2022 Best & Brightest MBA: John Scurto, University of Florida (Warrington)

John Scurto

University of Florida, Warrington College of Business

“A determined servant leader on a mission to positively impact the world through business.”

Hometown: Boca Raton, FL

Fun fact about yourself: I am a sneakerhead and currently own 20 pairs of shoes. I became obsessed with sneakers when I was eight years old and have been an avid collector ever since. My favorite brands are Nike and Jordan, and my favorite pair I own is the Air Jordan 11 Retro Bred.

Undergraduate School and Degree: Florida Atlantic University, Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA), Major in Management (2019)

Where was the last place you worked before enrolling in business school? Florida Atlantic University – Social Media Marketing & Analytics Intern, New Student Transitions and Family Engagement Office

Where did you intern during the summer of 2021? Advanced Sterilization Products (a Fortive Operating Company) – Intern, Commercial Education (Remote)

Where will you be working after graduation? (Tektronix (a Fortive Operating Company) – Intern, Human Resources (Remote)

Upon the conclusion of my summer internship with Tektronix, I will be returning to the University of Florida to further my education by obtaining a graduate certificate in Disabilities in Society. As someone with a physical disability, my career mission is to make the business world more inclusive for others with disabilities.

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School:

Vice President of Diversity & Inclusion, UF MBA Association

  • I lead a team of seven outstanding diversity and inclusion club presidents and chairs responsible for planning D&I events to ensure that students learn about allyship and are part of an inclusive community in each club. My team and I also initiated and delivered the first-ever UF MBA Diversity & Inclusion Conference to help our classmates learn more about interacting with diverse employees and being inclusive business leaders.

Founder & President, Gator MBAbility Club, UF MBA Association

  • At the start of the MBA program, I founded the Gator MBAbility Club to connect and support UF MBA students with different ability levels and educate the UF MBA community on disability awareness and how to serve as an ally for individuals with disabilities. The Gator MBAbility Club was the first club created to represent people with disabilities amongst the Diversity & Inclusion student groups within the MBA Association. As a power wheelchair user who can only move a few fingers, I felt obligated to bring this club to life to be a part of the solution of creating an inclusive world. After designing and building the club from the ground up, my phenomenal VP, Megan Towzey, and I hosted eight fun and engaging events in the club’s inaugural year, which was one of the most active clubs within the MBA Association. Events ranged from workshops to guest speakers to book and movie discussions. This experience allowed me to embrace my identity to spread awareness and empower my classmates to recognize a community often overlooked in society.

Graduate Career And Peer Mentor, Business Career Services

  • I had the honor of serving as a mentor to 50 specialized business master’s students, supporting them through the process of acquiring an internship or full-time role. I assisted my students with resume writing, interview preparation, networking opportunities, and overall job-seeking strategies.

UF MBA Ambassador

  • As an ambassador, I share my love and passion for UF MBA with prospective students and answer questions about the program.

Communications Lead, 2021 UF MBA Diversity Weekend

  • I served on the planning committee for the 2021 UF MBA Diversity Weekend as the Communications Lead. I was responsible for all external event communication and sending welcome emails to 40 registrants. Diversity Weekend is an annual three-day event that showcases the UF MBA program to underrepresented groups.

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? I am most proud of creating the UF MBA Diversity & Inclusion Conference as Vice President of Diversity & Inclusion. The idea for this conference came while recruiting for a summer internship. I noticed that a large majority of companies value D&I as an essential component of corporate strategy. Given that the topic of D&I is not spoken about enough in the classroom, I recognized the need for an event to help our MBA program learn more about allyship and the importance of D&I in the workplace as we become inclusive business leaders managing diverse employees.

My team and I built this conference from the ground up, managing the event marketing and registration, room reservations, food ordering, merchandise ordering, decorations, schedule creation, event content creation, sourcing speakers, and collecting and evaluating post-survey feedback. In addition to our commitments to academics, recruiting for jobs, and other responsibilities, each one of us went above and beyond to deliver this event to the student body. As a result, 50% of the program attended, and we received an event satisfaction score of 92%. Considering that this was the conference’s inaugural year, we were blown away by the overwhelmingly positive feedback.

