military to corporate America was really tough. I had to leave an environment I’d been developed within and indoctrinated into for 8+ years. I was forced to adapt, learn, and grow at a pace well outside my comfort zone, and I excelled, eventually earning a promotion, running my department’s strategic planning process, and controlling their entire $120M+ budget.

Looking back on your experience, what one piece of advice would you give to future business school applicants? Don’t quit. Also, if you struggle with a section of the GMAT like I did, don’t continue to try the same thing over-and-over again, and expect different results. In retrospect, I regret not experimenting a bit more with different study techniques or tutoring regimens. 

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 applied to Foster three times. Each time, I was extremely impressed with the effort the admissions team took to look beyond my application packet and get to know me as a person. The current Foster MBAs and alumni only reinforced my observations. The intention with which the staff approach the application process is a reflection of the quality of the program and the curriculum more generally—they don’t just pay lip service to diversity—and they ensure the very best people make it into a Foster cohort together. This is extremely important to me because throughout my Army career, I was surrounded by America’s best—high achievers who understood the value of teams. When I left the Army, I pursued a position at Amazon for the same reason. Foster sets a high bar and I can’t wait to work with and learn from my new teammates this year.

What would success look like to you after your first year of business school? If I’m worn out and feel like my brain was removed, reconstructed, and implanted back in my head, I’ll call that success. I want to learn something new every day. I want to forge lasting friendships with my classmates. Oh, and it’d be great to have an internship in hand at a firm that is the right fit for me, not the biggest company with the most name recognition—or the firm of last resort.

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