Joe is a 2015 Inspiring Capital Fellow and an MBA candidate at The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

Joe is a 2015 Inspiring Capital Fellow and an MBA candidate at The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

The past several years have been a bit of whirlwind. The birth of my first child (Ryan), (finally) beating the GMAT, business school applications, deciding to leave the military, moving to a new city, starting business school, the birth of my daughter (Kate), and a summer living in Philly and commuting to work in New York.

When I made the decision to apply to business school, I had (what I thought at the time) a pretty specific plan. I loved the foreign military advising work I had done in the Marine Corps, and I wanted to bring my passion for this kind of work to the business world. I wanted to use business training and skills combined with my skills from the military to advance global development. While this seemed clear prior to Wharton, through the fog that is created by the first semester of B-school, my path felt anything but.

Luckily, a team from Inspiring Capital came to campus to recruit for its summer MBA fellowship. The program brings together a cohort of MBA students from top business schools, provides professional development training and networking opportunities, and pairs the MBA fellows with nonprofits, social ventures, and corporation’s CSR departments for a 10-week consulting engagement.

For me, this was perfect. Hands-on experience. Practical training. Consulting. Social enterprise. A strong community of like-minded individuals. All things I felt I needed and/or wanted from my precious one MBA summer. I was paired with an incredible organization (The Doe Fund) doing great work to fight the cycles of homelessness and addiction in NYC. Working closely with the organization’s CFO, I had the opportunity to dive head first into financial statements and Excel to develop a set of metrics and new monthly financial report format to integrate the financial performance into the organization’s mission and change how the executive staff views and utilizes financial data.

This project was meaningful and rewarding, but thanks to the Inspiring Capital program and network, the summer was so much more than just a consulting engagement. Some highlights include…

Learning from and getting to know an amazing group of MBA fellows (and one law student) from top programs across the country as well as a group of equally impressive undergrads from Inspiring Capital’s training program. Together we formed a collaborative community of aspiring professionals who will become leaders in the rapidly developing social enterprise space.

Pursuing my interest in using sports as a force for good by attending Beyond Sport’s Sport United Conference – an event which brought together commissioners and top athletes from the NFL, MBA, and NHL. The following day, I had the chance to visit the NFL’s headquarters to meet with a leader from its CSR department.

Getting to know the founder of Weinstein Carnegie Philanthropic Group, an innovative consulting firm that advises athletes, celebrities, and brands on how to utilize their enormous platforms to make the world a better place and nonprofits on how to best partner with celebrity partners.

Exploring NYC so much more than I did while growing up (I grew up across the river in NJ). IC’s ‘Training Tuesdays’ had us traveling to very cool places across the city – Warby Parker, Fast Company, Bloomberg, Citibank, and Brunswick to name a few – to hear from these host companies and other leaders in the social enterprise space.

While I’m not 100% certain I know what I want to be when I grow up (are we ever?), I’m excited to grow towards my next step. Walking back onto campus for year two, I’m grateful for everything I’ve had the chance to experience as it has pushed me to be a more confident, thought-provoking, and curious leader in this post-Marine Corps world. Most importantly, I’m thankful for the people that have made it all possible (especially my wife who spent far too many bath and bedtimes wishing she had an extra hand).