2019 Best & Brightest MBAs: Geoffrey Rowan, University of Miami

Geoffrey Rowan

University of Miami Business School

Leader, Faith and Family-based, Responsible, Passionate, Integrity, Resourceful, Energetic, Entrepreneur, Connector, Listener, and Motivated.”

Hometown: Naperville, IL

Fun fact about yourself: I have over 65 cousins and I got to live out one of my childhood dreams playing professional baseball for the Tampa Bay Rays

Undergraduate School and Degree:

Northwestern University

Bachelor of Arts Degree

Where was the last place you worked before enrolling in business school?

Naperville Renegades/ Private Coaching                                                                          

High School Director and Private Coach                                                                            

  • Coached kids 8 to 22 years old in baseball and created player brand and marketing strategies to improve their viewership opportunities in recruiting.
  • Created new business partnerships, performed crisis management, consulted in college recruitment, player interactions, and other organizational functions.

Where did you intern during the summer of 2018? Miami Business School as a Graduate Marketing Intern, School of Business Graduate Admissions

Where will you be working after graduation? Undecided

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School:

  • Legacy Magazine’s Top 40 under 40 award recipient
  • Creator of MBS first ever Sports Business Panel: Mindset vs Skill set
  • GBSA President at Miami Business School (2018-2019)
  • GBSA Class Representative (2017-2018)
  • Howard University MBA-X Consulting Case Competition (4th place)
  • Creator of MBS Diversity and Inclusion Weekend Plan
  • MBA World Summit Finalist
  • United Way volunteer
  • Rhea of Hope Volunteer
  • Concerned Veterans of Vietnam (CVV) volunteer

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? My most proud achievement during business school is being selected of Legacy Magazines’ Top 40 Under 40 Award. I am humbled and grateful to be recognized for the work that I have done with the Graduate Business Student Association President (GBSA), and as an ambassador for Miami Business School out in the community. I am proud that I am making an impact on others and using my position of influence to help others and represent the business school the best way that I know how. It has been my goal since being elected President to represent my class and my school with honor, integrity, and character of the highest regard and I have done that. This achievement was yet another reminder that nothing replaces hard work, and that community service does not go unnoticed.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? My most proud professional achievement was getting drafted by the Tampa Bay Rays and using my platform to help others. It was a dream come true since I was 5 years old. It took overcoming a lot of adversity. I was too small and too athletic to be a catcher, didn’t have enough power, and I wasn’t being looked at before my senior season. Yet I put in the hours and extra hours of practice. I beat on my craft more than any other time in my career and I went for it 100%.

I am most proud in this accomplishment because I believed in myself, and I accepted the help of others that were willing to help me improve. It taught me to trust the process of growth and the importance of maintaining a positive mindset and drive. A quote by Eric Thomas helped describe my drive: “When you want to be successful as bad as you want to breathe, then you’ll be successful.” I turned that mindset into dedication and passion. Then I turned that mentality into helping others and volunteering with kids around the various towns that I played in. I wanted to pay it forward to others like it had been done to me. Giving back to my community led me to receive the Erik Walker Community Champion Award, given to one Rays player out of 450 that represents leadership, community engagement, and teamwork.

What was your favorite MBA Course? My favorite MBA course was Marketing 640: Foundations of Marketing Management with Dr. Uzma Khan. The biggest insight that I gained was how to be disruptive in marketing and the art of controlling brand image and perception. Dr. Khan pushed the class to be innovative in our marketing campaigns for the companies of our choosing and my group actually went outside the box and was rewarded for it. It was one of the first chances we had to use our creative sides, outside of a test in the MBA. The course gave us the principles of marketing and global brands, which is what I’m interested in pursuing after my MBA. However, it was Dr. Khan who brought this information and new points of view on how to analyze marketing campaigns, create marketing mixes, and what brands have done to effectively or ineffectively position themselves in their respective markets.

Why did you choose this business school? I chose the University of Miami Business School because it is a place with extraordinary culture and one of the highest percentages of start-ups in the country. I wanted to study international business in a place where I didn’t know anyone to force myself to venture out of my comfort zone and embrace new experiences and growth. Miami is the Gateway to Americas and is budding with new technology and economic advances. I wanted to be a part of that innovation and lead the next wave of Miami Business School students. Also, being around Spanish-speakers and adapting to the different cultures is an added bonus living in Miami. I wanted more than just the degree, I could not have asked to be around better people. From the time that I first spoke to Kim Migoya who works in our admissions office, to meeting our Vice Dean Patricia Abril and my fellow classmates, I knew this place was special. Where there are good people, there are great opportunities to grow and learn.

What is your best advice to an applicant hoping to get into your school’s MBA program? The best advice I can give an applicant that wants to get into my MBA program is to be themselves and be ready to embrace the entrepreneurial spirit of Miami Business School. At MBS, we encourage people to be authentically themselves and open themselves up to new opportunities. The administration wants students who want to be in the driver seat towards their futures and that will use the skills learned at Miami Business School to become global leaders.

What is the biggest myth about your school? The biggest myth is that the talent isn’t what it used to be and that the University of Miami is still coming off its “Sun Tan U” days. I am proud to be at MBS. Here I am surrounded by All-star classmates. They are leaders. They are innovators. They are special, and together we impact our community through servitude, investment, and engagement. Things have changed at the Miami Business School. Dean Quelch has provided a new vision for the school and the staff, faculty, and students are aligned with the vision to be a top 25 school by 2025 and we’re not afraid to say it. The next wave at Miami Business School isn’t waiting in the winds, it’s already here and making an impact to rise MBS on the world stage.

