2024 Best & Brightest MBA: Ryan Carello, Babson College (Babson)

Ryan Carello

Babson College, F.W. Olin Graduate School of Business

“A genuinely optimistic leader, deeply committed to work, yet approaches life with humor and humility.”

Hometown: Attleboro, MA

Fun fact about yourself: Robert Kraft bought the New England Patriots the day I was born. The beginning of a Dynasty!

Undergraduate School and Degree: Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Bachelor of Science – Mechanical Engineering

Where was the last place you worked before enrolling in business school? I worked at Cognex Corporation as an Account Sales Engineer

Where did you intern during the summer of 2023? N/A. My MBA program was a one-year program, and my first semester was in summer 2023.

Where will you be working after graduation? Undecided

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School: Recipient of the Presidential Scholarship; Class of 2024 One Year MBA Cohort Representative; 2023/2024 Graduate Student Council VP of One Year MBA; Beta Gamma Sigma International Business Honor Society Member

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? If I had to pick, the achievement, topping my list would be my nomination for the 2024 Poets & Quants Best & Brightest. What makes this incredibly special to me is that it came from a professor who isn’t just any faculty member, but also the Director of Faculty. Our connection went beyond the typical student-teacher relationship; he saw me in action both in the classroom and as a leading voice for my class cohort. To receive this nomination from him felt like a genuine acknowledgment of not just my academic prowess but also my leadership within our cohort.

Sure, there have been moments of pride over an A on a project that consumed my nights or being chosen by my peers as both their Class Rep and VP of the One Year MBA. But this nomination? It’s different. It weaves together all those individual accolades and efforts, painting a picture of my journey in its entirety. Without those late nights, leadership roles, and, frankly, every single win along the way – big or small – this nomination wouldn’t have been possible. That’s what etches it into my heart as my proudest moment.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? I’ve had my share of measurable successes, like smashing sales targets by 145% in my first year and clinching the Sales Rookie of the Year title. Yet, my proudest moments stem more from how I achieve rather than just the achievements themselves.

As an Account Sales Engineer in my final year at Cognex, I managed some key accounts, including a major manufacturing facility in Wisconsin. We had a modest $40,000 in sales with them in the previous year. My philosophy in business, and in life, is to always be a helpful resource, and be ready to lend a hand. With this mindset, I was able to boost our sales with this facility to over $200,000 in a single year.

However, the real highlight for me came when I had to inform my contact at this facility that I was leaving Cognex for my MBA at Babson. He shared that their decision to heavily invest in Cognex solutions was not just about the product fit but significantly influenced by the value I added to the process. That acknowledgment means more to me than any sales figure ever could.

Why did you choose this business school? Choosing Babson for my MBA was a decision driven by a mix of personal and professional factors. At the time, I was living in Minnesota, far from my home state of Massachusetts. The desire to return to my roots was strong, and Babson’s location offered that perfect bridge back home.

More than just geography, Babson presented a unique opportunity that aligned with my career and financial considerations—their one-year MBA program. After six years of working in a corporate environment, the prospect of leaving a stable income for a full-time MBA was daunting, especially when most programs span two years. Babson’s accelerated program not only halved the time I’d be without a job but also eased the financial strain of further education. This was significantly sweetened by the Presidential Scholarship I received, which not only made the program more affordable but also made me feel deeply valued and recognized by the institution.

However, the decisive factor in my choice was Babson’s celebrated focus on entrepreneurial thinking. Babson champions the concept of Entrepreneurial Thought and Action, a philosophy not confined to launching startups but applicable across any business context. This approach resonated with me. I was captivated by the idea of applying entrepreneurial thinking to diverse professional scenarios, from navigating the corporate landscape of a Fortune 500 company to spearheading a nimble startup team. Babson’s ethos of innovation and adaptability in any setting was the ultimate seal on my decision, embodying the exact mindset I wanted to cultivate in my own career.

Who was your favorite MBA professor? This has been by far the hardest question to answer on this list. One of Babson’s standout features is undoubtedly its faculty. The level of engagement and dedication they show in fostering exceptional learning experiences is something I haven’t seen matched elsewhere. My approach to my MBA was to gain a broad spectrum of knowledge, so I immersed myself in a variety of courses, from Finance and Marketing to Operations and even Programming. Across the board, the professors made each class not just educational but genuinely enjoyable.

I must emphasize that all Babson faculty deserve recognition for their incredible work. Yet, if pressed to choose a favorite, Professor Gary Ottley would be my unequivocal choice. He taught my Marketing course during a particularly intensive summer semester. I met Gary at our orientation, and his passion for teaching was palpable from the start. He warned us that his course would be challenging, but something told me it would also be rewarding. My intuition didn’t lead me astray; it turned out to be one of my most memorable academic experiences.

