Jacob Meiner
Home Region

New Rochelle, NY

Undergrad Education

University of Pennsylvania, Business Administration/Commerce, Near Eastern Languages & Civilization, 2015

Previous Experience

Boston Consulting Group, Amazon, U.S. Department of State

HBS Activities

Admissions Rep, Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Officer, Pride COO, HBS Show co-president, 2019-20

“I want to get smack-dab in the middle of the most complex problems.”

Jacob Meiner has always been attracted to the difficult. As an undergraduate at the University of Pennsylvania he initially studied Near East languages and civilizations. "It intrigued me from an interdisciplinary perspective, as a way to draw history, religion, and politics together," he says.

But his curiosity also led him to "a few econ courses to see what business was all about," introducing a new line of thinking to his interests. "In my understanding of the Middle East, the missing piece was the business world," says Jacob. "I realized my previous definition of business – about money and balance sheets – was too narrow, and that it was about a lot more than that. I fell in love with the problem-solving side of business."

Jacob completed dual bachelor's degrees in Middle East studies and business administration, then headed to the pivot point where political policy and business interests intersect: Washington DC. "I want to get smack-dab in the middle of the most complex problems," Jacob says. "DC was a great place to do it."

As a consultant in the DC offices of the Boston Consulting Group, Jacob found others who shared his enthusiasm for complexity. Personally, he says, "I learn best when I'm surrounded by people who can challenge my ideas and viewpoints." Yet Jacob complemented confrontation with community building, taking a leading role in BCG's LGBT network, Pride@BCG.

Forging connections for a lifetime

At BCG, where he plans to return after graduation, Jacob realized that his "next step required exposure to as large and diverse a community as possible, not just in race, sex, and background, but in viewpoints and ideas. HBS rose to the top of the list, not just because of the school's commitment to diversity, but because of the sheer size of each class."

HBS' distinctive approach to education, the case study method, reinforces the value of diversity. "Every discussion," Jacob says, "is about solving a problem by having 90 people in the room challenging each other's points of view." Beyond the classroom, "diversity is all around us. You meet an incredible group of people who form meaningful bonds based on shared experiences and reflections."

Jacob makes a more formal contribution to bond-building through his leadership in Pride, the LGBTQ Student Association at HBS, where he is currently the Chief Operating Officer. But the personal rewards of networking remain as important as the career ones. "Alumni always talk about how important the network is, not just professionally, but as go-to people throughout their lives."

Jacob's ultimate career goal does not lack ambition: "I want to be the first openly queer U.S. Secretary of Defense," a position that not only builds upon his previous work with BCG, but that "best represents the intersection of public and private spheres. Through HBS, I can forge the intellectual and personal connections I need to reach my goal, and cultivate the empathetic understanding required at that level of leadership."