Think back two years ago. What is the one thing you wish you’d known before starting your MBA program? I wish I knew how to access more of the pre-MBA courses and engage in opportunities over the summer prior to getting started. I believe it would have allowed me to engage faster and have a better grasp on the class work. I would have attended more business events sooner like Venture Café and the Small Business Expo.

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 has been a blessing. It has been transformative in guiding me to consider industries I never considered like consumer goods, and in creating opportunities to meet World-Class mentors from all over the globe. Business school has taught me how to showcase my strengths from my sports background and transfer them into industry. It has opened up opportunities for me that otherwise would not have been possible.

School has also allowed me to open up more about myself. I have learned to let go of the reigns as a leader and trust in my teams more with projects. Also, I’ve learned the values of Lean Six Sigma with the 5S process and how to create better, smoother work environments. Most of all, business school has been transformative in that I now know that I can lead in multiple arenas. I have had opportunities in the past, but I’ve always had tough sports schedules and commitments that made it difficult to do it all. Here at MBS, the administration has allowed me to do just that. I have grown as a leader. My opinions and research have reached new depths in forming arguments to not only have a point but to defend it. I feel more confident than ever that I can lead companies in the professional world.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? The classmate and friend that I admire most in the MBA is Reina Al Rayes. Reina is originally from Kuwait and came to MBS straight from undergrad at Miami. The transition from undergrad to grad school is difficult for most people, but not for Reina. Not only is she one of the smartest people in the MBA, she is also one of the sweetest and most kind people that I have ever met. It’s special to have met a friend that has your back, will go the extra mile for you and others, and that’s not afraid to tell you that she will do those things.

In a word, Reina is remarkable. Although she is an A+ student, her best quality is her heart. She is always willing to help others and her generosity knows no bounds. I admire Reina for the way she carries herself, and her dedication to the things she cares about. Although she’s great at it, she understands that school isn’t everything. It is clear that Reina cherishes family, friendships, and experiences. The way she cares for others is true to her core and you can see it in her every encounter. Reina is an inspiration and a friend who constantly reminds me to keep pushing, to keep going forward with positive energy, and to continue to smile every chance that I get.

Who most influenced your decision to pursue business in college? My dad influenced me most in my decision to pursue business in college. From a young age, he taught my brother about assets and liabilities, costs analysis, and entrepreneurship in a variety of ways such as board games and board meetings for his company. Sometimes he would take me to meetings and just make me sit there and listen. Other times, he would challenge me to think deeper and change my perspective to that of the CEO as opposed to whatever position that I was in. I learned more from watching and listening to my father than any class could ever teach me. I watched his mannerisms to his sheer will do get things done. One of his many business savvy yet silly sayings was, ‘Don’t fight a chicken with eagle knowledge,’ which meant to not let others bring me down to their level and live according to their stereotypes. It meant to study hard and stay true to myself so that I can continue to fly in rare air like eagles do.

What was the goofiest MBA term or acronym you encountered – and what did it mean? “It’s in the wash”, which means it’s in the process or we are in the process of thinking – the process of which we don’t actually know what is going on. The term means that we should’ve let the lesson sit for a few minutes before rushing to say we are confused. “It’s in the wash” is a funny way of saying, ‘Take your time to process the information’.

If I hadn’t gone to business school, I would be… trying to start my own business and going through the struggles of what I don’t know. Two years ago, I thought I knew a lot when it came to starting a business and now after business school it’s clear that I knew very little. But I am now more prepared to learn, adjust, and seize the opportunities ahead.”

What dollar value would you place on your MBA education? Was it worth what you paid for it – worth more or worth less? I cannot put a dollar amount on my MBA education. The courses are about setting students up with the skills and preparing us to transition to new industries and job functions. However, where the money isn’t calculated is in the relationships that you build with the students, staff, and faculty. There’s no way to put a price on that. There are only a few places in the world where you can gather like-minded thinkers and get them to collaborate cross-functionally for two years straight. Although the job market is slow, and it seems jobs are getting away from hiring more MBAs, it is these relationships that make the MBA worth every penny. I have gained lifelong friendships and business connections that I am beyond thankful for.

What are the top two items on your bucket list?

1) Visit all 50 states and over 10 countries

2) Rent a house and fill it with family and friends in a different state

In one sentence, how would you like your peers to remember you? I want to be remembered as a friend and a leader who paid it forward to others by the way he treated them, and how I gave my very best to create a connection with each individual and create a better experience for all of us and for future Miami Business School students.

Hobbies? Baseball, Football, Golf, Basketball, Fishing, Podcasts, Board Games, Traveling, Poetry/Spoken-Word, Public Speaking, and Networking

What made Geoffrey such an invaluable addition to the Class of 2019?

“I have had the pleasure to work closely with Geoffrey over the past year and a half in my role as the Assistant Director of Graduate Student Experience. I first met Geoff when he was elected to represent his cohort on the Graduate Business Student Association (GBSA), our student government organization. As the advisor to the GBSA, I have seen the positive influence that Geoff has had on the students and in addition to the faculty and staff he interacts with. He was elected President for the 2018-2019 academic year because of his drive, motivation, and charisma. He’s a mover and shaker. Geoff brought a unique asset to the class – his extensive history with coaching and his time playing professional baseball.

Inside the classroom, Geoff is beloved by his professors, excelling in every way. He has gained the utmost respect from our senior leadership and we are so proud of the continuous ways Geoff inspires the ongoing success of our School. It is hard to think of him graduating because we have become so used to seeing his bright smile and his non-stop energy. I am very proud to nominate him for this recognition.”


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