2018 Best MBAs: Matthew Warshaw, Boston University (Questrom)

Matthew Warshaw

Boston University, Questrom School of Business

A compassionate, data-driven leader, building community and challenging the status quo.”

Age: 33

Hometown: Wellesley, MA

Fun fact about yourself: I have played drums and percussion ever since I was a kid – most recently in a Weezer cover band in Washington, DC.

Undergraduate School and Degree: Colby College; BA, Government

Where did you work before enrolling in business school? Before coming to Questrom, I worked in Washington, DC. Most recently I served as a Project Manager at Evoke Research and Consulting where I worked on-site at the Veterans Benefits Administration, helping them streamline their benefits processing capabilities.

Prior to Evoke, I worked in a number of offices at the US Department of Defense. I served as a Defense Fellow for two and half years, working in the Secretary of Defense’s cybersecurity policy, legislative affairs, and speechwriting offices. After my time as a Defense Fellow, I served as a consultant to a government cybersecurity training program.

I began my career in Washington, DC at the US Department of Commerce where I served as a Special Assistant to the Deputy Secretary of Commerce, Dr. Rebecca Blank.

My first job out of college was serving as a Regional Field Director on the Obama-Biden Campaign in 2008.

Where did you intern during the summer of 2017? I interned at Dell as a MBA Marketing Intern (Marketing LDP). I was placed with the Federal Field Marketing Team where I assisted the team in creating custom messaging for the federal client.

Where will you be working after graduation? I will join IBM as a Market Development and Insights Senior Analyst in New York City.

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School:

Questrom Graduate Council: First Year Representative (2016-2017), President (2017-2018)

Leading the organization and execution of “Can We Talk?”, a forum for students to discuss political and social issues (Spring 2018)

Consultant to local non-profit through the school’s Link Day program (Spring 2017)

Consultant to local start-up through BU’s partnership with MassChallenge (Spring 2017)

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? I am most proud of my work managing the Questrom Graduate Council from goal setting through execution.

As President of the Questrom Graduate Council, I worked with my team to develop shared goals and a vision for our year together. We brought in an outside facilitator and spent a number of sessions trying to vocalize what our role was within the business school and the impact we could have here. As a group, we decided to focus our energy on two key areas: creating more interactions among students in different programs and with different backgrounds and streamlining communication to students from staff, faculty, and clubs.

Over the course of the year these two goals informed how we spent our time and money. When clubs requested funding, we made sure they were using the new Questrom Common app to communicate and that they were reaching out to all graduate students, not just full time MBA students. We carefully tracked participation rates across programs to understand how to create events that attract students from across the graduate business programs.

These goals not only informed our day-day-day operations, but also helped us understand where we could innovate. At the beginning of February, we launched the first Questrom Graduate Council newsletter, alerting students to all of the events and activities we help sponsor, making our meetings more accessible to other students, and celebrating the great work others are doing. I worked directly with one of our Co-VPs of Marketing and Communications to get the first issue out.

In March, leaders from the Questrom Graduate Council and across the school will be hosting “Can We Talk?”, an opportunity for students to come together and discuss current events facing Questrom community and the broader business and non-profit communities we hope to lead in the coming decades. I have taken an active role in organizing this event, from working with catering and finalizing the event space to facilitating discussions among the organizing group to clarify the goals of this event.

Both of these achievements, creating a newsletter and putting together a “Can We Talk?” event, are great in their own right. But what I am most proud of is that they were deliberate activities that aligned with our stated goals and vision for the Council. They were also complete team efforts. Instead of me trying to take on all the work myself, I worked with members of the Council and student community to achieve our goals.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? As an MBA Intern with Dell’s Federal Marketing team, I was asked to help articulate the Dell Technologies value proposition to our federal government clients. To do this, I created a “point-of-view” document outlining how our products and services could meet specific government needs. However, as the summer drew to a close, I felt like there was more I could be doing, a better way to help articulate the Dell Technologies value proposition. I had spent hours on the company’s intranet reviewing PowerPoints and product guides. But the most persuasive form of communication I saw that summer, actually came from the corporate education team. They had created a number of whiteboard videos to clearly explain the three pillars of the Dell Technologies strategy.

I reached out to the employee tagged as the project manager for the whiteboard videos. In the course of only a few weeks and no budget, I asked the project manager if he could help me make my own whiteboard video. He was kind enough to offer his help. I then storyboarded and narrated the video. He fancied up the graphics and put the whole thing together and the video was a hit when I presented to the company CMO and the Federal Advisory Board.

