22 Nov 2023

New Faculty Profiles: Michael Montelongo


HBS faculty comprises more than 300 scholars and practitioners who bring leading-edge research, extensive experience, and deep insights into the classroom, to organizations, and to leaders across the globe. We asked new faculty at HBS about their background, their new roles, and their interests.

Michael Montelongo, lecturer, Technology and Operations Management

What did you do before coming to HBS?
I have served in multiple tri-sector careers—private, public, and nonprofit sectors. These include a 20-year line and staff career in the U.S. Army, a congressional fellowship in the U.S. Senate, and a tour as an assistant professor at West Point. After retiring from the Army, I was an executive with a global management consulting firm and later a regional telecommunications company. I returned to government through a presidential appointment as the U.S. Air Force chief financial officer. Most recently, I was chief administrative officer and senior vice president for Sodexo, Inc., a global facilities and food solutions provider. Currently, I run a small consultancy firm and serve on corporate and nonprofit boards. I have a BS degree from West Point and MBA from HBS.

How have you exercised leadership in business?
I have exercised leadership in private, public, and nonprofit domains both as a board member and c-level executive by applying fundamental principles I learned from my military training, faith tradition, and many angels along the way— leading best by serving first and developing a strong “mission first, people always” ethic. As Sodexo’s chief strategy officer and later chief administrative officer, I de-siloed the organization to execute a major transformation agenda which enabled the company to exceed financial targets. As the Air Force CFO, I financed operations for a $120+ billion global military aviation and space force and led e-government initiatives to improve services and significantly improve the cost structure. Today, I bring public and private-company governance and c-level leadership insights to boardrooms focusing on strategy, financial/risk/crisis management, geopolitics, and operations excellence.

What will you be teaching?
I will teach the MBA Elective Curriculum course, Managing Service Operations (MSO).

What would you be doing if you weren’t a professor?
I would continue my board service and client service. If not that, I’d likely return to playing gigs, which were my first practical exposure to leadership. I was the “leader of the band” for my rock bands at every education stage— grade school, high school, college, and here at HBS.

Where are you from?
I was born and raised in the Lower East Side of New York City.

What is something you like to do outside of your academic work?
I love singing and playing acoustic guitar, spending time with my family, and watching baseball with my toddler grandson. I was raised playing and watching baseball and I cherish sharing the sport with him.

What’s your favorite book, movie, or piece of art?
My favorite book is Insight by Tasha Eurich; We Were Soldiers Once is my favorite movie; and my favorite piece of art is The Prayer at Valley Forge by Arnold Friberg.

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