Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management, Cornell SC Johnson College of Business, Cornell University
“Intellectually curious civic entrepreneur passionate about building a healthy democracy and just economy.”
Hometown: Boxford, MA
Fun fact about yourself: I have performed in over twenty musical theater productions from middle school through college (including Grease twice).
Undergraduate School and Degree: Boston University, Bachelor of Arts & Master of Arts in Political Science
Where was the last place you worked before enrolling in business school? I completed a term of service with AmeriCorps Cape Cod, a national residential service program focusing on themes of natural resource management, disaster preparedness, environmental education, and volunteer engagement.
Where did you intern during the summer of 2019? RepresentUs, Northampton, MA
Where will you be working after graduation? Implementation Manager, Buoy Health
Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School: Roy H. Park Leadership Fellow; President, Johnson Allies for Women; Executive Producer, Present Value Podcast; Member, Johnson Diversity Council; Member, Johnson Women in Business Symposium Committee; Volunteer, Cornell Berea College Service Trip.
Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? The opportunity to host brilliant and engaging Cornell faculty members to discuss their latest work on the Present Value Podcast has been an enormously fulfilling experience. The task of researching the thought leadership of a guest, crafting the narrative flow of the episode, and building a rapport with the faculty member has been a perfect synthesis of academic and extracurricular—each interview is a crash course in a brand-new topic. Managing the podcast and expanding its audience with my fellow executive producers has been a digital media startup experience I never expected to get when I arrived at Johnson.
What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? I am most proud of the time I spent at Iora Health—a high-growth, mission-driven primary care delivery startup. I had the pleasure of managing operations for a team of 50+ care team members in Chicago who provided phenomenal care to countless patients. Our goal was to restore humanity to healthcare, and we certainly did.
Who was your favorite MBA professor? Risa Mish, Professor of Practice, Management and Organizations. While Johnson is known for supportive faculty, no one has been more encouraging of my public interest aspirations than Professor Mish. I feel particularly fortunate to have taken her popular Critical & Strategic Thinking core course, the only such required course at any top business school. It was a treat to serve as a teaching assistant for that same course during my second year. Professor Mish’s instruction has not only made me a better business person but also, more importantly, has made me a better thinker.
What was your favorite MBA event or tradition at your business school? My favorite MBA event was co-moderating a panel on the topic of gender pay equity alongside my classmate Priyasha Chaturvedi. The panel was well attended by the Johnson community and featured Professor Michelle Duguid, entrepreneur, and former finance executive Susan Fleming, and Dean Kevin Hallock of the SC Johnson College of Business. Bringing the community together to understand the root causes of a critical issue affecting fairness and equity in the workplace was a memorable occasion made possible by Johnson’s Office of Diversity & Inclusion.
Why did you choose this business school? I chose Johnson because I wanted to develop lasting relationships alongside my personal and professional development. I also wanted the freedom to explore outside of the MBA curriculum, which I’ve had the opportunity to do in Cornell’s law, public policy, and agriculture schools. Finally, I wanted to replicate the collaborative culture I had found in my early career and have a traditional campus experience after spending my undergraduate years in an urban environment.
What is your best advice to an applicant hoping to get into your school’s MBA program? Make sure to do your due diligence into the details of the Johnson curriculum, extracurricular opportunities, and professional strengths. But don’t stop there. One of Johnson’s greatest competitive advantages is its close integration with the wider Cornell University. Understanding what resources across Cornell may complement your professional development goals within Johnson is an essential, though perhaps under-investigated, topic for prospective students to explore in advance of submitting your application.
What is the biggest myth about your school? The biggest myth I encountered was that Cornell is located in “sleepy” upstate New York. Ithaca is a dynamic, intellectually, and artistically-driven community with concentrated levels of creativity and thought leadership that would be difficult to find anywhere else in the world. Cornell sits at the center of that ecosystem and you never have to look far to find it.
Looking back over your MBA experience, what is the one thing you’d do differently and why? During the MBA, you are essentially given carte blanche to connect with industry professionals who are almost always willing to speak with a student. This is a finite opportunity, and I wish I had used it earlier and more frequently to reach out to professional contacts to connect and learn a little bit about their world. All you have to do is ask!
Which MBA classmate do you most admire? The classmate I most admire and have learned the most from is Stephanie Jordan. I have never met someone that is more intellectually ambitious, more selfless in helping others achieve their goals, or more passionate about harnessing the power of business for good. She is emblematic of all that is the best of the Johnson community.
Who most influenced your decision to pursue business in college? A close mentor in my early career, Dr. Bruce Doblin, was instrumental in my decision to study business. Bruce taught me to think critically about the way different systems and processes are designed in the U.S. healthcare system, and most importantly to question whether those systems are structured effectively to serve the people who need them. Markets are also systems; the desire to understand under what conditions they best serve their constituents led me to business school.
What are the top two items on your professional bucket list? Work on a presidential campaign and teach a high school civics class.
In one sentence, how would you like your peers to remember you? I hope that my classmates remember me as a friend who encouraged them to find ways to be ambitious about social impact, to consider entering public service, and to not be afraid to take the road less traveled in their professional journey.
Hobbies? Theater, writing, tennis, historical non-fiction, Boston sports teams.
What made Jack such an invaluable member of the Class of 2020?
“Jack possesses the kind of intellectual curiosity and passion for learning that makes for a truly fulfilling teaching experience. He has deep convictions and clarity about what he values but is also open to hearing other points of view, and eager and willing to debate fairly the merits of issues. He is earnest, yes, but he also has a wit that can sneak up on you when you least expect it. I thoroughly enjoyed having Jack in class, and have enjoyed even more the privilege of learning what a principled leader and committed citizen he is.”
Professor of the Practice of Management