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Real Humans of Michigan Ross’s MBA Class of 2021

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Dave Horvath, Michigan Ross MBA Class of 2021

Dave Horvath, Ross MBA Class of 2021

Age: 32
Hometown: Dennis, MA
Undergraduate Institution and Major: US Military Academy at West Point, Management
Pre-MBA Work Experience (years, industry): 10 Years; Army Officer

Why business school? Why now?
After 10 years and a variety of experiences in the Army, I identified that an MBA would provide me with the most critical skills to effectively transition careers. I realized that combining these leadership and management skills with a business-focused education over an intensive two-year program would make me the most valuable to the next organization I join.

Why Ross? What factors figured most prominently into your decision of where to attend?
I have always been a team-focused person, both personally and professionally. Throughout my process of research and applying to MBA programs, Ross’s commitment to team dynamics and business leadership development made this program stand out among the rest. Learning more about this aspect of the Ross MBA with admissions staff, current students, and alumni quickly made Ross my first choice.

What do you think is your most valuable or differentiating contribution to the Class of 2021?
I believe that the lessons I have learned from my experience in Special Operations—most specifically, leading and managing high-performing teams over the past 10 years—will be my most impactful contribution to the Class of 2021. Having led organizations of varying sizes and diverse structures in often uncertain environments, I have gained a great appreciation for compassionate leadership and team-building. I am thrilled to have the opportunity to share those skills with my classmates.

Fun fact that didn’t get included on your application?
Thanks to my travel with the Army, I’ve played golf on 4 different continents!

Post-MBA career interests?
Strategy and tech consulting.

Advice to current prospective applicants:
–One thing you would absolutely do again as part of your application process?
Talk to as many students and alumni as you can! I had countless conversations with current and former students throughout my process. Through those conversations, I learned so much about Ross and MBA life as a whole, I realized where my best fit would be. I was initially reluctant to reach out, but once I did, I had some wonderful conversations and gained great perspective.

–One thing you would change or do differently?
Learn to tell my story better. Much of my focus during the application process was on the GMAT and GRE. While test scores are absolutely an important part of the profile, your story is what truly tells admissions who you are. MBA programs value a variety of experiences and an ability to convey those experiences will allow you to present your best profile.

–Part you would have skipped if you could—and what helped you get through it?
GMAT. Surely that’s a common answer, but for me, it was the most challenging part of the process. Since I did have to take the test more than a few times, I definitely got frustrated and discouraged, but it helped to remind myself to stay in the present and that the applicant profile is more than just tests. Approaching each test well-prepared, WELL-RESTED, and with a positive outlook helped to keep my motivation up and position myself to drive past those frustrations.

What is your initial impression of Ross’s students/culture/community?
I have been deeply impressed by the truly collaborative and inclusive atmosphere of Ross. Whether working with students, professors, or program staff, there is a deep-rooted culture of positivity and cohesion here. This culture is a true differentiator for Ross.

One thing you have learned about Ross that has surprised you?
The unbelievable career assets that Ross provides its MBA candidates. Whether you look at the Career Development Office’s coaches and recruitment education modules, the support from the Institutes and Centers, or the myriad of professional clubs and organizations; Ross is wholly invested in the success of its MBA candidates.

Thing you are most anxious about in your first year?
Re-entering the classroom after a 10-year hiatus and re-entering academia, while balancing the greater MBA experience. Because the Ross experience provides an innumerable amount of opportunities, this year will require discipline to choose which events and activities I want to participate in and balance my schedule effectively.

Thing you are most excited about in your first year?
Embracing Michigan Ross as my new home and getting to know my classmates, especially those whose background is different than my own. I am so excited that we have the opportunity to share our perspectives with one another and grow together as classmates and business leaders. Go Blue!

Jonathan Pfeffer
Jonathan Pfeffer joined the Clear Admit and MetroMBA teams in 2015 after spending several years as an arts/culture writer, editor, and radio producer. In addition to his role as Contributing Writer at MetroMBA and Contributing Editor at Clear Admit, he was also a co-founder of the Clear Admit MBA Admissions Podcast. He holds a BA in Film/Video, Ethnomusicology, and Media Studies from Oberlin College.