2020 MBAs To Watch: Kevin Carrier, University of Michigan (Ross)

Kevin Carrier

University of Michigan, Ross School of Business

Enthusiastic explorer and learner, solid person and friend.”

Hometown: Rockford, MI

Fun fact about yourself: Studying at Ross is the first time since high school that I’ve lived at the same address for two years in a row.

Undergraduate School and Degree: University of Notre Dame; BA in History and Political Science

Where was the last place you worked before enrolling in business school? Basware, Project Manager

Where did you intern during the summer of 2019? Deloitte, Chicago

Where will you be working after graduation? Deloitte, Senior Consultant

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School: President- Armed Forces Association; Executive Board- Follies at Ross; Section Wellness Chair; Michigan Business Student Association- Section Representative; MBA Games Chair

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? With recruiting in full swing and Michigan winter hitting record lows, January of our MBA1 year was a challenging time for the student body. One of the roles I had in the Army was our Company’s Master Resiliency Trainer, which was developed to help soldiers deal with the challenges of deployment/family separation and build the skills necessary to address those challenges. I adapted that course for MBA students and ran a class for my section to give them another useful set of tools to deal with their current stressors. The Program Office heard what I was doing within the section, recognized the value, and we expanded the training and ran it for the rest of the MBA1 class. I appreciated the opportunity to take something that I had done in the Army and adapt it to a new setting and try to provide value to my classmates going through a challenging time.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? I was an Infantry Officer in the Army; however, due to the battalion’s needs, my commander assigned me to lead a logistics platoon for a deployment. It was a mission set I had not trained for and I was initially against the idea. I liked leading an Infantry Platoon and did not want to shift to a non-combat role. My commander sat me down and explained the importance of the role and, politely, reiterated I didn’t have a choice. I threw myself into that role and recognized the importance of the position and was able to institute a cultural shift in that platoon, where by the end of my command, it went from being one of the lower-performing units to one of the best in the battalion. This taught me the importance of putting everything into each opportunity, even if it’s not something you would necessarily want and the impact that a shift in leadership can have on a whole organization.

Who was your favorite MBA professor? My accounting professor, Greg Miller. Coming into business school, accounting did not seem particularly exciting. Out of all the core business competencies, it was the one I was least interested in studying. Greg showed me how important accounting was in a business setting. He did an incredible job through class discussions and case studies to bring the subject matter to life and show how it impacted the business beyond numbers on a balance sheet. He expanded on these ideas in my second-year elective on investor relations, further demonstrating the impact accounting has on the business both internally and how it is represented to the outside world.

What was your favorite MBA event or tradition at your business school? The Armed Forces Association hosts an event each year called VetX, where veterans of the Armed Forces speak about their experiences to the rest of the student body and show the common themes between the different worlds. There was enormous support from the faculty and fellow MBA students and a genuine eagerness to learn about and understand the Military experience I was not expecting. I think this, along with the numerous other speaking and sharing events at Ross, shows the diverse community at the school and the willingness for individuals to open up and an eagerness for everyone to learn from each other.

Why did you choose this business school? One of the biggest things I missed after leaving the Army was the sense of camaraderie and connection to a team. I chose Ross because of the incredible sense of community and genuine love that students had for the school when I came to interview and alumni when I reached out to them. Beyond the sense of community was the prevalence of other career switchers at Ross and the resources available to individuals looking to make a move. Coming from a non-business background, I knew I would need support to make my professional goals a reality and recognized those resources would be available at Michigan. In Ross, I saw the opportunity to prepare for a new career while connecting with a community that I wanted to spend not just the next two years, but the rest of my life.

What is your best advice to an applicant hoping to get into your school’s MBA program?  Reach out to current students and alumni to get their perspective on Ross. If at all possible, visit the campus (preferably on a football weekend!) to get a real sense for what the community is all about. Beyond the basics like test scores and your resume; being able to describe why you want to go to business school and particularly the “Why Ross?” is vital. Until you get into the weeds and learn more about a program’s personality, it can seem like many of the schools are basically the same. Connecting with the community and understanding what this place is all about and the opportunities that are available is a great way to learn more about a program and determine where you would fit in best.

What is the biggest myth about your school? The biggest myth about Ross is that the sense of community and zealous enthusiasm that current students and alumni have for the school and each other. If anything, this is undersold or it was hard for me to understand before I finally got here. With the alumni community, everyone was always there and enthusiastic to help –

whether it was traveling abroad and hearing strangers yell “Go Blue” whenever they saw me wearing clothing with a block M on it or having cold emails responded to solely because I signed them with “Go Blue.” Within the school, the MBA2s in my first year was an invaluable resource, always ready and willing to help use their experience to answer questions or find someone they knew who could. How much everyone was there for me has pushed me to do the same and I think that collective pay-it-forward mentality is the key to what makes the Ross community so strong.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? Naja Edwards was both our section president and the president for the MBA Council. Throughout everything we did, Naja always came across as incredibly professional and constantly put the section and class’s interest first and pushed to make things better for the student body. Beyond that, she was very intentional in navigating the challenge of switching careers in business school, ultimately moving from engineering to management consulting. Beyond professional pursuits and the classroom, everywhere from the gym to school events I feel like Naja was always there and just making things better not just for herself but for the entire Ross community.

Who most influenced your decision to pursue business in college? In undergrad, I was a history and political science double major and originally had no intention of pursuing an education in business. My ex was probably the most influential person in my decision to pursue a business education. She completed business school while I was still in the military and was instrumental in my decision to pursue a full-time MBA. Immediately after the Army. I felt lost while working in tech roles in the private sector and was searching for something that would present me with the same challenges and sense of fulfillment I had in the military. She pushed me to consider going back for a full-time program where I would have the resources and opportunities to really explore future career options and the support to make that change. I saw the benefit that she found in her program in terms of a professional support network and education and that was crucial in me looking in to and ultimately pursuing my business degree.

What are the top two items on your professional bucket list?

Work and live abroad again.

Guest lecture or teach a course at Ross.

In one sentence, how would you like your peers to remember you?

Whatever it was, Kevin was enthusiastically there for it.

Hobbies? Hot yoga, strength training, brew cider, studying for the sommelier exam

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

“I taught Kevin Carrier in a core course during his first year in the MBA and in an elective course during his second year. They are two very different classes, but Kevin excelled in both. Not only did he own the material for himself, but he also made the course better for everyone else through his insights and questions. We use a lot of discussion in both classes and Kevin was always a major contributor. He has the ability to provide a unique perspective to questions in a commonsense way – but also to communicate in a very effective and engaging manner. In fact, at the end of my elective class, I allow students to nominate someone “most likely to make an excellent investor relations officer”.  Kevin was nominated and one student said he’s “equal parts serious and entertaining”. That captures one of Kevin’s key strengths: he can communicate complicated, insightful information in a way that keeps people listening closely to everything he says, – and even wanting to keep listening.

However, his abilities go beyond that. During each class session in my elective, students prepare an essay response to a topic in which they have to take a position. I read the essays in advance and highlight the ones that I think will add the most to our discussion. Going back over my notes, Kevin was highlighted in every session. I knew his number would be high – but that is through the roof! It was not just in-class discussion though. Kevin also excelled in every written assessment – whether a core exam or a final group project. He clearly has strong analytical skills combined with excellent communication skills, allowing him to excel in all aspects. I look forward to seeing where all of these great attributes take Kevin in the future.”

Greg Miller
Ernst and Young Professor of Accounting; Chair of Accounting; Clyne Crawford Teaching Fellow
Ross School of Business


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