Meet The MBA Class of 2022: Zachary Hands, Fordham University (Gabelli)

Zachary Hands

Fordham University, Gabelli School of Business

Army Veteran looking to make global positive impacts through the corporate world.”

Hometown: Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Fun Fact About Yourself: Sometimes I wear a hat.

Undergraduate School and Major: Ferris State University, Business Administration

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Omnicom, I received a fellowship they give to Special Operations veterans where I rotated through three advertising agencies in various roles.

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? It wasn’t the programming as much as it was the reputation. When I first moved to NYC, I started attending a lot of networking events, many of them veteran-focused. Business school was a part of my near future plans so I was always eager to hear other people’s experiences. Fordham has a very strong reputation amongst veteran professionals in the city and that got me interested in the school. As I looked more into it, I liked the Jesuit part of it. My admittedly limited understanding is that the Jesuit mission is to educate students with a focus on instilling them with good values. These educated individuals will then enter the world in hopefully influential places and use their skills and values to make the world a better place. As someone who served in the military with the hope of doing my part to make our country and planet a better place this really resonated with me.

What has surprised you the most about the Gabelli MBA program? I think the adaptability of the school and its faculty. I am in the “hybrid” cohort, which blends on campus and online learning. COVID has created a constantly changing atmosphere in the city and the school has been able to rapidly adapt to keep students safe while also trying to stay open as much as possible.

What quality best describes your MBA classmates you’ve met so far and why? Diversity. My MBA classmates come from all over the world and with a wide variety of professional experiences.

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: In the military I got a chance to try out for and was selected to be a part of what’s called a Special Missions Unit, which falls under Joint Special Operations Command. While there I played a small role where I really put everything that I had into the defeat ISIS campaign.

Describe your biggest accomplishment as an MBA student so far? I think my biggest accomplishment is just not feeling lost. I took calculus in high school and didn’t need to take any math courses for my undergrad. I’m now 37 and haven’t had a math class in maybe 20 years making any math-based coursework a little daunting for me. So far all of my professors have been very responsive to any questions I’ve had and it hasn’t been as bad as I feared.

What led you to pursue an MBA at this point in your career? I was working in advertising and wanted to pivot into the pharmaceutical or healthcare space. Getting my MBA at Gabelli is proving to be a good move in that regard as I will be interning with Janssen Pharmaceuticals this summer.

What was your defining moment and how did it prepare you for business school? While serving in Iraq I ran part of a task force consisting of teams from different government organizations and from different countries, often with conflicting goals and agendas. This experience made me confident in my abilities to lead complex organizations. From there I knew that I needed more civilian credentials, like this MBA, to place myself in a similar position in the corporate world.

DON’T MISS: Meet Fordham Gabelli’s MBA Class of 2022


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