“Army Veteran, adventurous, thrill seeker, incessantly curious, underdog supporter and Philly cheesesteak aficionado.”
Hometown: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Fun Fact About Yourself: I love stepping out of my comfort zone and just before starting at Rice, I traveled to the Himalayan Mountain Range in Nepal and trekked 38 miles to Mount Everest Base Camp (17,600 ft.)
Undergraduate School and Major: University of Illinois, Bachelors of Arts in Political Science.
Most Recent Employer and Job Title: U.S Army, Special Forces Group Staff Officer.
Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: To date, my biggest accomplishment was leading an amazing group of diverse and selfless soldiers while serving as a Platoon Leader and ballistic missile site manager during a year-long deployment in South East Asia. While deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, I spent a significant amount of time with my soldiers through this experience. I now hold a greater appreciation for the diversity of cultures that make up America and the sacrifice these soldiers make when they decide to serve.
What quality best describes the MBA classmates you’ve met so far and why? They live up to the Rice stereotype. Specifically, they’re bright but humble and accomplished yet eager.
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 key factor that led me to choose Rice Business was the intimate class size. Like other top MBA programs, Rice sets the bar high with its academic rigor, but the close knit and collaborative culture set it apart. Pulling from my experience of rotating through several U.S military leadership courses, the focus was always on quality over quantity and Rice, similarly, focuses on quality.
What club or activity are you looking most forward to in business school? I’m most looking forward to working with the Veterans in Business Association (VIBA) because of the value they add to philanthropic events that benefit charitable veteran and military organizations.
What led you to pursue an MBA at this point in your career? Before entering my first post-military position, I want to grow and refine my business acumen.
How did you decide if an MBA was worth the investment? To determine if an MBA was worth it, I had several conversations with former military colleagues who already transitioned to the civilian sector. When speaking to them, two things stood out. Having an MBA allowed them to enjoy access to a wider range of positions and, with the complement of an MBA, they were more able to make an impact with their respected companies. Thinking long-term, and wanting the ability to work across several functions and industries, I determined that the MBA was worth it.
What other MBA programs did you apply to? Washington University in St. Louis (Olin), University of Illinois (Gies).
How did you determine your fit at various schools? I identified fit by comparing schools and using metrics such as student and alumni accessibility, professor-to-student ratio, number of student-run organizations, and the number of graduates that were placed in my target career functions and industries. Also, I assessed my fit through conversations with Dean Rodriguez, several Rice admissions officers and current and former Rice students.
What was your defining moment and how did it shape who you are? My defining moment was realizing my childhood dream and becoming a Big Ten Track and Field Champion. It took everything I had to beat some of the best middle distance runners in the world, but the joy of realizing one of my childhood dreams made the years of hard work worth with it. Moreover, from this victory, I learned that nothing great in life comes easy, but with hard work and dedication, even the most audacious dreams are possible.
What do you plan to do after you graduate? After graduation, I want to start at a leadership development rotation and put the knowledge I learned at Rice to practice, focusing on managing people and flow.
Where do you see yourself in five years? Professionally, I see myself working at the strategic level as an operations manager and leveraging my leadership experience to help ensure the milestones are met. Personally, I see myself adding value to underserved communities by working with community-based philanthropic organizations.