Chief Executive Officer
MBA for Executives
Class of 2011
Before joining Darden’s Executive MBA Program
I spent about ten years in the Navy having gone to the Naval Academy, undergraduate. Most of that time was in the SEAL teams. I got out in 2005 and went to work for a private equity company running one of their portfolio firms and about two years into that process had an idea for a related business. The company I started is called Precision Ads, and basically, it’s a mechanism that we hope will transform newspaper advertising.
How does an entrepreneur and former military officer learn leadership at Darden?
Being fifteen or so years into my career, in a career that’s included significant leadership experience from day one, what do I think about learning leadership in an academic setting? I’ve actually given that a fair amount of thought and learned a bunch in my first few years in business, but I’m equally glad that I’m back, and specifically that I’m in the program for executives.
Maybe you’ve been in leadership roles for, you know, many years, but that doesn’t mean you’ve had a chance to interface with leading thinkers on the subject or even carved out time for yourself to take a step back and say ‘alright, let me think about this from a twenty-thousand foot level.” How should I approach this, what are the best practices, all that kind of stuff: in an environment like this you have that opportunity with some regularity. If you’re open to it, there’s a ton of great learning opportunities where you can make some real growth in yourself as a communicator and as a leader.
On applying the Darden Executive MBA program to business life
I’m relatively early in the program, but I’ve found a couple of different scenarios already where the material we’re learning in the program has yielded tangible benefits in real life…There I am with these frustratingly slow contract negotiations and studying explicitly these nuances in communication techniques, and I ended up taking some of those other communication techniques and applying them to this contract negotiation. Something that had been dragging on for three months within four days was resolved, and I attribute a lot of that, to that shift in communication strategy, and that was a direct byproduct of one of the courses we were studying.