2018 MBAs To Watch: Chris Monti, University of Michigan (Ross)

Christopher Monti

University of Michigan, Ross School of Business

Age: 32

Ferociously curious about the world and hopes to change society through the power of business!”

Hometown: Sacramento, CA

Fun fact about yourself: I once saw the Aurora Borealis and St. Elmo’s Fire while piloting an aircraft over Greenland.

Undergraduate School and Degree: California State University Sacramento – BA Digital Media/Communications

Where did you work before enrolling in business school? Special Operations AC-130 Gunship Pilot for the US Air Force

Where did you intern during the summer of 2017? PepsiCo/Frito-Lay Plano, TX

Where will you be working after graduation? Frito-Lay in Strategic Finance

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School:

  • Co-Founder of Business Impact Group
  • Chief of Staff Armed Forces Association
  • Functional Accountability Career Team Leader
  • MBA Peer Coach
  • Student Ambassador
  • MTrek Leader – Led 15 students on an epic odyssey through Greece

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? Peer coaching It really was incredible to see the transformation of the MBA 1s from when they first started preparing for interviews. I really felt honored that students would come to me for help and guidance. Words can’t express how amazing it is to help a student through something that can be a very terrifying experience (recruiting) and later learn that they received an offer from their dream company!

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? I nearly failed out of pilot training when I first joined the Air Force. Flying had been my dream since I was a kid, but it turns out I wasn’t very good at it! After nearly failing out, I almost decided to quit. However, I pushed myself to keep going and turned things around. I went from the bottom of my class to the top by graduation. That struggle has given me the grit I need to push through difficult times.

Who was your favorite MBA professor? Professor Ryan Ball. He is an incredible storyteller! I was so engaged in his Corporate Financial Reporting class because he has such a brilliant way of relating accounting concepts to people like me who have zero experience in the subject.

What was your favorite MBA Course Definitely my Financial Analysis class with Professor Gautam Kaul. He’s an incredible finance scholar! The two big takeaways I gained from that class were:

  1. Finance is an incredibly powerful tool that should inform not direct your decisions.
  2. If you’re ever unsure of what the correct answer is – just say “it’s compounding” and you’ll sound really smart!

Why did you choose this business school? I felt an immediate connection with Ross when I visited the campus. I loved the feeling of walking into the Winter Garden. When you see all the students sitting and working together at one of the many tables, you really feel an incredible buzz and energy. Also, the culture at Ross is very balanced. I knew it would really develop me intellectually as well as emotionally and culturally. The moments of learning and socializing with classmates outside of the academic setting have rounded me as a leader, team member and global citizen in ways I could never have imagined!

What is your best piece advice to an applicant hoping to get into your school’s MBA program? Visit the school and meet the students. Every interaction I had with a student, coupled with my Visit in Person trip, really ignited my passion for Ross. That initiative and passion really came through in my essays and interview responses.

What is the biggest myth about your school? That we only place students in careers throughout the Midwest. Ross is a Midwest school, but Rossers are global. It’s incredible how vast the opportunities are to go anywhere in the US, let alone the world. I never would have imagined that I would end up in Dallas from Ross and I couldn’t be more excited!

What was your biggest regret in business school? I have no regrets. Honestly! I did everything I wanted to and more while here. I traveled the world. I made friends with some incredible people. I gained a deeper emotional intelligence. I went from knowing nothing about finance, marketing and strategy to landing my dream job at the intersection of all those subjects. No regrets!

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? Molly Hope – She’s the first female president of the Armed Forces Association and a VP of the Michigan Business Women group on campus. I’m constantly amazed by her leadership style and ability to connect with people. I’ve learned a lot just from working alongside and supporting her in the Armed Forces Association.

Who most influenced your decision to pursue business in college? My wife. I had no idea what I was going to do after the military. I looked at business schools, but was afraid of the “opportunity cost” of taking time off work. I was ready to go through a head hunting agency to find a job and take the safe route. She really encouraged me to take the risk and go to business school. She read all my essays, helped me craft my interview responses, and drove all over the country with me to visit schools. She’s been an incredible partner through this whole process!

What are the top two items on your bucket list? Train Muay Thai at a gym in Thailand and compete in a Red Bull Air Race.

In one sentence, how would you like your peers to remember you? As someone who had a great sense of humor, but also a sense of purpose. Someone who went out of their way to help others succeed.

What is your favorite movie about business? The Godfather. One of the many quotable lines in the movie is, “It’s not personal…it’s strictly business.” The irony of that statement is that each character that says it then goes on to make a decision based on an emotional calculation. I think it highlights that that business is personal because it is based on the strength of your relationships. It requires trust and integrity. Without it, there is no business to be done.

What would your theme song be? “Mighty Wings” – Cheap Trick

Favorite vacation spot: Tuscany, Italy

Hobbies: Rock Climbing, Muay Thai, Recreational Flying, Film Making

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

“I will miss having Chris around the Ross community every day after he graduates in May. I will miss his personal demeanor that exudes confidence, caring and passion along with his unwavering curiosity in my class that is fueled by his desire to understand what lies behind the experiences of other students and faculty. I will miss his genuine commitment to making others better off by always offering a ‘how can I help?’ at just the right moment. I will miss his ability to tell “Top Gun” stories about his time as an Air Force pilot in a persuasive way that makes you feel like you are actually flying the plane with him. I will miss having my friend around the Ross community every day, but I am extremely excited to see all of the great things Chris will accomplish for the next organization that is lucky enough to have him!”

Professor Ryan Ball
Professor of Accounting
Stephen M. Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan

 

DON’T MISS THE FULL LIST:

100 MBAS TO WATCH IN THE CLASS OF 2018