2022 MBA To Watch: Joe Crawford, University of Minnesota (Carlson)

Joe Crawford

University of Minnesota, Carlson School of Management

“Driven leader committed to positively impacting people and organizations. It’s never too late for coffee.”

Hometown: Indianapolis, IN

Fun fact about yourself: The Minnesota State Fair is a huge thing in the summer and I was happy to get the chance to experience it for the first time this past year. I went all-in with some of the staples—mostly Pronto Pups, Sweet Martha’s cookies, and the World’s Best French Fires—but know that I have to go back to make sure I try all the Minnesotan classics.

Undergraduate School and Degree: United States Naval Academy, Bachelor’s of Science in Quantitative Economics

Where was the last place you worked before enrolling in business school?  Company Commander in the United States Marine Corps at Camp Pendleton, CA

Where did you intern during the summer of 2021? Deloitte – Minneapolis, MN

Where will you be working after graduation? Deloitte – Senior Consultant

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School: President of the Carlson MBA Veterans Club, 2Y Board Member for the Carlson Consulting Club, Student Graduate Assistant for the Carlson Consulting Enterprise.

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? One of the things I am most proud of during business school has been the relationship that my class has developed with the Class of 2023. I think the pandemic limited a lot of the interaction that happened this past year when I was a 1Y with the 2Y class. However, this year, I think the class at large has been very involved in helping the Class of 2023 prepare for class, for interviews, and for summer internships. It has been very gratifying to begin “paying it forward” by passing along all the best practices and lessons we picked up over the past year.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? Prior to coming to Carlson, I was a Marine Corps Infantry Officer. It is extremely difficult to narrow down one event or time that I am most proud of, but I would definitely say the relationships I developed with those I served with. Whether it was training state-side or overseas, the bonds forged in the military are unbreakable. Even though many of us went our separate ways, whenever I get a chance to talk to one of them, we pick up without missing a beat.

Why did you choose this business school? I knew the Carlson School was the right choice for me due to the strong tight-knit community the school has, which I believe sets it apart. The class size at the Carlson School is much smaller than many other business schools in the country, which has afforded me the opportunity to really get to know the whole class. Coming from the military, the school is the No. 1 military-friendly business school, which was crucial to making a seamless transition into the business world. Lastly, the Carlson School has such a strong reputation in the Twin Cities, which I knew would be essential to making the next jump into work after graduation.

Who was your favorite MBA professor? My favorite MBA professor has been Siddharth Chandramouli, who is the managing director for the Carlson Consulting Enterprise. I have had the opportunity to work with him for three semesters now, and I can honestly say the experiences and lessons I’ve gained from this time not only set me up for success during my internship but also have prepared me to excel after graduation. I am struck by his commitment and dedication to the well-being and development of all students. He truly cares about each individual and goes above and beyond to set them up for success. There have been so many professional takeaways from the past year about how to conduct oneself on a consulting engagement and how to effectively solve a client’s problem. But I also appreciate the chance to work for him as a graduate assistant where I have also gained many life lessons that extend beyond the workplace.

What was your favorite MBA event or tradition at your business school? One experience that we did this year that was very memorable was the Veterans Day Celebration. We were fortunate to do this in person, which for many was the first in-person large-scale event they had attended since the pandemic began. This was a great evening where we got to bring together current veteran students, veteran alumni of the Carlson School, benefactors who graciously support us, faculty and staff from the school, and more. I was also really happy to see that non-veterans from the class attended as well, which was a chance to share some pictures and memories of some of the things we did while in the military. We had an alumnus speak on some of his lessons going from the military to the board room and what he learned along the way. Overall, I was very happy to have had the chance to plan and host this event because it was so meaningful for so many different people. This event really reflects what I believe about the Carlson School: that the school brings together people from so many different backgrounds and fosters the environment for all to benefit.

Looking back over your MBA experience, what is the one thing you’d do differently and why? Jump in earlier. Coming from the military, I was not used to reaching out to people at different firms to network and learn more about their roles. This was something I was admittedly terrible at in the beginning and honed over time. I think it took me a while to get comfortable leveraging the Carlson School’s alumni and veterans at the different firms to learn about all the different opportunities that were out there. There is so much more latitude and freedom to find a job that truly resonates with you in the business world—you just have to go out and make the most of that opportunity.

