2020 MBAs To Watch: Alex Beutel, Ohio State (Fisher)

Alex Beutel

The Ohio State University, Fisher College of Business

Was in urban education, will be a business leader, constantly learning in between.”

Hometown: Strongsville, Ohio

Fun fact about yourself: When I was in fourth grade, my family moved into the house next door to the one we were currently living in. We didn’t even need a moving van, we just carried everything over.

Undergraduate School and Degree: Miami University, B.S. in Finance

Where was the last place you worked before enrolling in business school? I worked for a network of charter schools called RePublic as the Director of Data and Director of Math. I wrote math curriculum and coached math teachers on classroom instruction along with establishing best practices for data collection and analysis to inform our teachers how to best serve their students.

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

Where will you be working after graduation? Following graduation, I’ll be returning to Deloitte Consulting in their Supply Chain & Network Operations practice.

Community work and leadership roles in business school:

  • Co-Founder, Global Business Association
  • Vice President of Talent Development, Fisher Consulting & Strategy Club
  • Deloitte National Supply Chain Challenge Case Competition – 1st Place
  • Illinois Geis National MBA Strategy Case Competition – 1st Place + Best Q+A
  • Teaching Assistant, Professional Business Communication Skills
  • Graduate Assistant, Fisher College of Business (In this role, I helped organize and put on two case competitions for all the first-year students at Fisher and will do the same in April for the Big 10 Case Competition)

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? Before starting my summer internship, I went to Brazil with four of my classmates to work on a four-week consulting project. Our client was an alternative energy company called Cerradinho Bioenergia and we were tasked with improving the efficiency of their sugarcane harvesting process. After a terrifying orientation learning about all the things that could kill us out in the fields (snakes, frogs, spiders, etc.) and walking through the entire process, we got to work using what we learned in our Operations and Supply Chain classes.

At the end of the project, we presented recommendations to their CEO on using data to change the way they were doing maintenance on their machines and implementing a priority-based inventory system. When we weren’t working, we spent time exploring the town we stayed in, eating great food and going out with our coworkers. Overall, it took me more outside of my comfort zone than any project I’ve ever worked on before and definitely changed me as a person. I had been abroad as a tourist before but had never actually worked in another country. It was a very humbling experience to juggle learning a new language and a new industry while building relationships with new people. I will now have a new respect for anyone I meet doing the same thing.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? My proudest achievement came during my time as an educator. I got my start with Teach For America in St. Louis teaching middle school math before moving to Chicago and making the switch to high school. In addition to classroom instruction, all teachers were assigned a group of freshmen students to mentor until the end of their senior year. We met every single day for four years and grew together into a family. We had late nights together finishing college applications, early mornings running together to make the varsity soccer team, and mock interviews for part-time jobs in between classes. They all became outstanding young men and watching the fourteen of them walk across the stage at their high school graduation was by far the proudest moment of my career.

Who was your favorite MBA professor? My favorite MBA professor was Jay Dial. He taught our core Strategy class along with a business simulation elective called Intopia. Both classes were very student-driven, and he acted more as a facilitator than a lecturer. To me, this shows the confidence he has in our intellectual ability by giving us the autonomy to learn and contribute to class in a variety of ways. Professor Dial had incredibly high expectations for us. In both classes, he presented a challenge, some guidelines, and clear goals. Then he let us try to meet and even go beyond those expectations. This is the type of manager I’d like to be one day, so seeing it modeled in class had a huge impact on me.

What was your favorite MBA event or tradition at your business school? My favorite tradition was taking the aforementioned business simulation class, Intopia. It’s a semester-long course that allows you to run a company (ours was called Steve’s Jobs) in the fictional world of Intopia in direct competition with other teams of second-year and working professional MBAs. Although the syllabus has the official end time of the class at 9:30 PM on Tuesday night, most companies were there well past midnight negotiating with other companies, adjusting their long-term strategy in response to a fake hurricane, or analyzing the income statements of their competitors. It’s listed as an applied strategy course, but it really incorporates everything we learned in the MBA program. Between hedging currencies, managing your product’s supply chain, and everything in between, it is the closest many of us have gotten to running a business without actually doing so (and with none of the real-world consequences). Because of how immersive this class was, it made those of us that took it much closer – even though we were competing for the same theoretical dollars. Ask any Fisher alum what their favorite course was, and they’ll pause for a moment, smile, and probably say Intopia before launching into a five-minute story about their company.

