2018 MBAs To Watch: Charles Barrett, Stanford GSB

Charles Barrett

Stanford Graduate School of Business

 “Faith, son, brother, uncle, friend, humanitarian, private sector believer, traveler, outdoorsman, sports fan, thinker, diligent.”

Age: 30

Hometown: Keokuk, IA

Fun fact about yourself: Hiked two of the Seven Summits

Undergraduate School and Degree: Brigham Young University, Bachelor of Science in Management: Strategy Emphasis

Where did you work before enrolling in business school? Head of Product, SafeBoda (like Uber but for safe motorcycle taxis in Kampala, Uganda)

Where will you be working after graduation? Next year, I’ll be in Boston finishing up my MPA at Harvard Kennedy School.

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School:

Tutor for middle school children

Volunteer for skilled nursing facility

Siebel Scholar

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? Hiked Pico de Orizaba (highest mountain in Mexico and third highest in North America) in December.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? Helping create the Rural Finance Strategy for Ethiopia to, amongst other things, scale a new input credit system to help subsistence farmers get access to improved seed and fertilizer. I really feel like my work made a difference in helping to closing the massive opportunity gaps that exist in the world.

Who was your favorite MBA professor? Brian Lowery – At Stanford, our first week as students, we take just one class (Managing Groups and Teams). Brian Lowery taught this course for my section, and he was the best introduction I could have had to the GSB. Brian is radically honest and as engaging and thought provoking responding to unexpected questions as he is teaching prepared content. He’s the type of teacher who makes you walk away from class thinking.

What was your favorite MBA Course Creating High Potential Ventures in Developing Economies taught by Howard Rosen and Steve Ciesinski – Reinforced the importance of the enabling environment for start-ups in developing countries

Why did you choose this business school? I am interested in the intersection of social impact and entrepreneurship, and Stanford seems like the ideal place to pursue getting more skills in these areas and to have classmates who are also passionate about creating change in the world in these ways.

What is your best piece advice to an applicant hoping to get into your school’s MBA program? Be yourself. Stanford really values people who are authentic. Don’t show a cardboard cutout of yourself but show who you really are to the admissions committee.

What is the biggest myth about your school? That everyone is creating a start-up. While not literally accurate, there is a great entrepreneurial spirit here and many of my classmates are experimenting with ideas and ventures.

What was your biggest regret in business school? My class is full of amazing people. They are smart and driven and caring. I wish I had unlimited time to better know all my classmates.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? Justin Larkin – I admire how Justin has such a full life and unending optimism. He is a man of faith, a family man, and incredibly driven and successful (also finishing medical school, co-founder in a start-up, internship with a prestigious biotech company). No matter what life throws at him or how busy he gets, Justin always greets me with upbeat optimism and happiness.

Who most influenced your decision to pursue business in college? My dad is my role model, and he’s an accountant. As an undergrad, I found that while accounting did not quite fit with me, I was fascinated by businesses, their strategies, and how they are run.

If I hadn’t gone to business school, I would be…running a socially oriented start-up in East Africa.”

If you were a dean for a day, what one thing would you change about the MBA experience? Make all classes pass/fail. 

What are the top two items on your bucket list?

Exploring the Alaskan wilderness…and hopefully seeing the northern lights while there.

Climbing Mount Damavand (highest mountain in Iran and highest volcanic summit in Asia).

In one sentence, how would you like your peers to remember you? As someone they can reach out to anytime.

What is your favorite movie about business? Miracle on 34th Street – be open and honest with your customers, give them options and information, and they will be loyal to you.

What would your theme song be? “I Love This Life” by LOCASH.

Favorite vacation spot: Middle of nowhere in nature – mountains, forests, and lots of water.

Hobbies? Hiking, camping, climbing, road trips, travel, sports, card and board games, movies.