Two Questrom Students Make Poets & Quants’ “Best of the Class of 2015”

The MBA and EMBA students were selected from a worldwide pool of nominees

After earning degrees from Boston University Questrom School of Business, newly minted graduates Blair Merlino (MBA’15) and Melinda Shockley (EMBA’15) have now earned spots on Poets & Quants‘ inaugural lists of the best MBAs and the best executive MBAs of the Class of 2015.

Merlino entered Questrom’s MS•MBA program with nearly seven years of experience in US military special operations. Shockley came to the Executive MBA program with a PhD in pharmaceutical chemistry. Their versatile backgrounds—paired with their impressive accomplishments as Questrom students—launched them onto the “best of” lists from a pool including engineers, entrepreneurs, and even former actors from around the world.

To form the lists, Poets & Quants surveyed top-ranked global MBA and EMBA programs to find the 2015 graduates who “exemplify the best of your school” as evidenced by academic prowess, leadership in extracurricular activities, personal excellence, and striking personal narratives. Selected by administrators, faculty, and fellow classmates, each nominee was asked to complete an extensive questionnaire. The staff of Poets & Quants then carefully evaluated the submissions to put together their class of the best and brightest.

Boasting exceptional achievements both inside and outside of BU, Merlino and Shockley stood out among the global nominees, and represent the kind of dynamic leaders that define the Questrom community. Get to know them in the following profiles from Poets & Quants.


Blair Merlino

Blair Merlino came to the Questrom School of Business in Boston with a more nuanced and global perspective than many of his classmates. A psychological operations specialist who saw combat duty inBlairMerlino-Boston-U-PoetsAndQuants the U.S. Army, Merlino boasted a strategic mindset that always elevated classroom discussions. Merlino thrived academically and socially, serving as co-president of the Cohort Cup Committee and vice president for both the Sports and Social Club Committee and the University Veterans’ Association. He will be joining Deloitte Consulting after graduation.

Age: 30

Hometown: Enfield, CT

Undergraduate School: Messiah College

Undergraduate Degree: BA in Psychology

Where did you work before enrolling in business school? United States Army Special Operations – Psychological Operations Specialist

Where did you intern during the summer of 2014? Liberty Mutual Insurance – Warrenville, IL

Where will you be working after graduation? Deloitte – Federal Practice Strategy and Operations Senior Consultant

“I knew I wanted to go to business school when…I realized that the time I invested in regional stability through combat was making an unsustainable difference, and recognized the opportunity for long-term stability through global economic and business initiatives.”

“If I hadn’t gone to business school, I would be…preparing to lead a tactical psychological operations team on a deployment to a combat zone.”

What are your long-term professional goals? I would like to leverage the education I’ve received and what I will learn as a consultant at Deloitte to create real, tangible, sustainable impact for the better in the lives of people throughout the developing world.

View Blair’s full profile here.


Melinda S. Shockley, PhD

Business school is known to draw a fair number of career changers. But a PhD in the pharmaceutical chemistry? That’s not as strange as it sounds for Melinda Shockley, who has also been Melinda-Schockleyan executive-in-residence at Questrom. The co-founder and president of Innolign Biomedical, Shockley returned for an MBA after discovering “how much I needed to learn about running a business.” Described as “disciplined, energetic, curious, and enthusiastic” by the school’s assistant dean, Shockley is also a member of the Princeton Sustainability Salon, an ad hoc group of women leaders interested in supporting sustainable businesses.

Age: 45

Location:  Newton, MA

Family Members:  Christopher (husband), Jacob (son, age 10), Ella (daughter, age 7)

Undergraduate School:  West Virginia University

Undergraduate Degree:  BA, Biology

Graduate School:  University of California, San Francisco

Graduate Degree:  PhD, Pharmaceutical Chemistry

Where are you currently working? Innolign Biomedical, LLC (Co-founder and President)

What is your most memorable moment from business school?  During the first residence Week, a teammate reached out to give me a high-five when we completed a challenging task.  This camaraderie gave me the confidence that the next 18 months would be a fun, shared endeavor by the entire class.

“I knew I wanted to go to business school when…I started my first company and realized how much I needed to learn about running a business.”

“If I hadn’t gone to business school, I would be…lacking the personal growth and understanding of the broader world of business that I gained from the rich experiences that were shared by my classmates.”

What are your long-term professional goals?  Establish multiple companies to push the boundaries of biomedical science to discover and develop new treatments for human diseases.

View Melinda’s full profile here.


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