I was stationed in the Navy prior to Yale. I came to Yale SOM for a campus visit and loved everything I saw. I sat in on a class that Barry Nalebuff teaches, and it became very real for me. I was in the front row, and he asked me a question. I was just a prospective student, but I already felt included and part of the community. I went home and told my wife I wanted to go to Yale. I started looking into the benefits, and it turns out that Yale has a very strong benefit package for military veterans. That was really important to me. I would encourage any veterans looking at business school to consider Yale.
I came to school with an open mind. I wanted to explore things that sounded interesting to me. That’s one of the great things about SOM—the opportunity to take classes all across the Yale campus. Right now, I’m taking an equal number of classes outside, and within, SOM. Last year I was involved in a program at the Yale Entrepreneurial Institute that introduces students to Yale professors who have technology in their laboratories that they want to commercialize. I met a professor from the chemical and environmental engineering program. We started working on one of his projects in the reverse osmosis water filtration space. I learned a lot about entrepreneurship and what it takes to make a startup viable.
One of my passions coming into business school was the intersection of entrepreneurship and real estate. Last summer I interned at a firm called Avalon Bay that develops apartment complexes. Real estate developers are kind of a jack-of-all trades, which resonated with my experience in the military and with what we do here at Yale SOM. It was a small environment where you could have a big impact from an early stage. I worked with architects and designers and with the construction folks, and I did financial analysis for new projects. The soft skills I picked up in courses like Managing Groups and Teams and Global Virtual Teams really helped. They show you how to navigate an environment where you don’t necessarily have much authority—how you get people to work together toward a single, common goal.