Steve Maddox, MBA '10, just finished an internship at Goldman Sachs. In this economy, the competition was even stiffer than usual. Maddox says modestly, "I lucked out. It's been very cool." He also thinks it likely the firm was "interested in more maturity, a more strategic worldview. I've led people before and been in stressful, tenuous situations. Right now, the financial industry needs people who can perform under pressure."
During his ten-year career in the Marines, Maddox served in 28 countries, including a ten-month stint in Iraq. His initial assignments were in intelligence; later, he served as a military advisor in several countries.
When Maddox decided to pursue new goals outside the military, he debated whether to attend law school or business school. Reflecting on his experience in Iraq, he decided on a business career. "There may not always be law, but there will always be markets," he observes. "I saw how markets and business could restructure countries and help people, even when the legal system was marginal."
Now he's getting the knowledge that will enable him to have an impact. What he finds most beneficial, he says, is "understanding the operational, financial, and other factors that drive business decisions. The military teaches you to make decisions based on information; the MBA teaches you to analyze information to make the best decisions." As director of business development for BR Incubator, he is putting these skills to work in real consulting projects.
As Maddox sees it, "The Nolan Scholarship is clearly life-changing. I'm getting an $80,000 MBA without incurring $80,000 in debt. I'll be able to provide for my family. That's a powerful thing."
One more thing: Maddox learned about his scholarship not long after the birth of his son—whose name is Nolan.
Josh Cunningham, MBA '10, completed his summer internship at Citibank. Like Maddox, he feels fortunate to have gotten this assignment in an exceptionally competitive environment.
Of Cunningham's more than eight years in the Army, he spent four on active duty, serving with the 82nd Airborne and the 75th Ranger Regiment. He served in Afghanistan, Iraq, and other countries—on every continent except Antarctica. After his discharge, he worked in operations management at Target and then Johnson & Johnson. He knew he needed an MBA to advance his career.
Writing his application essays helped bring his career plans into sharper focus. "I realized that I wanted to get back the pace, excitement, and challenges I had in the military— minus getting shot at!" Cunningham says. As he wrote, his eyes fell on a book he'd read on investment banking. He realized it might provide what he was looking for.
Cunningham chose the Johnson School over other top business schools. "It fit the bill perfectly for me," he says, "with the relatively small size, the focus, the close-knit culture with its 'coopetition,' and the ability to prepare people for career changes." In talking with members of the Veterans Club, he found the school's understanding of veterans a bonus.
His expectations for his Johnson School experience have been met—and then some, he explains. Throughout his first year, fellow students had a major impact on him. He credits a few with helping him get into banking.
His summer internship at Citibank has likewise proven his beliefs about investment banking. "I'm challenged to learn and do new things every single day. The pace and intensity force me to push myself," he says.
Cunningham is deeply grateful for the Nolan Scholarship and inspired by Peter Nolan's generosity. "What he's done is absolutely incredible, especially in a down economy," he says. "When I get out, I will absolutely work at giving back."
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the best decisions."
—Steve Maddox, MBA '10