Meet Georgia Tech’s MBA Class Of 2020

Daniel Jester

Georgia Institute of Technology’s Scheller College of Business

“I’m enjoying running the race we call “life” and trying to make friends along the way.”

Hometown: Alpharetta, GA

Fun Fact About Yourself: A friend and I recently won a two-person relay race from Savannah, GA, to Columbus, GA. It took us 83 hours to complete the 260-mile run.

Undergraduate School and Major: United States Military Academy, Psychology

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: United States Army, 1-16th Cavalry Squadron Operations Officer

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: Shortly before finishing my time in the Army, I served above my rank in the Army as a Squadron Operations Officer and as the lead planner for the 2018 Sullivan Cup, a biennial competition to determine the best tank crew in the Army. My team and I put together an action-packed two weeks of competition for 15 teams and hundreds of spectators.

What quality best describes the MBA classmates you’ve met so far and why? Reliability. As we were grouped into teams with whom we would work with for all our core classes (through our first semester), I was unsure how effective they would be based on group projects in undergrad. I quickly realized that Scheller makes it a point to recruit and admit reliable candidates who can be counted on to do their part, and more. My team has varied levels of experience in different industries, countries, and functions and all bring something new to the table in each assignment. We have been able to divide and overlap responsibilities and haven’t had a single miscue or dropped assignment during our first core classes.

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? The Jones MBA Career Center. As a transitioning veteran, I was very motivated to go to a program that would be able to help me translate my military skills into a civilian career and the high-ranking of the Career Center (along with reviews from the Class of 2019) convinced me that they would be my best choice for making the most of my previous experiences for my next opportunity.

What club or activity are you looking most forward to in business school? I am most looking forward to Consulting Club. After I finish my MBA, I plan on using the lessons I learned in the military to begin a career in Consulting.  I am excited that our Consulting Club brings in valuable networking events and case preparation that I’m sure will prepare me for the challenge.

What led you to pursue an MBA at this point in your career? As I started looking for jobs when preparing to leave the Army, I quickly realized that while my years in the service had given me many amazing experiences, I was unsure how to leverage my skills and lessons learned into a corporate setting. I felt that the MBA program would help me translate those experiences while also teaching me the lessons I hadn’t learned in the military.

How did you decide if an MBA was worth the investment? While examining the actual and opportunity costs of a Scheller MBA, I determined it was worth the investment due to the increased income I will be able to enjoy in just two years. I looked closely at Scheller’s return on investment national ranking and am grateful my wife is continuing to serve in the Army during my degree to help pay for the program along with the G.I. Bill. While dropping to a single income is less comfortable in the short term, we are confident that the job market for MBAs will be significantly more lucrative than the job market for transitioning officers and we will be able to more than make up for the two years of missed income.

What other MBA programs did you apply to? No others.

How did you determine your fit at various schools? I prioritized the culture of the MBA program, the return on investment, and the career services. I examined culture in my conversations with Student Ambassadors during my interview and welcome weekends and evaluated the other factors using primarily online rankings. I knew that Scheller would help prepare me for a career in consulting because I spoke with the program office and learned that almost 40% of graduates start in that field after graduation.

What was your defining moment and how did it shape who you are? My defining moment was my decision to attend the United States Military Academy for my undergraduate degree and the commitment that entailed to spend five years, after graduating, in the U.S. Army. This helped develop my love of service and leadership skills through four years at the Academy and as an Armor Officer in the Army. While I decided to leave the uniformed service at the end of my commitment, I still feel a strong call to continue to serve through volunteering and non-profits, and to lead in any organization I am a part of.

What do you plan to do after you graduate? After graduation, I plan to work at one of the Big 4 consulting firms in strategy and operations or supply chain consulting. I also plan to stay involved with the Team RWB Chapter in whatever city I end up in. Team RWB is a national nonprofit that seeks to connect veterans and active duty service members to their local communities through physical and social activities. I became involved while stationed at Fort Benning, GA, and eventually served as the Veterans Outreach Coordinator of our chapter. I truly believe in the mission of the organization and plan to stay involved in whatever capacity I can after graduation.

Where do you see yourself in five years? I see myself as a principal or manager at a Big 4 consulting firm.

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