“Engineer and Olympic athlete who wants to embark on a new adventure.”
Hometown: Moultonborough, NH
Fun fact about yourself: Rowed the equivalent of the distance from the Sun to Venus (110 million KM, about 40 million KM less than the Earth-Sun distance)
Basic studies and major: Cornell University, Civil and Environmental Engineering
Last employer and job title: US Rowing – Olympic Athlete
Which word best describes the Columbia Business School MBA students and alumni you’ve met and why? Enthusiastic. The many phone calls I had with some of the alumni exceeded their allegedly allotted time window by at least thirty minutes. Her real excitement and joy about her time at Columbia was palpable. I was disappointed when the calls ended and found that I had three months to get orientation!
Aside from your classmates and your location, What was the key part of the Columbia Business School MBA program that made you choose this business school and why was it so important to you? When I moved from athletics to business school, I knew that dedicated programs with extensive professional networks would be critical to my success. Nowhere else have I been able to learn such tangible, hands-on skills by meeting with industry-leading alumni or attending one of the dozen of events at the Paul Milstein Center for Real Estate. The NYC Immersion Seminar in Real Estate Development provides an opportunity to learn, understand, and speak the industry language outside of the classroom.
Which course, club or activity do you find most appealing at Columbia Business School? Bridging the American Divides is an elective that, given the past five years in the United States, couldn’t be offered at a better time. Having been surrounded by very like-minded, idiosyncratic teammates for the past nine years, I look forward to meeting and discussing new classmates from different backgrounds in a class that aims to improve our understanding of the causes of different opinions.
What Makes New York City such a Great Place to Get an MBA? With over 8.5 million people living in such a dense area, New York City offers the seemingly perfect combination of resources and location to embark on a new career. There are opportunities for any type of business activity within blocks that you can live, study, and learn. Whether you like it or not (but almost necessarily) – you are exposed to life and culture everywhere.
Describe your greatest success in your career so far: It participated in the 2016 and 2020 Olympics and represented the United States. The culmination of years of physical exertion and determination coincided with two of the most memorable Games in history (Brazil became the first South American nation to host, Japan had its only 5-year quadrennium due to the pandemic!).
How has COVID-19 changed your perspective on your career and life in general? When the Olympics were postponed in March 2020, I quickly realized that I wasn’t ready to “end” my rowing career without going through the entire cycle. That decision meant I had to retire and reapply to CBS for the upcoming course in Fall 2021. The pandemic gave me a new perspective on rowing – it was no longer something I wanted, but something I had to see to the end. Looking at what is next in my life in general, I hope to learn how to avoid situations that put me in that “need” rather than a “want” state of mind.
What made you decide to do an MBA at that point and what do you want after graduation? Completing my bachelor’s degree with an engineering degree and immediately switching to full-time education allowed me to develop several business-like skills … just in a non-business environment. I believe that having a solid foundation in everything is key to continued success, and an MBA now offers me the opportunity to create a solid framework on which to get into the real estate development industry.
What other MBA programs have you applied for? I had a school in New York City with my heart from the start, so the only other program I applied for was the NYU Stern School of Business.
What advice would you give potential applicants in order to be admitted to the Columbia Business School MBA program? Make the trip to campus for an event. CBS offered a tremendous number of pre-admissions events, and attending some of these events changed my application process. Something that I took away from my brief stints in admissions offices in other schools (one at a boarding school, one at a university) – there is no substitute for seeing and feeling the campus atmosphere in person!