Meet The MBA Class of 2022: John Foye, Stanford GSB

John Foye

Stanford Graduate School of Business

“Husband and son curious about climate solutions and social impact. With a flyover state identity.”

Hometown: Salt Lake City, Utah

Fun Fact About Yourself: I enjoy going to arbitrary high places; have now been to 43 state highpoints. Since moving here I have reached 7 California county highpoints.

Undergraduate School and Major: University of Pennsylvania; BS Engineering (Materials Science & Engineering) and BS Economics (concentration: Entrepreneurship & Innovation)

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Fenix International; Managing Director, Zambia

Aside from your classmates, what was the key part of Stanford GSB’s MBA programming that led you to choose this business school and why was it so important to you? There were two things. First, it was the emphasis on providing opportunities – both formally as part of the curriculum and informally as a core part of the culture – to dedicate time and effort towards attempting to start a company. Second, I was impressed with the Emmett Interdisciplinary Program in Environment and Resources, a dual degree program with the School of Earth, Energy and Environmental Sciences. I’ve always identified as a scientist and engineer, so I was unbelievably excited to come back to school; I’m focusing on land use and agriculture.

What has been the most surprising thing that you’ve learned about Stanford GSB so far? Not sure how accurate this stat is so might be worth fact checking, but I have heard from classmates that 10% of students pursue starting their own thing after graduation. That’s awesome!

What quality best describes your MBA classmates you’ve met so far and why? It’s possibly cliché, but “passionate.” Everyone you speak to has a space or sector (sometimes multiple!) that truly makes them excited to get out of bed in the morning. It makes for a fascinating environment where you can learn from the peers around you.

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: I led the expansion of Fenix International into our first new market, Zambia. Built the team that brought clean, reliable, and affordable solar energy to ~150,000 formerly off-grid households in less than two years. Additionally, as a team, we were  able to reach profitability within 8 months to demonstrate the viability of our business model ahead of our eventual acquisition.

Describe your biggest accomplishment as an MBA student so far? I led a team as part of Stanford Climate Ventures to refine a company concept related to increasing small landowner income by stacking revenue across agroforestry, carbon, and ecosystem services. We conducted over 100 interviews in 10 weeks with a team of 5. Who knows if it will go anywhere (though we will continue working on it through the summer), but regardless it was a wonderful learning experience.

What other MBA programs did you apply to? UC Berkeley (Haas)

What has been the biggest epiphany you’ve gained about yourself or the world since you started your MBA program? My time at Fenix, my previous company, made me realize that I’m most excited to get out of bed in the morning when working at the intersection of climate solutions and social impact. Since being at the GSB, my biggest takeaway is that agriculture just might be the optimal space within this intersection.

What advice would you give to a prospective applicant looking to join the Stanford GSB Class of 2023? Remember that when people give you ‘advice,’ it often (though not always!) largely involves them explaining what they did. I wish everyone the best of luck in finding the ideal next step for them.