Educational background: The Pennsylvania State University, Science, Technology and Society
Current or most recent position: Burton Snowboards, Global Strategic Planning Manager
There is no question that attending MIT Sloan gave me a leg up in successfully transitioning from a career in the Federal government into a career in the action sports industry. During tough economic times, what gave me the edge in successfully breaking into one of the world's top consumer brands, however, was the MIT Sloan network, name recognition, and education.
I did not come to MIT Sloan knowing that I wanted to work in snowsports. I knew, however, that I wanted to get into consumer products or services. In considering options for summer internships, I looked at this MBA rite of passage as an opportunity to try something I might not otherwise have the chance to try. I asked myself one question: “What's a cool job that somebody else has that I would never be lucky enough to do?” Sounds fatalistic, but I really did view “cool jobs” as things attainable only by others who were smart (or lucky) enough to pursue them straight out of undergrad or even earlier. Since I've been snowboarding for nearly 15 years, it's certainly one of the joys of my life and I decided to pursue a job in the snowboard industry.
My foot in the door at Burton came through my summer internship and an introduction via the MIT Sloan and MIT network. What prompted Burton to choose me as their first-ever MBA intern? According to my manager that summer, “We knew that coming from MIT you would take this to the next level and lend credibility to our project.”
If you are from a non-traditional business background, please don't be discouraged from applying to and attending a great school like MIT Sloan. I never took an accounting, finance, or statistics class in my life, and to be sure, the core curriculum was no picnic! I had my share of struggles. One of the remarkable things about MIT Sloan, however, is the true commitment that the students have to support one another. My core study team consisted of people whom all had different areas of expertise, from accounting and economics, to strategy and communication, and between the seven of us we covered every subject! While nearly all MIT Sloan students possess a competitive drive and desire to succeed, I always felt that my classmates considered the success of a team equally important as their own success. The two years I spent at MIT Sloan were two of the most fun, enriching years of my life.