Case studies, a cornerstone of MBA programs, often lean towards the tedious side. However, Gary had a unique talent for making these discussions not only engaging but also entertaining—a remarkable feat for a class of 50 students over the course of a two-and-a-half-hour period. His ability to do this speaks volumes about his passion for his job. It’s evident he loves what he does, and this enthusiasm radiates in his classroom. That’s why, for me, Gary Ottley stands out as my favorite professor at Babson.

What was your favorite course as an MBA? Reflecting on my time at Babson, I’ve dipped my toes into a wide range of classes, given my urge to grasp a bit of everything. But if I had to pinpoint one class that truly resonated with me, it would be Programming for Business Analytics. You see, coming from an engineering background, I surprisingly never got around to diving deep into programming languages. That changed dramatically with my MBA, especially with my focus on Business Analytics & Machine Learning.

Imagine this: Spring semester arrives, and I’m suddenly wrestling with R, Python, SQL, and Advanced Excel—all at once. It was a mountain of a challenge. Yet, the journey was made surprisingly smoother, thanks to some incredible professors. But the real game-changer for me was the Programming for Business Analytics class. Led by the fantastic Professor Nada Hashmi, this class was split into two thrilling parts—one dedicated to SQL and the other to Python.

What made this class my favorite wasn’t just the content. Professor Hashmi brought an energy and clarity to the material that made everything click. In just 14 weeks, I went from novice to feeling genuinely proficient in SQL and Python. But it didn’t stop there. Professor Hashmi wove Generative AI into our learning, showing us how to supercharge our scripts and really push the boundaries of what we could achieve. It was this class that not only solidified my programming skills, but also sparked a real excitement in me about the possibilities these skills opened up in the real world. It was an incredible journey, and I walked away not just with knowledge, but with inspiration.

What was your favorite MBA event or tradition at your business school? Oh, Babson really went all out with events – you wouldn’t believe the number of notifications I’d get every week about something new happening on campus. There was such a variety, from the big, lavishly-sponsored gatherings to the more intimate, casual meetups. But if I had to choose my absolute favorite, it would be this seemingly unassuming one-hour webinar I attended in my spring semester.

The webinar was led by Jeremy Schifeling, a guru in the marketing world and the Marketing Director at Khan Academy at the time. It was titled “Job Search 2.0: LinkedIn + ChatGPT”, focusing on how to harness generative AI to enhance your LinkedIn profile and tailor your job applications. Jeremy wasn’t just a speaker; he was a performer, blending deep insights with charisma in a way that made everything click.

Honestly, I was kind of at a standstill with my job hunt before that webinar. Yet, after applying just a handful of Jeremy’s strategies, I suddenly saw a spike in interview invitations. It was like I found the secret code to the job market. That webinar didn’t just change my approach to job searching; it gave me a boost when I needed it most. Calling it my favorite Babson event doesn’t quite do it justice; it was a game-changer for me.

Looking back over your MBA experience, what is the one thing you’d do differently and why? Reflecting on my MBA journey at Babson, there’s honestly little I’d change. I’ve poured my heart and soul into this experience, reaping rewards far beyond my expectations. Yet, if I were to pinpoint a minor adjustment, it ties back to an early logistical decision.

After moving from Minnesota back to Massachusetts, my wife and I initially were living at my parents’ house until we found a place to live that worked logistically both for my school and her work. The commute to Babson was a beast—over an hour each way. Eventually, my wife landed a job in Newton, and we settled in Needham, perfectly sandwiched between our commitments. This slashed our commutes to a mere 10 minutes, a change that felt nothing short of miraculous.

But here’s the twist: living so close to campus meant I could easily zip home between classes. Sounds perfect, right? In many ways, it was, especially for lunch breaks or quick study sessions. Yet, it also meant I missed out on some of the spontaneous interactions and deeper campus engagement I might have had if I’d stayed around more.

I wouldn’t trade those short commutes for the world, though, especially since it meant more time with Olive, our 28 pound Goldendoodle. Knowing she wasn’t alone all day was a comfort I can’t put a price on. Still, part of me wonders if staying on campus more would have enriched my MBA experience with deeper connections and fuller immersion in Babson’s vibrant community. It’s a small pondering, though, in an otherwise invaluable chapter of my life.

What did you love most about your business school’s town? That’s an easy one: the surrounding neighborhood. Babson sits nestled in a cozy residential area, surrounded by stunning homes that catch your eye. There’s this one side street right next to the school, lined with gorgeous colonial-style mansions. My wife and I drove by them during our first visit to the campus, and wow, were we blown away! In that moment, it all clicked for me. I understood exactly why I was heading to Business school: one day, I wanted to call a beautiful area like that my home.

