Meet The Michigan Ross MBA Class Of 2021

Sean Drimmel

Ross School of Business, University of Michigan

“California-grown, technology-inspired, fitness-obsessed, Drag Race devotee, billiards aficionado, pay-it-forward practitioner.”

Hometown: San Diego, California

Fun Fact About Yourself: I played 10 hours of pool every weekend in high school and won a scholarship from the Billiard Education Foundation (BEF) as a freshman in college.

Undergraduate School and Major: University of California, Berkeley, Haas School of Business, Business Administration

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Senior Analyst, Cloud GTM Strategy & Operations at Salesforce

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: My time in management consulting exposed me to a multitude of industries and project types (and even client personalities). By far, the most impactful project was the one in which human lives were at stake. My team was tasked with launching a pilot program for a global life sciences company. We worked closely with a sample of oncology clinics from around the U.S. to implement procedural changes that ultimately 1) improved the time it took from cancer diagnosis to treatment and 2) reduced access barriers (e.g. finances and transportation).

What quality best describes the MBA classmates you’ve met so far and why? Supportive. I had heard others use this adjective when I was applying. Since then, I’ve seen and felt the supportive nature of the Ross community first-hand. Incoming students will post questions and concerns in our Slack group and regardless of the topic – be it professional, academic, housing, or just logistics-related – at least one person will respond with an answer or resource without fail.

Aside from your classmates, what was the key factor that led you to choose this program for your full-time MBA and why was it so important to you? Michigan Ross puts a huge emphasis on action-based learning. The opportunity to start, advise, lead, and invest in real-world business and the Multidisciplinary Action Projects (MAP) program were significant distinguishing factors for me. While lectures have their place, I am not purely a passive learner. I learn best by doing. I knew the experiential nature of the Ross curriculum would be most conducive to my learning and so the decision was an easy one.

What club or activity are you looking most forward to in business school? Out for Business (OFB). From the moment I started researching schools to deciding on where to attend, OFB was unwaveringly supportive. I knew Ross was the perfect fit for me before Welcome Weekend (Go Blue Rendezvous!), but I especially felt that I had found my tribe during the OFB happy hour reception. Having been involved with several LGBTQ organizations before (and co-founding one of them), I can’t wait to officially join this club.

What was the most challenging question you were asked during the admissions process? One question I wasn’t necessarily expecting in an interview was, “Tell me about your typical day.” Benign as it may appear, this was a tough one for me because every day varied. I also wasn’t quite sure what the interviewer was hoping to learn from this question. Instead of diving into specifics, my approach was to provide a high-level overview of each activity and my thought process behind prioritizing each.

What led you to pursue an MBA at this point in your career? Personal and professional growth has always been a top priority for me. After 3.5 years in consulting and just over 2 years in the technology space, I knew an MBA would help me accomplish several things. First, it would help to frame and enhance the experiences I’ve had in my career to-date and prepare me for more senior leadership roles post-MBA. Second, an MBA would help me shift from Strategy & Operations to Product Marketing. It’s not the most drastic of pivots and still within tech, but I knew an advanced degree would accelerate the transition. Third, I had developed a very strong network after living in the Bay Area for 10 years. I recognized, however, that an MBA would help to diversify and expand my network.

What other MBA programs did you apply to? Kellogg, Haas, Wharton, Columbia

How did you determine your fit at various schools? In exploring different programs, I always asked myself the same set of questions. Was the campus culture collaborative? Did it have a close-knit community? Did it offer a competitive tech and marketing curriculum and associated student groups? How active was the LGBTQ community? And maybe not the most important, but something I still wanted: Was it located outside of San Francisco? To evaluate these criteria, I found speaking with current students and alumni to be the most effective. I always came prepared with questions, but I frequently gleaned additional insights and personal anecdotes that only a live conversation could bring about.

What was your defining moment and how did it shape who you are? I was painfully shy growing up –constantly self-conscious and not inclined to contribute in large group settings. A lot of this stemmed from feeling and knowing that I was different in some way. Having to conceal a core part of my identity was not healthy. In an effort to put myself out there and embrace who I was, I joined a fraternity as a freshman in college. Not just any fraternity though – a gay fraternity. Pictures from Rush Week made it to Facebook and my parents were able to infer it was a gay fraternity and that, chances were, I too was gay! This prompted not just my coming out conversation, but also a gradual shift away from my shyness. Although traces of that shy kid still return from time to time, coming out enabled me to live fully and show up wholly.

Where do you see yourself in ten years? Professionally, I see myself working in San Francisco as a (Product) Marketing executive at a fast-growing technology company. Personally, I see myself married and in the process of starting a family. As an only child, I must have at least two kids!

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