What is the biggest myth about your school? One of the first things that people think about in Minnesota is the cold and snow. And while it does get cold in the winter, there are still so many things to do outside in the winter that make it a great time of year. While the winters are cold, the summers are so incredibly beautiful. It is a great place to be.

What surprised you the most about business school? I think the balance between the things learned in the classroom and the networking that happens outside of class was the most surprising to me. I knew I needed the business education to complement the leadership experiences I got from the military. While that has been a critical element of my experience, it is also all of the networking events that have been fundamental to this time. I’ve been introduced to so many people and learned about the different roles and opportunities that exist, which has been an equally important part of my education.

What is one thing you did during the application process that gave you an edge at the school you chose? I am not sure if this really helped me, but I truly went all-in on the Carlson School. It was the only school I wanted to attend and so I only applied here. I was sure to communicate that to the admissions team, both during the formal interview as part of the application process and other informal means. I tried to share my passion for the values that the school embodies and how they resonate with who I am.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? Mallory Madden—I first had the chance to work with her as part of the Consulting Enterprise last spring where she played an integral role on our team. I was impressed by her ability to make a genuine connection both with members of the team and with the client, as well as the problem-solving skills she used to tackle the project. All while being an essential team member, she also expertly balanced working and also raising a family.

I feel so fortunate to have gotten the chance to stay in touch after the project ended, and I greatly value her advice and guidance whenever I am facing a problem that I am unsure of how to solve. Mallory has the unique ability to step back from a problem, consider all sides, and make the best choice. She is definitely a classmate I hope to remain in contact with post-graduation because I know I am better for having known her and am excited to see what she accomplishes post MBA.

Who most influenced your decision to pursue business in college? My dad, Bill Crawford, was instrumental in my decision to pursue business in college.  I remember as an undergrad at the Naval Academy, he strongly recommended that I choose something business-related (I went with Quantitative Economics) because of the foundational skills I would learn and the applicability to everyday life. That support has continued to the present day, as he was extremely influential in my decision to attend the Carlson School after transitioning out of the Marine Corps. I am so thankful for all that he has done for me over the years and the example he set for me growing up.

What are the top two items on your professional bucket list? I definitely don’t have anything too concrete in terms of a professional bucket list at this point. Coming from the military, a strong sense of purpose is something that I strive to have in the things that I do.  With that in mind, two items on my professional bucket list would be to be in a position where I can positively impact and mentor others in the firm and to be active (whether within the firm or outside it) in helping veterans make the transition from military service to a career in business.

How has the pandemic changed your view of a career? I’d definitely say the pandemic has opened my eyes to the flexibility that is possible in the world today.  Coming to school with the goal of moving into the business world after graduation, I had an idea of what to expect going to work every day in an office. The past two years have really highlighted the different opportunities there are to make a work environment more tailored to the individual. While I believe in-person work is still fundamental to the creative problem-solving process, there is still a lot that can be accomplished remotely. I think this flexibility is something that I will continue to seek as I progress in my career.

What made Joe such an invaluable addition to the Class of 2022?

“Joe was a highly respected team lead for two projects: growth opportunities for an industrial company and growth strategy for a non-profit organization that provides outdoor opportunities for veterans to help them transition back to civilian life (featured in Carlson Veterans Day media release).

Joe has opted to return to Carlson Consulting Enterprise (CCE) for a third semester to serve as a principal. In this role, he actively mentors the new CCE cohort on CCE hard and soft skills.

I appreciate Joe for many traits. In particular, his calm, compelling client demeanor, easily builds credibility, trust, and rapport. He is a natural leader with a low-key style and a dry sense of humor. He commands respect from everyone in CCE and is well-liked by everyone in his MBA class. He is an outstanding CCE GA and has really elevated /redefined the position in terms of the value he’s brought. It has been a pleasure having Joe in CCE and being his teacher and mentor. I can safely say CCE is better for his participation.”

Siddharth Chandramouli
Managing Director for the Carlson Consulting Enterprise


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