What surprised you the most about business school? The most eye-opening part of business school for me was definitely the hands-on, real-world applications. Coming from an engineering background, where most of what I learned was theoretical, the shift to practical learning was both surprising and enlightening. Suddenly, I was not just studying business concepts, but I was also seeing how these strategies and philosophies played out in actual companies. Babson took this to another level by allowing us to dive into a product development project, making it feel like we were part of a corporation tasked with launching their next big thing. It was this blending of education and real-world experience that I found incredibly valuable. It went beyond traditional learning; it felt like I was truly gaining firsthand business experience.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? Picking just one classmate to talk about feels almost unfair, you know? I’m surrounded by so many incredible people at Babson, each with their own unique stories and achievements. But, if I have to choose just one, it’s got to be Samantha, or Sam Chin as we know her. Sam’s journey to Babson is nothing short of inspiring. She didn’t just start a business; she saw it through to a successful exit—a dream ticked off the entrepreneurial wish list. And yet, selling her business wasn’t a finish line for her. It was a stepping stone. Sam saw it as an opportunity for growth, for learning, and Babson was her chosen next step. That’s the kind of forward-thinking I admire.

But what really stands out about Sam isn’t just her professional success. It’s her humility. Despite having achievements that many of us aspire to, Sam’s never carried herself as if she’s above anyone else. She’s humble, endlessly curious, and genuinely passionate about learning. Her engagement isn’t limited to just the classroom; she’s a presence felt everywhere, always ready to support her peers and lend a hand without a second thought. Sam’s approach to life, her care for others, and her drive make her not just a person I admire but a future leader I’m excited to see in action. She’s the kind of classmate who inspires you to be better, simply by being herself.

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

1) Either be at the helm of my own venture or to lead a major corporation as its CEO. I’ve always felt a deep connection to leadership roles; there’s something incredibly fulfilling about guiding a team towards a common goal. I’m the kind of person who doesn’t shy away from the spotlight or the tough decisions that come with it. I believe my optimistic nature plays a big role in this; it’s something that not only keeps me going but also seems to uplift those around me.

Throughout my academic life and into my early career, I’ve gravitated towards leadership positions, each experience enriching my understanding and love for guiding others. Holding a significant leadership role in a professional context is more than a goal—it’s where I see my passion, skills, and optimistic outlook converging. It’s a dream I’m actively working towards, with every step of my journey bringing me closer to that reality.

2) Be in a role that affords me the ideal work-life balance. I envision myself in a position where I’m financially successful yet not at the expense of precious moments in my personal life. For me, family takes precedence. My wife and I are eagerly looking forward to starting our family within the next couple of years. And one thing I’m certain of is my desire to be present for those irreplaceable, once-in-a-lifetime moments with them. This aspiration drives my career choices, as I seek opportunities that allow me to thrive professionally without compromising my commitment to my family.

What made Ryan such an invaluable addition to the Class of 2024?

“As Faculty Director of the MBA program in which Ryan is enrolled – Babson’s One Year MBA – I have direct contact and interaction with all of Babson’s MBA students. I met Ryan on his first day as an MBA student (during Orientation), and was immediately impressed with his maturity, ambition, and drive. It was no surprise to me at all when he was elected one of two Section Representatives from his cohort, chosen by his fellow students.

Following his election, I met and was in close contact with Ryan (and his colleague Ana Paula Shleske Oliveros, the other elected Section Rep) consistently throughout the first half of his year at Babson. As a representative of his class, Ryan was always vocal and vociferous in his advocacy for his fellow students, truly looking out for their interests. His contributions directly (and positively!) impacted his fellow students’ experiences at Babson. Ryan’s leadership and support of his class made him stand out among a class of very impressive MBA students. In the classroom, Ryan was one of the most prolific contributors to class discussions, which further enhanced and improved the overall experience for the entire class. Ryan expressed a strong interest in and passion for the course content, making his presence felt early and often in my class.

The Marketing course had a significant emphasis on analytical capability, class contributions and participation, and the ability to communicate complex ideas in professional settings – and Ryan excelled in all areas. Academically, Ryan was one of the best MBA students of his year – and he made sure to help students who were struggling in subject areas where he was strong, such as Accounting and Finance. Ryan Carello is indeed one of Babson’s ‘Best and Brightest.’”

Gary Ottley Ph. D
Associate Professor of Practice Faculty Director
Full-Time MBA Programs Marketing Division
Babson College


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