Real Humans of Harvard Business School MBA Class of 2022
Brandon Luckie (Lucky), HBS MBA Class of 2022
Hometown: Monterey, CA
Undergraduate Institution and Major: US Air Force Academy (Business Management)
Pre-MBA Work Experience (years, industry): Satellite Data Acquisition (3 years), Nuclear Weapons Acquisition (2 years)
Why business school? Why now?
The timing was perfect, as I was at the end of my 5-year military commitment, deciding between a career in the Air Force or separating to take a risk for professional exploration. Here at HBS, I am leaping into that risk. My service in the military gave me incredible leadership experience, exposed me to highly technical processes, and deeply grounded me in the principle of self-integrity and it’s become ingrained in who I am. Reflecting on my professional growth thus far, I realized I had nurtured a restless curiosity that was only growing and business school is a platform that will help me embrace that drive towards intellectual expansion while providing a platform for experiential learning.
Why HBS? What factors figured most prominently into your decision of where to attend?
I found myself driven to places where I felt I could learn the most. The HBS approach to class learning fundamentally pulled me out of my comfort zone and that resonated with me. In leveraging the case method, I’m pushed daily to find the best ways to process information, present an informed perspective, and learn to balance alternative perspectives. Initially, you might perceive this to be a challenging environment, and it is, but you realize it brings us all together. That is in fact one of the cornerstones that bind alumni both in the present and throughout the years. In being here, you feel incredibly connected and supported by your faculty, your classmates, and the generations of graduates that have traveled this path before you.
What do you think is your most valuable or differentiating contribution to the Class of 2022?
As an individual, I’ve pushed myself to refine a balance of disciplined pragmatism and grounded perspectives. It’s really a quality of actively learning from both my personal experiences as well as the experiences of those around me. The differentiation occurs when taking the time to move a step further to reflect and find tangible ways to integrate the best aspects of these lessons into my own perspective of the world, iterating on my leadership, and then implementing ways to leverage these lessons outside of myself to create positive value for others.
Fun fact that didn’t get included on your application?
A fun fact that really excites me is the incredible opportunity I’ve had to travel to 29 countries. It’s been an incredible vehicle to learn about myself along the way. My plans to reach my 30th country this summer were cut short by current circumstances but I’m definitely keeping my fingers crossed for the next opportunity for international exploration to come soon.
Post-MBA career interests?
I have my focus on finance. It’s a new exploration for me, but the deeper I delve, the more I’ve enjoyed it. In particular, I’m deeply interested in becoming an investor and placing myself in a position to influence who’s being invested in, what sectors are being invested in, and in the long term, how more investments will be directed into under-resourced communities.
Advice to current prospective applicants:
–One thing you would absolutely do again as part of your application process?
Leading up to my application process, I visited as many of my potential schools as possible and worked to create genuine relationships with students, prospects, and school staff along the way. It was absolutely fun in its own right, but it was also incredibly enlightening. It helped me understand the personalities of the schools, how I could add value on campus, and how well the school was poised to help me develop along my path. With the current restrictions around travel, I would encourage applicants to double down on alternative means of outreach to schools to get a sense of where you feel you align best.
–One thing you would change or do differently?
I would lock myself in a room and begin preparation earlier. This especially applies to studying for the required standardized testing. “Eat your veggies,” in an intellectual sense. It wasn’t always the most fun, but it was worth it. Once you’ve set that in place, it allows you to turn your entire focus to the next steps in the process, and it becomes a freeing opportunity for self-reflection.
–Part you would have skipped if you could—and what helped you get through it?
Personally none. I believe there’s something enriching in the process that drives you to be deeply introspective and analyze the things that truly matter to you. Talking to students about their journey, you realize there’s a shared energy of everyone in this stage in life as we build towards the next steps in our career or focus on a complete switch to our passions. There’s something quite powerful and peaceful in embracing that realization and becoming a part of that network.
What is your initial impression of HBS’s students/culture/community?
It’s surreal. More than anything, you notice the sense of connectedness that you’ve stepped into. Whether it’s a current student, a faculty member, or alumni, if you reach out asking for support, you almost always get a response or at least directed to someone who can help guide you.
One thing you have learned about HBS that has surprised you?
One thing I learned is that getting in is only the first step. Absolutely take a moment to celebrate once you get that amazing news, but then it’s time to work. I had a hint of this coming in, but when you arrive, you see that there’s an incredible learning curve both in and out of the classroom to keep pace. It’s a great thing. It pushes you to grow every day. We’re developing as leaders. Those that we work with deserve to be led well, and that’s a standard that we need to continue to raise.
Thing you are most anxious about in your first year?
How to make life-long connections over zoom has been a question that’s run through my mind frequently. I’m still working on the solution, but it gives me confidence to know that everyone here is committed to taking on this challenge (among all the other challenges we’ll face). A new paradigm has been set by this pandemic, and we’re working to face it head-on as a collective.
Thing you are most excited about in your first year?
Pushing myself to learn from my classmates. The best part about this entire journey is the quality of thoughts that you’re consistently surrounded by. I take every opportunity I can to soak up knowledge. I’m often like a kid in a candy store here. There’s a lot of preparation and a lot of chance that led me on this path. I smile about that a lot. Admittedly, some days, it’s just great to be lucky.