Meet the MBA Class of 2022: Abraham Rusch, Michigan State (Broad)

Abraham Rusch

Michigan State University, Broad College of Business

Classical music savant who learned competition by trying to beat his three brothers at everything.”

Hometown: Davisburg, Michigan

Fun Fact About Yourself: When I was younger, I was an aspiring classical concert performer and recitalist. As an undergrad, I traveled the U.S. giving concerts and recitals. My favorite concert hall memories: Carnegie Hall in New York, Severance Hall in Cleveland, and the University Chapel in Princeton.

Undergraduate School and Major:
St. Olaf College – Bachelor of Music in Church Music
University of Notre Dame – Master of Theological Studies in Liturgy

Most Recent Employer and Job Title:
St. Jude Catholic Church – Director of Music and Liturgy

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? Compared to other schools that I considered, the community at Broad seemed to be genuinely interested in each student’s well-being. While the students and faculty are laser-focused on success, we measure success as promoting the common good in addition to maximizing economic value. As someone coming from a service-oriented background in theology, these things were very important to me.

Another hallmark of the Broad MBA that attracted me was the world-renowned Supply Chain Management program. This infuses our entire academic program with a confident “can-do” spirit. Given the incredible complexity of the supply chain problems we face, faculty members across the disciplines love to give us complicated business cases to tackle with our teams. This is a great opportunity to build relationships. Because I know the importance of these team skills and how Broad develops them, it was an easy choice to come to MSU.

What has surprised you the most about the Broad MBA program? I’ve been incredibly impressed with the quality of recruiting opportunities and the strong relationships that Broad has with top firms. Given the challenges of this fall’s no-travel recruiting environment, I was amazed at how many companies came to campus virtually. With all the disruption that has occurred in business and supply chain, firms are realizing that they need top talent; Broad is the place to find it.

What quality best describes your MBA classmates you’ve met so far and why? My classmates are hard-working and have a “let’s get it done” attitude. We’ve made the best of all the challenges associated with the coronavirus. Virtual project meetings sometimes turn into social time where we chat about internship recruiting, previous travel experiences, and college sports (Go Green!). However, we focus when it is time to focus and aren’t afraid to put in the extra hours to get work done.

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: My wife and I work together on a non-profit that helps teenage mothers in Uganda through counseling and business training. I use my finance training to do some of the behind-the-scenes work that makes the fundraising possible. I have to say the most rewarding moment of my career so far was helping break ground on a new dormitory in Masaka. This will be a place for the most vulnerable to find shelter, learn a trade, and acquire business skills. It is really an honor to be a part of something that is doing so much good.

Describe your biggest accomplishment as an MBA student so far? My MBA team and I consulted for a large automaker this past fall. This was a fantastic experience where the firm was very receptive to our ideas. We hope to see a few of them implemented in the coming months.

What led you to pursue an MBA at this point in your career? After running my music services start-up for a few months, I realized that I loved business. I saw it as a powerful tool that can be used for good or ill. I wanted to be a better businessperson. As someone who loves new challenges, the MBA made sense as the next logical step in unlocking my potential.

What was your defining moment and how did it prepare you for business school? When COVID struck, I was running my start-up, heading up the music and liturgy department at St. Jude, and finishing up my first master’s degree from Notre Dame. At St. Jude, some of the staff wanted to throw in the towel and suspend all operations until the crisis passed. I made the case that we had to make the pivot to online services and do it quickly to survive. I won a $5K grant on behalf of the church and implemented a program to keep our services online, teaching myself video editing and streaming in a matter of days. I did most of this from quarantine in my house since my wife and I had just returned from doing work with our nonprofit in Uganda. In the first three months of COVID, we garnered over 8K views for St. Jude’s services.

This experience gave me a lot of confidence in my ability to adapt quickly to different circumstances. Even in the most challenging situations, a healthy sense of self coupled with flexibility will help you and your team thrive. Attending business school during this time hasn’t been easy. However, a good dose of self-assurance and adaptability has helped pull me and my team through.


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