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Park Leadership Fellows: Zeal, Teamwork, Success
From Battalion to Banking: The Transition of a Park Fellow
Martin Pierce, MBA '10

Martin Pierce, MBA '10, just finished a summer internship at Goldman Sachs, thriving on its challenges and fast pace. "Last year," he says, "if someone had told me I'd do an internship at one of the top investment banks, I'd have said 'No way!'"

"When I made the decision to leave the military, I wasn't sure what I wanted to do. I doubted that business school was an option because of the expense—I already had a family to support—but I did some research." Valedictorian of his West Point class, Pierce had served five years in the Army, including a stint in Iraq. Some West Point colleagues told him about the Park Leadership Fellows Program. Within a matter of months, he had accepted a place in the Johnson School class of 2010 and a Park Fellowship. Harvard and Stanford lost out.

Pierce tackles his MBA experience with the same intensity and zeal that earned him leadership positions and the high esteem of his teams and commanding officers alike. "For me, the biggest takeaway is learning the fundamentals in the core curriculum. The knowledge I have now compared with a little over a year ago—well, it's astounding! That's what I came for."

He sees the benefits of other aspects of his MBA experience, too. He values the great diversity of people's backgrounds and experiences and their willingness to share what they've learned.

Pierce also appreciates his Park Program experience. "I've had a decent background in leadership because of my military background, but now I'm learning how to apply that on the business side," he says.

What does Pierce see for his future? "A career that will challenge me to learn, and a dynamic environment," he says. "And at home, my wife, Michelle—who's a huge support—and my children. I want to have balance between my professional and personal life."