Meet the MBA Class of 2024: Joe Calafiore, Yale SOM

Joe Calafiore

Yale School of Management

“Life is a combination of magic and pasta. – Federico Fellini” – Joe Calafiore

Hometown: West Hartford, Connecticut

Fun Fact About Yourself: I am co-owner of a pro soccer team.

Undergraduate School and Major: Georgetown University, Government

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Co-Founder/Senior Vice President, Marketing & Strategy for Hartford Athletic (Connecticut’s Professional Soccer Team)

The Yale School of Management is regarded as a purpose-driven program. What is your mission? How will your MBA at Yale SOM help you fulfill that mission? “You care about the world,” is the first sentence you read in big and bold letters on Yale SOM’s mission statement landing page. I care about the world and want to learn from and with people who feel the same. The professional soccer club I co-founded, Hartford Athletic, is a mission-driven organization. Our mission is an extension of my own personal mission: make our community the best place to live, work, and play. Naturally, I was strongly drawn to Yale SOM because of the alignment between my personal goals and that of SOM’s purpose-driven program – to educate leaders for business and society. It is my hope that I will similarly make an impact while pursuing my MBA here at SOM by contributing whatever I can to continue to make this special community the best place to live, learn, and play. In the process, I am so excited to grow and learn throughout my time here as I look to continue to deliver on this mission in the communities I am part of going forward both professionally and personally.

Aside from your classmates, what was the key part of Yale SOM’s MBA curriculum or programming that led you to choose this business school and why was it so important to you? I was attracted to the integrated curriculum that pushes you to look at a problem or decision point from multiple perspectives and underscores the importance of breaking down silos. In all my conversations with students, faculty, and alumni, it was clear to me that through this approach, and throughout the program as a whole, Yale SOM trains empathic leaders ready to tackle real world problems.

What course, club, or activity excites you the most at Yale SOM? Is it possible to just pick one? I am most excited about the Global Social Entrepreneurship program at SOM. As someone who is passionate about entrepreneurship, it is such a unique and meaningful opportunity to be able to apply what we’ve learned in collaboration with mission-driven entrepreneurs facing real world challenges.

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: In May of 2018, I took a risk and left a dream job at Major League Baseball to pursue my dream of bringing a professional soccer team to my hometown. My founder journey in launching Hartford Athletic has taken me from developing the business plan and recruiting investors, to building a startup as the first employee, to delivering a team in my home state that is bringing people together and creating special experiences for generations to come. And the best part? I got to build it with my dad. One fan put it best, “Thank you Hartford Athletic for never giving up and giving us an outlet to express our passion for this game and our state. This Club has brought new energy to my city, new friends into my life, and new memories that will never fade away.”

What led you to pursue an MBA at this point and what do you hope to do after graduation? As my grandfather always stressed, education is something that can never be taken away from you. I feel very fortunate to have the opportunity to hone the hard skills that I have not yet had the chance to learn in my career, while broadening my perspective, growing as a leader, and developing deep bonds with a cohort that is like-minded in its mission to make the world a better place. After graduation, I hope to accelerate my career seeking roles at the intersection of sports and technology, but as I have throughout my career, I’m looking forward to the opportunity to explore and be surprised.

What is one thing you have recently read, watched, or listened to that you would highly recommend to prospective MBAs? Why? I am a big fan of podcasts, and I personally love How I Built This because the interviews take you into the minds and stories of entrepreneurs who have built so many interesting companies. I would encourage anyone interested in business to listen.

What other MBA programs did you apply to? MIT Sloan, Harvard Business School, Georgetown University McDonough School of Business

What advice would you give to help potential applicants gain admission into Yale SOM’s MBA program?  The advice I was given that was most helpful to me was to invest the time to reach out to current students, faculty, staff, and alumni both in SOM and other programs to truly get an understanding of how each differ and why SOM and how an MBA would be the right fit for you. In that process, you are pushed to reflect deeply on yourself and your own journey, and, in the end, that shines through in your application.


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