2023 MBA To Watch: Grant Foulsham, Texas A&M (Mays)

Grant Foulsham

Texas A&M, Mays Business School

“Father, husband, son, brother, follower of Christ, servant-leader, and adventure-seeker.”

Hometown: Madison, NJ. The Rose City.

Fun fact about yourself: I played my last NCAA lacrosse game on my high school home field. Our head coach at RPI scheduled our last game in northern New Jersey to accommodate the parents from the area who had spent so many years traveling for games. It was a bizarre feeling (I called it “surreal” at the time), but I’m very appreciative I had that experience.

Undergraduate School and Degree: Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, NY. BS Mechanical Engineering.

Where was the last place you worked before enrolling in business school? Weatherford International, Houston, TX. Project Engineer.

Where did you intern during the summer of 2022? Wells Fargo Bank, Houston, TX.

Where will you be working after graduation? Infosys Consulting, Senior Consultant.

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business SchoolFinance Club President, MBA Association, Mays Veterans Association.

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? I completed the accelerated Mays MBA with a wife, two-year-old, and a newborn while living an hour away from campus. I put roughly 50,000 miles on my car over the course of the program. Despite the added difficulties each day, I excelled academically and I’m most proud of the grit and resilience I showed. I owe a ton of thanks to my wife for her support, selflessness, and flexibility with my unpredictable daily schedule, all while she continued her own career.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? With an established design engineering career, I took a big risk and enlisted in the Texas Army National Guard as an airborne infantryman. I served 7 years while continuing my civilian engineering career. It wasn’t easy, but military service was something I had always wanted to do and I’m glad I pursued it.

Why did you choose this business school? I chose Mays because the Aggie Core Values are incredibly important to me. They also align well with the Army Values, reflective of the University’s strong military affiliation and contributions to the various military services of this country. I was accepted into several MBA programs, but it was an easy choice to come to Mays.

Who was your favorite MBA professor? Dr. Bala Shetty. Day in and day out, and at all hours, Dr. Shetty bent over backwards to ensure that students had the tools they needed to be successful. His humor frequently lightened the mood in his high-stress Business Analytics class. He is also a huge supporter of the veteran community in the MBA program and has become a mentor and friend I will have for life.

What was your favorite course as an MBA? Valuation with Dr. Shane Johnson. I enjoyed coming to his class knowing I would be challenged, and the content of his course is applicable in many different careers. I also appreciated his teaching style and ability to incorporate personal anecdotes, general life advice, and humor. He started the course by telling us he wanted it to be the most useful class we ever took, and he delivered.

What was your favorite MBA event or tradition at your business school? There are plenty of traditions I love at Texas A&M, but my absolute favorite is Muster. Muster is a powerful annual event where Aggies all over the world meet to remember Aggies who have passed away in the previous year. The most impactful moment was when I was standing in the dark at Reed Arena and thought about my own name being called someday. It’s an amazing experience.

Looking back over your MBA experience, what is the one thing you’d do differently and why? I can’t say I would change any part of my unique MBA experience. Although the difficult coursework, career search and preparation, and busy personal life all felt overwhelming at times, I gained so much from the program and my individual journey. I learned countless lessons from faculty and staff, discovered new things about myself as a leader and teammate, and the Aggie network helped open so many doors for me. My experience was just how it should have been, and I wouldn’t do anything differently.

What is the biggest myth about your school? College Station has a reputation for being a farm town out in the country from its history of being a land-grant school with an agricultural background. However, I found Texas A&M to feel more urban than rural. It was usually loud and bustling with plenty happening.

What did you love most about your business school’s town? I loved the Bryan/College Station environment. There was always something to do on or around campus. There are tons of Aggie-owned restaurants and family businesses. There are great athletic events to watch. There are interesting facts and traditions, like the height of Rudder Tower being equal to the height of the Normandy cliffs scaled on D-Day, seemingly hidden in plain sight. It’s a special place.

What surprised you the most about business school? Easily, the biggest surprise for me was the speed. I knew I would be transformed in an intense Mays MBA program that compresses a two-year degree into 18 months, and I knew the pace of in-class learning would be fast with the talented faculty and the experiences that other students would bring to the classroom. However, it was still incredible to me how quickly the program flew by.

What is one thing you did during the application process that gave you an edge at the school you chose? I made an effort to get involved with the program very early. I sat in on virtual monthly meetings, listened to various speakers arranged for the program by the Program Office staff, and even participated in a book club with current students. My participation showed my genuine interest in Mays, and I really enjoyed the early engagement. As a bonus, by the time classes started, I was more comfortable in the school environment and felt less of an adjustment than I likely would have without having engaged so early.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? Federico Schloeter. Federico has a wife and a young son, commuted 45 minutes each way to-and-from campus, and was completing his MBA and MS Analytics degrees concurrently with English as his second language. Somehow, he made it all look easy. I experienced just how great of a teammate Federico is during the spring semester of our first year, when he consistently shouldered more work than he needed to and could lighten tense situations quickly. He is a self-aware and selfless leader with a relentless work ethic.

What are the top two items on your professional bucket list? First, I would love to complete an international assignment someday. Immersion in another culture seems like a fantastic way to grow, both professionally and personally. Second, I want to have enough professional success that I can spend a good portion of my life volunteering. I have a few different places or causes in mind, and I look forward to when that time comes. “Enough professional success” is certainly a subjective item, but I think I’ll know it when I’m there.

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

“A servant leader with a strong moral compass, a superior work ethic, and unsurpassed equanimity, Grant Foulsham was the Marcus Aurelius of the Class of 2023.  Week in and week out, it was a joy to witness his signature smile and his stoic superpowers. According to one classmate, Grant built “comfort and trust” within teams by “adjusting to the frequency of each person” while “not being afraid to have real conversations.” In the words of another, “Grant was hardworking, loyal, and a brilliant team player, who could simultaneously lighten up a stressed room and hold others accountable to their commitments.” A third peer valued Grant’s “openness to being proven wrong,” his “willingness to listen,” and his “ability to diffuse tension, maintain discipline, and keep himself and others from taking the situation too seriously.” If Grant were involved, we all knew the team would cross the finish line with quality results and relationships intact.

In my faculty role, I had the pleasure of working with Grant, first during our individual leadership development course, and later during capstone. I can certify that, to a degree rarely achieved at his age and stage, Grant has mastered his own personality. Whatever the challenge, he shows up ready and willing to put others first in the pursuit of common goals. On his capstone team, Grant’s conscious choice to see the glass half full allowed the team to reframe their key question and leave their client fully enlightened regarding the need to pivot strategy. Quoting Marcus Aurelius and channeling Grant, “what doesn’t transmit light creates its own darkness.” In the decades to come, Grant’s colleagues will be delighted to join forces with a leader who invariably chooses to transmit light.”

Dr. Janet Marcantonio
Executive Professor

DON’T MISS: THE ENTIRE LIST OF MBAS TO WATCH IN 2023

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