2020 Best & Brightest MBAs: Pat DeMarle, Boston University (Questrom)

Pat DeMarle

Boston University, Questrom School of Business

Entrepreneur trying to move the economic needle. Lover of small dogs and all things mechanical.”

Hometown: Sudbury, Massachusetts

Fun fact about yourself: I was a springboard diver for many years. The toughest dive I could do was a reverse 1-1/2 somersault with 3-1/2 twists!

Undergraduate School and Degree: Cornell University, B.S. in Materials Science and Engineering

Where was the last place you worked before enrolling in business school? Brooks Automation, where I was Sales, Inventory, and Operations Planning Manager.

Where did you intern during the summer of 2018? I used the summer to launch my startup, Gears Analytics. We are using machine learning to identify supply chain risks and reduce inventory shortages for manufacturing companies.

Where will you be working after graduation? Gears Analytics, Founder and CEO

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School:

  • Dean’s Scholarship
  • President of the Graduate Entrepreneurship and Innovation Club
  • Beta Gamma Sigma
  • VCIC Team Member

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? I’m most proud of the progress the Graduate Entrepreneurship Club has made this year. Our mission is to create a two-way channel between the entrepreneurship ecosystem and graduate students at Boston University. We want to create as many connections as possible. This year, we’ve executed a slate of programs to achieve that goal. Here are some highlights:

  • We launched the BU Catalyst program, where we connect professors and PhDs to MBA students. The MBAs receive I-Corps training on customer discovery and then go perform interviews with potential customers to validate the market for technology innovations generated by the professors and PhDs.
  • We went on a trek to Greentown Labs, the largest clean technology incubator in the United States, and we look forward to visiting again for their career fair in a few weeks.
  • We run “startup consulting office hours” where entrepreneurs from across the university can get help from experienced MBAs. The entrepreneur tells us what they need help with, and then we track down MBAs with relevant experience to come in and provide advice. We have helped entrepreneurs create digital marketing strategies, build financial models, and practice their pitch presentations.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? I worked at a United Technologies factory that made engineered fire protection systems. These systems used a variety of chemical agents to protect spaces where traditional sprinkler systems could not be installed, like art museums and data centers.

My biggest project was a total redesign of the factory’s “high-pressure inert gas” production line. We increased capacity by 20%, implemented new safety features, improved the quality of the product, and created an ergonomic work environment. In the end, we built the most capable production line in the world for the type of product we made. Our customers trusted us to protect their lives and property through our products, so I’m proud of this project’s success because of that mission.

Who was your favorite MBA professor? If I had to choose, it would be Professor “Hutch” Hutchinson, who teaches the teaming class. He has a magnetic personality and the highest EQ of anyone I’ve ever met. When I first came to school, I wasn’t sold on the idea of teaming, but Hutch has turned me into a true believer. I know I’m a better team player and a more thoughtful leader based on the time I’ve spent with Hutch.

Why did you choose this business school? First, I had the opportunity to visit Questrom a few times to meet current students before deciding to attend. I was thoroughly impressed by those conversations, which convinced me I could reach my full potential here.

Second, the university has made a strong commitment to entrepreneurship through the Innovate@BU initiative. They built a brand new entrepreneurship co-working space, the BUild Lab, and support entrepreneurs through programs like the summer accelerator, new venture competition, and innovation pathway.

Third, Boston is a great location to start a business. If you want to be a successful entrepreneur, you’ll need access to mentors, talent, capital, legal expertise, and many other resources. Boston has it all in spades, and Questrom’s location in Kenmore Square means you are minutes away from everything the city has to offer.

What is your best advice to an applicant hoping to get into your school’s MBA program? An MBA is a means to an end, not an end in and of itself. Understand why you want an MBA and what you hope to accomplish with the degree. If you aren’t sure, have a plan to test yourself so you can find out. If you can clearly and honestly articulate why the program aligns with your goals, you’ll do just fine.

What is the biggest myth about your school? I think there is a myth that you should only look at Questrom if you are dead set on getting a job in Boston. While it’s true that Questrom is well connected with employers in the area, I’ve seen my classmates successfully compete for top jobs and internships across the country.

Looking back over your MBA experience, what is the one thing you’d do differently and why? I had a business idea that I thought was pretty good – it was an inventory management system and marketplace for plumbing and electrical supplies. I talked to many classmates and professors, and they thought it was a pretty good idea too. I spent a month or two doing industry research and planning out how I would build it.

Then, I talked to exactly one plumber. In the middle of the interview, it dawned on me that the idea was fundamentally and fatally flawed, in a way I never would have realized on my own. I torpedoed the project the next day.

If you’re interested in entrepreneurship, do customer discovery interviews first. Time is too precious in business school to waste it on bad ideas.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? Kruti Kanojia. Her startup, Healthy Gamer, helps gamers and families deal with video game addiction and improve mental health. She has done a fantastic job not only connecting with gamers but also putting her business in a strategic position as video game addiction gets more attention from healthcare providers. I admire her for both her passion and her business acumen.

Who most influenced your decision to pursue business in college? My father has always been a role model for me. Every time I speak with someone who worked with him, they always tell me how much he cared about his colleagues and employees. They also tell me what a jokester he was! He inspired me to aim for leadership roles from an early age, so business school has been part of the plan for quite a while.

What are the top two items on your professional bucket list? First, I want to take a company public. Second, I hope to create a thousand new jobs. I’ve always aspired to have a career that “moves the needle” in a macroeconomic sense, so my bucket list is pretty long.

In one sentence, how would you like your peers to remember you? I hope they remember me as a thoughtful, informed, and approachable team player who could help them work through any sort of tough situation.

Hobbies? I love to golf in the summer, ski in the winter, and cook delicious meals all year round.

What made Patrick such an invaluable addition to the Class of 2020?

“Pat is the perfect MBA student. He is engaged in every aspect of the MBA student experience – he performs extremely well in courses (3.93 cumulative GPA), attends all admissions events, and participates in community activities, including a leadership role in the Entrepreneurship and Innovation Club and a member of the VCIC case competition team. I got to know Pat when he took my operations elective course. He was an amazing student. I knew that if the discussion in class was stuck, I’d be able to turn to Pat to help us move forward. He understood the challenging material at a very deep level. To give an example, after learning a model in class, he voluntarily went on to write a blog post about it. This blog post is now the third-highest ranked link on the topic on Google search. This is not a small feat, as the model has been around since 1888. After receiving a perfect score in my operations elective course, I’ve asked him to serve as my Teaching Assistant. Despite being busy developing his own operations-related start-up, he agreed. Pat is genuinely excited about everything business related and is an outstanding TA. As with everything, Pat takes this role seriously and goes above-and-beyond the call of duty helping students master the material. Pat cares about learning and he cares about the Questrom community. He is truly one of Questrom’s Best and Brightest!”

Pnina Feldman
Assistant Professor of Operations Management


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