Silver Lake, Ohio
United States Military Academy, Engineering, 2008
Armed Forces Alumni Association
“HBS is helping me see my ambitions less as dreams and more as achievable realities.”
What’s the one thing you’re most excited about learning at HBS?
Entrepreneurship is something I’ve thought about before coming here and HBS has given me a number ways to look into it, like the Entrepreneurial Management class and FIELD III, which taught me a lot about team dynamics and how to structure a team when starting a company. In the summer, I’ll work with a start-up on the west coast, AutoGrid, that does analytics in the energy sector. They’ve been around for a few years and are well-funded – it’s not a couple of guys in a garage. I’ll be doing business development; my job is to take one product and figure out a way to enter a new market, then present my findings and recommendations. It’ll allow me to solidify the academic work I’ve done here and help me move on my own entrepreneurial path.
How do your HBS ambitions fit into the big picture of the world beyond?
Two years ago I had a catastrophic injury, a helicopter crash in Afghanistan. I spent a year and a half in intense rehabilitation. This past summer I transitioned from the military to school. HBS has proven to be a phenomenal way to move forward; it’s challenged me to push myself intellectually, to think in new ways. I miss the camaraderie I had in the military, but being here has helped me develop strong bonds, a strong social support structure. I’ve always dreamed big, but HBS is helping me see my ambitions less as dreams and more as achievable realities.
How are you pushing yourself?
The whole start-up search has been a real process – I underestimated how difficult it would be. But it’s been a huge learning experience: cold calling, reaching out to alumni, expanding contacts. My ability to communicate has improved tremendously because of the internship search, the classrooms, the social activities. There are constant opportunities to develop yourself here.
What might people find surprising about you?
Many people here associate me with the military, but not everyone knows I’m a pilot. In the military my best friends were pilots, and we saw what we did every day as normal. But here, even with the diverse backgrounds, most people find that my “work” stories are very different from what they’ve experienced.