“Father, husband, first-generation American, combat veteran, lifelong learner, servant leader.”
Hometown: Congers, NY
Fun fact about yourself: I sing Rick Astley’s “Never Gonna Give You Up” to my toddler to make him stop crying.
Undergraduate School and Degree: West Point (BS in Poly Sci) and Georgetown (Master’s in Public Policy Management)
Where was the last place you worked before enrolling in business school? I worked in the Pentagon as an Army officer.
Where did you intern during the summer of 2018? I interned as a research assistant for the school’s Dean of Leadership Studies and helped him develop the concept for his next book.
Where will you be working after graduation? I will be a strategic planner at US Army Futures Command in Austin, TX.
Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School: Admissions Interviewer, Admissions Ambassador, Teaching Assistant for Corporate Governance and Strategic Leadership courses, Veterans Club
Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? Being selected to work for the Yale Chief Executive Leadership Institute and participating in ongoing off-the-record, sensitive projects with Fortune 500 CEOs, senior government officials, and the best and brightest from academia.
What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? Not losing a single one of my soldiers during a 12-month deployment to Kandahar, Afghanistan. It was a very difficult time in the war, and despite some close calls, we were able to bring everyone home safely.
Who was your favorite MBA professor? From his razor-sharp wit and scary ability to recall information to his affinity for connecting people to effect change, Jeff Sonnenfeld is an absolute wonder. He also has a sense of humor that rivals that of most comedians. However, I most admire his generosity and willingness to move mountains for his students’ and colleagues’ advancement.
Why did you choose this business school? I chose Yale SOM for two main reasons. First, the school emphasizes the intersection of business and society, and that’s exactly what I was looking for as an army officer. Second, the atmosphere on campus was distinctly warm and unpretentious.
What is your best advice to an applicant hoping to get into your school’s MBA program? Make sure you want to make a difference in the world. If you don’t want to effect real change at some point in your career, then this might not be the right place for you.
What is the biggest myth about your school? So many people told me that Yale SOM wasn’t as receptive to veterans as other business schools. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Veterans command tremendous respect from faculty and peers. Military case studies are used throughout the curriculum. Also, each year we celebrate Veterans Day school-wide with a variety of military familiarization events (“Ask Me Anything” panel, physical fitness training, tutorial of military equipment, and meal-ready-to-eat tastings).
Think back two years ago. What is the one thing you wish you’d known before starting your MBA program? How fast it goes…and how I should spend as much time as possible getting to know my amazing classmates.
MBA Alumni often describe business school as transformative. Looking back over the past two years, how has business school been transformative for you? Before business school, I only had the perspective of an army officer who’d been insulated from “Corporate America” and higher education. Coming to Yale opened my eyes to how companies do business, how ideas turn into startups, and the way technology is changing the future of work.
Which MBA classmate do you most admire? I could not imagine a better friend, father, and classmate than Gokul Madhavan. We became friends quickly since we both have kids the same age. He is unequivocally the smartest guy I’ve ever met, and he’s just so humble that you’d never know it by casually talking with him. He speaks and writes in 10 (or so) languages, mastered advanced mathematics in pursuit of his Ph.D. from Harvard, and takes every moment he can to improve the learning of others. Truly amazing individual.
Who most influenced your decision to pursue business in college? My last boss–Army General Mike Murray. As I observed him every day overseeing the Army’s budget at the Pentagon, he would always say “You can’t change the process until you understand it.” I really took that idea to heart. I recognized that only an MBA would allow me to gain insights across every sphere of influence within the private sector. This seemed more important than ever given the dynamic nature of technology and how the military must adapt to such change.
“If I hadn’t gone to business school, I would be…deployed to a foreign country.”
What dollar value would you place on your MBA education? Was it worth what you paid for it – worth more or worth less? Well…I received a full scholarship from the Army, so it’s hard to say it wasn’t worth it. However, I think the quality of the friendships I’ve made, the caliber of the professors, and the fact that Yale SOM allows students to tailor their MBA to their own unique needs would put this education at $175K in value—well worth the two years away from the workforce.
What are the top two items on your bucket list?
- Raise my boys to be kind, capable, and principled men
- Take my wife on a cruise around the world
In one sentence, how would you like your peers to remember you? I hope my peers remember me as down-to-earth, positive, and always willing to help someone in need.
Hobbies? Exotic travel, Mediterranean cooking, watching Sesame Street and changing diapers.
What made Vito such an invaluable addition to the Class of 2019?
“Vito is a second-year student in the MBA program at the Yale School of Management. He exemplifies the qualities of ethical, trailblazing, motivating leadership that exemplifies the criteria of the award.
In my role as the Dean of Students and Assistant Dean of Academic Affairs and Student Life at the School of Management, I work with a very large number of students across our five degree programs. Vito rises to the very top across this large pool of students with measurable demonstrated skills in the areas of leadership, service, and courage.
Vito is a first-generation American who is currently serving in the United States Army. Immediately before entering the Yale SOM MBA program, Vito served as the assistant executive officer to the Army’s chief financial officer, assisting in ensuring the seamless execution of the Army’s total spending budget. Previous to that role, Vito served in roles of increasing professional responsibility in the Army as an aide-de-camp, task force intelligence office, cavalry troop commander, and special assistant to the Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence.
He was stationed in Afghanistan, among other deployments, and earned a Bronze Star, along with multiple other medals and awards commending his valor and service.
At Yale SOM, Vito has distinguished himself academically in several courses where leadership and successful team-building form the pedagogical foundation of the course. His contributions to team projects and classroom discourse and his exemplary academic deliverables resulted in Vito earning our highest academic honors in these courses.
Despite the significant time constraints experienced by any MBA student and by Vito’s enormous obligations to his young family, Vito volunteered his time to assist as a lead teaching assistant in one of our largest elective courses, “Strategic Leadership Across Sectors.” The overarching themes of the course—resiliency, ethics, and personal responsibility—spoke to Vito’s personal and professional leadership values. Vito chose to volunteer to assist the students in taking on this role as it was not possible to compensate him. The students enrolled in the very large and sought-after elective have benefited enormously from Vito’s motivating leadership in his role. This type of dedication to the academic program to assist fellow students is truly extraordinary.
I recommend Vito with the highest possible praise as an awardee of the Poets&Quants Best & Brightest award. During his time at Yale, Vito has distinguished himself consistently with his professionalism, leadership, and dedication to the community.”
Dean of Students and Assistant Dean of Academic Affairs and Student Life
Yale School of Management