“Charismatic, driven, social, and curious entrepreneur dedicated to making an impact.”
Hometown: Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Fun Fact About Yourself: Immediately after watching The Social Network for the first time, I turned to my best friend, asked if he wanted to build a website, and spent the next few months learning HTML and CSS to build a site from scratch. Within 6 months we created our first website with no prior coding experience.
Undergraduate School and Major: University of Wisconsin-La Crosse with a major in Exercise and Sport Science
Most Recent Employer and Job Title: JT Clark Co. LLC, VP of Operations
Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: Growing Just Go Fitness from one client I worked with during a summer to training clients around the country while reaching thousands of people online each month has been the biggest accomplishment in my career so far.
Building my company took a tremendous amount of time and energy, but it opened doors for me and helped me develop an entrepreneurial skill set that I’ll continue to use to make a difference in the lives of other people.
What quality best describes the MBA classmates you’ve met so far and why? The MBA classmates I’ve met so far at USC can best be described as collaborative. Repeatedly I’ve experienced or heard of my classmates trying to help each other – whether that be suggesting a friend to reach out to for an informational interview or simply offering to help in the understanding of a particular concept we’ve learned about in class. This has happened daily and it’s a cultural norm throughout the program.
Aside from your classmates, what was the key factor that led you to choose this program for your full-time MBA and why was it so important to you? Building a lifelong network was my number one reason for getting an MBA and at USC it became clear early in the application process that their network is one of the best. As I considered USC during the application process I was able to reach out to alumni as well as students in the program and they were incredibly receptive, which ultimately influenced my decision to join the program.
As an emerging entrepreneur, the lifelong network was something I desired because it would help me find people to build companies with, mentors to learn from, potential investors, and opportunities to discover new ideas and perspectives from different people. To me, the network you develop in an MBA program is the most valuable component of the entire experience.
What club or activity are you looking most forward to in business school? The Entrepreneur and Venture Management Association is the club I’m most excited to join because of the opportunities to develop relationships with others interested in entrepreneurship while learning from successful entrepreneurs who have built a variety of companies.
What led you to pursue an MBA at this point in your career? Opting to pursue an MBA at this point in my career stems from a desire to make a bigger impact.
While I picked up new skills and grew tremendously while at JT Clark Co. and through building Just Go Fitness, I recognized my shortcomings – particularly my lack of experience leading professional teams – and knew an MBA would give me a great opportunity to learn and grow in this regard.
How did you decide if an MBA was worth the investment? As an introspective person who journals almost every day, I thought of myself at the end of my life looking back and wondering if I’d regret not doing an MBA. When evaluating the worth of an MBA and whether it warranted the high cost, it became obvious to me that I had to get an MBA or I’d regret it the rest of my life.
What other MBA programs did you apply to? The other MBA programs I applied to were Stanford, University of Washington, UCLA, Berkeley, Harvard, NYU, Cornell, Northwestern, University of Chicago, Yale, Michigan, and Duke.
How did you determine your fit at various schools? Knowing that I wanted to go into entrepreneurship after the MBA, I evaluated schools through that lens to determine my fit. I wanted a collaborative environment with a great entrepreneurial ecosystem that would be accepting of my non-traditional background.
I also evaluated schools based on their location – particularly their proximity to known entrepreneurial hubs – and did extensive research online to learn about the support each school provided for aspiring entrepreneurs. Furthermore, I had conversations with students at different schools to get a feel for the entrepreneurial culture.
What was your defining moment and how did it shape who you are? My defining moment was the death of Shaun Wild, a friend and mentor of mine who was an amazing person, incredible role model, and impacted the lives of so many people in the 24 years he had on this earth.
Shaun was someone I admired and respected greatly. In 2012 after finding out he was stabbed to death at a bar near Chicago, I dove into deep introspection about my life and how I wanted to live it. The event became a driving force for me, helping me develop a desire to make an impact through the work I do.
What do you plan to do after you graduate? After graduating I plan on building my next company with a passionate group of people driven by a similar life mission.
Where do you see yourself in five years? In five years I see myself living in Los Angeles running a company that makes a difference in the lives of other people.