2018 MBAs To Watch: Jon Cobb, Vanderbilt University (Owen)

Jon Cobb

Vanderbilt University, Owen Graduate School of Management

An original thinker who cares deeply about the people around me.”

Age: 30

Hometown: San Diego, CA

Fun fact about yourself: I have 3 daughters (1,3, and 5). If you can manage little kids, you can manage anybody.

Undergraduate School and Degree: Vanguard University, B.A. Business and Organizational Management

Where did you work before enrolling in business school? The United States Marine Corps infantry and the Huntington Beach Police Department. I also did security and training work with the U.S. Department of State.

Where did you intern during the summer of 2017?

Deloitte Federal Consulting, Arlington, Va.

Where will you be working after graduation?

Senior Consultant, Deloitte Federal Consulting, Arlington, Va.

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School:

President of Armed Forces Club, President of Speaking Club, Honor Council Board Member. U.S. Senate Graduate Intern, Teaching Assistant for Management Communications.

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? I interned for U.S. Senator Bob Corker as an independent study earlier this year. While I was there, I got to be part of the team that started the global fund to end global slavery and address other international crises. I spoke with constituents and people from around the country about the tax reform bill, as well as the situation with North Korea and the South Sudan crisis. I conducted research, met with US Senate Foreign Relations, and attended chamber of commerce and city council meetings throughout Tennessee. It was an incredible opportunity.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? I trained Kurdish forces that defeated ISIS forces in Northern Iraq. Hearing the stories of some of the families that were liberated was deeply moving.

Who was your favorite MBA professor? David Owens. He has a very practical perspective on why good ideas fail, and he helps me better understand how to make good ideas succeed as a result.

What was your favorite MBA Course? My favorite class was Leading Teams and Organizations with Professor Dave Owens. I enjoyed it because I learned how to recognize different situations and apply the right leadership strategy to get things done while also strengthening relationships.

I want to approach every situation as a collaborative leader, where you try to reach consensus; sometimes it’s not the most practical or realistic approach. I learned how to select and balance different leadership styles depending on the situation.

Why did you choose this business school? I wanted to get an MBA to become a better leader. When I visited Vanderbilt Owen and learned about their personal and collaborative culture, I knew that coming here would help me become the type of leader I wanted to become.

What is your best piece advice to an applicant hoping to get into your school’s MBA program?  Visit Vanderbilt and spend some time with people here. Understanding and appreciating what makes Vanderbilt such a unique place will help you get accepted and make the right choice.

What is the biggest myth about your school? Small class size = small number of opportunities. There are so many opportunities here: you have to be very intentional about how you spend your time.

What was your biggest regret in business school? I wish I would’ve had more time to spend with my classmates.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? My friend Nii who passed away just before the start of our second year. He was one of the most selfless and inspiring people I’ve ever met. The world is not the same without him.

Who most influenced your decision to pursue business in college? I wanted to do more strategic-level work. I had a lot of jobs where I was helping a lot of people with my hands, and I enjoyed that, but I felt I could do more through strategic work. I had an Organizational Behavior business professor at Vanguard, Mike Moodian, who helped me understand how fun a career in business could be.

If I hadn’t gone to business school, I would be…a Foreign Service Officer with the US Department of State. I’ve always been fascinated by international relations.”

If you were a dean for a day, what one thing would you change about the MBA experience? I would like to see more experiential classes like Launching the Venture (one of our entrepreneurial courses where you build a complete business model). I love the classes where we apply the concepts we’re learning to real business problems. It makes everything stick more to have that level of context.

What are the top two items on your bucket list?

1) Start a business that helps people.

2) Be the best father I can be.

In one sentence, how would you like your peers to remember you? I’d like to be remembered as someone who was willing to take risks, challenge the status quo, but also someone who was very supportive and encouraging.

What is your favorite movie about business? The Big Short — it’s so easy to go along with what everyone else is doing or thinking and miss the elephant in the room.

What would your theme song be? The Batman theme song (from the television series).

Favorite vacation spot: Gaunacaste, Costa Rica. It’s beautiful, the people are always nice, and it’s very peaceful.

Hobbies? I’ve been training and competing in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu for more than 10 years now. It’s a human chess match.

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

“Jon Cobb was a strong student in the first-year core MBA course Management Communication. In this class, his peers trusted his feedback and presentation coaching skills. He modeled for others advanced presentation skills, especially on how to connect his military experience to his future career. In his presentations, he demonstrated a balance of confidence and humility.

In his second-year at Owen, Jon interviewed for and received an invitation to serve as a Teaching Assistant and Presentation Coach for the Owen Communication Program. He was assigned to coach and transform 18 first-year MBA students in Management Communicate. He helped them discover their strengths, met one-on-one with each student and coached them in how to use gestures, tone and body language to effectively communicate a persuasive message. The students admired him and trusted his counsel.”

Kimberly Pace
Professor for the Practice of Communication

 

DON’T MISS THE FULL LIST:

100 MBAS TO WATCH IN THE CLASS OF 2018