2021 MBAs To Watch: Curt Buckley, Fordham University (Gabelli)

Curt Buckley

Fordham University, Gabelli School of Business

Curious, lighthearted, and driven. I am not that complicated. There that’s less than 15.”

Hometown: Tyler, TX

Fun fact about yourself: I can recognize and hum most of the 130 FBS college fight songs; played too much EA Sports NCAA Football growing up.

Undergraduate School and Degree: The University of Texas at Austin, Public Relations and Advertising

Where was the last place you worked before enrolling in business school? Texas State Senate

Where did you intern during the summer of 2020? Church & Dwight

Where will you be working after graduation? Church & Dwight, Associate Brand Manager

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School: Vice President of Full-Time MBA Program (Student Advisory Council); Junior Board Member (Fordham Graduate Marketing Society); Fundraiser for Mensajeros de la Paz-Argentina; Student Cohort Rep

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? I think the thing I am most proud of is the fundraiser I was fortunate enough to help fellow MBA colleague Tiffany Zhou with. It was at the very beginning of the pandemic in March. The nonprofit our program did consulting work for in the Fall, Mensajeros de la Paz-Argentina, serves vulnerable children and elderly populations, so we knew we had to help somehow. In about a week, we were able to provide more than a thousand KN-95 masks to help the organization by leveraging our networks and putting Fordham’s Jesuit values into practice.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? I like to look for growth, personally and professionally. In those two short years, I did the following: moved to New York City where I knew no one; developed close professional and personal relationships; successfully navigated a career pivot; landed an internship with an excellent company last summer where I will return to work full-time this summer; and was chosen by my peers to lead the full-time program this year. It was incredibly humbling and shows a tremendous amount of growth that makes me proud.

Why did you choose this business school? It was the small class size and tight-knit atmosphere of the student body. Coming from the public sector, it was important for me that I find a welcoming atmosphere where I could lean on some of my more experienced peers who had strong business backgrounds as I found my way. Fordham’s Gabelli School Business did not disappoint. Of course, being located in New York City doesn’t hurt, either.

Who was your favorite MBA professor? Alex Markle. I have had the opportunity to take two classes taught by him. His teaching style is extremely engaging and he fundamentally changed the way I look at business strategy.

What was your favorite MBA event or tradition at your business school? It was our class trip to Argentina before the program officially started. It really set the tone for the kind business leaders we want to be. We went half-a-world away for a week with the people you’ll be working with for the next two years helping an incredible nonprofit, doing numerous site visits at companies like Toyota, and having a little fun along the way like learning the Tango, It was just an extraordinary way to jump into the MBA experience.

Looking back over your MBA experience, what is the one thing you’d do differently and why? There are probably a few, but I would say take more risks. It’s clichéd, but if you are not failing, you are not trying hard enough. Without being too specific, there were some opportunities I passed on probably out of fear I would fail. Now, I will never know. So moving forward, just being aware of that, and not letting fear of failure guide your decisions.

What is the biggest myth about your school? I am not too sure to be honest. I don’t recall any myths about my school, specifically. In terms of the MBA experience, maybe it was the course load and time demands. While it’s certainly demanding and rigorous, I think that’s what you want. This is a time and place in your career where you want to be tested and stretched. Otherwise, what’s the point?

What surprised you the most about business school? This may only apply to me and others who come from outside the private sector, but I was surprised by how normal (whatever that means) and down-to-earth MBA students and professionals are. They truly want to help each other succeed, for the most part, and it inspires you to do the same.

What is one thing you did during the application process that gave you an edge at the school you chose? It certainly was not by design, but coming from government and political communication sort of set me apart from most candidates. That’s huge as business schools and businesses continue to look for ways to increase diversity of thought, experiences, and backgrounds.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? Michelle Glymin. She’s just a rock star – incredibly talented and a joy to be around. Michelle has that Midas touch – whether it be the quality of work or team dynamics and atmosphere – it is all better when she is involved. I cannot wait to see what she does at Barclays and beyond.

How disruptive was it to shift to an online or hybrid environment after COVID hit? Uh, fundamentally? Foundationally? Are those strong enough? In all seriousness, COVID-19 has left nothing unchanged and this shift was no exception.

Who most influenced your decision to pursue business in college? I am going to cheat a little bit and say my family. Rarely is anything accomplished by a single individual, and I would not be here answering these questions were it not for the love and support of each one of my family members and those I consider family. Yes, I know that’s corny. And no, I don’t care.

What are the top two items on your professional bucket list?

  1. Learn from others
  2. Pass on what I learn to others

What made Curt such an invaluable addition to the Class of 2021?

“Highly professional, resourceful, and values-driven are three qualities that epitomize Gabelli School of Business second-year full-time MBA student Curtis Buckley.

Being an innovative and tactful problem solver Curtis leads by example and deeds above mere words. During the first MBA year Curtis served on the Gabelli Graduate Marketing Society’s Junior Board and was elected by his peers as the Gabelli graduate student government’s Vice-President of Full-time Students. Since then, he has played an instrumental role in spearheading school’s student life into a vibrant and innovative endeavor despite the complexity and restrictions imposed on social gatherings by Covid-19.

Gabelli’s graduate student government SAC (Student Advisory Council) oversees more than twenty student affinity clubs and professional organizations. Truly living the school’s mission of “Cura Personalis”, a Latin phrase that translates as “care for the entire person” and suggests individualized attention to the needs of the other, Curtis is a strong advocate for his class and has supported his fellow graduate business students by helping to organize and lead various professional and social events on Zoom.

Not surprising that Curtis’ prior work experience being the youngest communications director in the Texas Senate (during time in role) coupled with his MBA focus on marketing as well as his passion for helping companies strategically maximize performance, efficiency, and long-term viability through consumer-focused approach made him a highly attractive candidate for Church & Dwight’s MBA Brand Management Internship Program. After successfully completing this summer internship, Curtis has accepted an offer of the Associate Brand Manager position from Church & Dwight.

During the second MBA year, Curtis continues to enhance his business acumen while learning innovative and socially responsible approaches to solving complex business problems in such classes as Digital Marketing Analytics, Marketing Strategy, Project Management, Judgement and Decision Making. With an almost perfect (3.935) GPA, Curtis has excelled academically and has been invited to join the prestigious Honor Society Phi Kappa Phi. Curtis also has earned a highly coveted merit-based Dean’s Scholarship from the Gabelli School of Business based on his academic achievement, personal and professional success, and overall strength of his application.

I am certain that Curtis’ ability to quickly achieve a high degree of responsibility by utilizing results-oriented strategies to formalize communications and marketing processes maximizing efficiency and outcomes will help him to excel in his career.”

Ilze Frierson
Assistant Dean and Lead Academic Advisor, MBA Programs
Gabelli School of Business


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