Why did you choose this business school? Fisher is a small program within a giant university, which to me was the best of both worlds. We the personalized attention that a smaller school would have, along with all of the resources of a large state school. I wanted to feel confident that I’d be able to build relationships with faculty members and everyone else in my program. At the same time, I knew that having a vast alumni network on the other side would allow me to make connections no matter which industry I ended up in.

What is your best advice to an applicant hoping to get into your school’s MBA program? Be you. Fisher looks for and celebrates candidates with unique backgrounds, so don’t be afraid to tell stories about your entrepreneurial successes (or failures) or time spent working for an NGO or nonprofit. I was amazed when I learned about all of the different careers my classmates had before coming to Fisher, and I’m grateful that I got to learn alongside them. No matter which industry or job function we were discussing, someone had been there and could bring insights that go beyond the classroom.

What is the biggest myth about your school? That Ohio State is all that’s going on in Columbus. Sure, football on Saturdays are a big deal, but it’s also the 14th-biggest city in the country. The heart of Columbus isn’t downtown like a lot of other cities but is spread throughout its neighborhoods. It may take some work to find everything you’re looking for, but you won’t be disappointed once you do. Being in Columbus as an OSU student means you have access to all of the cool (and free) university events, and also the cool (but less free) things going on in the city.

Looking back over your MBA experience, what is the one thing you’d do differently and why? I wish I would have taken some classes outside of Fisher. I was very focused on building up my knowledge and skills in the business world but probably won’t have access to classes in politics or urban design or sports management at this level again during my career. By the time I realized this, the classes I wanted to take conflicted with my schedule.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? This is hard because I admire everyone in my class for what they contribute, but none more than Chris Scott. Simply put, Chris just gets things done. I’ve been at events, meetings, or just in conversations with him that required some sort of follow-up. He always does it immediately and at a level higher than anyone would expect. Despite how busy this might make him, Chris is incredibly generous with his time. He has helped dozens of both graduate and undergraduate students secure jobs and internships through interview preparation and resume reviews – and would drop everything to help a classmate in need. In fact, he’d probably help me revise the answer to this question if I asked him. Our class wouldn’t be the same without him in it.

Who most influenced your decision to pursue business in college?

My parents. My mom was a registered dietician before putting that career on hold to raise my siblings and me. She then got her MBA while also working full-time and showed me that reinventing yourself through higher education was possible. From her, I have the confidence to pursue any career path that I want going forward. My dad has been in a number of different industries throughout his career. No matter where he was working, he prioritized treating people well and building strong relationships both internally and externally. He always goes the extra mile to make customers and co-workers happy, but it goes beyond just business for him. He lives by the philosophy that “it doesn’t cost anything to be nice”, and I plan on doing the same in my career.

What are the two items on your professional bucket list?

  1. Become the GM for a professional sports team
  2. Help those that work with me reach their full potential

In one sentence, how would you like your peers to remember you? I’d like to be remembered as someone who gave their full effort, had fun doing so, and was kind to others along the way.

Hobbies? Attempting to cook, debating pointless topics, debating topics with a point, board games, exercising, watching Cleveland sports, reading, and playing chess.

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

“Alex has consistently performed at the highest levels in the classroom, in extracurricular activities, and in his professional pursuits. He is known by faculty and fellow students to be inquisitive and professional, with a thoughtful communication style that is no doubt aided by his background in teaching. Though his contributions to Fisher are numerous, his particular efforts in assisting with case competitions have contributed greatly to the success of our internal and external case competition teams and events. I am sure that Alex has a brilliant career ahead of him, and I hope he one day considers teaching business.”

Roger Bailey
FTMBA Co-director



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