Meet the MBA Class of 2022: Peter James Kiernan, Harvard Business School

Peter James Kiernan

Harvard Business School

“New Yorker.”

Hometown: Babylon, New York

Fun Fact About Yourself: I was the youngest Marine Raider in the history of the Marine Special Operations Command (MARSOC).

Undergraduate School and Major: Columbia University, Political Science

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Office of Governor Andrew Cuomo, NYS COVID-19 Task Force, Deputy Director for Response Operations

What makes the case method so attractive as a means to learn and become a better manager? I think the case method offers an opportunity to benefit from the variety of experiences and perspectives each student brings to the classroom.

What quality best describes your MBA classmates and why? Leadership. Each of my classmates is a proven leader looking for the tools to enhance their leadership capacities in their respective fields.

Aside from the case method and classmates, what was the key part of the school’s MBA programming that led you to choose this business school, and why was it so important to you? My fiancée is a second-year law student at HLS, so the choice of school was most compelling for personal reasons.

What club or activity excites you most at this school? I truly benefitted from being part of an athletics team and being part of a collective in undergrad. I think I’ll seek out a similar environment in rugby or sailing.

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: My biggest accomplishment has been coordinating and managing the COVID-19 response efforts for New York State. I was responsible for testing, supply distribution, and enforcement operations throughout the height of the pandemic.

What led you to pursue an MBA at this point in your career? Serving at the highest levels of State government, especially during a global crisis, has shown how essential public and private partnerships are. I want to learn the language necessary to effectively communicate between governments and corporations, to continue to build coalitions and take on global challenges.

What other MBA programs did you apply to? None

What was the most challenging question you were asked during the admissions process? Coming from a public service background, I felt that it was most difficult to translate my experience in business terms.

What was your defining moment and how did it prepare you for business school? My defining moment was enlisting in the United States Marine Corps the day after my 18th birthday. This moment was the first step along what could only consistently be described as a non-traditional path. This path has led me from Afghanistan to New York City, from Ireland to Albany, and now to business school, where I can bring my wide-ranging experiences to bear on an extension of my non-traditional path.

What is your favorite company and what could business students learn from them? My favorite company is Team Rubicon, a non-profit that handles disaster response across the world. Their leadership has grown the company from a scrappy start-up into one of the most impactful humanitarian organizations on the globe.

What is the most important attribute that you are seeking in an MBA employer? The most important attributes I am seeking in an employer are leadership and impact. I want to be part of an organization that uses its position, vision, and mission to influence the world in a positive way.

DON’T MISS: Meet The MBA Class Of 2022: The COVID Cohorts


Questions about this article? Email us or leave a comment below.