CHAMPION SAILOR REMOVES ALL POTENTIAL DISTRACTIONS…EVEN AN APPENDIX!
Money is one thing. A personal brand is another. That’s where INSEAD’s Constantinos Linos comes into the picture. At Univision, Linos was tapped to direct the “development, marketing, and distribution” of Residente’s music, films, and events. Call it a major step up, with Residente’s decorated career including a Grammy, an MTV Music Video Award, and “Record of the Year” awards from outlets ranging from Rolling Stone to the New York Times. Pretty cool, but one of Linos’ classmates – Francisco Lobato – may have him beat in that area. He is a professional racing sailor – with a Master’s in Engineering and a background in investment banking to boot. That takes a serious, winning mindset. Just ask him.
“I once got my appendix removed even though I didn´t need to,” he says. “Why? I was about to race alone across the Atlantic Ocean in a Sailing boat and wanted to eliminate as many unknowns and variables that could prevent me to win. I won!”
The Best & Brightest maintained this momentum in business school, notching equally impressive achievements in their wake. During his first year, IESE’s Louis Williams published a book outlining the benefits of Brexit: An Optimist’s Brexit. Across the pond at the University of Southern California, Jasmine Hagans co-led a team that produced a 157-page report on cross-border trade, one that was presented in New Guinea to top leaders from the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC).
MAKING A LASTING IMPRESSION AT AMAZON
That said, some of the class’ most impressive work was targeted to smaller audiences. Jennifer Francis, for one, took the insights she gained at the University of Washington and created a transformational leadership training for the Navy Nurse Corps. Similarly, Carnegie Mellon’s Andrea Caralis saw a need for interview prep and ran with it. Realizing that MBA schedules were “booked solid,” she created Friday Foundations. Held Friday morning, these hour-long sessions mixed refresher topics like networking and Linkedin profiles with intensive practice and peer feedback – with 2nd years taking the 1st year peers under their wings.
“I’ve learned during my time in my MBA program that nothing is more fulfilling than giving back and supporting my friends’ professional growth,” she explains. “Although I may have eventually been given the nickname “Tepper Mom,” I’m okay with that. I know my classmates and colleagues know that I’m a constant support system and alongside them for all the ups-and-downs.”
Other Best & Brightest members excelled during their class projects and summer internships. During a consulting course, Wisconsin’s Michael Hilfiker partnered with Amazon to create a “proprietary” model used to show the impact of American tariffs on the company’s value chain. It was a first – and led Amazon to ask Hilfiker to let them use his model in-house. Amazon was equally impressed with the University of Texas’ Ashley Fox. During her summer internship, she prototyped a new product for their breakfast menu – one that could generate millions of dollars in new revenue.
“I worked cross-functionally with R&D, pricing, finance, ops, and sourcing to identify feasibility and create a go-to-market strategy,” Fox notes. “I was extremely proud of what I was able to accomplish in just three months.”
“I WANT TO BE COLIN EMERSON WHEN I GROW UP”
Employers weren’t the only ones singing the praises of this year’s Best & Brightest. Elizabeth McKillop, who heads up MBA Student Affairs at UCLA, likens Jennifer Bae as a “tornado” – “everywhere at once” with a “calm center” who “gets people excited and engaged and makes them a part of something bigger than themselves.” That pales in comparison to the compliment paid to Colin Emerson, who headed talent development with the Ministry of Education in Singapore before joining the MBA Class of 2019 at Duke University.
“There are days where I wish the class of 2019 was made up of 400+ Colin Emersons,” says Steve Misuraca, the assistant dean of Duke’s daytime MBA program. “Colin is a student who is fully committed to making the most of his time inside and outside the classroom and is intentional about elevating the experience of others within the Fuqua community. There are also days where I have said to fellow staff members, “I want to be Colin Emerson when I grow up!”
Not surprisingly, the Best & Brightest adopted their own role models, who often encouraged them to continue their education. Yale SOM’s Vito Errico came to campus after heeding the advice of his last boss, Army General Mike Murray: “You can’t change the process until you understand it.” The same dynamic inspired Dartmouth Tuck’s Sophia Cornew, who had grown increasingly disillusioned with the healthcare system as she prepared for medical school.
“A physician mentor, Dr. Minnie Sarwal, encouraged me to “go see about the business side of things.” She pushed me to see problems and inefficiencies in healthcare as opportunities. “Someone needs to fix it, why not you?”
THE WISDOM OF A CHILD
Some Best & Brightest were being groomed for business as young people – they just didn’t know it at the time. Take the University of Virginia’s Allison Shimamoto. Her father immigrated to the United States when he was 15, rising from Statistician to Marketing VP. Soon enough, he began to lay the groundwork for his daughter to follow in his footsteps.
“I’ll never forget the day I visited his office for Take Your Child To Work Day,” she reminisces. “He showed me three logos and said, “Which one should we pick?” I chose, and he said, “Now convince me why.” It was at that moment that I knew I wanted to pursue a career in marketing.”
For Nile Imani Marshall, the grand epiphany came during a talk with one of her middle school students, who had already set her sights on getting into Stanford University. “She asked why I only went to college once,” the Vanderbilt MBA notes. “That conversation gave me pause and caused me to think about how I taught middle school students knowledge is power, and college unlocks a world of opportunity, but I was afraid to apply to graduate school.”
BEST & BRIGHTEST GIVE HIGH MARKS TO BUSINESS SCHOOL
Was business school worth it? As a whole, the Best & Brightest answered with a resounding “Yes” – often for very different reasons. Andrea Caralis, who’ll be joining Amazon as a product manager after graduating from Tepper, considers the MBA “worth its weight in gold” considering the outcome. “As a number cruncher myself, I can promise I built all the financial models to try to decide if I should go full time or not,” she explains. “There is no financial model for the experience and upward opportunities that the MBA world gives to you.”
In contrast, Chicago Booth’s Alexander Daifotis relished the intangibles and experiences he gained. “I value most highly the chance to learn a lot from fantastic professors, travel around the world, and meet people I never otherwise would have had the chance to meet,” he says. “And on the other side, I now get to work on problems I find meaningful with people I enjoy working with. That, to me, is the real prize.”
Stanford GSB’s John Ettinger is awaiting the “benefit of hindsight” before definitely answering whether his MBA was worth two years and six figures in tuition. However, there is one thing that he is certain of as graduation nears. “I often imagine myself forty years from now and wonder how much I’ll be willing to pay to go back in time and live just one week of business school life. I imagine it would be a fair chunk of change.”
Congratulations, Class of 2019! Make us proud!
Go to pages 4-5 for 100 in-depth profiles of this year’s Best & Brightest MBAs.
DON’T MISS: BEST & BRIGHTEST MBAS: CLASS OF 2018