To be considered one of the Best & Brightest MBAs by Poets & Quants, MBA students from around the world must excel in knowledge, character and growth. For the class of 2019, two Broad MBA students have proven themselves and made the list.
“Now in its fifth year, the Best & Brightest celebrates MBAs whose academic prowess, extracurricular achievements, innate potential and inspirational life journeys make them standouts in their graduate business schools,” said Jeff Schmitt, senior writer for Poets & Quants. “The Best & Brightest are the leaders who rally, the mentors who champion, the visionaries who awaken, and the volunteers who shoulder the heaviest burdens.”
Claire Battafarano (MBA Human Resource Management ’19) and Dustin Reid (MBA Business Administration ’19) are among the 100 gifted graduates from the Class of 2019 who have earned their place on this prestigious list.
Battafarano is currently in Boeing’s HR Career Foundation Program, which consists of six-month rotations in different HR functions within the company. “To receive this honor among such accomplished MBA peers is an unreal and humbling experience,” she said.
She values the skills she learned through Broad’s MBA program, and she places teamwork at the top of her list of takeaways.
“The Broad College MBA program focuses on teamwork above all things. You’re forced to confront your differences and create a working rhythm that helps you learn and grow as professionals together. This experience prepared me to rejoin the corporate workforce, where your job effectiveness relies on your ability to work well in a group.”
While Battafarano has the talent and knowledge to be a great leader, she believes that, first and foremost, she must be a great teammate.
“I think there is great strength in being a good teammate and a strong contributor to a team/work project. You can only gain respect from your peers and become a good leader by first being a good teammate,” she said.
“That said, I concentrate on active listening to be a more impactful leader. Active listening helps me understand my team, their needs, and how/where I can help. Only by doing this can I be an impactful leader (or contributor) on a daily basis.”
Dustin Reid is currently in GE Aviation’s Junior Officer Leadership Program, a rotational leadership program for former military officers. “I can’t credit my time as an officer in the Navy enough for getting me to where I am today,” Reid said.
“That experience forced me to embrace discomfort and to balance the short-term necessities with long term goals, and to treat progress as a marathon filled with a series of milestones rather than an all-out sprint to the ‘finish.’”
Serving in the Navy taught Reid various life lessons that he has continued to hold near to his heart throughout his time at the Broad College. One lesson came from his commanding officer, Mike Ray, during his time onboard the USS O’Kane. When Reid qualified for his Surface Warfare pin, Ray told Reid, “The pin does not mean you have learned it all, but it is a license to learn.”
“I really love that perspective,” Reid said. “Each important professional milestone or achievement is not an end, but the opening of a door to more knowledge, experience and opportunities.”
Reid feels a great deal of gratitude for being recognized as one of the Best & Brightest. “All of the other students from the other B-schools around the country on P&Q are so talented, and my class at the Broad College was filled with so many brilliant and hardworking MBA candidates that I really didn’t think I had a shot at being selected.”
Reid praises the Broad College for helping to transform his professional career. “The problem-solving tools and frameworks from the Broad College are extremely useful as a reference in solving real-world problems. The Broad College also reinforced the power of professional networks, not just for career or company changes but as a way to collaborate and bring in others’ opinions when you’re facing a challenge at work,” he said.
As Battafarno and Reid continue onward as future business leaders, they each have advice for prospective Broad College MBA students.
“Don’t enter into an MBA without a clear sense of what you want from the program and degree,” Battafarno said. “If you don’t have a solid grasp on your goals after the program (i.e., industry of interest, position, location) before you begin, you’ll be more likely to make decisions around the expectations of your peers or program instead of being authentic to yourself. Do not be afraid to forge your own path — and that starts by investing the time to reflect on what path is best for you.”
Reid gave a two-part answer: “First, be social and get to know everyone you can in the program — but be focused on finding your natural, core group of peers who you respect and value. Second, you get out what you put in; work hard and challenge yourself and genuinely try to learn and absorb as much as you can while you’re there. You probably won’t have another 21-month period of your life solely devoted to acquiring knowledge again — do not waste that opportunity.”