This achievement will always be the biggest highlight of my MBA experience because I had the opportunity to collaborate with an incredible team to bring this vision to life. I will always be eternally grateful for my Diversity & Inclusion team: Cassidy Stepanek, Daniel Mbeyah, Flor Dadone, JJ Wartski, John Morris, Kelsey Pace, & Mei Wu Fung.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? The achievement I am most proud of in my professional career, thus far, is becoming the Board Chair of Laughing At My Nightmare, an organization that holds a very special place in my heart. Laughing At My Nightmare is a nonprofit organization that provides free assistive technology and medical equipment to people living with muscular dystrophy. This role allows me to use my experience of living with muscular dystrophy to give back and serve the community. One of my primary responsibilities is reviewing dozens of applications semi-annually, which results in determining who receives funding. Since I have joined the Board of Directors three years ago, we have fulfilled over $300K in equipment grants which drastically enhanced the lives of so many individuals. On top of supplying equipment, during 2020 and 2021, we provided $100 gift cards to 1,600 families of people living with any disability as part of our COVID-19 Resource Relief program to help alleviate the burden of the quarantines and social distancing practices. As we have accomplished so much during my first three years with the organization, I am excited to serve as the Board Chair as of January 2022.

Why did you choose this business school? Choosing the University of Florida MBA program was by far the best and easiest decision I ever made. When researching the UF MBA program, I was blown away by the support offered to students by Business Career Services. I knew that this program would set me up for success after seeing the stellar job placement rates and list of top companies hiring graduates. In addition, having a dedicated MBA career coach to guide me along the job recruitment process was a service that impressed me. The UF MBA career services support is rated best in the world by several prestigious sources, which caught my eye and put UF on the top of my list. As a current student, I can confirm that the hype is accurate, and Business Career Services is 1000% worthy of its outstanding rankings, making UF MBA a world-class program.

Who was your favorite MBA professor? The UF MBA professors are some of the most intelligent people I have ever interacted with. Each and every professor enabled me to become a well-educated MBA student equipped with the knowledge needed to tackle the challenges I will face in the corporate world and become an impactful business professional. My favorite MBA professor was Dr. Paul Madsen, who taught my Financial Accounting course during my first semester. Dr. Madsen creatively took a less-exciting subject like accounting and made it one of the most memorable courses by having us play Monopoly in class to learn accounting principles. Prior to the start of the program, this was a course I was not looking forward to. Fast forward, this was one of my favorite courses where I was able to learn a ton all while playing my favorite game, Monopoly.

What was your favorite MBA event or tradition at your business school? The UF MBA Diversity & Inclusion Conference was my favorite MBA event. With over half the program attending this event, I enjoyed the experience of learning more about diversity and inclusion with my classmates. We had the opportunity to participate in breakout sessions from the D&I clubs: Black Business Student Association, Gator MBAbility Club, Hispanic Business Student Association, Out@Warrington, Veterans Association, and Women in Business Association. Each of the club presidents gave us valuable insight into supporting and uplifting individuals who are part of their underrepresented groups. Not only did we learn from student leaders, but we also had the privilege of hearing directly from D&I professionals currently working at very well-known companies. Finally, the day concluded with a happy hour that allowed us to connect with each other and discuss our main takeaways from the conference. Events like the UF MBA Diversity & Inclusion Conference demonstrate the program’s full commitment to creating an inclusive program that celebrates and values the diversity of its students.

Looking back over your MBA experience, what is the one thing you’d do differently and why? As I reflect on my MBA experience, I don’t have any regrets, and everything played out exactly as I hoped. While I had an extremely diversified experience with involvement in a variety of areas, I wish I had some available time to compete in an external case competition. The UF MBA program takes great pride in competing in these competitions, and contributing to a victory in a case competition would have been an extraordinary experience. I have a ton of admiration for my classmates who represent our program in a remarkable fashion. Unfortunately, saying yes to one commitment means saying no to another, and I am quite pleased with all the commitments that I said yes to.

What surprised you the most about business school? My undergraduate business experience felt uncollaborative, where I was competing against my classmates to achieve the highest grades. Thankfully, the environment of the UF MBA program is the exact opposite. In the program, we truly care about each other’s success and often seek opportunities for collaboration to help lift each other. While I always knew the importance of being a team player, I quickly saw first-hand the value of collaboration in the MBA program. Everyone has unique strengths, skills, and perspectives that can contribute to accomplishing goals efficiently and effectively. I learned to seek counsel and support to help manage my weaknesses while contributing any time I see an opportunity for me to make an impact. The UF MBA program is a true embodiment of the phrase “together everyone achieves more.”

What is one thing you did during the application process that gave you an edge at the school you chose?

