Meet Georgia Tech Scheller’s MBA Class Of 2021

Kenneth Hettler 

Georgia Institute of Technology’s Scheller College of Business

“I’m a former army aviator transitioning into the business world.”

Hometown:  Holmdel, NJ

Fun Facts About Yourself:  I have my FAA commercial rotary-wing certificate and used to fly helicopters in the Army

  • I’m the youngest of three children.
  • I’m an Eagle Scout and survival training during flight school was actually fun for me.
  • I shot shotguns competitively for four years at West Point.
  • I am a UH-60M Blackhawk pilot and Army Aviator.
  • I am the commander for the 101st Airborne Division’s only Air Traffic Control company.
  • I made Bruce Springsteen a veggie wrap once.
  • I decided to attend West Point after my uncle was lost on 9/11 in the World Trade Center.
  • I almost enlisted in the infantry straight out of high school.
  • I love to take things apart and learn why they work.
  • I build my own computers.
  • I have the unique experience of being gay and joining the military while “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” was still policy.
  • I was once hospitalized for 43 days and I don’t take my health for granted anymore.
  • I love stand-up comedy.
  • I love food and I love to travel so I try to combine the two whenever possible.

Undergraduate School and Major: U.S. Military Academy at West Point, B.S. Information Technology

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: United States Army and Company Commander

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: Deploying my company and providing air traffic services in Afghanistan where we were recognized as the #1 ATC unit in the U.S. Army

What quality best describes the MBA classmates you’ve met so far and why? My classmates are extremely amiable and inclusive. A lot of veterans struggle with finding their sense of purpose and fitting into their new social dynamics; I don’t feel I’ll have an issue with this at all!

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? Scheller’s career services team is unique in that they have a relatively small cohort of students to work with. As a veteran who recently left the service, I felt that I needed a program that would be customized to help translate my military experiences to the corporate world.

What club or activity are you looking most forward to in business school?  I’m actually looking forward to academics the most and I can’t wait to start taking electives for my concentrations. I completed my undergraduate education in 2011 and it’s refreshing to have intellectual stimulation again.

What was the most challenging question you were asked during the admissions process?  The question that immediately comes to my mind is when I was asked how I recently supported diversity. In the army, diversity is an inherent characteristic of the organization and exposure to different cultures and ideals occurs on a daily basis (even more so when you deploy).

What led you to pursue an MBA at this point in your career?  I chose to pursue an MBA in order to establish a baseline knowledge of business management and transition into financial services.

What other MBA programs did you apply to?  Georgetown, NYU, UNC

What made you select Scheller? My in-person interview was the deciding factor, for sure. Scheller felt like home because everyone was so welcoming and passionate about the program.

How did you determine your fit at various schools? Given my transition timeline and the timing of my deployment, I had to narrow my focus very quickly. As an IT undergrad, I really valued the importance of technology and I knew that an institution at the intersection of business and technology would be a perfect fit. I initially heard about Georgia Tech for its engineering programs but got really interested when I learned about Tech Square and the exciting business developments in Atlanta over the past few years. As I’ve learned during orientation, this is an amazing time in the school’s history as the program at Scheller continues to grow and make new relationships across industries.

What was your defining moment and how did it shape who you are?  My defining moment was the day I told my battalion commander that I wanted to transition out of the Army. I knew that I didn’t want to have to reinvent myself after 20 years in uniform and that the timing was right for me. It helped shape who I am today by finally forcing me to look inward about who I am and what I value as an individual going forward; so much of my identity was shaped by my time in uniform.

Where do you see yourself in ten years? I would love to be working in investment banking, private equity, or venture capital while living in New York City.

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