2023 Best & Brightest MBA: Bruce Crawford, MIT (Sloan)

Bruce Crawford

MIT, Sloan School of Management

Husband, father to two little girls, MBA student, and entrepreneur.”

Hometown: Marysville, Washington

Fun fact about yourself: I have had at least 3 addresses in every U.S. time zone.

Undergraduate School and Degree: Brigham Young University – Idaho

Where was the last place you worked before enrolling in business school? Rivian Automotive – Senior Product Development Finance Analyst

Where did you intern during the summer of 2022? NONA Technologies, Cambridge Massachusetts – I didn’t intern, so much as I co-founded this startup.

Where will you be working after graduation? NONA Technologies, Co-founder & CEO

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School:

Co-President, Sloan Basketball Club

VP, MIT Sloan Automotive & Mobility Club

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? The achievement I am most proud of during business school is winning first place in MIT’s biggest startup competition: the $100K Launch. Being an entrepreneur is such a roller coaster of emotions. My co-founder and I had just been rejected from a string of competitions and accelerators when we applied to the $100K competition- morale was low and so were our expectations. Winning the competition was such a boost to our venture, and has led to an exciting journey which we hope to continue after school.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? I am proud to have been part of the product development team at Rivian Automotive that launched the first ever electric pickup truck.

Why did you choose this business school? I chose to attend MIT because I’m passionate about hardware technology, and I wanted to start a business while in school. MIT’s reputation is unmatched for both technology development and technological entrepreneurship, so it was an easy choice.

Who was your favorite MBA professor? Paul Cheek, Executive Director of the Martin Trust Center for MIT Entrepreneurship. Paul’s experience founding multiple companies makes his entrepreneurship classes engaging and incredibly practical. On top of that, Paul has a big heart: he will do anything to help his students thrive individually, or in their entrepreneurial pursuits.

What was your favorite course as an MBA? Product Design & Development taught by Professor Steven Eppinger. This class combines MBAs, engineering students, and Industrial Design students who drive up from Rhode Island School of Design, then cross-functional teams spend the semester developing a real product. My team built a device that can visually identify the size and thread type of bolts and screws.

What was your favorite MBA event or tradition at your business school? The Sloan basketball club has an annual tradition of playing a game against the HBS basketball club at the Celtics arena. It was an amazing experience!

Looking back over your MBA experience, what is the one thing you’d do differently and why? I wish I hadn’t recruited for consulting in fall of year 1. I think I got caught up in FOMO like so many do. In reality, I don’t think consulting would have been the right fit for me. Plus, consulting recruiting takes so much time!

What is the biggest myth about your school? “The Core semester is sooooo hard!” I think this one is actually true, but it can be much lighter if you work with your core team effectively.

What did you love most about your business school’s town? Cambridge is filled with so many brilliant people from so many different cultures. Interacting with and learning from neighbors and friends is the best part of living in Cambridge, hands down.

What surprised you the most about business school? I was surprised at how nice and normal people are, despite their amazing qualifications. I think Sloan’s culture attracts a lot of nice people who don’t take themselves too seriously.

What is one thing you did during the application process that gave you an edge at the school you chose? The most important thing I did in my application was be true to who I am. I was proud of my unconventional journey through unranked universities, including some community college. I embraced my past auto mechanic experience by recording my intro video from underneath a car. I communicated honestly how those experiences made me who I am today, and fortunately MIT thought that I fit with their culture.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? The classmate I admire most is my friend Amber Gonzolas-Vargas. Amber came to Sloan from the non-profit industry, so she had a steeper learning curve than many others when it came to learning business and finance concepts in the core semester. As a first-generation college student and daughter of Peruvian immigrants she also knew how to fight and persevere. She learned to thrive at Sloan, achieving academic success, becoming our class President, and being admitted to a Harvard-Kennedy School MPA dual degree program. I’m so proud of her!

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

1) Build and run a successful business

2) Be invited to the White House to meet the President

What made Bruce such an invaluable addition to the Class of 2023?

“Bruce is a standout student here at MIT Sloan and is a valued member of our entrepreneurship community. He is extremely aligned with our mission that focuses on principled, innovative leaders working to improve the world. Bruce demonstrates this through both his academic and extra-curricular activities. In the classroom Bruce has been an active participant, leader on teams in class, and one who sets a strong example for others pursuing their entrepreneurial interests. Outside of the classroom the same is true through Bruce’s leadership of his startup company Nona+ for which he won MIT’s $100k business plan competition. Most importantly, Bruce has placed a strong emphasis on his own long-term professional development, and he has made sure to support other members of our community as they advance in their entrepreneurial journeys as well. Bruce is a fabulous member of our community and one who deserves this recognition and more.”

Paul Cheek
Senior Lecturer, MIT Sloan
Executive Director, Martin Trust Center for MIT Entrepreneurship


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