Meet the MBA Class of 2022: Jonathan Withrow, Indiana University (Kelley)

Jonathan Withrow

Indiana University, Kelley School of Business

“Internet humor enthusiast and unabashed 2000s pop-punk lover that never skips leg day.”

Hometown: Bloomfield Hills, Michigan

Fun Fact About Yourself:  I was part of the Guinness World Record for world’s biggest group Soulja Boy dance in the parking lot of a local radio station. 2007 was quite a year.

Undergraduate School and Major: University of South Carolina – Finance and Economics Double Major

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Associate at Bank of America Securities.

In the second half of the year, you will be completing an Academy devoted to areas like Marketing, Finance, Operations, Digital Enterprises and more. Which Academy interests you the most and why? I plan to complete the Capital Markets Academy in my first year and the Entrepreneurial Innovation Academy in my second year. I hope to go into venture capital or private equity and eventually raise a search fund, so the investment planning skills learned in those academies will be invaluable.

Aside from your 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? I was originally drawn to Kelley because of the highly regarded entrepreneurship program and the “Academy” structure made me decide because I wanted some additional depth to complement my major coursework.

What club or activity excites you most at this school?  At Kelley, I hope to join the Innovators Club to network with other students who have similar goals. Ideally, I would love to meet a future business partner or just make friends and connections.

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: When I first started at Bank of America, I was on a small team put together to make business changes in response to regulatory action. I acted in a project management capacity, bringing together people from different parts of the organization to solve problems. It was very challenging to corral all of the various stakeholders and get everybody working in the same direction. I learned a lot about project management, teamwork across distances and organizations, and also gained some working knowledge of various other parts of the business. We closed the issue on time and I used the knowledge I learned to transition into another trading regulation position.

What led you to pursue an MBA at this point in your career? I came to a point in my career where I could go down one of two roads. I could stay in trading regulation where I would become more and more specialized. Otherwise, I could go back to school for an MBA and take advantage of the opportunity to learn more about the business world and explore different opportunities.

What other MBA programs did you apply to?  Ross, Fuqua, and Kenan-Flagler

What was the most challenging question you were asked during the admissions process? The hardest question I was asked was about what organizations I was interested in joining. There were so many that appealed to me, but I felt simply mentioning one or two would give the impression that I wasn’t invested in getting involved, but listing any more would give the impression that I’m the type of person who was prone to spreading myself too thin.

How did you determine your fit at various schools? When I was looking at schools, I wanted to make sure that the school would help me push forward my career, help me accomplish my goals, and be the kind of place where I would want to spend two years. Beyond the standard program and job placement research, I spoke with a number of professionals involved with hiring MBA students to know which schools would open doors for me previously closed off. Much of my school culture research process involved speaking with current students and alumni, and also my visit for my interview.

What was your defining moment and how did it prepare you for business school?  While serving as vice president for conduct of the Inter-Fraternity Council during my senior year at the University of South Carolina, I made the unpopular, but necessary, decision to shut down all fraternity recruitment until Greek organizations addressed the escalating numbers of arrests and hospitalizations. In retaliation, a group of fraternity presidents – many that I had known for years and considered my friends – called for an impeachment trial with the goal to remove me from office and resume their recruitment activities. Doing the right thing wasn’t easy, but I learned that leadership is about making the right call with a longer view, an insight that I know will help guide me down the road as I hope to start my own firm.

What is your favorite company and what could business students learn from them?  My favorite company is Shinola, the Detroit-based watchmaker. What the team has done is rapidly create an authentically cool, mid-tier brand from a startup within just a few years. They also have their supply chain by hiring all of the watch makers in the United States and paying them a great wage. It’s a textbook case of great marketing and ethical business practices that business students should learn from.


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