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Real Humans of Disney: Patrick Hynes, Georgetown McDonough ’18, Manager, Technology and Data Engineering

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One of the best aspects of an MBA is the unlimited options made available to you. You don’t have to just work in sales or data analysis you can work at the intersection of many business functions. In this edition of Real Humans: Alumni, Patrick Hynes tells us how the MBA program at Georgetown McDonough enabled him to combine his experience in data with his new understanding of business operations to succeed in a role at Disney few of us get to see.

Patrick Hynes, Georgetown McDonough MBA ’18, Manager, Technology and Data Engineering at Disney

Age: 33
Hometown: Tallahassee, Florida
Undergraduate Institution and Major: University of Central Florida – Computer Science
Graduate Business School, Graduation Year and Concentration (if applicable): Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business, MBA ’18
Pre-MBA Work Experience (years, industry):  4 years, Technology
Post-MBA Work Experience (years, industry): 5 years, Technology

Why did you choose to attend business school?
As a Software Engineer, I was beginning to run my own research and development projects, and being driven to think more about my customers, business cases, and budgets for my work.  I enjoyed leading small teams, and I wanted to be able to drive larger efforts.  As an engineer, I had little real exposure to business concepts and wanted to be more well-rounded in the future.

Why McDonough? What factors figured most prominently into your decision of where to attend?
I was able to visit the school on a business trip and did get a sense of the very friendly and earnest culture.  I also have a wide range of interests, including international and political studies, and found the school to be very multi-dimensional.  During my time, I was able to take several classes in the School of Foreign Service as part of the Landegger Program in International Business Diplomacy.  That is a very unique aspect of Georgetown McDonough. 

What about your MBA experience prepared you for your current career?
I work now at an intersection of business analysis, operations, and technology. My technology fundamentals allow me to quickly learn, make technical decisions, and lead my engineering team. My MBA experience, though, allows me to also lead my Product team members, and engage with other business teams to help them get answers about what is happening in our business. Disney Parks, Experiences & Products is a segment that spans the globe with theme parks, cruise ships, hotels, and merchandise; and I get work in the heart of all the data being generated by those operations.

What was your internship during business school?  How did that inform your post-MBA career choice?
I was writing essays about Disney in a class out of personal interest and decided to search for what internships they were offering. I became an intern acting as a Technology Product Manager in Disney’s Consumer Products segment, as part of a corporate Technology-focused Management Rotation program.  I had a lot of fun, learned a lot, and decided to stay with the firm.

Why did you choose your current company? What factors figured most prominently into your decision of where to work?
I was hired into a Technology-focused Management Rotation program at Disney, and I was excited to continue to use my technical skillset combined with my new-found business side. This role also allowed me to work in different areas of the company. The firm itself is fascinating, and given its remarkable complexity, I knew it would keep me interested for a long time. With all those factors coming together, it became an easy decision for me.

Advice to current MBA students:
–One thing you would absolutely do again as part of the job search?
 Be open-minded.  I did not expect to be working for an entertainment and media firm, but I ended up in a great role for me.

–One thing you would change or do differently?
 I would push myself to network more.  I’m someone who struggles a bit with the concept, but approaching teachers and people in industry in a genuine way can really accelerate your learning and growth.

–Were there any surprises regarding your current employer’s recruiting process?
Disney is a very diverse company, so recruiting processes differ a lot by role and business area.  For me, I had to give detailed presentations to a large audience that included the CIO of Disney.  I was surprised, but it all went fine!

–What piece of advice do you wish you had been given during your MBA?
You really do belong here.  You were admitted for good reasons, and you can be a great leader.  For me coming from a deep technical background, the culture of business school was not really something to which I was accustomed, and it was a bit intimidating in some ways.  So to you reading this, I hope you jump in quickly and find that confidence… well, just not too much confidence.

Christina Griffith
Christina Griffith is a writer and editor based in Philadelphia. She specializes in covering education, science, and history, and has experience in research and interviews, magazine content, and web content writing.