Bobby Tuohy
Home Region

Washington, D.C.

Undergrad Education

United States Naval Academy

Previous Experience

LGS Innovations, Naval Special Warfare Development Group, National Security Agency, Strike Fighter Squadron-122

HBS Activities

Armed Forces Alumni Association, LGBT Student Association

“I stumbled upon the joint degree program when I was at a crossroads.”

A native of Kentucky, Bobby Tuohy “always worked with my hands and built things growing up.” He was naturally attracted to engineering, and like many young people, he dreamed of becoming an astronaut: unlike most young people, however, he actually pursued a path of action that brought him close to his dream.

With a desire to serve his country – and to follow the path of other astronauts – Bobby enrolled in the Naval Academy with an eye toward becoming an aviator. In 2011, he got his wings as a jet pilot.

But shortly afterwards, an old back injury flared up again, requiring two consecutive surgeries. “When I submitted the necessary paperwork after the second surgery, the Navy told me I could never fly a fighter jet again.” Bobby’s dream had been grounded.

“I had defined myself by my ambition,” Bobby says. While considering alternative options, an opportunity opened up within the Navy itself: a new cyberforce initiative called “cryptologic warfare.” “I did some research and realized this was a great opportunity to learn new skills.”

“It was the pinnacle of my Navy time,” Bobby says of his experience. “It involved a lot of deployments and a whole lot of leadership.” Responsible for a team of twelve, Bobby split his time between field operations and headquarters, where he led the charge for acquiring necessary resources. “It was the service and leadership I wanted.”

Deepening tech skills and leadership abilities

As his Navy tenure was approaching its conclusion, Bobby considered his choices. “I stumbled upon the joint degree program when I was at a crossroads,” he says about his discovery of the joint HBS/SEAS business and engineering program. “It appealed to me because it would allow me to deepen my tech skills in computer science while also learning about business. When I was serving abroad I noticed that the way things really got done was through commerce, the market – that’s what builds security and stability.”

“Harvard has the joint program plus a ton of supportive people,” Bobby says. “Even before I was a student, I was approached by veterans and alumni who encouraged me to come here. To me, it’s a natural extension of the teamwork, the family that I found in the military.”

Bobby lives on campus with his husband Jared Meyers. “Students and the school have brought my spouse in as part of the family. In fact, Jared is probably more popular that I am! Everyone wants to hang out with him; he’s even played with our section’s basketball team.”

For his internship, Bobby has secured a role as an operations product manager with Apple in Cupertino, what he describes as a “50/50 tech and business role.” Eventually, he’d like to found a new company or pivot to the VC side of the startup world.

“I’m surprised by how much I’ve learned here,” Bobby says of HBS. “There’s a large volume of challenging work. But the MS/MBA cohort is like my second family; they are the single most impressive, genuine, and interesting people I’ve ever been with.”