No one had asked me to create the whiteboard video and certainly no one expected it from me. But I thought it was important and advocated to my manager and others in the organization and then managed the project through to completion. Through this experience, I saw that I could clearly analyze a problem, identify a path forward, and create a solution.

I recently received an email from the former Vice President of the Marketing Talent at Dell asking how I made the video. She is now in a different office, but clearly the effectiveness of the video stayed with her.

Why did you choose this business school? I came to Questrom for the MSDi program. No other business program had the same mix of technical skills and traditional business training. Having grown up in Boston, I knew that BU had great relationships with local technology companies and thought the program would help me transition from the federal government into technology.

What is your best piece advice to an applicant hoping to get into your school’s MBA program? Talk to current students in a specific program that you are interested in. Questrom has done a great job of providing unique business programs in the health, technology, and social impact sectors. If you are interested in one of these fields, talk to a current student in the HSM, MSDi, or Social Impact program to understand what their experience is like.

What is the biggest myth about your school? A lot of students interested in technology believe they have to go out to Silicon Valley to work in technology. That is not true. Questrom does a great job exposing students to companies across the country where they can put their technology skills to use. While there is a student-led trek and a professor led seminar to Silicon Valley each year, students also find opportunities in technology at Boston based companies such as Wayfair and can work with tech start-ups based at MassChallenge. There are also a number of healthcare and pharmaceutical companies interested in hiring Questrom students to help work in their data analytics and IT modernization teams.

What was your biggest regret in business school? I regret not traveling more. Some business school students are in a new town every weekend. Being married, it was a little harder for me to get away with friends from school. However, traveling is such an important part of learning about yourself and forming deep connections with your classmates. Luckily, I recognized this before the end of the program and will be traveling to Paris over spring break with the school’s European Field Seminar.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? Katie Manter. Katie was on my very first team at Questrom. We got along from the beginning despite attending rival colleges (I attended Colby and she attended Bates). The project hit some rough patches at times, but Katie was never afraid to calmly and clearly talk through what needed to get done. She kept the whole team on track and focused on our final deliverables.

In her second year Katie brought her work ethic and infectious excitement to BU on Board, a previously defunct organization that placed Questrom students on the boards of local non-profits. Katie turned around the program and personally recruited fifteen of the most talented second year students for the program.

Who most influenced your decision to pursue business in college? My former boss, Dr. Rebecca Blank, made me promise her that I would go back to school. I worked for Dr. Blank at the US Department of Commerce where we would often travel together and talk about our families. Every few months, she would remind me that I had to go back to school. She believed strongly that a graduate degree was necessary to succeed in the world today.

If I hadn’t gone to business school, I would be…working for an organization to help recruit better candidates for elected office or to create fair congressional districts.”

If you were a dean for a day, what one thing would you change about the MBA experience?

If I were dean for a day, I would lobby the University Provost for more staff for the business school. The graduate business programs have added dozens of students over the years with no corresponding increase in staff. This means that each career advisor has more students to squeeze into his or her week. It also means that the unique MBA programs at Questrom (Health Sector Management, Social Impact, MS in Digital Innovation) have less resources to create the programming that is paramount to a positive student experience.

What are the top two items on your bucket list?

Visit the Tsukiji fish market in Japan.

Fly on Air Force One.

In one sentence, how would you like your peers to remember you? A passionate and caring leader who left Questrom better than he found it.

What is your favorite movie about business? Moneyball. I learned that there is no industry that should leave important decisions to the gut of a group of old white men. I am also a sucker for Jonah Hill.

What would your theme song be? “Waiting on the World to Change” by John Mayer

Favorite vacation spot: Portland, Maine. I proposed to my wife on an island in the Casco Bay harbor near Portland so it will always hold a special place in my heart. Portland has an amazing mix of good food, relaxing beaches, and walkable streets.

Hobbies? Drumming, Yoga, Hiking, Food, Traveling, Netflix

What made Matthew such an invaluable addition to the class of 2018?

“As the president of the Questrom Graduate Council, Matt has exceled as a leader. He has worked tirelessly to integrate all of our graduate students into the Questrom community. In addition, he has served as an outstanding representative of the student voice as we continue to enhance the student experience inside the classroom and out. He has been a great partner and his leadership will be missed.”

J.P. Matychak
Associate Dean of Student Experience & Services

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