2019 MBAs To Watch: Joe Lynch, Columbia Business School

Joe Lynch

Columbia Business School

“Baby-wearing father and feminist, former bomb-defusing Navy officer, future consultant.”

Hometown: Seaford, NY

Fun fact about yourself: I’ve sung karaoke in nine countries.

Undergraduate School and Degree:

  • United States Naval Academy – Bachelor of Science, Economics
  • University of Maryland University College – Master of Science, Cybersecurity Policy

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

  • US Navy – Special Operations and Explosive Ordnance Disposal Officer
  • Service to School – Director of Undergraduate Operations

Where did you intern during the summer of 2018? Bain & Company – New York Office

Where will you be working after graduation? Bain & Company – Consultant in the New York Office

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School:

  • Peer Advisor
  • Vice President of Mentorship, Management Consulting Association
  • Vice President of Admissions, Military in Business Association (MiBA)
  • Non-profit Board Leadership Program
  • Assistant Vice President of Careers, Hispanic Business Association (HBA)
  • Undergraduate Ambassador, Service to School

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? Being a Peer Advisor. Peer Advisors help guide the incoming class through orientation and core semester. My peer advisors set a high bar with Cluster D’19 by sharing their experiences and energy. Being a Peer Advisor was a step outside of my comfort zone, but shout-out to my PA team, Cluster B’20, and to my accountabilabuddy, Ali Lisnow, for helping me grow through it!

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? While leading teams as a Naval Officer, I mentored sailors in the development of their professional and personal lives. I’m proud to say that every sailor was promoted at least once, nearly every sailor on my teams has enrolled in college, with one earning a Master’s Degree, and several were recognized as sailors of the year. 

Who was your favorite MBA professor? Professor Angela Lee. She is energetic, has extensive industry experience, and gets everyone involved in the classroom.

What was your favorite MBA Course? Launch your Startup with Owen Davis.

I worked with my friend, Matt Weinberg, on his startup, Giraffe, which is a search tool for infographics. Professor Davis led us through an intensive 12-week sprint to launch a startup. There was an incredible array of guest speakers, many of whom were running their own companies. Although there were many assignments, it was a great opportunity to apply all the lessons from the core and test the entrepreneurial waters.

Why did you choose this business school? The people. I applied to CBS while I was deployed so I spoke on the phone with students, alumni, and admissions officers – particularly those from HBA and MiBA. Throughout those calls, I was impressed with just how many people were willing to speak with me, and also about how excited each of them was about CBS which is what ultimately led me to apply Early Decision to CBS. I’ve found that energy on campus as well, and I think that is what makes CBS so special.

What is your best advice to an applicant hoping to get into your school’s MBA program? Be your authentic self. When preparing your essays, reflect on what matters to you and let the admissions committee know. There is no stronger voice than one with passion and conviction.

What is the biggest myth about your school? When I was applying, I heard that CBS was a pure finance school. While CBS is renowned for its finance and value investing programs, every industry is represented on campus. From sports analytics to the arts, the CBS faculty is top-notch.

Think back two years ago. What is the one thing you wish you’d known before starting your MBA program? How fast the time goes! I can’t believe I’m in my last semester already and wish I had more time to do all the things I still want to do at CBS.

MBA Alumni often describe business school as transformative. Looking back over the past two years, how has business school been transformative for you? While serving in the military, I worked with an incredibly diverse group of people from all different walks of life. While diverse, we were united by the same sense of purpose and mission. Business school has exposed me to people with diverse points of view, each pursuing their individual passions and lives. It’s been awe-inspiring to study and work with all of my fellow CBS’ers.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? Zenah Hasan is a force of nature. She is confident, assertive, and direct, particularly when she senses that someone is choosing to remain comfortable instead of leveraging all of the resources of CBS. Whether it was Zenah leading a supper club that lasted until 3 a.m., or a school-wide panel on Diversity and Inclusion, or just a quick pick-me-up conversation in the hallway, she has inspired nearly everyone she meets to do more and to leave an impact on CBS and the community.

Who most influenced your decision to pursue business in college? When I first considered separating from the Navy, Pete Reiser CBS ’15, was one of the first people I called. As a friend, mentor, and former Marine, he was able to explain the value of earning an MBA while transitioning from the military for both personal and professional reasons.

What is your favorite movie about business? The Lego Movie. Creativity can be messy and weird, but ultimately, it’s what saves the world.

If I hadn’t gone to business school, I would be…still in the Navy or working for a defense contractor.”

What dollar value would you place on your MBA education? Was it worth what you paid for it – worth more or worth less? Priceless. Business school taught me many different ways to value companies and products, but I don’t think I learned how to value this one. In all seriousness, CBS was worth every last dollar of tuition. I’m graduating with an amazing group of friends, a new skillset, and two years of unforgettable experiences.

What are the top two items on your bucket list?

  • Travel to Fiji. My father lived and worked there while he was in the Peace Corps.
  • Take my daughter to Disney World. I can’t wait to introduce Toy Story and the rest of the Disney filmography to her.

In one sentence, how would you like your peers to remember you? Joe was reliable, kind, open-minded but assertive, and always ready to laugh at himself or a good joke.

Hobbies?  Squash, cooking, barbecue, reading nonfiction

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

“Joe has been an incredibly important part of the CBS community in several different capacities. First and foremost, as a veteran, Joe has been an active member of our Military in Business Association (MIBA) and an advocate for the group. Beyond that, he plays an ally role in affinity groups such as our LGBTQ+ club Cluster Q and the Hispanic Business Association. He also was a fall Peer Advisor of which he helped play a role in assimilating 500+ new first years into the CBS Community. As a veteran, he played an especially important role in being someone that new veterans in our community can relate and come to. Most recently, Joe has dedicated his final year at CBS focused on communitywide affordability efforts. He has partnered with the Office of Student Affairs and Modupe Akinola, Associate Professor of Management to research issues of interest such as hidden costs of applying to MBA programs.”

Scott Siegel Ortiz
Associate Director – Student Life and Engagement
Office of Student Affairs

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