“A Navy Veteran passionate about leadership and lifelong learning.”
Hometown: Charlotte, MI
Fun fact about yourself: I’m obsessed with SCI-FI/Fantasy novels
Undergraduate School and Degree: Michigan State University – BA in Classical Studies & BA in Criminal Justice
Where was the last place you worked before enrolling in business school? United States Navy – Surface Warfare Officer, Lieutenant
Where did you intern during the summer of 2018? Procter & Gamble – Gillette World Shaving HQ in Boston, MA
Where will you be working after graduation? General Electric Aviation – Junior Officer Leadership Program (Rotational leadership development program for former military officers) working first rotation in an operations role).
Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School:
- Joined Beta Gamma Sigma honor society
- President, MBA Human Resources Association
- President, MBA Veteran’s Association
- Director of Human Resources for Spartan Consulting, student-run management consulting company.
Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? Meeting the standards to join Beta Gamma Sigma. The MBA means so much and gives access to the career path that I knew I wanted, but my primary goal from my MBA was to learn as much as I could in these two years. I am proud of the hard work I put into learning as much as I could in my courses and from my peers in the program.
What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? Earning my Surface Warfare Pin. In the Navy as a Surface Warfare Officer, one of your duties is to fully qualify in Surface Warfare. The qualification process demonstrates proficiency and the ability to maintain and operate a ship, its crew, and its systems. It’s a rigorous process that takes 1-2 years of hard work, studying, and mentorship by more senior officers. It culminates with a 2-hour oral testing board chaired by your ship’s Captain, Executive Officer, and all the departmental heads (more senior officers). If you pass, you’re pinned with a golden warfare device in front of all the other ship’s officers. That pin becomes a part of your daily uniform and is a mark of professional acumen and proficiency. Being pinned by my Captain after my board in front of my peers, my sailors, and my senior leadership is still one of my proudest memories in my life.
Who was your favorite MBA professor? Professor John Wagner. He taught one of our core MBA courses focused on managing the workforce. He and Dr. Hollenbeck wrote the book we use for the course, and it’s excellent. Each week we covered a chapter of theories and insights into organizational design and behavior, and then applied those theories to a case to solve real management issues. The speed and volume of the coursework could be brutal. As a former Officer who managed anywhere from 12 to upwards of 60 personnel and as a future manager, I believe the material Professor Wagner covered in his course is some of the most valuable in terms of applicability in my career.
What was your favorite MBA Course It is really hard to pick from a few that I really loved, but I think my favorite course was Open Innovation Management. So many companies are trying to find ways to incorporate OI into their work processes and studying it as a framework and a process helped to move it from a hazy concept that sounded like a bunch of business buzzwords to a practical, implementable way to approach problem-solving for business and manage innovation.
Why did you choose this business school? Aside from being a die-hard Spartan, I love the team orientation of our MBA Program. Having come from an organization like the military where teamwork is so critical to success, this orientation really appealed to me. I also love the blue-collar, hard-working reputation of Broad and Michigan State. Before coming back to Michigan, I spent my seven years of service in Hawaii and California. I was happy to be able to come back to the Midwest!
What is your best advice to an applicant hoping to get into your school’s MBA program? This is a team environment. Come in ready to treat this like a job, not like school. Be respectful and communicate openly and often with your team – everyone has lives to work around and stress to deal with. Be flexible and be helpful. Being a team player and a hard worker will get you far.
What is the biggest myth about your school? That we’re a “supply chain” school. It’s true that our supply chain management professors and training are excellent, but we are not a one-dimensional program. I’ve had amazing professors across my finance, management, and marketing courses.
Think back two years ago. What is the one thing you wish you’d known before starting your MBA program? I wish I had a better grasp on which discipline I wanted to study and how it would feed internship and career opportunities.
MBA Alumni often describe business school as transformative. Looking back over the past two years, how has business school been transformative for you? Business school definitely changed the way I think and approach problem-solving. The frameworks we learn and how to apply them across a variety of real-world cases and situations are incredibly valuable.
Which MBA classmate do you most admire? Claire Battafarano. She is our class president. She takes challenging coursework and teaches undergrad classes as a TA. She always excels in coursework, is kind to everyone in the program, and truly cares about Broad/MSU. She is insanely busy but always helpful and generous with her limited time.
Who most influenced your decision to pursue business in college? My wife, Mara. Coming out of the military, I knew I wanted to go into business, but I was afraid I didn’t have the necessary skills. My undergrad was NOT business-focused in any way. She encouraged me from studying for the GRE to getting admitted. She put up with my weird hours and stress. She worked while I played student again in my 30s. Her support was critical to my attending business school and completing my MBA.
What is your favorite movie about business? Office Space. It taught me to work somewhere I want to be! Life is too short to work somewhere you hate!
What was the goofiest MBA term or acronym you encountered – and what did it mean? NPV. Not that it’s goofy on its face, but people apply it to all kinds of social instances or situations where it’s definitely not appropriate.
“If I hadn’t gone to business school, I would be…in my 2nd year of law school.”
What dollar value would you place on your MBA education? Was it worth what you paid for it – worth more or worth less? I was fortunate enough to attend school on the GI Bill. So technically it was free, although you could argue I paid for it with seven years of life. But if I had paid for it out of pocket, it would certainly be worth well over the $60K-$70K that it would have otherwise cost.
What are the top two items on your bucket list? Qualify for the Boston Marathon and become a dad.
In one sentence, how would you like your peers to remember you? “Dustin is trustworthy and competent.”
Hobbies? I love to be active: running, kayaking, hiking – anything that is exercise and can get me outside. On the other end of the spectrum, I love unwinding by playing X-Box or Nintendo Switch in the evening. Trying new craft breweries or foodie places with my wife is also one of my favorite hobbies.
What made Dustin such an invaluable addition to the Class of 2019?
“The Broad MBA sees a number of student veterans come through the program. Dustin is amongst the top 5% of the student veterans, and for that matter, the top 10% of MBA students, to come through the program since my tenure began in 2013. When he began his time at Broad, he sought to strengthen the MBA Veteran’s Organization in the hopes of establishing a place where student veterans could connect, support each other’s transitions, and translate each individual’s military background into the appropriate civilian context to connect them to employers. His efforts were incredibly successful in connecting all student veterans, as our current group of MBA student veterans has seen great postgraduate opportunities, both through their own work and the support of this organization.
Dustin’s leadership also enabled the creation of a new, popular team-building activity in the MBA program that has now been successfully executed the last two years, tied to Thanksgiving. The Broad MBA “TurkeyTrot” represents the first MBA student organization social event that has brought core faculty together with current students in the spirits of fitness, camaraderie, and fun. It is one example of Dustin’s supportive leadership in the MBA program.
As a student leader in the human resources space, Dustin has advocated tirelessly to improve access to 800-level curriculum in all areas of management that will benefit his student colleagues. Through his work in the student human resources organization, the MBA program has begun an audit of the human resources curriculum within the program to both improve current offerings and expand on them for future classes.
As a military veteran, Dustin came to our program with considerable experience as a leader and difference-maker. I’m proud to say that he not only expanded on those credentials in this program, but he is also a fine example of what an MBA graduate should be, and as a fellow military veteran, one I’d be happy to serve with.”