Meet the MBA Class of 2022: Ian A. Culver, MIT (Sloan)

Ian A. Culver

MIT, Sloan School of Management

 “An experienced aviator determined to improve aviation technologies and safety systems to prevent accidents.”

Hometown: San Francisco, CA

Fun Fact About Yourself: My happy place is at the controls of any aircraft.

Undergraduate School and Major: United States Coast Guard Academy; Bachelor of Science in Management. Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University; Master of Science in Aerospace Safety Systems.

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: United States Coast Guard – Helicopter Flight Examiner & Flight Training Systems Program Manager.

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? MIT Sloan’s mission and values align perfectly with my goals and aspirations.  So far in my career, I have sought to address complex challenges within the ever-changing US Coast Guard’s Aviation community.  MIT Sloan’s passion for taking on the world’s most challenging problems and its flexible curriculum designed to enable students to learn-by-doing is an excellent fit.

When you think of MIT, what are the first things that come to mind? How have your experiences with the Sloan program thus far reinforced or upended these early impressions? Innovation and a bias for action.  As an admitted student during the COVID-19 public health emergency, I have seen first-hand how MIT Sloan has been able to reinvent themselves into the virtual, hybrid, and in-person/physically distant domains of teaching.  MIT Sloan’s innovative response to this crisis has been nothing short of inspiring.

What quality best describes the MBA classmates you’ve met so far and why? The other “Sloanies” I have met so far are: accomplished and ready. They have already succeeded in the fields they are coming from and are ready to change the world.

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: I have saved the lives of people and animals and destabilized international criminal organizations; however, I am most proud of my efforts in improving US Coast Guard aviation safety through innovative redesigns of systems, procedures, and policies.

What led you to pursue an MBA at this point in your career?  After a dozen years of flying helicopters and building a strong background in aviation safety, I seek to learn the business skills required to effectively introduce and manage lifesaving technologies and systems within the aviation industry.

What other MBA programs did you apply to? University of Washington Foster, Georgetown University and Harvard Business School

What was the most challenging question you were asked during the admissions process? “Can you share an example of when you had to deliver critical feedback to a peer?”

What was the most impact factor in choosing a business school? How did you evaluate fit according to that factor? While choosing a business school, I first looked at the kind of values that were promoted within the school’s culture.  I desired to enter a community of like-minded individuals and enroll in an institution that would make me a better leader, problem-solver, and innovator. MIT Sloan’s culture is one of innovation, collaboration, and taking on the world toughest problems. When I walked onto the MIT Sloan Campus for my interview, I could feel how special Sloan was immediately.  Speaking with the faculty, staff, and current students helped me determine it would make me a better person.

What was your defining moment and how did it prepare you for business school? While stationed in San Francisco, CA as a helicopter pilot, I met with Virgin America Executives regarding a possible improvement to a segment of their aircrew training program. My interactions with the Executives demonstrated the value of an MBA and the impact a small team can have on a global industry.

What is your favorite company and what could business students learn from studying it? I am a huge fan of The Boeing Company. Specifically, how they studied the fatigue levels of their maintenance personnel and took specific action to mitigate the risk of human error due to fatigue, but also to improve the health and well-being of their people.

DON’T MISS: Meet MIT Sloan’s MBA Class Of 2022

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