2018 Best MBAs: Joseph Martin, University of Texas (McCombs)

Joseph (Joey) Martin

The University of Texas at Austin, McCombs School of Business

“Dedicated father and veteran who is looking to continue service outside of the military.”

Age: 34

Hometown: Cedarburg, WI

Fun fact about yourself: I am an ordained minister and I’ve performed five wedding ceremonies for family and friends.

Undergraduate School and Degree: United States Naval Academy, B.S. Systems Engineering

Where did you work before enrolling in business school? United States Marine Corps; KC-130 Pilot

Where did you intern during the summer of 2017? Deloitte Consulting; Austin, TX

Where will you be working after graduation? Deloitte Consulting; Senior Consultant

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School:

  • President of the Class of 2018
  • Student Admissions Ambassador
  • Male Ally in Graduate Women in Business
  • Active member of Graduate Consulting Group, eQual MBAs, and Texas Veterans in Business
  • Career Management Teaching Assistant
  • Student Advisor to Literati, a local Austin startup that serves as a monthly, subscription-based children’s book club
  • Winner of the Deloitte Strategy and Operations Case Competition

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? The second-year students in our Graduate Consulting Group are largely responsible for case interview preparation for our first-year students. In this capacity, I’m most proud of my role preparing over 30 of our first-year students for interviews with some of the world’s top consulting firms. This past recruiting season, we saw a marked increase in the number of consulting internship offers made to our students, which is a testament to the work ethic and dedication of our first-years. The Class of 2017 helped me tremendously in preparing for my interviews, and this has been a great way for me to pay it forward.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? My proudest professional achievement was completing a 10-month tour in Afghanistan in 2010, which turned out to be one of the deadliest years for Operation Enduring Freedom. While in Afghanistan, I was given the opportunity to work in the Tactical Air Command Center in addition to flying missions with my squadron. This gave me a unique perspective on our operations from both the strategic and tactical levels, and it allowed me to work with some of the most incredible people that I have ever had the privilege to know.

Who was your favorite MBA professor? This is a tie between Professor Sandy Leeds and Professor John Doggett. Professor Leeds teaches our Core Macroeconomics class, and his views on both academics and life in general have helped shape me as a person during my time at McCombs. He is also one of our most accessible faculty members and as a result, he has made meaningful connections with a large part of our student body.

Professor Doggett teaches a number of classes at McCombs, but all of them are rooted in his ability to challenge students both personally and professionally. Professor Doggett emphasizes confidence and sound analysis in his students, and while he can be polarizing at times, you are hard-pressed to find someone who has taken his class and is not better for it.

What was your favorite MBA Course? My favorite course at McCombs has been Managing Human Capital, created and taught by Professor Ethan Burris. This course is unique to the McCombs curriculum, and Professor Burris is one of the most forward-thinking people on data analytics that I have met. He has a gift for quantifying qualitative concepts and the skills I learned in this class helped me immensely in my summer at Deloitte.   

Why did you choose this business school? McCombs has the same atmosphere as all of my favorite units that I served with in the Marine Corps. When you walk in the building, there is just a buzz of excitement because everyone enjoys being here. The first thing I noticed when I visited as a prospective student was the overwhelming mutual respect that existed between the staff, the faculty, and the students. I knew in the first 10 seconds of walking in the door that this was the place for me.

What is your best piece advice to an applicant hoping to get into your school’s MBA program? Be yourself. McCombs is truly a fit-based program and we maintain our unique culture, year over year, by recruiting people that embrace who they are.

What was your biggest regret in business school? I regret not being involved in our Board Fellows program. This program places our students as non-voting members on local non-profit boards and is an incredible opportunity. Board Fellows embodies our program’s focus on experiential learning and is a critical link to the thriving startup scene here in Austin.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? That is a very tough question. I know it’s cliché, but I admire everyone in this program for a variety of reasons. However, there are a few standouts.

My classmate, Beth Hood, is one of the most intelligent and selfless people that I will ever know. She served as a tutor for our first-year students in both statistics and finance without ever charging a cent. She is the lead for selecting our class gift, is the Alumni Chair on our Graduate Business Council, and is probably more involved in our program than anyone else, myself included.

