Stanford Graduate School of Business
Describe yourself in 15 words or less: A passionate, strategic business thinker who always seeks ways to make his community better
Hometown: Saint Louis, Missouri
Fun Fact About Yourself: I have a fraternal twin brother, Justin, who works at Anheuser Busch in Atlanta. He is my better half who always challenges me to be better.
Undergraduate School and Major: Washington University in Saint Louis (Class of 2013); Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with majors in Finance and Mathematics
Employers and Job Titles Since Graduation:
- Associate Consultant, Bain & Company (Sept 2013-Aug 2015)
- Senior Associate Consultant, Bain & Company (Sept 2015-Aug 2016)
- Bain Extern, Civic Consulting Alliance (Dec 2015-Mar 2016)
- Consultant, Bain & Company (Sept 2016-Aug 2017)
Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: My biggest accomplishments are those where I was able to use the skills I gained at Bain to impact communities I care about, especially in the social space. This includes working with my childhood church to develop a strategy for growth, working at Civic Consulting Alliance to help CPS develop alternative accountability strategies to school closure for charter or projects aimed at increase equity in the justice system, or volunteering on political campaigns. Using my God given talents to make the world around me better, are always my proudest achievements. (I know I didn’t answer the question by being singular, but it was too hard to pick!)
Looking back on your experience, what one piece of advice would you give to future business school applicants? In all things, be genuine to who you are and not to what you think you need to say, and trust everything else will work out. Maintain peace of mind around the GMAT, recognizing it works out in the end (all of my friends got into top schools even those who started off struggling with less than a 600). Write your essays to truly reflect who you are and not what you think admissions wants to hear. Choose recommenders not based on title, but actually people who know you well and you value as a mentor. Bring your authentic self to the interview and let them see what makes you. When picking your skills, trust how you feel about what place resonates with you and your personality, and do not over focus on the logic of the choice. If I focused on logic I would not be at Stanford today, and I have no regrets! If you do all these things, I truly believe you will end up in the right place for you. Hopefully that’s Stanford, but if not, I guess the other places are cool too!
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 Stanford GSB for the culture. When making the decision for which business school to attend, I knew there were two things that would be the most important skills for me to develop to be successful in the business world: 1) self-awareness and leadership and 2) a higher risk appetite.
As an aspiring social or public sector leader, I always tell people one day I will have to “jump off a cliff” and I want to be surrounded by people who would encourage me to jump (or in the worst case scenario push me off). In other words, I will need to one day leave the safe and amazing world of consulting (which I will be returning to immediately post school) for the unknown of getting involved in government or non-profit at a much lower salary and unclear career trajectory. I need friends and peers who will hold me accountable to doing it, friends that if I was still in consulting 10 years from now as a Bain partner who would challenge the notion that the title alone is a signal of my personal success. Stanford has a culture that values these things signaled by: an essay that starts with the premise of “what matters to you”, classes on introspection such as touch feely or the art of coaching, extra activities such as TALK focused on empathizing and learning more about your classmates’ stories, and entrepreneurial culture that emphasize charting your own path. Even though the answer didn’t seem so clear at the time, it is so obvious that Stanford GSB was the best program for me.
What would success look like to you after your first year of business school?
Oddly I think I am largely at a point of calling my first year a success. I had four goals coming into the GSB that I have largely already accomplished or at least are well on my way to doing so: 1) Built learning and expertise in social public sector through elective curriculum and secure job in local government. I will be joining the Detroit Mayor’s office this summer. 2) Improve career skills around leadership and self-awareness. 3) Build global perspective by traveling to 12 new countries in 2 years (I will have traveled to 6 new countries by the start of MBA1 year with my MBA1 class, so I am well on track!). 4) Last but most important, build balanced habits and have fun. I have been able to prioritize myself along with career in a healthy way building great new friends, investing in my spiritual well-being as a Christian, and at least making improvements in sleeping and exercising more (although there is still room for improvement here.