Blair MerlinoMS•MBA in Information Systems Enfield, Connecticut
“I chose the MS•MBA program to differentiate me from standard MBA graduates. I believe it makes me more marketable in the workplace, and has already generated interest in me as an employee from several companies.”
Blair Merlino came to Boston University Questrom School of Business with some different experience than many of his peers. That’s because he spent almost seven years in US military special operations, specializing in unconventional warfare. That might seem like an unconventional path—pardon the pun—but Merlino thinks the two fields complement each other well.
“The confidence and effectiveness that I’ve developed through my military career,” he says, “coupled with acclimatization to an office environment received through my internship, has given me very real experience that will help me apply the conceptual aspects of business I am learning while earning a degree.”
Along with his work in the classroom, Merlino’s also enjoyed experience away from Questrom with an internship at Liberty Mutual in the Chicago area. There he played a role as an internal consultant focused on process optimization and strategic alignment. “It allowed me to develop, in real business situations, skills I’d learned in an academic environment.”
Merlino works hard, but he appreciates playing hard too—hence his involvement as president of the Cohort Cup committee, vice president of the Sport and Social Club, and a signatory with the Veterans Club. He’s also worked on consulting projects with IBM, Harpoon Brewery, Raytheon, and the Greater Boston Food Bank. He finds these activities to be invaluable.
“My involvement in extracurriculars is vital to my life in graduate school,” he explains. “Without balance between your work life, which is intense, and your personal life, it’s difficult to stay centered and effective.”
This holistic approach to an MS•MBA (now the MBA+ MS in Digital innovation) would seem to sync up well with Merlino’s overall goals. “I am looking at entering consulting in the strategy and operations sector, and believe my MBA will provide me the perfect opportunity to transition effectively to the fast-paced and competitive business world. With any luck, my career in business, post-MBA, will provide an important service and create lasting value for someone less fortunate than I have been.”