Alana Williams, another one of my classmates, is one of the most well-respected people at McCombs and is a gifted leader who is actively involved in several of our finance organizations. I have an incredible respect for her judgment and character, and she is always the first person I seek out for advice.

Katie Herbek, one of our first-year students, is an exceptionally driven and talented member of our program who is a leader within the community service function of our Graduate Business Council. Katie made McCombs history this year by becoming the first woman selected as the Director of Venture Fellows, arguably our most competitive program. When someone asks what we look for in a student, my answer is simply: Katie Herbek.

Each of these three women is the type of person that I hope my daughter grows up to be.

Who most influenced your decision to pursue business in college? My dad most influenced my decision to pursue an education in business. He started as a traveling salesman selling screws in the Midwest and has worked his way up to Sales Manager of a global industrial automation company. He possesses a genuine passion and curiosity for business challenges that helped lead me to an MBA and consulting.

Outside of the focus on business, my wife, Laura, most influenced my decision to leave the military and focus on a new career path. She is the most supportive person in my life and has been the backbone of our family, both emotionally and financially, through these last two years at McCombs.

If I hadn’t gone to business school, I would be… attending one of the Marine Corps’ internal professional development courses.”

If you were a dean for a day, what one thing would you change about the MBA experience? I would find some more opportunities for our first and second-year classes to intermix in the fall semester. We have a great Cohort-based system for our students’ first semester at McCombs, which means that everyone takes all of their Core Classes in the same group of 65 people. While this builds lasting bonds within a class, there are limited opportunities for first and second-year students to intermingle in the academic setting.

What are the top two items on your bucket list? My top two items are to see the Northern Lights and run the original 26.2 miles between Marathon and the Acropolis of Athens.

In one sentence, how would you like your peers to remember you? As the person who always knew who they were and what was going on in their lives.

What is your favorite movie about business? While it’s not necessarily about business, I have taken a lot of life lessons away from The Shawshank Redemption. I believe in the undefeatable nature of the human spirit, and that movie perfectly captures this. “Get busy livin’ or get busy dyin’.”

What would your theme song be?Paradise City” by Guns N’ Roses

Favorite vacation spot: St. Martin (No relation!)

Hobbies? I am an avid reader of both fiction and non-fiction, and I also play pick-up basketball whenever I get a chance. When I’m not at school, I’m always spending time with my wife, Laura, and our daughter, Elle.

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

“As the president of the Texas MBA Class of 2018, Joey is an exceptional leader for many reasons. He possesses many quintessential leadership traits, especially coming from his experience as an officer in the United States Marine Corps. He is a strong communicator, a unifier, and dedicated colleague. But the quality that makes him a stand out class leader is a simple one: He shows up.

He shows up for his peers and colleagues. Joey has a natural ability to cultivate meaningful relationships with others. He cares about individuals and he is an active and engaged ally. His classmates frequently seek him out with questions about class, job interview advice, or to talk through a personal crisis. He takes a genuine interest in the personal development of his peers and he has a unique ability to coax out their best. One of his classmates described Joey as someone who “makes time for everyone as if they are his only priority.”

He shows up for the program. One quality that makes him a trusted leader is also his selflessness. During Thanksgiving, the Epicurean Club wanted to host our annual Friendsgiving for students not spending Thanksgiving with family but had trouble finding a rental space in Austin that did not require a high rental cost. When Joey heard about their struggles to find a space, he was quick to offer up his home for the gathering, even though he was traveling with his family.

He shows up when it is hard. There are always moments that test the leadership of a class. This year it was the tragic loss of a first-year MBA student. Joey was there for the family, for the class, and for his peers. There is no script for this type of event and Joey’s leadership was exemplary. He encouraged second-year students to connect more with the first-year class and led that charge by example. It was a difficult time for our community and I have never been prouder to be part of a group of caring and supportive people. Joey makes a point to connect with everyone in the program and by doing so, he has left a lasting mark on the Texas McCombs MBA community.

It is my honor to nominate Joey for this accolade. As a veteran, father, and husband, Joey brought his whole self into our program and we are better for it. Joey integrates his personal life with his wife and three-year-old daughter, Elle, into all he does in school. The community is richer with their involvement.”

Tina Mabley

Assistant Dean


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