Meet The MBA Class Of 2023: Christopher Meyer, University Of Michigan (Ross)

Christopher Meyer

University of Michigan, Ross School of Business

“Passionate about fighting injustice, lifelong learning and finding beauty in the world.”

Hometown: New Canaan, CT

Fun Fact About Yourself: I’ve invented over ten new recipes for veggie burgers, three of which were actually good enough that friends/family asked me to make them again! My personal favorite is made from black beans and tofu with lots of spices and oats to hold it all together.

Undergraduate School and Major: Dartmouth College, History and Classical Studies double major

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Wealth Insight Partners, Director of Investment Strategy & Financial Planning

What word best describes the Michigan Ross students and alumni you’ve met so far and why? Connectors. Ross students and alums are not only willing to give their time and share their experiences, they actively listen when I describe my background, offer tailored advice based on my interests, and (most importantly) connect me with other students and alums to continue my conversations.

I’ve had roughly two dozen networking calls since being admitted to Ross; 75% of these connections came from students I had previously had calls with. I’ve loved having these conversations: I’ve been able to further refine my career interests, grow my network in a way that feels organic and see first-hand what makes the Ross community so powerful!

Aside from your classmates, what was the key part of Michigan Ross’s MBA programming that led you to choose this business school and why was it so important to you? As I was preparing to submit my MBA applications, my partner was working on her own apps for programs in sustainability. Since we were committed to attending the same school, Michigan stood out as one of the few universities with top-ranked business and sustainability programs. We were ecstatic when I received my offer from Ross and my partner was admitted to the Erb Institute (Michigan’s dual degree program between Ross and the School for Environment and Sustainability). As I learned more about Erb, both from my partner and other Erbers, I realized that I wanted to join this unique community myself. I’m excited to apply to Erb this winter as a mid-year applicant and hopefully work with and learn from students and alums who share my interest in business and sustainability.

What course, club, or activity excites you the most at Michigan Ross? Ross has the most student-run investment funds of any MBA program, including the oldest student-led impact investing fund, the Social Venture Fund, of any business school. I’m hoping to pursue a career in ClimateTech VC and the funds offer an invaluable opportunity to gain experience working at a fund and to network with established VCs. In particular, I’m excited for Ross’ newest fund, Michigan Climate Venture, which brings together students, professors and other resources across the broader University of Michigan community to fund cleantech companies and limit the effects of climate change. I think the ability to draw from the other U-M resources will be hugely impactful in helping me break into VC and could only happen at a place like Ross!

When you think of Michigan Ross, what is the first word that comes to mind? Why? Impact. As someone interested in a career in sustainability, I am keenly aware of the failures of businesses and their allies in government that have led us to this point in the climate crisis. Despite this history, I firmly believe that business must have a seat at the table as we work to end our reliance on fossil fuels and make our societies more resilient to the effects of climate change.

The first thing you see on the Ross website is a distillation of the school’s mission statement: “Business is the most powerful force on the planet for positive change.” I love that Ross prominently displays their commitment to impact and how well this commitment lines up with my own personal goals in getting an MBA. In talking with incoming and current students, alums, and professors, I’ve seen first-hand how this emphasis on impact runs throughout the Ross community and gives a shared sense of purpose regardless of background or career interest.

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: As director of investment strategy at my previous firm, I constructed and managed the model portfolios we used for our clients’ investments. One of the largest projects I undertook was a months-long review of various ESG-focused funds. I presented my research to our investment committee and recommended we incorporate two ESG funds into our portfolios. My recommendations were approved and I oversaw the movement of tens of millions of dollars into the ESG funds I had selected.

I am most proud of the overwhelming positive response from our clients. Clients were impressed with our willingness to incorporate our values into our investment thesis and appreciated our continual vigilance over their investments. Ultimately, the move to ESG proved prescient — the managers we added to our portfolios were able to outperform their conventional benchmarks in the sudden COVID-19 market crash and whipsaw recovery of 2020.

How did COVID-19 change your perspective on your career and your life in general? I think COVID-19 demonstrated the best and worst of our economic system, from the fastest production and distribution of vaccines in human history to how many employees labeled as “essential” were more often treated as if they were disposable. More broadly, COVID showed how quickly our lives can be upended and how we must all be able to pivot and change direction.

As I consider my career, this reinforces my belief in the importance of a strong moral code and finding a career that is in line with these principles. In times of great uncertainty, when we need to make a pivot, I know these principles will form the bedrock that guide my choices.  The things that make up the more “personal” aspects of my life — my friends, family and faith I look towards for guidance and inspiration — give me the strength and support to stay true to my beliefs and find a career where I can work to build a more just world.

What led you to pursue an MBA at this point and what do you hope to do after graduation? I joined the Sunrise Movement, a national climate justice organization, in 2018 about the same time as when I started my job at Wealth Insight Partners. I loved the passion and energy I felt at Sunrise meetings as we pushed for government responses to climate change. At work, I enjoyed the intellectual challenge of constructing portfolios and analyzing different investments. I wanted to find a career that would allow me to continue to use my quantitative finance skills in a role focused on impact; I decided that an MBA would offer me a chance to pivot into impact investing. I plan to recruit for ClimateTech VC. I’m excited to meet with different companies that share my passion for sustainability and help them grow to maximize their impact!

What other MBA programs did you apply to? HBS, Yale SOM, Tuck, Sloan

What advice would you give to help potential applicants gain admission into Michigan Ross’s MBA program? Know yourself! Have a strong understanding of who you are, where you’ve come from, and why an MBA is essential to your future. It can be tempting to try to shoehorn yourself or your story to fit in with a business school’s mission statement or the type of student you think an adcom is looking for. Ultimately, if the story you tell in your application doesn’t sound true to you, it is unlikely that it will sound true to admissions.

I was able to find things that were unique about Ross — the depth and breadth of their student-led funds, the school’s commitment to impact — and connect them with my own interest in working to tackle the climate crisis. In my essays and interviews, I drew on these facts to argue that Ross was the best MBA program to allow me to achieve my goals and the admissions team agreed!


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