“I can solve any problem with some markers and a white board.”
Hometown: Bloomington-Normal, Illinois
Fun Fact About Yourself: After joining the Army, the lowest I’ve ever weighed is 125lbs, and the most is 185lbs.
Undergraduate School and Major: Michigan State University, Criminal Justice
Most Recent Employer and Job Title: US Army Special Forces Officer
Aside from your classmates and location, 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? McCombs Ambassador Committee (MAC), which is a student volunteer organization that assists the MBA admissions team in recruiting and advising prospective students. MAC is a large reason why I joined the McCombs community. After talking to several schools, I quickly understood how McCombs stood apart from the others. Student culture at McCombs is very important, and the administration values student input on prospective candidates, understanding each applicant is more than what is on paper.
What club or activity excites you most at this school? Global Connections Study Tours. This program allows McCombs students to gain perspective and learn by connecting to new ideas and business practices around the world. I have always enjoyed traveling the world and I’m looking forward to the opportunity to learn more about the global business community.
Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: In 2018, I led a contingent of Soldiers, Airmen, Sailors, and Marines that spearheaded clearance efforts in Northeast Syria against ISIS. This is an instance where I just so happened to be in the right place at the right time, and I am incredibly fortunate to have served with many amazing individuals during this time period.
What led you to pursue an MBA at this point in your career? My mom passed away a year ago, and my family started The Lori Fund which is a non-profit organization that supports the Special Operations Community and their families when they go through hardships. I want to lead this organization in the future, and an MBA will prepare me to succeed in the long-term, both with the Lori Fund and within the business community.
What other MBA programs did you apply to? Northwestern Kellogg School of Management
What was the most challenging question you were asked during the admissions process? The Resume. Translating my experiences in a select number of words without detailed explanation was very difficult.
How did you determine your fit at various schools? I determined fit by visiting each campus and speaking to individuals within the program. It impacted my decision dramatically, as McCombs was a sure fit for me personally and professionally. The student culture is incredible and being surrounded by so many people from different backgrounds cultivates a broader outlook and helps build a better global perspective.
What have you been doing to prepare yourself for business school? I was working full-time up until the start of business school, but I continued with some recommended readings (Naked Statistics/Freakonomics) and tried to improve my Excel skills prior to arriving.
What was your defining moment and how did it prepare you for business school? Earning the Green Beret in 2016, which was a goal of mine since 2006 when I enlisted in the Michigan Army National Guard during college. After finishing the Special Forces Qualification Course, I learned a lot about myself as a person and leader, which helped me grow into who I am today. Of all the training I’ve received, I believe resiliency has been the most important. Nothing will ever be perfect, but how fast and the internal process with which you recover from setbacks will set you apart from others and lead to success if it is efficient and effective.
What is your favorite company and what could business students learn from them? SpaceX. If you listen to Elon Musk or any of the current engineers and astronauts (who were previously working for NASA) talk about the mindset of the company, it is fascinating. The priority in innovation while keeping an incredibly fast pace with the acceptance of failure is an incredible culture to create. The leaders within SpaceX understand that failure is part of the process and the company learns from each instance, which is something more leaders should appreciate.