2018 Best MBAs: Travis Martin, Michigan State (Broad)

Travis Martin

Michigan State University, Broad College of Business

A service-oriented professional constantly seeking new challenges.”

Age: 28

Hometown: Hudsonville, MI

Fun fact about yourself: I was a two-sport athlete in my undergrad (Football and Track and Field).

Undergraduate School and Degree: Hope College (BA Political Science/Psychology) and Oakland University (Masters in Teaching/Secondary Education)

Where did you work before enrolling in business school? Teach for America Detroit Corp Member 2012-2014, Teacher/Coach/Department Chair at Detroit Southeastern High School 2012-2016)

Where did you intern during the summer of 2017? The Wendy’s Company – Dublin, Ohio

Where will you be working after graduation? The Wendy’s Company, Dublin Ohio

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School: 1st Year MBA Association Vice President, 2nd Year MBA Association President, Student Representative to Selection Committee to Appoint New Associate Dean of Business College, 1st Year Director of HR for Spartan Consulting, Program Spirit Award Winner, Beta Gamma Sigma, Teaching Assistant for Marketing Department, Graduate Assistant for MBA Admissions

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? Being selected by my Peers as the winner of the Spartan Spirit Award at our Community Honors Gala. The award is designed to go to the student who best embodies the culture of hard work, collaboration, and enthusiasm that Broad prides itself on. It was really humbling to feel that my classmates appreciated the effort I put in daily to make a positive impact on the program.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? Prior to my MBA, I helped create, implement, and teach a business skills curriculum in conjunction with a large Midwestern furniture manufacturer to prepare recent high school graduates from Detroit Public Schools for jobs in the sales and customer service fields. My students were the inaugural class of the program, and a great deal of them found consistent, stable employment using the skills taught in the program upon completion of the course. This process demonstrated that my passion for business and social justice could be perfect compliments.

Who was your favorite MBA professor? As a former teacher, I really admire Dr. Jennifer Dunn. Her 15-week Negotiations Class is an airtight curriculum blending engaging lectures, hands on tactical negotiations, and lots of written metacognition that causes you to reflect on your strengths and weaknesses as a collaborator and negotiator. For three hours a day, one day a week, she kept a room full of busy MBA’s with divergent business interests in rapt attention.

What was your favorite MBA Course Brand Insights/Strategy taught by Dr. Hang Nguyen. The course was a semester-long consulting project for a CPG brand that gave us hands on experience for many facets of marking from initial focus group testing to in-store marketing and promotion. It really was perfect practice for what I would experience during my summer internship and helped instill a sense of confidence before heading to Dublin.

Why did you choose this business school? I chose Broad because of the value they place on collaboration and the gritty, blue-collared demeanor of the students. Whether it was on my visit or talking to alumni, everyone demonstrated, through words or actions, a desire to make themselves and their classmates better. This constant striving for self-improvement and new challenges within a collaborative environment was a perfect culture fit

What is your best piece advice to an applicant hoping to get into your school’s MBA program? Make sure you can articulate clearly how you plan to invest in the program beyond getting good grades and landing a six-figure full-time position.  With our small, intimate program size (about 150 students), MBAs at Broad are expected to be effective collaborators and actively seek out opportunities to lead within the program and campus community. Prospective students must be ready to make that commitment to maximize their experience at MSU.

What is the biggest myth about your school? The notion exists that MSU is just a regional, supply chain school. We have talented marketers, human resource strategists and consultants that that join and contribute to Fortune 500 firms across the country every year in a variety of sectors.

What was your biggest regret in business school? I had tried to set up a resume workshop and interview training program at a local high school for students and their family members that fell through. The plan was to have current MBA students volunteer to review resumes and hold mock interviews for members of the Lansing community, but the partnership with the school fell through after weeks of discussion. I feel that the talent and goodwill of classmates was not fully utilized.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? Christine Price. She is a gritty, hands-on doer. Christine works incredibly hard (often in the background) to organize student events while still being a strong student; no one puts in more hours on campus than she does.

Who most influenced your decision to pursue business in college? My father. He has always emphasized the need learn as much as possible, to constantly seek out new skills and ways to get involved, to make yourself as valuable as possible to your firm. I knew that an MBA would give me a broad set of skills that would allow me greatly increase my value as an employee.

If I hadn’t gone to business school, I would be…most likely teaching and coaching football in Detroit. I loved teaching and miss my students and athletes.”

 If you were a dean for a day, what one thing would you change about the MBA experience? I would make off campus community service a point of emphasis for the program. We do a fantastic job of raising money for worthy causes both locally and across the country, but I believe that MBA’s have an incredible skill set that could be further leveraged to make an impact in their communities to create positive change.

 What are the top two items on your bucket list?

  1. Run for political office at some level.
  2. Travel to all 7 continents (I am only at 3 currently).

In one sentence, how would you like your peers to remember you? I want peers to remember me as someone who approached all aspects of our program with passion and enthusiasm.

What is your favorite movie about business?

What would your theme song be? “I Don’t Get Tired” – Kevin Gates

Favorite vacation spot: Munich, Germany (to visit my fiancée).

Hobbies?  Playing with my dog Mabel, relaxing with family, recreational sports, coaching, and travel.

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

“Of all the students in my six years with the Broad MBA program, Travis is the best example of leadership I have seen. It is not a close comparison. From his first day on the campus, he was an eager teammate and colleague, continually finding ways to support his second year leadership team by being enthusiastic, hard-working, collaborative, and supportive of the agenda the board set for the year. This is one of Travis’ best qualities; while he has all the skills and abilities an exceptional leader possesses, he can immediately pivot to being a great teammate, putting his heart towards a cause, even if he is not in a leadership role. His work behind the scenes resulted in a number of successes for the 2017 graduating class. Amongst them were over $15,000 raised for charitable causes in the greater-Lansing area, an unprecedented number of community service hours and initiatives, and an expansion of support activities through the MBA Association for his fellow MBA students.

As he ascended to the MBA Association President role, he took this group to another level. Charitable fundraising, service project time, and student engagement activities all rose during his tenure from previous year levels. He was chosen to represent the entire graduate student business community in giving a speech commemorating the groundbreaking for the Broad Pavilion, a 100,000 square foot expansion to the business complex, scheduled to be completed in 2019. Finally, in his work with the Office of Admissions, he became the chief ambassador to prospective students, proving service to hundreds of prospective and admitted students as they considered enrollment with the Broad MBA program. As he graduates and moves onto the next phase of his professional life, he has left an indelible footprint on his office and this program that will not be easily replicated. We look forward to following his professional journey.”

Wayne Hutchison

Director / FTMBA Program

Academic & Program Services


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