MIT, Engineering, 2006
Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory
African American Student Union (Corporate Relations Director), Social Entrepreneurship Club, Management Consulting Club, Sales & Business Development Club
Like lots of young people in the U.S., Marc Wilson had dreams of space travel "inspired by comic books, and movies like Star Wars." And like many of them, Marc wondered, "Why isn’t that possible?"
But unlike most of them, Marc did, in fact, become a rocket scientist—specifically, a propulsion engineer who designed systems for space satellites. "The ones I was excited about," Marc says, "were those destined to other planets, and to the sun."
Here on Earth, Marc has been most inspired by his parents, who left a financially secure life in Jamaica for the United States. "It meant they had to start over from scratch, but they did it to give their two sons better opportunities."
Inspiring the next generation
While Marc loved his work, he realized that his larger dream of interstellar human transport would not happen in his lifetime. Just as his parents had sacrificed stability for hope, Marc decided on a change in direction: "I wanted to inspire the next generation of engineers."
But how? "Sure, I could be an educator and maybe teach a few hundred students at a time," says Marc. "But I want to make an impact nationwide, even globally. My goal now is to have an education strategy consulting firm that advises schools and governments on the best ways to influence young students to pursue engineering and science."
"One of the most important lessons I’ve learned at HBS," says Marc, "is that even if your idea is a good one, it won’t get broad acceptance unless it makes money." Marc cites the outdoor retail company, Patagonia, as an example: "In order for others to follow their environmental standards, they have to show financial impact."
Marc has an eight-to-ten year career plan for launching his own firm, one that has already begun with his summer internship at McKinsey in New York. In a recent "Think & Drink," an informal gathering of HBS colleagues who share wine and ideas, Marc and six classmates debated the most effective approaches for drawing young people into science careers. Beyond HBS, Marc plans on joining an established firm before starting his own consultancy. "I want to gain experience bringing in business," he says, "and develop relationships that will help me in my venture."