Very early on in the application process, I began to establish a strong relationship with the UF MBA admissions team. I reached out to the admissions office a year-and-a-half before being ready to submit an application. Over the course of that time, I would email them periodically to get my questions answered and show my extreme interest in being a part of the program. It definitely didn’t hurt to be proactive and connect with the admission team from the moment I became interested in the program. I was certain that they would receive hundreds of applications, so I wanted to ensure that they did not forget my name once it was time to review my application.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? The UF MBA program is filled with the very best people who are all so intelligent, ambitious, and kind. There is an endless list of classmates I admire and who have inspired me throughout the program. The classmate I admire the most is Jazz Naglee. I had the privilege of working with Jazz extensively for a handful of class projects and on the MBA Association Board. I can confidently say that she is one of the best leaders I’ve ever encountered. Jazz keeps everyone on a path towards success in a way that inspires and empowers everyone around her to perform at their best. On top of her outstanding leadership skills, she is extremely hard-working, organized, empathetic, and thoughtful. She positively impacted the program through an array of leadership roles, such as Vice President of Professional Development, Cohort Representative, and GatorFit Club President. Despite an overly committed schedule, she still manages to find the time to support her classmates by attending the majority of events in the MBA Association. There is no question that Jazz will accomplish any goal she desires, and I wouldn’t be surprised at all if she is a C-Level Executive at some point in her career.

Who most influenced your decision to pursue business in college? I knew since middle school that I wanted to pursue an MBA. I grew up around many family members who were all in business, which influenced my decision to pursue a career in business because I admired how they brought satisfaction to people through the offering of goods and services. However, my father is the person who inspired me the most to pursue an MBA. Since 1986, my father has had a successful career in corporate America, working in office administration and property management. Every year, when he would bring my sister and me to work with him for Bring Your Child to Work Day, so many of my father’s coworkers would rave about my father’s work ethic and care for the office. My father always goes above and beyond, delivering flawless work, which has gained the utmost respect of everyone he works with. I knew that getting an MBA would be a catalyst that provides me with the essential tools needed to have a successful career in the corporate world, just like my father.

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

  1. Spearhead or lead an existing Office of Accessibility for a Fortune 500 Company
  2. Create a consulting firm specializing in Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Accessibility

How has the pandemic changed your view of a career? During the pandemic, I have spent countless hours reflecting on life and what I envision for my career. As I’ve had to sacrifice doing some of my favorite activities to keep myself safe from the virus, I’ve realized that the only thing we have that we can’t get back is time. This realization is deeply embedded into my career goals, as I ultimately want to spend my time doing fulfilling work that allows me to make strong contributions to the betterment of society. I’m looking to have an extraordinary career where I can look back 40 years from now and feel satisfied with how I dedicated my time to positively impact the world.

What made John such an invaluable addition to the Class of 2022? John Scurto (UF MBA ’22) is a talented and motivated second-year MBA student who currently serves as the Vice President for Diversity & Inclusion (D&I) for the UF MBA Association (MBAA). Upon joining UF MBA, John founded the Gator MBAbility Club, the first club in UF MBA history to focus on disability allyship and awareness. This role gave John a chance to shine as a leader of one of the most active and highly rated MBA student organizations. In his current role as VP, John oversees six diversity clubs (including Gator MBAbility) and one chair position within D&I, providing guidance and leadership to his peers.

In the fall of 2021, John led his team in designing, planning, and executing the inaugural UF MBA Diversity and Inclusion conference. This student-led conference highlighted the wide range of diversity and inclusion clubs at UF MBA while gaining the participation of several corporate partners as well. His efforts have strengthened the identity of Diversity clubs by working with the college marketing team to create consistent logos for each of the clubs. This was no small undertaking and he managed to pull it off while balancing his academic course work, completing a summer internship, and fulfilling the other duties of his VP role.

John is also an advocate for his peers and serves as a Graduate Career Mentor for 50 specialized master’s business students. In this role, he holds individual, one on one sessions to provide feedback on mock interviews, resumes, elevator pitches, and recruitment strategies. Feedback from John’s mentees has been unequivocally positive, and his supervisor has spoken incredibly highly of his passionate support for students. Additionally, John serves as an admissions ambassador for the UF MBA program, dedicating his time to help recruit, attract and retain future UF MBAs. He has been an active participant in several recruiting events as well as events geared towards admitted students. He shares his perspective and experience within a range of topics such as academic preparedness, student involvement and more.

During his internship and full-time recruitment process, John has demonstrated a level of discipline and effort which is well above average, even among an extremely dedicated program of students. This tenacity paid off for John, catching the attention of a competitive internship program at a firm called Advanced Sterilization Products. He outperformed expectations, proactively created a testimonial program within the firm that was launched immediately upon completion and received a company-wide shout out to him personally. When you realize that these career-related feats were achieved alongside earning outstanding academic achievement, John’s efforts are particularly well appreciated.

Upon graduation, John will join Tektronix as a Human Resources Intern while pursuing a Graduate Certificate in Disabilities in Society through the University of Florida’s College of Education.

Janin Menendez
Director of Student Affairs-Engagement
UF MBA Programs

Carly Escue
Director of Graduate Business Career Services
Warrington College of Business


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